A number of human rights organization have called, in an official letter, upon the Israeli security and military commanders in the West Bank to refrain from collectively punishing the civilian Palestinian population in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as part of the “Operation Brother’s Keeper,” B’Tselem said in a statement, on Sunday.
Furthermore, international representatives have called for Palestinians and Israelis, both, to exercise restraint amid the current crisis, with the US Consul General to Jerusalem urging Palestinian-Americans to build a ‘positive momentum for peace’.
(WAFA) The letter comes amid concerns that many of the military actions in the Occupied Territories do not directly serve the aim of locating and returning the three abducted Israelis and are severely and unnecessarily violating basic human rights.
“The need to return the abducted Israelis safe and sound to their homes and families is clear. Yet, there is concern that many of the actions undertaken harm the Palestinian population and do not serve this purpose,” the statement said.
The letter was signed by the directors of Amnesty International, B’Tselem, Gisha, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual, Yesh Din, Adalah, Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, Rabbis for Human Rights and Breaking the Silence.
Also demanding that the more stringent restrictions imposed on the detention conditions of Palestinian prisoners be withdrawn, the letter was sent to the Israeli Minister of Defense and Minister of Public Security, and made clear, according to WAFA, that the current round of abductions constitute a violation of the fundamental principles of law and morals and must be condemned.
WAFA further reports that, amid a “critical” security situation on the ground, the United Nations political chief today called on Israelis and Palestinians to exercise maximum restraint and find a way to return to negotiations.
“With peace negotiations suspended since the end of April and despite restraint initially displayed by both sides, the situation on the ground has turned highly volatile with several disturbing developments,” Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, told the Security Council as he briefed the 15-member body on the latest developments.
Feltman stated that the recent search operations in the West Bank for the three Israeli students, allegedly abducted near Hebron on June 12, are ongoing with a corresponding increase in violence in the West Bank.
Additionally, the hunger strike by Palestinian administrative and other detainees continues; new settlement units have been announced; and the fragile calm in Gaza was interrupted by multiple rockets fired at Israel and Israeli military response.
“Both sides have a responsibility to exercise maximum restraint in order to contain what has rapidly developed into a critical security situation on the ground, to restore the calm and to see opportunities to return to a negotiating process,” Feltman said.
“This is a time for renewed impetus and political will to end the conflict and the occupation that has already scarred the lives of far too many Israelis and Palestinians for far too long.”
In related news, the US Consul General to Jerusalem, Michael A. Ratney, has called upon Palestinian-Americans to build a ‘positive momentum for peace’.
The Consul said that “a viable Palestinian state will be built through hard work, tough negotiation, and peaceful, well-reasoned activism,” adding: “We will start seeing positive momentum behind the two-state solution when the world recognizes it as an investment and not a charity, and when Israelis and Palestinians see each other as partners, not as adversaries.”
“I hope that you, as Palestinians and as Americans, do everything in your power to educate and inspire both Palestinians here and Americans in the U.S. and to help build the kind of positive momentum that is required for a just and lasting peace to be reached,” he said.