UN: Ban on Palestinians entering Israel is ‘collective punishment’

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein criticized one of Israel’s responses to the deadly terror attack in Tel Aviv- the suspension of 83,000 entry permits that were granted to Palestinians for the Ramadan holiday.

Four people were killed and more than a dozen were wounded — three seriously — when two Palestinian terrorists opened fire at the Sarona food market in central Tel Aviv on Wednesday night.

In Israel’s initial response to the shooting, the Defense Ministry civilian administration for the Palestinian territories, COGAT, said early Thursday that it had frozen 83,000 permits for Palestinians in Judea and Samaria to visit relatives in Israel during the current Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Special Ramadan permits were also suspended for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to travel out of the territory to attend prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

Al-Hussein condemned the terror attack but expressed his concerns regarding the suspension of the entry permits and said: “This step may amount to prohibited collective punishment and will only increase the sense of injustice and frustration felt by Palestinians.”

Just yesterday evening, US State Department Spokesman Mark Toner said in a press conference: “We understand the Israeli government’s desire to protect its citizens after this kind of terrorist attack and we strongly support that right but we would hope that any measures it takes would also take into consideration the impact on Palestinian civilians who are just trying to go about their daily lives.”