World Bulletin / News Desk
An Israeli army general on Friday said the Israeli army planned to ratchet up restrictions on Palestinians during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which will likely begin on June 29.
"Ramadan 2014 will not be like Ramadans in previous years," Yoav Mordechai, who heads the branch of the Israeli army tasked with running Palestinian civil affairs, was quoted as saying by the Times of Israel news portal.
Tensions in the Palestinian territories have run high since three settlers went missing late Thursday from the Jewish-only Gush Etzion settlement bloc, located near the southern West Bank city of Hebron.
For the past two years, the Israeli authorities have allowed West Bank Palestinians into Jerusalem to perform prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third holiest site.
Since the settlers' disappearance last week, however, thousands of Palestinian workers and business owners have been banned from entering Hebron or crossing into neighboring Jordan via the King Hussein (Allenby) Bridge linking the West Bank to the Hashemite kingdom.
In recent days, Israeli security forces have detained scores of Palestinians – including leading Hamas members, lawmakers and former government ministers – throughout the occupied West Bank.
Israel accuses Gaza-based resistance movement Hamas of kidnapping the settlers – a claim Hamas continues to deny.
UN warns Israel on forced-feeding prisoners
The United Nations expressed concern Friday over the health of Palestinian hunger strikers in Israeli jails and warned Israel on the practice of forced-feeding prisoners at a press conference in the U.N. headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
"We continue to follow closely the situation of Palestinian hunger strikers protesting against Israel's ongoing practice of administrative detentions," U.N. Human Rights spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani said.
Israeli administrative detention orders can range from one to six months in length and can be extended by up to five years by Israeli military courts.
Shamdasani said the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the UN Human Rights High Commissioner have repeatedly stated that administrative detainees should be charged or released without delay. "The health of a number of hunger strikers is reportedly critical and continues to deteriorate."
Israel is working on a new law which allows force-feeding of hunger-striking prisoners and the Israeli Parliament is expected to hold meeting next Monday on the issue.
"We are concerned about Israel's legislative amendment of forced feeding which could be passed as early as Monday 23rd of June," said Shamdasani and added that "the new provision introduced in the bill is reportedly allowing the sedation of prisoners who refuse forced-feeding."
Shamdasani also said that the U.N. has been closely following the human rights situation in occupied Palestinian terrritory after three Israeli teenagers went missing on June 12 in the West Bank near the city of Hebron. He added the fact that a Palestinian teenager was reportedly shot and killed Friday morning in the West Bank adding to the tragedy of teenagers and children who are being victimized because of the failure of finding a resolution to the situation.
Restriction on the freedom of movement for Palestinians has tightened since 12 June when more than 200 Palestinians were detained in the West Bank in the context of security operations carried out by Israel.
According to the Palestinian Prisoners' Club, an NGO, some 5200 Palestinians – including 191 in administrative detention – continue to languish in Israeli jails.Last Mod: 21 Haziran 2014, 09:48