Another United Nations official has criticized Israel for its decision to declare Gaza hostile territory. In a statement issued Thursday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, said Israel’s threats to limit energy supplies to Gaza and other restrictions would impose an unbearable burden on the civilian population. Arbour called for Israel to show restraint and noted that collective punishment is illegal under international law. Arbour also condemned rocket fire from Gaza into Israel. UN Watch, a Geneva-based non-governmental organization affiliated with the American Jewish Committee, slammed Arbour’s comments as further evidence of her bias against the Jewish state. “She has never once issued a stand-alone statement against Palestinian terrorism,” UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer wrote in an email to JTA. “Recognizing legitimate humanitarian needs of the Palestinians, we regret Arbour’s repeated resort to a one-sided narrative that denies Israelis their essential right to self-defense.” Neuer also expressed regret that Arbour has not denounced Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, for his “incitement to genocide,” despite having just visited Iran.
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