EU urges Israel to only use lethal force as ‘last resort’

Brussels: The European Union (EU) on Saturday urged Israel to only use lethal force only when it is “unavoidable,” and called for de-escalation on both sides

“The European Union fully recognises Israel’s legitimate security concerns, as evidenced by the latest terrorist attacks, but it has to be stressed that lethal force must only be used as a last resort when it is strictly unavoidable in order to protect life,” said the bloc’s chief diplomat, Josep Borrell.

Borrell said the EU “strongly condemns” the attacks in Jerusalem, which it called “acts of insane violence and hate”. He also stressed that Israeli forces had killed 30 Palestinians in the West Bank since the start of the year.

“The last year’s toll, when “more than 150 people were killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank, including 30 children”, was “the highest number since the end of the second intifada in 2005,” said Borrell, adding that it was “urgent … to reverse this spiral of violence and engage in meaningful efforts to restart peace negotiations.

“We call on all parties not to react to provocations,” he added.

Earlier on the day, nine Palestinians were killed and 20 others injured after Israel raid the city of Jenin in the West Bank. Reacting to the incident, Palestinian presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh called the raid a “massacre,” while President Mahmoud Abbas declared three days of mourning.

The Israeli army responded by saying that it had neutralized three Palestinian militants in Jenin, suspected of preparing major terrorist attacks.

Meanwhile, Russia’s foreign ministry on Saturday called for “maximum restraint” following violence in Israel and the West Bank that marked another dramatic escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“We perceive this development of events with deep concern. We call on all parties to exercise maximum restraint and prevent further escalation of tension,” the ministry said in a statement.

Saudi Arabia warned of the situation between Palestinians and Israelis going into further escalation. Arab news quoted the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying “The Kingdom condemns the targeting of civilians, stressing the need to stop the escalation and work on reviving the peace process and putting an end to the occupation.”

Seven people died on Friday in a gun attack on a synagogue in Jerusalem and two others were wounded in an attack in the city on Saturday morning.

The shootings came after nine Palestinians were killed in an Israeli army operation in the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.

With inputs from agencies.

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