Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism -The European Union’s Special Representative for Human Rights says Israel needs to do more to investigate and stop attacks by Israeli settlers in the occupied territories against Palestinian civilians. In a conversation with Haaretz at the end of his three-day visit to Israel and the West Bank, special representative Eamon Gilmore said that he had urged Israeli officials to act on this issue but did not sound optimistic about the future.
“I raised it with Israeli officials, and I’m waiting for more information,” Gilmore said. “There is a gap between the number of incidents and the number of investigations that take place.” Gilmore, who was Ireland’s foreign minister a decade ago, has been the EU’s human rights czar since 2019, and his four-year term has recently been extended until February 2024. Israeli officials view him as a tough critic from his days as Irish foreign minister and also in his current EU position. In 2021, for example, he strongly objected to Israel’s labeling of six Palestinian NGOs as terror entities.
Gilmore emphasized settler violence and the “need for accountability” in the occupied territories as one of his biggest concerns arising from this visit, his first to the region since 2021. Another major concern he mentioned was the continuing rise in the number of civilian casualties as a result of lethal force used by the Israeli military.
“There was a large number of civilian deaths in 2022, and the same trajectory is continuing so far in 2023,” he said. During his visit, the case of Mohammed Tamimi, a Palestinian toddler who was shot to death by the military in the village of Nabi Saleh, made local and international headlines. Gilmore said he is worried about the “clear trend” seen in the data in recent months of a growing number of civilian casualties, and stressed again the need for investigations and “accountability” in every such case.