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50 years on, Israel occupation ruining Palestinian lives: UN report

Israeli forces detain a Palestinian protester during clashes in the occupied West Bank town of Beita, near the city of Nablus, May 26, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has condemned Israel’s oppressive occupation and its damaging effects on Palestinians’ everyday lives, expressing concerns about the regime forces’ use of lethal force against Palestinians.

In its 2016 annual report released on Wednesday, OCHA estimated that some 4.8 million Palestinians were affected by the Israeli occupation, two million of them “in need of humanitarian assistance and protection.”

“The prolonged occupation, with no end in sight, cultivates a sense of hopelessness and frustration that drives continued conflict” in the region, the report said.

“The occupation denies Palestinians control over basic aspects of daily life…. Their ability to move unimpeded within their own country, to exit and return, to develop large parts of their territory, build on their own land, access natural resources or develop their economy is largely determined by the Israeli military,” it added.

The report came days ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Tel Aviv regime’s occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds during the 1967 war.

Last week, thousands of Israelis staged a protest rally in Tel Aviv to voice their support for an independent Palestinian state and call for an end to the Israeli occupation.

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Elsewhere in its report, OCHA said the number of casualties in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict had dropped in 2016 compared to 2015.

However, Palestinian civilians are still “subjected to threats to their lives, physical safety and liberty from conflict-related violence, and from policies and practices related to the Israeli occupation,” it added.

Mourners carry the body of a Palestinian, who was killed by an Israeli settler during clashes near the West Bank city of Nablus, during his funeral procession in the town of Beita on May 18, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The report also raised alarm over “possible excessive use of force and extrajudicial executions by Israeli forces” against the Palestinians.

The occupied lands have witnessed tensions ever since Israeli forces imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds in August 2015. Over 300 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli forces since October 2015, when the tensions intensified.

OCHA further recorded the demolition or confiscation of 300 structures donated by aid organizations to the Palestinian people, up three times from 2015.

Thousands more Palestinians are vulnerable to forcible transfer policies “due to a coercive environment generated by Israeli policies and practices, which create pressure on residents to leave their communities,” the report went on to say.

It also referred to the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip, saying the long siege, among other factors, has left the coastal enclave “especially vulnerable.” 

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