The UN Committee Against Torture (CAT) [official website], a body of independent experts, released closing remarks to its fifty-seventh session [materials] Friday, expressing concern about the use of excessive force [concluding observations] by Israeli forces against Palestinians. Last week the CAT engaged in dialogue with Israeli officials about the use of excessive force, especially against minors. The CAT also questioned officials about the standards for confinement and interrogation of detainees, focusing on those in administrative detention. Israeli officials said the nation has been facing an increase in violent attacks since 2015. Officials also said that a significant amount of attacks have been carried out by minors who may have been influenced by media and social networking and that Israeli forces “faced complex situations trying to thwart minor attackers while trying not to harm them.” Israeli authorities called the use of administrative detention, a scenario in which a detainee can be held without charge for more than a year, “a preventive measure” used at a rate in direct correlation to the increased number terrorist attacks. The panel asked about the 12 minors currently in administrative detention, to which Israel officials responded that it based some of those detentions on credible information as to the intention of the minors to commit terrorist attacks.
Recent conflicts between Israel and Palestine [HRW backgrounder] over settlements in the occupied West Bank have raised concerns over possible human rights violations. UN Special Rapporteur for Palestinian Territories Makarim Wibisono [official profile] urged [JURIST report] Israel in February to address its use of excessive force against Palestinians and to charge or release all administrative detainees. In January Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] urged [JURIST report] businesses to cease operations in Israeli 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.