U.N. Confirms Probe into Allegation Its Palestinian ‘Special Rapporteur’ Took Money from Pro-Hamas Groups

TUNIS, TUNISIA - MAY 11: UN's Special Rapporteur on the Palestinian territories Francesca
Mohamed Mdalla/Anadolu via Getty

The United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) confirmed to the independent organization U.N. Watch, the group confirmed on Tuesday, that it is taking “appropriate action” in response to allegations “Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories” Francesca Albanese illicitly took money from pro-Hamas groups.

U.N. Watch filed a legal complaint in June against Albanese through the U.N. system presenting evidence that pro-Hamas groups may have paid Albanese to make appearances during a tour she took of Australia and New Zealand in the early months following Hamas’s siege of Israel on October 7. At least one such group, the the Australian Friends of Palestine Association (AFOPA), reportedly claimed to have “sponsored” Albanese’s visit to the country in December, according to U.N. Watch. Other organizations described Albanese as a “guest” of the group.

The AFOPA published photos of its leaders with Albanese in Australia in December and commended her efforts in opposing Israel’s right to self-defense following the rape, murder, and torture spree by Hamas terrorists in October.

The AFOPA has previously referred to Hamas, a genocidal terrorist organization explicitly opposing the existence of Israel and Jews generally, as a “bona fide resistance group,” urging the Australian Parliament to not recognize the group as a terrorist organization.

“If either side is to be designated as ‘terrorist’ it is the State of Israel rather than Hamas,” AFOPA argued before Parliament.

As “special rapporteur” on the Palestinian territories, Albanese is tasked with investigating alleged human rights violations in the West Bank and Gaza. Neither Albanese nor the United Nations has clarified how a tour of Australia and New Zealand fits into her official duties at press time.

U.N. Watch estimates that Albanese’s trip to Australia cost $20,000 and has demanded that the United Nations publish itemized receipts for the cost of the visit and how the money was spent. While Albanese herself has claimed the United Nations paid for her visit, the U.N. has yet to confirm her claim or answer the demand for receipts.

In response. U.N. Watch revealed on Tuesday that it received a letter stating that it referred the matter to U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights Volker Turk, Albanese’s boss, “for appropriate attention and action.”

U.N. Watch described the response as a confirmation of an investigation into the trip.

“The investigations division of the UN’s Office of Internal Oversight Services recently announced that it has opened a case into allegations of financial improprieties by Francesca Albanese,” the non-governmental organization asserted.

“In wake of the investigation, UN Watch announced that today it has filed proceedings with the United Nations to remove Albanese,” it added, presenting a draft resolution to fire Albanese.

The head of U.N. Watch, Hillel Neuer, issued a statement accusing Albanese of regularly “abus[ing] her UN position to incessantly spew antisemitism and Hamas propaganda, on social media, on TV, and in her reports.”

“Every day that she remains in office casts a shadow upon the human rights council and the United Nations as a whole,” Neuer stated on Tuesday.

Albanese responded defiantly to the U.N. Watch revelation, appearing to deny that her employer is investigating her for potential financial improprieties.

“I welcome any review of my mandate and all documents are available to the UN because I have never had, and will never have, anything to hide,” Albanese wrote in a statement published on social media. “But the latest UN Watch move is beyond the pale. They use an email from the UN which simply acknowledged the receipt of their complaint to falsely claim that the UN ‘has opened an investigation’ against me.”

“UN Watch: keep ignoring International Law, keep turning a blind eye on Israel’s massacres of Palestinian civilians and children, and stay focused on the world’s most pressing issue: the (UNPAID!) fellowship of my research assistant,” she concluded. “Back to work now.”

Albanese has built a formidable record of virulently anti-Israel, and antisemitic, public statements since being appointed “special rapporteur.” While in Australia, the U.N. envoy gave an interview to the Sydney Morning Herald in which she referred to Israel as a “military dictatorship” and asserted that Israel has no legitimate right to self-defense against terrorist groups such as Hamas.

“It cannot invoke self-defense against the people it occupies,” Albanese claimed, adding that self-defense only applies to “an imminent threat of a state emanating from a state, not an armed group within a state.”

Albanese also claimed “75 percent of the people in Gaza” should “return” to Israel.

Shortly before her visit to Australia, Albanese declared the October 7 atrocities – the single largest mass killing of Jews since the Holocaust – were not antisemitic.

“The victims of the October 7 massacre were not murdered because of their Jewishness, but in response to Israeli oppression,” Albanese wrote in a social media post.

Prior to October 7, Albanese had on repeated occasions compared the Israeli government to Nazi Germany and accused Israel of genocide.

“In a 2014 Facebook post, she wrote that America is ‘subjugated by the Jewish lobby’ … Last November, she addressed a Hamas conference where she said, ‘you have a right to resist,'” Neuer of U.N. Watch, addressing the U.S. House of Representatives in November, recalled.

At the same event, a hearing on antisemitism at the U.N., Jonathan Schanzer, the senior vice president for the Research Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD), introduced evidence of Albanese repeatedly complaining about “the Jewish lobby,” “Israel’s greed,” and using other antisemitic language.

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