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EU, UN concerned by Israeli live fire against Palestinians

Jan. 30, 2013 9:32 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 2, 2013 11:33 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The European Union and the United Nations expressed concern on Wednesday about Israel's use of lethal forces against Palestinians following a rise in fatal shootings.

The EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah said in a statement that they were "deeply concerned by the number of Palestinians killed recently."

The EU noted that Israeli authorities were investigating the deaths and called for restraint "except in cases where there is a real and imminent threat to life."

Meanwhile, UN humanitarian coordinator James W. Rawley also expressed concern at the rise in casualties resulting from live fire by Israeli forces in the West Bank.

"Eight Palestinian civilians, including three minors and one woman, have been killed since mid-November in separate incidents in the West Bank," a statement from his office said.

"Using live ammunition against civilians may constitute excessive use of force and any such occurrences should be investigated in a timely, thorough, independent and impartial manner. Individuals found responsible must be held accountable," the statement added.

On Wednesday, 15-year-old Salih al-Amarin, from Azza refugee camp, died in hospital after Israeli forces shot him in the head during clashes in Bethlehem a few days earlier.

The same day, Lubna Hanash, 22, was shot in the head when Israeli soldiers in a civilian car opened fire at a group standing at the entrance to al-Arrub refugee camp south of Bethlehem.

At least five Palestinians have been fatally shot by Israeli forces in January. Israel's army denied responsibility for the death of a sixth man shot dead along the Gaza border.

A report published Monday by Israeli rights group B'Tselem said that Israel's army "extensively and systematically violated" rules barring deadly retaliation for non-lethal assault.

"In practice, members of the security forces make almost routine use of these weapons in unlawful, dangerous ways, and the relevant Israeli authorities do too little to prevent the recurrence of this conduct," the report said.

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