The United States has some criticism for its close ally Israel over Tel Aviv’s “excessive” use of force against Palestinians in the occupied territories.
The US State Department has in its annual human rights abuses report criticized Israeli killings of Palestinians who purportedly attacked Israelis, saying nearly half of the Palestinian victims were not really attacking anyone.
The report cites 149 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces last year, noting that only 77 actually launched attacks and that the rest were killed at demonstrations or during “routine operations,” and that many posed no threat at all.
The report also criticized the policy of “arbitrary arrest and associated torture and abuse, often with impunity” by the Israeli military.
The latest account comes weeks after US Senator Patrick Leahy called on the State Department to probe Israel for human rights abuses.
Israeli forces have killed more than 200 people since the tensions began to rise in the Palestinian territories. Tel Aviv claims the victims actually carried out attacks against Israelis.
The occupied territories have been the scene of heightened tensions since August 2015, when Israel imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds (Jerusalem).
Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam after Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina.
At least 208 Palestinians, including children and women, have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces since the beginning of last October.