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UN rights office concerned about extra-judicial execution in West Bank

[JURIST] The spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website], Rupert Colville, said [statement] Wednesday that his office is concerned about the apparent extra-judicial execution of a Palestinian man in the West Bank last week. The execution occurred after an attack by two Palestinians on an Israeli solider. One of the attackers was killed on the scene and the other, later identified as Abd al-Fatah al-Sharif, was later videotaped being shot in the head by an Israeli soldier. Although Israeli authorities detained the suspected shooter and the matter is currently under investigation, Colville is concerned that this is not an isolated event. In the statement Colville urged the Israeli forces to practice the use of force only when necessary.

Recent conflicts between Israel and Palestine [HRW backgrounder] over settlements in the occupied West Bank have raised concerns over possible human rights violations. In January 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 [HRW 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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