UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has called for strict respect for international law and appealed to all sides to take steps to de-escalate the increasingly alarming situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
“Over the past 10 days, the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel has deteriorated at an alarming rate. The situation in Sheikh Jarrah in occupied East Jerusalem, triggered by threats of forced evictions of Palestinian families; the heavy presence of Israeli Security Forces and violence around the al Aqsa mosque during Ramadan; the severe escalation of attacks from and on Gaza; and the shocking race-based incitement in Israel have all led to vicious attacks and mounting casualties in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and in Israel,” High Commissioner Bachelet said in a statement.
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Bachelet warned that the firing of large numbers of indiscriminate rockets by Palestinian armed groups into Israel, including densely populated areas, in clear violation of international humanitarian law, amounts to war crimes.
“Rather than seeking to calm tensions, inflammatory rhetoric from leaders on all sides appears to be seeking to excite tensions rather than to calm them. Once again, we are seeing lives lost and terrified people being forced to flee or hide in their homes, subjected to attacks that are being carried out by both sides in what may amount to serious violations of international humanitarian law,” she added.