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UN rights expert accuses Israel of excessive force against Palestinians

[JURIST] UN Special Rapporteur for Palestinian Territories Makarim Wibisono [official profile] urged Israel on Thursday to address its use of excessive force against Palestinians and to charge or release all administrative detainees. In a report [materials] to the UN Human Rights Council, Wibinso claimed [Reuters report] that there have been 157 Palestinians killed and 5,680 Palestinians improperly detained as of last October. He blamed this recent surge of violence on the continuing occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem and referred to Israel's treatment of Palestinians as "collective punishment" and a violation of human rights and international law. Israeli spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon labelled the UN report as biased and pointed to Wibinso's recent resignation [JURIST report] as proof that his requests are impossible to fulfill.

Recent conflicts between Israel and Palestine [HRW backgrounder] over settlements in the occupied West Bank have raised concerns over possible human rights violations. Last month Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] urged [JURIST report] businesses to cease operations in Israel settlements. In August UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged both sides of the conflict [JURIST report] to reconcile and move towards peace after an attack occurred in the West Bank village of Duma, where Jewish extremists allegedly set fire to a Palestinian home while the family slept. In April HRW alleged [report] that Israeli settlement farmers in the occupied West Bank are using Palestinian child laborers in dangerous conditions in violation of international laws. Last January Germany's top human rights official urged Israel to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] probe into possible war crimes in Palestinian territories. After a prosecutor for the ICC announced the investigation [JURIST report], Israel's government said that it would not work with the ICC and called for its funding to be cut.

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