UN: New Israel laws could worsen human rights

2015-08-19 22:02
Israeli Arab supporters of Mohammed Allan hold signs during a rally outside Barzilai Hospital, in Ashkelon, Israel. (AP)

Israeli Arab supporters of Mohammed Allan hold signs during a rally outside Barzilai Hospital, in Ashkelon, Israel. (AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

New York - The United Nations said on Wednesday that Israel's decisions to impose up to 20 years prison for people throwing stones and to force-feed prisoners on hunger strike, threatened to worsen an "already-precarious human rights situation".

UN political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman also told the UN Security Council he was concerned about Israel's decision to extend the use of prolonged administrative detention and called for all detainees to be promptly charged or released.

Israel's security cabinet on August 2 extended to its own citizens so-called "administrative detention", a practice commonly applied to Palestinian militant suspects and condemned internationally.

The change laid bare authorities' frustration at failing to curb Jewish ultra-nationalist attacks and followed the lethal torching of a Palestinian home.

Feltman said that this attack and many others over the years, including against Israeli settlers, happened in the context of "a chronic lack of adequate law enforcement".

"Such violence is possible because of the environment created as a result of Israel's decades-long policy of illegal settlement activities," he said.

Palestinians seek a state in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, lands Israel captured in 1967. Settlements that Israel has built on territory captured in 1967 are considered illegal under international law.

Last month, Israel's parliament imposed tougher penalties of up to 20 years in prison for people throwing stones at vehicles and authorised force-feeding of prisoners on hunger strike.

"Careful consideration should be placed on addressing the underlying human rights concerns which lead prisoners to such extreme protests, including prolonged administrative detention," Feltman said.

He said that the law on stone-throwing was "likely to affect children disproportionately".

With US-sponsored peace talks stalled since April 2014, violence has simmered in the region. A war in Gaza a year ago killed more than 2 100 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians were killed.

"The risk of escalation in Israel and Palestine is palpable," Feltman said.

"The past month has witnessed unconscionable crimes of hatred by extremist elements, reprehensible retaliatory violence, provocations at Jerusalem's holy sites, and a worrying increase in rockets launched from Gaza towards Israel," he said.

Read more on:    palestine  |  israel

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.