Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke on the phone Friday, discussing among other things recent allegations of human rights violations levelled by a group of US lawmakers.
A letter signed in February by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy and 10 other Democratic lawmakers calling upon Kerry to investigate alleged “gross violations of human rights” by Israel was publicized by Politico last week.
The letter, authored by Leahy, suggested Israel may be guilty of torture and extrajudicial executions.
"Amnesty International and other human rights organizations have reported what may be extrajudicial killings by the Israeli military and police of Fadi Alloun, Saad Al-Atrash, Hadeel Hashlamoun, and Mutaz Ewisa. There are also reports of the use of torture in the cases of Wasim Marouf and Ahmed Manasra."
Netanyahu blasted the letter, telling its signatories it was the terrorists who were guilty of human rights violations.
"Where is the concern for the human rights of the many Israelis who’ve been murdered and maimed by these savage terrorists? This letter should have been addressed instead to those who incite youngsters to commit cruel acts of terrorism."
Speaking with Kerry on Friday, Netanyahu reportedly called upon the Secretary of State to respond to the accusations levelled in Senator Leahy’s letter and to reaffirm that Israel does not carry out extrajudicial executions.
Netanyahu emphasized that Israel conducts comprehensive investigations into any incidents where misconduct is alleged, and asked Kerry to convey this fact in his response to the 11 Democratic lawmakers.