Amnesty: Israel unlawfully kills Palestinian children, tortures civilians

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — Amnesty International accused Israel of “unlawful killings” of Palestinian children and other civilians in its annual report on human rights violations worldwide.

The report published Tuesday by the prominent human rights group also alleges that “torture and other ill-treatment remained rife and were committed with impunity” by Israeli authorities.

Amnesty also accused Israel of having “continued to promote illegal settlements in the West Bank, and severely restricted Palestinians’ freedom of movement, further tightening restrictions amid an escalation of violence from October, which included attacks on Israeli civilians by Palestinians and apparent extrajudicial executions by Israeli forces.”

In its 2014 report, Amnesty accused Israel of committing “war crimes” in its assault on Hamas in Gaza — an allegation absent from the 2015 report.

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The Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and the Hamas de facto administration in the Gaza Strip, the report said, “both restricted freedom of expression, including by arresting and detaining critics and political opponents.”

The report flagged as a “free speech” issue a supreme court ruling in France that conformed to legislation prohibiting the promotion of boycotts against Israel. The 2003 law states discrimination against nations or their citizens amounts to a hate crime.

Amnesty sharpened its criticism of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s discriminatory laws that make it constitutionally impossible for Jews and Roma to run for public office. The organization opened its 2015 report on that country by noting that “discrimination against Jews and Roma continued to occur.” Last year, Amnesty wrote only that a 2009 European Court of Human Rights ruling against these laws “remained unimplemented.”

On Bulgaria, Amnesty noted that “hate crimes against Roma, Muslims, Jews and other ethnic and religious minorities continued to be largely prosecuted as acts motivated by ‘hooliganism’” — an issue that was not raised in its 2014 report.

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