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UN Says Israel May Have Violated International Law by Revoking Palestinian Entry Permits

Israel rejected the claim, saying revoking the permits after the deadly attack in Tel Aviv wasn't collective punishment but 'legitimate steps in order to defend its citizens from terrorists.'

REUTERS - Israel's cancellation of entry permits for Palestinians following a deadly attack in Tel Aviv may amount to collective punishment, which is banned under international law, the United Nations' top human rights official said on Friday.

Israel responded that its actions were "legitimate steps in order to defend its citizens from terrorists."

The Israeli military on Thursday revoked permits for 83,000 Palestinians to visit Israel and said it would send hundreds more troops to the occupied West Bank a day after a Palestinian gun attack that killed four Israelis in Tel Aviv.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein condemned the attack, the largest loss of Israeli life in a single attack since the current surge in violence, spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said.

But he is concerned about the revoking of permits "which may amount to prohibited collective punishment and will only increase the sense of injustice and frustration felt by Palestinians in this very tense time", she told a news briefing.

Israel's actions included suspension of 204 work permits held by individuals in the extended families of the alleged attackers, she said, and Israeli security forces sealed off their entire hometown.

The Geneva Conventions say punishing people for crimes they have not personally committed can amount to collective punishment, Shamdasani said.

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner declined to characterize the Israeli action as collective punishment but called on Israel to avoid steps that might escalate tensions.

"Any time you take sweeping actions like this, there is the possibility ... that these actions will only inflame tensions and escalate tensions," Toner told reporters. "We want to see any actions to be temporary in nature and to not impact the lives of normal Palestinian citizens," he added.

Israel's diplomatic mission in Geneva said the comment by Zeid's office OHCHR "breaks a new record of cynicism and double standards".

"The OHCHR is using the murder of innocent Israelis to attack Israel. Once again, instead of putting itself by the side of the Israeli victims, it settles for a forced, weak condemnation, and rushes to defend the terrorists," it said.

"Like any other country in the same situation, Israel is taking legitimate steps in order to defend its citizens from terrorists who are backed by the incitement and the glorification of death and martyrdom, inflated by the Palestinian leadership and society," it said.

Israel has an obligation to bring those responsible to account for their crimes, which it was doing, Shamdasani said.

"However, the measures taken against the broader population punish not the perpetrators of the crime, but tens - and maybe hundreds - of thousands of innocent Palestinians," she said.

The entry permits had been issued to Palestinians from the Israeli-occupied West Bank to visit relatives during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan now in progress.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the assault by the two gunmen on Wednesday in a fashionable shopping and dining market near Israel's Defense Ministry, but Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups were quick to praise it.

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.724375Schermata 2016 06 11 alle 09.32.57

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police




The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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