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End ‘unlawful killings’ in West Bank, UN tells Israel

The United Nations on Thursday said the human rights situation in the occupied West Bank was rapidly deteriorating and urged Israel to “end unlawful killings”…

The United Nations on Thursday said the human rights situation in the occupied West Bank was rapidly deteriorating and urged Israel to “end unlawful killings” against the Palestinian population.

A report released Thursday demanded an immediate end to the use of military weapons and means during law enforcement operations, an end to arbitrary detention and ill-treatment of Palestinians, and the lifting of discriminatory movement restrictions.

“The use of military tactics and weapons in law enforcement contexts, the use of unnecessary or disproportionate force, and the enforcement of broad, arbitrary and discriminatory movement restrictions that affect Palestinians are extremely troubling,” UN rights chief Volker Turk said in a statement.

“The intensity of the violence and repression is something that has not been seen in years.”

The report looked at the human rights situation in the occupied West Bank and annexed East Jerusalem since October 7.

The bloodiest-ever Gaza war erupted when Hamas attacked southern Israel on October 7 and killed about 1,140 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.

They took 250 hostages, of whom 129 remain inside Gaza, according to Israeli officials, in the worst attack in the country’s history.

Israel launched extensive aerial bombardment and a siege followed by a ground invasion. The campaign has killed at least 21,110 people, mostly women and children, according to Hamas-run Gaza’s health ministry.

Deaths documented
The report, which looked in detail from October 7 to November 20, documented a “sharp increase” in air strikes as well as incursions into refugee camps and other densely-populated areas, resulting in “deaths, injuries and extensive damage” to civilian infrastructure.

In the weeks following October 7, the report documented a “sharp rise in settler attacks” including “shootings, burning of homes and vehicles, and uprooting of trees”.

Turk asked Israel to end “settler violence against the Palestinian population, to investigate all incidents of violence by settlers and Israeli security forces, to ensure effective protection of Palestinian communities against any form of forcible transfer, and to ensure the ability of herding communities displaced due to repeated attacks by armed settlers to return to their lands.”

The UN Human Rights Office said it had verified the deaths of 300 Palestinians from October 7 to December 27 in the occupied West Bank and annexed East Jerusalem. The deaths included 79 children.

Of the 300 deaths, “Israeli security forces killed at least 291 Palestinians, settlers killed eight, and one Palestinian was killed either by Israeli security Forces or settlers”.

The rights office said that prior to October 7, 200 Palestinians had already been killed in the area in 2023, which it said was the highest number in a 10-month period since the UN began keeping records in 2005.

Turk urged Israel to grant his office access to Israel, adding that it was ready to report in a similar manner on the October 7 attacks.

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