Israel/Palestine: Reprisals and Collective Punishment Putting Peace Further out of Reach

The brutal murders of young Israeli and Palestinian people are being used by extremists to inflame tensions, risking a renewed spiral of widespread violence and pushing the prospects of a peaceful and just resolution of the Israel/Palestine conflict even further from reach, according to the ITUC.

Israel’s “operation Brother’s Keeper”, launched after the Hebron teenagers were abducted, is effectively a form of collective punishment, resulting in several deaths, dozens of injured, and demolition of and damage to Palestinian houses. Hundreds of Palestinians have been detained.

The UN Human Rights Commission has urged “all parties to refrain from punishing individuals for offences they have not personally committed or by imposing collective penalties”. Israel has also launched strikes into the Gaza Strip in response to dozens of rocket attacks from there into Israeli territory in recent days, and fighting is intensifying.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has reportedly voiced his concern to Israel over the increased violence, mass arrests and restrictions on movement in the West Bank.

“These appalling murders are being used as a pretext to deepen division, at the cost of ordinary people. The perpetrators must be brought to justice in accordance with the rule of law, and political leaders need to show the courage necessary to de-escalate tensions and find a way to get negotiations between the Israeli Government and Palestinian Authority back on track.

The occupation of Palestinian land must end, and the conditions must be created for Palestine and Israel to co-exist in peace and security in accordance with the legitimacy of international law,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.