Photo: Yoav Zitun
Searching for the missing teens
Photo: Yoav Zitun

UN, EU urge Israel for restraint amid search for abducted teens

'Clearly these boys need to be found, but the scale of operations and the number of people they are affecting is deeply disturbing,' says spokesman.

The UN's Human Rights office and the European Union urged Israel and its adversaries on Saturday to exercise restraint amid a crackdown on Palestinians during a hunt for three Jewish teenagers who were kidnapped in the West Bank.



"Clearly these boys need to be found, that's totally understandable, but the scale of operations and the number of people they are affecting is deeply disturbing," said the UN Human Rights office spokesman Rupert Colville.


"We reiterate our call for strict adherence to international law by all relevant actors and join others in their call for restraint," he told reporters.


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The three teenagers - Eyal Yifrach, Gil-Ad Shaer and Naftali Frenkel - went missing on June 12 near an Israeli settlement bloc close to the city of Hebron. The IDF has launched a vast hunt for them, dubbed Operation Brother's Keeper.


The EU issued a similar call for Israel to use proportionate means only to bring about the return of the abductees," but at the same time reiterated its condemnation of the kidnapping and its call for the teens' immediate release and safe return to their families.


"The EU commends President Abbas for his unequivocal condemnation of the abduction and welcomes the cooperation of the Palestinian security services in the search for the abductees," a statement from Brussels said, adding that "statements made by some Hamas leaders that glorify the perpetrators of the abduction are unacceptable."


The European Union also condemned "recent indiscriminate rocket fire from Gaza."


There have been no claims of responsibility, but Israel has accused the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas of kidnapping them.


Several Palestinians have been killed and dozens wounded so far during the operation.


The mothers of the three teenagers travelled to Geneva this week and held a private meeting with deputy UN human rights chief Flavia Pansieri.


"As a mother herself, she expressed her understanding of their deep anxiety about the fate of their sons. We are concerned that the three teenagers have still not been located, after being missing for 15 days. We hope for their immediate safe return," said the UN Human Rights office spokesman Colville.


"Our heartfelt sympathy also goes out to the mothers and loved ones of the six Palestinians, including two teenagers, who have been killed by Israeli forces, in addition to the many others who have been injured, during these past two weeks," he told reporters.


Colville said the loss of life during the operation was alarming, as were the spiking tensions in the West Bank.


"We call for prompt and thorough investigations, and prosecution of the perpetrators in cases where there has been excessive use of force," he said.


More than 380 Palestinians, two-thirds of them Hamas members, have reportedly been arrested by the army during the search, though Coville put the number at around 500.


Hundreds of homes have also been searched, media offices, universities and welfare organizations raided, at least 13 buildings demolished and water cisterns drained or damaged, Colville said.


"We are also concerned about reports of damage to property and theft during these operations, especially house-to-house searches, and their traumatic effect on children and families," he added.


פרסום ראשון: 06.28.14, 17:42
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