11 September 2017

GENEVA, 11 September 2017 (Issued as received)

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The Occupied Palestinian Territory continues to witness serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law by the Israeli authorities. I am concerned about the continuing violence: from 1 January until 28 August 2017 nine Israelis and 46 Palestinians were killed in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Instances of excessive use of force, forms of collective punishment, and arbitrary detention continued to be of serious concern. Accountability for violations remains rare, as I stated in my June report. I remind the authorities that lack of accountability for violations further undermines confidence in the justice system, and perpetuates a cycle of violence. 

Both in Israel and in Palestine, journalists and human rights defenders are operating under increasing pressure from the respective authorities. Legislation passed by the Knesset in 2016 seeks to delegitimize human rights organizations working in the Occupied Territory as “anti-Israeli,” and the Prime Minister has said he will seek to extend restrictions limiting foreign funding for human rights organisations. Palestinian human rights defenders also face harassment, including arrests for social media postings and peaceful protests.

In both the West Bank and in Gaza, there appears to be a crackdown by the Palestinian authorities on human rights defenders, particularly on journalists and news websites – including legislative measures, arrests and harassment of individuals and bans on websites. In Gaza, health, water, sanitation and other essential services are close to complete breakdown due to the electricity crisis, compounding the people’s suffering caused by the ongoing blockade. Patients face increasing delays and denials of permits to leave Gaza for care. Israel, the State of Palestine and the authorities in Gaza are failing to meet their obligations to protect the rights of the people of Gaza.

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