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Group denounces UN envoy statement equating Israeli and Palestinian violence

Sept. 21, 2016 10:31 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 23, 2016 3:29 P.M.)
A Palestinian youth throws a stone towards an Israeli soldier aiming his weapon during clashes on the outskirts of the al-Jalazun refugee camp on Jan. 31, 2014. (AFP, File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Gaza-based NGO the Council On International Relations in Palestine (COIR) slammed on Monday statements by the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nikolay Mladenov regarding a recent wave of deadly violence in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, accusing him of not “making any difference between the executioner and the victim.”

On Monday, Mladenov issued a statement condemning “recent violence” in the occupied Palestinian territory, during which time five Palestinians and one Jordanian were killed by Israeli forces, most of them after Israel claimed they were carrying out or attempting to carry out stabbing attacks.

Two more Palestinians have been killed by Israel forces since Mladenov issued his statement.

Despite the absence of Israeli deaths, Mladenov emphasized injuries sustained by Israelis before detailing the death toll.

“During this latest upsurge in attacks in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, at least six Israelis were injured. Five Palestinians and one Jordanian national were killed while carrying out or allegedly carrying out attacks,” the UN envoy’s statement read.

Mladenov went on by stating that there could be “no justification for terror and violence,” without going into further detail, calling for “authorities on both sides to take measures to preserve calm and avoid escalation, especially during the upcoming period of the Jewish High Holy Days.”

COIR denounced Mladenov’s statement, saying that he “described all what happened in the Palestinian territories as violence without making any difference between executioner and victim.

“Mr. Mladenov's statement contradicts previous statements in which he confirmed that killings by Israeli occupation forces were extrajudicial executions,” COIR added.

“The COIR expects from Mr. Mladenov, as he represents the International community, to be a strong advocate for international law and the international humanitarian law Israel flagrantly breaches everyday.”

Meanwhile, on Tuesday US President Barack Obama issued a statement in front of the United Nations stating that “Israelis and Palestinians will be better off if Palestinians reject incitement and recognize the legitimacy of Israel,” and if “Israel recognizes that it cannot permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land.”

Obama’s statement came less than a week after the Israeli and United States governments signed a $38 billion military aid package, promising Israel the hefty sum in the form of financial assistance and missile defense systems over the course of 10 years.

Palestinians have regularly objected to equivalencies made between acts of violence committed by individual Palestinians and Israeli state institutions, and the continued international support to the Israeli government in spite of persistent human right violations in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Some 230 Palestinians have been killed by Israelis since the beginning of a wave of unrest in October 2015. Meanwhile, 32 Israelis have been killed by Palestinians during the same time period.

Throughout the unrest, rights groups have repeatedly denounced what they have termed Israeli forces' "shoot-to-kill" policy against Palestinians who did not constitute a threat at the time of their death or who could have been subdued in a non-lethal manner.
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