Fire and smoke rise during an Israeli army operation in Jenin, West Bank File: Majdi Mohammed

Today, a UN report exposes the rapid deterioration of the human rights situation in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, following the events that unfolded on October 7, 2023. The document makes an urgent appeal to Israel to cease illegal killings and violence perpetrated by settlers against the Palestinian population.

The UN Human Rights Office verified the deaths of 300 Palestinians between October 7 and December 27, 2023, including 79 children, in the occupied West Bank, since the attacks by the Hamas group in southern Israel. Of this total, the Israeli Security Forces were responsible for the deaths of at least 291 Palestinians, while settlers killed eight and one Palestinian was killed by Israeli forces or settlers.

Before the fateful October 7th, 200 Palestinians had already lost their lives in the region in 2023, marking the highest number in a ten-month period since 2005, when the UN began keeping records.

In addition to the deaths, almost 3,000 Palestinians, including 355 children, were injured in protests, according to information from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The period also witnessed the deaths of three Palestinians, including a man, a boy and a girl, during peaceful protests dispersed by the Palestinian Security Forces (PSF) in the West Bank.

Most fatalities occurred in clashes between Palestinians and ISF, during raids and operations in Palestinian cities, including home demolitions in violation of international law, and at protests. The report highlights the increasing and disproportionate use of military tactics and weapons of war by the ISF in law enforcement operations, with emphasis on the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), air strikes and surface-to-air missiles.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk expressed deep concern about the report’s findings, emphasizing that the intensity of violence and repression had not been seen for years. Türk made an urgent appeal to Israel to take immediate and effective measures to end settler violence against Palestinians.

The report specifically calls for an immediate end to the use of weapons and military assets during law enforcement operations, an end to arbitrary detention and mistreatment of Palestinians, as well as the lifting of discriminatory restrictions on movement.

The report highlights the increased use of military tactics and weapons in law enforcement contexts, as well as the use of unnecessary or disproportionate force to suppress Palestinian protests. Arbitrariness and mass detentions, along with reports of torture and ill-treatment, have intensified the humanitarian crisis. The number of settler attacks has increased exponentially, resulting in the additional displacement of Palestinian communities, especially from Area C of the West Bank.

Documented violence and dehumanization

The report highlights the significant increase in airstrikes, armored personnel carrier and bulldozer raids on refugee camps and densely populated areas in the West Bank. These operations resulted in deaths, injuries and extensive damage to civilian installations.

Israeli Security Forces have detained more than 4,700 Palestinians, including journalists, in the West Bank, where cases of dehumanization, sexual and gender-based violence have been reported. Additionally, there has been a sharp increase in settler attacks, an average of six incidents per day, including shootings, arson and vandalism.

The report emphasizes that the ISF’s actions are presented as preventive, exacerbating tensions. The use of retaliation by Israeli authorities worsens the already volatile situation. Palestinians live in constant fear of the discriminatory use of state force and settler violence.

The High Commissioner urged Israel to allow the UN Human Rights Office access to the country to investigate violations. Türk reiterated calls for the suspension of measures that create a coercive environment and concerns about forced transfers, as well as a lack of accountability for violence by settlers and Israeli security forces.

The report mentions emblematic examples of violence, such as the case of October 19 and 20, when a 30-hour military operation in Nur Shams Refugee Camp, Tulkarem, resulted in the deaths of 14 Palestinians, including six children. Furthermore, it highlights the incident in Jenin on November 9, in which 17 Palestinians, including five children, were killed during an operation that involved snipers, bulldozers and airstrikes.

The report concludes by warning of the escalation of violence in the region and calls for urgent measures to contain the violation of human rights and international law. The international community is urged to take immediate action to guarantee the safety and rights of affected communities in the occupied West Bank.

Read the full report.


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