French, UN leaders criticize Israel for barring Palestinian entry


(JTA) — Barring Palestinians from entering Israel will hurt, rather than help, Israel’s security, France’s foreign minister said.

Jean-Marc Ayrault on Friday condemned, for a second time, Wednesday’s deadly Palestinian terror attack in Tel Aviv, but criticized Israel’s response to it, The Associated Press reported.

Ayrault said the Israel Defense Force’s decision to bar Palestinians from crossing into Israel this weekend “could lead to a risk of escalation.”

Exceptions are being made for “humanitarian and medical” cases and Muslims traveling to worship at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque.

“The decision by the Israeli authorities today to revoke tens of thousands of entry permits could stoke tensions which could lead to a risk of escalation,” Ayrault said, according to the AP.

Using harsher language, the United Nations also criticized the closure, saying it amounted to “collective punishment,” according to Agence France Press.

In a statement Friday, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein condemned Wednesday’s attack at Sarona Market, an upscale Tel Aviv dining and shopping center, but said he was also “deeply concerned” by Israel’s response.

Israel”s reaction “includes measures that may amount to prohibited collective punishment and will only increase the sense of injustice and frustration felt by Palestinians in this very tense time,” the statement said.

On Wednesday, two gunmen opened fire at Sarona Market, killing four and injuring six. Two Palestinian cousins from the West Bank have been detained on suspicion of carrying out the attacks.

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