The United Nations called on Monday for an independent inquiry into the death of a Palestinian Authority Arab terrorist in Israeli custody, warning that mounting tensions risk an eruption of violence in the region.
UN Middle East peace envoy Robert Serry made the call in a statement after talks with PA prime minister Salam Fayyad on the death of Arafat Jaradat over the weekend, according to AFP.
Serry noted that Israeli and PA experts had examined the body, adding, “The United Nations expects the autopsy to be followed by an independent and transparent investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Jaradat's death, the results of which should be made public as soon as possible.”
Jaradat was detained on February 18 and died five days later. An autopsy conducted on his body on Sunday found that it is impossible to determine the exact cause of his death.
The PA’s minister of prisoners, Issa Qaraqaa, nevertheless took advantage of the non-conclusive report to blame Israel for torturing Jaradat to death, citing the preliminary findings of the joint autopsy which reported bruises on Jaradat's body, muscle damage and broken ribs. Those, however, can be caused by resuscitation attempts, according to the autopsy.
Thousands took part on Monday in Jaradat’s funeral. The funeral was held at his village, Sa'ir, near Hevron.
At nearby Beit Anun, hundreds of Arabs gathered and hurled rocks at security forces who were on high alert during the funeral. The security forces countered the rioting with riot dispersal gear.
Serry's statement said “mounting tensions present a real risk of destabilization,” according to AFP.
Meanwhile on Monday, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas alleged that Israel was deliberately seeking to provoke unrest in Judea and Samaria.
"The Israelis want chaos and we know it but we won't let them," Abbas said in comments at headquarters in Ramallah.
"We want peace and freedom for our prisoners and no matter how hard they try to drag us into their schemes, we will not be dragged," he claimed.