UN chief warns Israel against misuse of force

2015-10-20 21:28
(File, AFP)

(File, AFP)

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Jerusalem - UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday warned against any misuse of force as he met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem in a bid to calm nearly three weeks of Palestinian unrest.

Ban also spoke of the danger of allowing an escalation "into a religious conflict with potential regional implications" and urged efforts to ensure that did not occur.

The UN secretary general told reporters that "security measures can be counter-productive if they are applied without special efforts to defuse the situation before people lose their lives."

Any misuse of force, he said, "may breed the very frustrations and anxieties from which violence" can erupt.

Israeli security forces have faced accusations of excessive force against Palestinians in the current wave of violence.

Videos of Israeli security forces shooting alleged attackers that have spread online have helped feed anger, with Palestinians viewing some of the shootings as unjustified.

Netanyahu strongly rejected such accusations.

"Israel is acting as any democracy would to defend its citizens," he said. "We are not - I repeat - we are not using excessive force.

"I believe it is time to tell the truth about the causes of Palestinian terrorism. It is not the settlements, it is not the peace process, it is the desire to destroy the state of Israel pure and simple."

Ban also acknowledged the security challenges facing Israel in the face of a wave of Palestinian knife, gun and car attacks, while condemning militant groups who have expressed support for them.

"Over the past weeks I have been deeply troubled by statements from Palestinian militant groups including Hamas and Islamic Jihad praising such heinous attacks," he said.

Eight Israelis have been killed in an upsurge in violence that began at the start of the month. More than 40 Palestinians, including alleged attackers, have lost their lives.

Many of the attacks have seen young Palestinians stab Israelis before being shot dead.

Read more on:    un  |  benjamin netanyahu  |  ban ki-moon  |  israel  |  palestine

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