U.N. rights boss says end of Israeli occupation would benefit both sides

GENEVA The top United Nations human rights official called on Tuesday for an end to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory, saying it would benefit both sides after 50 years of enmity.

Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, in a speech opening a three-week session of the U.N. Human Rights Council, said that the Palestinian people were marking “a half-century of deep suffering under an occupation imposed by military force”.

Israelis also deserve freedom from violence, he said, adding: “Maintain the occupation and for both peoples there will only be a prolongation of immense pain.”

U.N. staff reported on Monday that 163 Iraqi civilians were shot and killed by Islamic State in western Mosul on June 1 “to prevent them from fleeing,” Zeid told the Geneva forum, which U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley will address later in the day.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay, editing by Tom Miles)