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A Deafening Silence: EU must address escalation of violence against Palestinians
Ref.: 103/2015
06، Oct 2015

european_union2On 5 October 2015, the Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) shot dead 13-year old Palestinian boy Abdel Rahman Abdallah near Bethlehem. Abdel’s death came in the wake of Israel’s killing of Hutheifa Suleiman (18 years) and Fadi Alloun (19 years) on 4 October. During the same time period, approximately 450 Palestinians were injured across the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). [1]

The killing of Abdel Rahman, Hutheifa and Fadi represent a culmination of months of violence against Palestinians in the occupied territory.  Al-Haq, a Palestinian human rights organisation, has documented the killing of 31 Palestinians by the IOF since the beginning of 2015. Al-Haq has also noted a sharp increase in settler violence against Palestinians since September 2015. Al-Haq data reveals that more than 29 incidents of settler violence took place between 28 September and 4 October. Settler assaults have included stone throwing, beatings, burning of crops, and the firing of shots against Palestinians.

The recent escalation of violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory occurs in the context of Israeli operations in the Al Aqsa compound. In recent weeks, Israeli settlers have been allowed protected access to the holy site whilst Israel has prohibited Palestinian worshipers under the age of 50 from entering the compound. The Al Aqsa compound, which is located inthe heart of the Old City of East Jerusalem, is a Holy Muslim site under Jordanian guardianship. Nevertheless, on 4 and 5 October, Palestinians were in general not permitted to enter the Old City of East Jerusalem. [2] By catering to settlers’ claims over the holy site the Israeli Government has again displayed its aspiration for dominance over East Jerusalem.

Despite being the source of Palestinian death and injury, Israel has not taken action to cease its violence against Palestinians. On the contrary, Israel has intensified its use of live ammunition against Palestinians. In September 2015, the Israeli security cabinet approved new rules of engagement for its forces aimed at easing the use of 0.22 live round bullets  (also known as two-twos) against Palestinians.[3]

In the face of grave violations of Palestinian rights, the European Union (EU) has refrained from publicly uttering any opposition in the form of EU statements to the recent wave of unlawful attacks against Palestinians. The EU’s silence does not, however, extend to attacks against Israelis. Following a lull of public interventions, the EU issued two statements on attacks against Israelis that completely ignored the overall situation and root causes of the escalation of violence. Al-Haq is gravely concerned that the EU’s silent approach will be received as tacit approval of Israeli practices and policies.

Therefore, Al-Haq calls on the European Union to, inter alia:

  • Publicly condemn Israel’s attacks against Palestinians;
  • Publicly demand that Israel carry out credible investigations into the killings of Palestinians;
  • Publicly demand that Israel brings its conduct in line with the United Nations Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials;
  • Considering the illegality of the settlement enterprise, publicly hold Israel responsible for settler violence and demand that it bring Israeli perpetrators to account;
  • Recall the root-causes of the ongoing situation, including Israel’s occupation and its illegal annexation of East Jerusalem.


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[1]OCHA, Humanitarian Update, Concern over Escalation of Violence across the West Bank, 5 October 2015.

[2]According to the Israeli police statement only Israelis, students, tourists, residents and business owners were allowed entry into the Old City.

[3]The Guardian, Israel Relaxes Live-fire rules against Palestinian stone throwers, 25 September 2015, available at: