'World must protect Palestinians from Israeli violence'

UN Rapporteur Richard Falk calls for international action to "offer this long-vulnerable Palestinian population protection."

January 19, 2011 02:23
2 minute read.
Richard Falk

richard falk 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)


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UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk has called on the global community to protect the Palestinians from excessive Israeli violence.

“It is time for the international community to step in and offer this long-vulnerable Palestinian population protection against the violence perpetrated by Israeli authorities,” Falk said in a statement on Friday.

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Since 2008, he has been charged by the UN with investigating the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, including in east Jerusalem.

He spoke out last week, in the aftermath of the demolition of the Shepherd Hotel in east Jerusalem and the death of four Palestinians at the hands of the IDF.

He included in his list the death of a West Bank woman, Jawaher Abu Rahma, 35, who died on January 1, allegedly as a result of inhaling IDF tear gas at a demonstration against the security barrier in Bil’in, near Modi’in Illit. The army says Abu Rahma’s death was not connected to the tear gas.

The other deaths on his list came in three instances in which the IDF shot to death Palestinian men; twice at the Al-Hamra checkpoint east of Nablus and once in Hebron.

The deaths and the demolition are illegal, Falk said.

“Together these events demonstrate a general and unacceptable Israeli disposition to use excessive force against Palestinians, who are already suffering from prolonged occupation,” he said.

“It is impossible to separate this pattern of excessive use of force against Palestinians from the indiscriminate use of force against civilians in Israel’s larger occupation policy, as illustrated by the cruel, punitive blockade that has been imposed on the people of Gaza for more than three years and by the illegal manner in which Israel carried out attacks for three weeks on the defenseless population of Gaza two years ago,” Falk said.

He also chastised Israel for the Shepherd Hotel demolition, which he described as a Palestinian landmark. Plans to replace it with homes for Jewish families were particularly troublesome, he said.

“This is part of an accelerating pattern in Jerusalem that consists of shifting the demographic balance to reinforce Israeli claims to control permanently the entire city, making the creation of a viable Palestinian state, with its capital as east Jerusalem, virtually unattainable,” he said.

A professor emeritus in international law at Princeton University, Falk, an American Jew, is an outspoken critic of Israeli actions in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In the past he has compared some Israeli policies toward the Palestinians with the actions of Nazis toward the Jews.

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