Violence In The Occupied West Bank - OHCHR
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Edited News | OHCHR

Violence In The Occupied West Bank - OHCHR

OPT killings ‘serve only to drive Israelis and Palestinians deeper into an abyss’, warns UN rights chief Türk

A particularly deadly week of violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory’s West Bank risk spiralling out of control, UN human rights chief Volker Türk said on Friday, after a “major intensification” of the situation involving Israeli airstrikes and drone attacks. 

“These latest killings and the violence, along with the inflammatory rhetoric, serve only to drive Israelis and Palestinians deeper into an abyss,” said the High Commissioner for Human Rights, as his Office warned of the “terrible impact on both Palestinians and Israelis” of the escalation, before calling for an immediate end to the bloodshed.

Mr. Türk’s comments followed remarks by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who on Thursday “condemned all acts of violence against civilians” in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and deplored the loss of life.

Refugee camp victims

Echoing Mr. Guterres’s deep concern about an Israeli military raid on Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank on Monday 19 June that killed at least seven Palestinians, including a boy and a girl, the UN rights chief said that the use of airstrikes was “more generally associated with the conduct of armed hostilities rather than a law enforcement operation”.

According to reports, Israeli gunships were used for the first time in the area since the early 2000s to extract injured soldiers, while a long gun battle raged.

Mr. Türk added that on Wednesday evening, other reports emerged of an Israeli military drone strike near Jenin that killed three alleged male Palestinian militants.

“Israel must urgently reset its policies and actions in the West Bank in line with international human rights standards, including protecting and respecting the right to life”, insisted the High Commissioner.

Following the Jenin raid, Mr. Türk’s Office said that he had been “appalled” that some Palestinians had celebrated the killing of four Israeli settlers – reportedly including a 17-year-old boy - by two armed Palestinian men near the community of Eli in the occupied West Bank.

Vicious circle

Highlighting the tinderbox situation, OHCHR spokesperson Jeremy Laurence said that several Palestinian communities had reportedly been assaulted by Israeli settlers, amid “confrontations between Israeli settlers, accompanied by Israeli Security Forces, and Palestinians”.

According to the UN Human Rights Office, so far this year, Israeli Security Forces have killed at least 126 Palestinians in the Occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Among them were 21 boys and one girl.

This compares with last year, when 155 Palestinians were killed by Israeli Security Forces in the Occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, representing the highest number in the past 17 years.

Data from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights indicates that 24 Israelis were killed inside Israel and the occupied West Bank last year – “the highest number of Israelis were killed last year since 2016”.

“For this violence to end, the occupation must end,” said Mr. Türk. “On all sides, the people with the political power know this and must instigate immediate steps to realize this.”

-ends-

 

  1. Medium exterior shot: UN Palais with flags
  2. Wide shot, press room with panel of speakers, journalist, moderator and cameraman at the press conference, screen with speaker in the background 
  3. SOUNDBITE (English) – Jeremy Laurence, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: “This sharp deterioration is having a terrible impact on both Palestinians and Israelis, and we call for an immediate end to the violence.”
  4. Medium shot: journalist
  5. SOUNDBITE (English) – Jeremy Laurence, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: “Following the Israeli Security Forces’ operation in Jenin Refugee Camp that killed at least seven Palestinians, including a boy and a girl, and injured at least ninety-one Palestinians and seven Israeli soldiers, we remind Israeli authorities of their obligations under international law with respect to the use of lethal force.”
  6. Medium shot: journalists
  7. SOUNDBITE (English) – Jeremy Laurence, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: “Israel must urgently reset its policies and actions in the West Bank in line with international human rights standards, including protecting and respecting the right to life. As the occupying power, Israel also has obligations under international humanitarian law to ensure public order and safety within the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”
  8. Medium shot: journalist, speakers in the background
  9. SOUNDBITE (English) – Jeremy Laurence, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: “Following the Jenin raid, four Israeli settlers were killed on Tuesday by two armed Palestinian men near the Israeli settlement of Eli in the Occupied West Bank. It is appalling that such killings were celebrated by some Palestinians.”
  10. Medium shot: journalist taking notes, speakers at podium in the background
  11. SOUNDBITE (English) – Jeremy Laurence, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: “This week there have also been reports of several Palestinian communities being assaulted by Israeli settlers, as well as reports of confrontations between Israeli settlers, accompanied by Israeli Security Forces, and Palestinians.”
  12. Medium shot, speakers and moderator at podium
  13. Close-up: journalist
  14. Medium shot: journalists taking notes

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