GENEVA: A United Nations (UN) panel against torture on Friday expressed concerns about allegations of “excessive use of force”, including deadly force, by Israeli security forces in Palestinian areas and warned about authorities barring access to detained suspects, including minors.
The Committee Against Torture, which works under the office of the UN human rights chief, released its “concluding observations” about Israel and five other countries — France, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the Philippines — as part of regular reviews by the panel.
In a 12-page segment on Israel, the committee pointed to “allegations of excessive use of force, including lethal force, by security forces” at demonstrations, in response to alleged attacks against Israelis and took aim at Israel’s controversial policy of administrative detention — under which it can arrest suspects and hold them without charge for months at a time.
Israel said it “categorically rejects” the report, with foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon insisting “Israel does not make use of unnecessary force.”
“We face an unprecedented wave of terrorism and we act within the boundaries of Israeli and international law,” Nahshon said.
The committee said 700 people — including 12 minors — were reportedly in administrative detention even as its members were discussing the issue with Israeli officials. Panel co-chair Jens Modvig of Denmark said administrative detentions can last “for months or even years,” with almost no access to those detained.
Israel has defended the system of administrative detention as a necessary tool in preventing ‘Palestinian attacks’.
Human rights groups and Palestinians have alleged that Israeli forces have often been quick to pull the trigger, rather than trying to subdue suspects.