Geneva, June 1, 2021.- A UN human rights expert condemned attacks on Israel’s Palestinian minority by extreme right-wing and vigilante groups, including settlers – at times with the reported backing of security forces – and urged Israel to fully and equally protect all of its citizens without discrimination.
Palestinians citizens of Israel, including the Bedouin, constitute an Arab minority representing about 1.5 million people or 20 percent of the population of Israel and face discrimination in many areas.
“Reports of extreme right-wing violence and disproportional use of force by law enforcement officials during protests in recent weeks, including in Sheikh Jarrah, Damascus Gate and the Al-Aqsa mosque, have led to some of the worst cases of violence against Palestinian citizens of Israel,” said Fernand de Varennes, the Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues.
“These attacks have been shared on social media and such platforms appear to have been used by extreme right wing groups to advocate hatred that constitutes incitement to violence with impunity to gather people to bring their weapons and attack Palestinians.”
The UN expert said the decades-long exclusion and discrimination, including of segregation between Arab and Jewish citizens and lack of equal treatment in terms of rights and privileges, has taken a heavy toll on the Palestinian minority. The absence of protection and bomb shelters in the Bedouin villages in the Naqab has also increased insecurity of the Bedouin minority, he added.
“Given the urgency of the situation, I call on the Government of Israel to firmly condemn all acts of violence, hatred and discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel,” said de Varennes.
“The authorities must ensure its citizens immediately stop these attacks and that everyone is fully and equally protected without any form of discrimination. Police accused of failing to protect all residents and citizens of Israel without discrimination must be investigated.”
The expert’s call has been endorsed by: Mr. Clément Nyaletsossi Voule, Special Rapporteur on the right to peaceful assembly and association and Mr. S. Michael Lynk, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967.