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UK lists Israel among countries with human rights concerns

November 26, 2021 at 1:57 pm

People participate in “Protest for Jerusalem” outside the Israeli Embassy in London, United Kingdom on 9 May 2021. [Vudi Xhymshiti – Anadolu Agency]

The UK government labels Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories as countries which are “concerning” due to their human rights issues, an updated assessment by the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) says.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the minister for the UN, Commonwealth and South Asia, gave an interim review on the FCDO’s 31 human rights priority countries, which highlighted Israel’s major offensive on Gaza in May.

“The Israeli Defence Forces carried out a campaign of airstrikes, naval and land bombardment in Gaza,” the report stated.

It also noted the death toll among Palestinians and Israelis during the conflict. Among the dead, the report said, 256 civilian Palestinians, including 66 children. Meanwhile, Israel’s 11-day assault against Gaza, resulted in 12 Israeli civilian deaths, with 330 others injured.

The report warned that violence by Israeli settlers was also on the rise, along with demolitions of Palestinian property, and said “concerns remained” over the use of “excessive force” by Israeli soldiers.

The settler attacks are primarily directed against rural Palestinian families living on small farms or in villages and towns in the occupied West Bank located near illegal Israeli settlements, said the experts.

Many Palestinians reside in what is called “Area C” of the occupied West Bank, which is under complete Israeli security and civil control and where Israel’s “de facto annexation stratagem” is most evident, they said.

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They noted that settler violence had taken many forms, including physical violence, shooting live ammunition, torching fields and livestock, theft and vandalisation of property, trees and crops, stone-throwing and intimidation of herders and their families.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in the first ten months of 2021 there have been 410 attacks by settlers against Palestinians – 302 against property and 108 against individuals.

Four Palestinians have been killed by settlers in 2021.

Therefore, Israel, alongside Egypt, Russia, Pakistan, Iran and Iraq, was labelled as one of the “Countries of continued concern” in the report.

Countries considered to have improved their human rights records included Bahrain, Sudan and Uzbekistan.

The report was composed based on an assessment made from January to June 2021 and provided an insight of the global human rights situation, in order to set out the UK government’s future approach and programmes to advance human rights throughout the world.