The UN has slammed as “unacceptable” the harassment of both Palestinian and international human rights defenders at the hands of Israeli forces and settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) expressed grave concerns about reports that human rights activists are subject to physical attacks, arrest and death threats by Israelis particularly in the occupied West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron).
“The continued harassment of human rights defenders…, who are exercising their rights to freedoms of expression and association, is simply unacceptable. It should cease immediately,” said UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst.
The UN official added that “Palestinian and international defenders are providing a ‘protective presence’ for Palestinians at risk of violence, and documenting human rights violations.”
Tensions have been running high in the occupied lands since the Israeli regime’s imposition of restrictions in August on the entry of Palestinian worshipers to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds (Jerusalem).
Palestinians are angry at growing violence by Israeli settlers at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound and their attacks on Palestinian properties, saying the Tel Aviv regime seeks to change the status quo of the compound.
Nearly 130 Palestinians have been killed in the recent escalation of violence since the start of October.
On December 16, Israeli rights group B’Tselem censured the regime’s military for using “excessive and unwarranted” force in killing Palestinians, saying it was tantamount to “summary execution.”