The United Nations’ human rights office on Friday urged Israel and its adversaries to “exercise restraint” amid the IDF’s Operation Brother’s Keeper to search for three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped by Hamas.
"Clearly these boys need to be found, that's totally understandable, but the scale of operations and the number of people they are affecting is deeply disturbing," said human rights office spokesman Rupert Colville, according to AFP.
"We reiterate our call for strict adherence to international law by all relevant actors and join others in their call for restraint," he told reporters.
The mothers of the three kidnapped teenagers travelled to Geneva this week and held a private meeting with deputy UN human rights chief Flavia Pansieri.
"As a mother herself, she expressed her understanding of their deep anxiety about the fate of their sons. We are concerned that the three teenagers have still not been located, after being missing for 15 days. We hope for their immediate safe return," AFP quoted Colville as having said.
"Our heartfelt sympathy also goes out to the mothers and loved ones of the six Palestinians, including two teenagers, who have been killed by Israeli forces, in addition to the many others who have been injured, during these past two weeks," he told reporters.
Colville said the loss of life during the operation was alarming, adding, "We call for prompt and thorough investigations, and prosecution of the perpetrators in cases where there has been excessive use of force.”
"We are also concerned about reports of damage to property and theft during these operations, especially house-to-house searches, and their traumatic effect on children and families," he said.
Colville’s remarks mark the third time this week that the UN has called out Israel over its operation in Judea and Samaria.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last week expressed “solidarity” with the families of the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers, but also hit out at Israel for arresting Hamas terrorists as part of its operation to locate the three teens.
Ban’s remarks came after the UN’s Middle East envoy, Robert Serry, also spoke out against Israel’s operation in Judea and Samaria to locate the three teenagers.
While Serry called for the release of the three, he expressed “deep concern” over Israel’s arrest of wanted terrorists.
At the same time, the UN Security Council on Monday failed to agree on a statement that would have condemned Israel over the deaths of Palestinian Arabs as part of its security operation in Judea and Samaria.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)