A bullet hole in a door of the Jerusalem synagogue where two Palestinian terrorists killed four rabbis and a police officer, November 19, 2014.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel on Thursday accused United Nations’ special investigators of ignoring the deaths of innocent Israelis and singling out the Jewish state by attacking its policy of demolishing terrorist homes.
In the last two months, the UN’s special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, Makarim Wibisono, has not issued any statements condemning terror attacks that killed Israelis in the last few months, including the Har Nof murder of four rabbis and a Druse policeman last week.
Similarly UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing Leilani Farha, has not commented on the hundreds of homes Egypt has destroyed along the Rafah border in the last month to prevent Hamas from digging smuggling tunnels.
Both rapporteurs are under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Council. On Tuesday they issued a joint statement calling on the Israel to “end its punitive demolition of Palestinian homes in response to alleged acts of violence by Palestinians.”
The rapporteurs explained that on November 19, Israel had destroyed the Jerusalem home of Abd al-Rahman al-Shaludi, who killed a 22 year-old woman and a three-month-old infant by ramming his car into them as they waited for the light rail in October.
“All acts of violence require a firm response from the Israeli authorities, and those responsible should be tried before a court of law and sentenced for their crimes,” said Wibisono.
“But the state cannot go beyond what is sanctioned by international law.”
Farha added, “In the case of Mr. al-Shaludi, who was shot and killed by Israeli police at the scene of the attack, the demolition of his home in the middle of the night served no other purpose than to punish his innocent parents and five siblings, rendering them homeless.”
She added, “Simply put: the use of house demolition as a punitive measure is a form of collective punishment contrary to international law. Israel must immediately end its use of this devastating practice.”
Israel’s mission to the UN in Geneva on Thursday said in response, “We regret that, despite the escalating trend of family evacuations and house demolitions throughout the entire Middle East region, the special rapporteur on adequate housing has never commented on the issue before, but deemed it necessary to make a statement regretting the demolition of the house of a terrorist who killed in cold blood a three-month-old baby, a young woman, and injured six others.”
Israel’s mission noted that the rapporteurs ended their press release by asking Israel to place human rights at the center of its policy- making so that the cycle of violence could end.
“By saying this, the mandate holders have turned a blind eye to terrorism, incitement, celebrations of violence and encouragement of extremism carried out by Palestinians and their leaders,” Israel’s UN mission said.
Meanwhile, a UN-team investigating attacks on UNRWA facilities during this summer’s military operation in Gaza and Hamas’s use of those facilities to store weapons is scheduled to arrive next week and begin work.
Jerusalem agreed last week to cooperate with this probe, in a signal that it is not opposed to cooperating with international investigative bodies it believes are professional and impartial.