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UN rights expert report to call for Israel arms embargo over ‘acts of genocide’

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A UN human rights expert will deliver a report on Tuesday saying that Israel has carried out acts of genocide in Gaza and should be placed under an arms embargo.

Francesca Albanese, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, said in her report there were “reasonable grounds” to believe that Israel was carrying out three of the five acts defined as genocide: killing Palestinians, causing them serious bodily or mental harm, and “deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about the physical destruction” of the population in whole or in part.

“The overwhelming nature and scale of Israel’s assault on Gaza and the destructive conditions of life it has inflicted reveal an intent to physically destroy Palestinians as a group,” Albanese’s report said.

Related: Israel isolated as UN security council demands immediate ceasefire in Gaza

The report, which has been seen by the Guardian, is due to be delivered on Tuesday to the UN human rights council, which appointed the Italian lawyer in 2022. She does not speak on behalf of the UN as a whole.

Israel imposed a visa ban on Albanese in February, after she argued that the 7 October massacre of Israeli civilians which started the war was not an act of antisemitism.

“The victims of 7/10 were not killed because of their Judaism, but in response to Israel’s oppression,” Albanese wrote on the X social media platform on 10 February.

Israel’s diplomatic mission in Geneva said the country “utterly rejects the report”, and described it as “simply an extension of a campaign seeking to undermine the very establishment of the Jewish State”.

“Israel’s war is against Hamas, not against Palestinian civilians,” it said in a statement quoted by the Agence France-Presse, slamming Albanese’s “outrageous accusations”.

The international court of justice (ICJ) in The Hague is currently weighing a case brought by South Africa under the 1948 Genocide Convention. The court issued “provisional measures” in January intended to limit the risk of genocide while it considered its judgment, called for action against Israeli politicians using genocidal rhetoric and urged the large-scale delivery of humanitarian assistance. The Israeli government has yet to comply with the measures.

Albanese’s report said Israel had sought to conceal its “eliminationist conduct of hostilities” by clothing it in the language of international humanitarian law, and designating Gazans as a whole as “terrorist” or “terrorist-supporting”. The use of such language, the report said, transformed “everything and everyone into either a target or collateral damage, hence killable or destroyable”.

The report recommends that UN member states: “Immediately implement an arms embargo on Israel, as it appears to have failed to comply with the binding measures ordered by the ICJ.”

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