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'Trigger-happy' Israeli troops rebuked after UN criticism

Israeli forces have been asked for restraint after criticism for using excessive force [Getty]

Date of publication: 19 February, 2016

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Israel's defence minister on Thursday backed the army chief's call for soldiers to show restraint when dealing with Palestinians after accusations of excessive force by a UN rights expert.

Israeli security forces must not be "trigger-happy" when dealing with Palestinian attackers, Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya'alon said on Thursday, after criticism of Israel's excessive use of force.

"We must not allow our senses to be dulled and must not become trigger-happy simply because our blood is boiling," the minister told students at Israel's Tel Hai University.

The minister's comments came a day after Israeli army chief, Lieutenant General Gadi Eisenkot, went on television to ask Israeli soldiers and police for restraint.

"When there's a 13-year-old girl holding scissors or a knife and there is some distance between her and the soldiers, I don’t want to see a soldier open fire and empty his magazine at a girl like that," Eisenkot said.

Eisenkot was referring to an incident in which one Palestinian teenager was shot dead and another wounded after allegedly attacking an Israeli man with a pair of scissors.

According to Israel's Channel 10 TV, Eisenkot's words angered "senior Jerusalem police officers," who took them as a personal attack on the policemen involved in that particular incident.

Last week, the UN human rights investigator for Gaza and the occupied West Bank called on Israel to investigate the excessive force used by Israeli security forces against Palestinians and to prosecute perpetrators.

"The upsurge in violence is a grim reminder of the unsustainable human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the volatile environment it engenders," Makarim Wibisono said in his final Human Rights Council report.

Since October, Israeli forces have killed 172 Palestinians. In this period, Palestinian attacks claimed the lives of 25 Israelis.

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