GENEVA (AFP) – The UN voiced deep concern Tuesday over an “unacceptable” wave of Palestinians attacking Israelis, but also slammed Israeli authorities’ reported “excessive use of force” in response to the attacks.
“We continue to be gravely concerned at the unrelenting violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and in Israel,” Cecile Pouilly, spokeswoman for the UN human rights office, told reporters.
“We call on both Israeli and Palestinian leaders to act decisively to de-escalate the situation,” she added.
Since October 1, almost daily attacks by Palestinians and clashes with Israeli soldiers have killed 117 on the Palestinian side, 21 Israelis, an American and an Eritrean, and thousands more have been injured, she pointed out.
Pouilly warned that although international attention appeared to be waning, “the level of killings, injuries and arrests has continued, with an average of one person dying every day.”
Many of the Palestinians killed have been attackers, while others have been shot dead by Israeli security forces during clashes.
Young Palestinians have grown frustrated with Israel’s occupation and the complete lack of progress in peace efforts in addition to their own fractured leadership.
“The unacceptable wave of stabbings, shootings and car rammings continues to kill and injure Israelis,” she said, warning though that “the response from Israeli security forces has resulted in alleged attackers, protesters and even bystanders being killed and injured.”
She pointed out that in the H2 area of Hebron alone, 16 of the 17 Palestinians allegedly involved in attacks against Israelis since October 1 were shot dead, while one had been injured and arrested.
“We again voice deep concern over reports of excessive use of force by Israeli forces,” Pouilly said.
She insisted that “all instances of the use of force resulting in death or injury by law enforcement officers should be the subject of prompt, independent and impartial investigations.”
She also warned Israel that “punitive demolitions of Palestinian houses and the withholding of bodies of alleged attackers from their families can only aggravate this situation.”