UN human rights chief condemns West Bank violence between Israel and Palestine News
Ralf Roletschek, GFDL 1.2, via Wikimedia Commons
UN human rights chief condemns West Bank violence between Israel and Palestine

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk called Friday for an “immediate end” to violence in the West Bank amid rising tensions between Israel and Palestine.

Türk urged a deescalation to the conflict, stating Friday that, “for this violence to end, the occupation must end.” Türk also said that, “[o]n all sides, the people with the political power know this and must instigate immediate steps to realize this.” According to Türk, continued violence will “serve only to drive Israelis and Palestinians deeper into an abyss.”

According to the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR), so far this year, Israeli Security Forces have killed at least 126 Palestinians—including 22 children—in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. During the same period, 24 Israelis were killed inside Israel and the occupied West Bank.

Tensions spike again recently when Israel’s nationalist government discussed plans to approve construction for thousands of buildings in the occupied West Bank on Monday. The same day, Israeli security forces carried out a military operation in Jenin Refugee Camp that killed seven Palestinians and injured 91. On Tuesday, four Israeli settlers were killed by Palestinians in a West Bank settlement. Wednesday, there were reports of an Israeli military drone strike near Jenin, as well as airstrikes. The UN also reported this week that Israeli gunships were used for the first time in the area since the early 2000s to extract injured soldiers.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres criticized the Jenin Camp raid. He said the use of airstrikes is “more generally associated with the conduct of armed hostilities rather than a law enforcement operation.” Guterres also warned against Israel’s plans to expand settlements in the West Bank in “flagrant violation of international law.” He said, “The expansion of these illegal settlements…further entrenches Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory, encroaches on Palestinian land and natural resources, hampers the free movement of the Palestinian population, and undermines the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination and sovereignty.”