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UN special ME coordinator says 2022 among deadliest years for Palestinians in West Bank

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland

The UN special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process says the year 2022 has been the deadliest for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank since 2005, sounding concern over the increasing violence perpetrated by Israeli occupation soldiers and settlers against Palestinians.

During the UN Security Council’s quarterly open debate on Friday, Tor Wennesland pointed out that much of the violence took place in the context of military operations, noting that so far, “2022 is on course to be the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs began systematically tracking Palestinian fatalities in 2005.”

He expressed alarm at the intensity of violence in the occupied West Bank, and deplored the fact that children continue to be the victims of violence.

Wennesland said this period saw a spike in fatal violence across the West Bank, underscoring that “near-daily instances of violence, unfolding against a backdrop of unabated Israeli settlement expansion, evictions of Palestinians and home demolitions” are taking place.

Meanwhile, Norway's ambassador to the UN Mona Juul expressed concern over the increased use by Israeli soldiers of live ammunition against Palestinians.

“Over 100 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in 2022. That number makes 2022 the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since 2006,” she reiterated.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health reported last week that Israel has killed at least 183 Palestinians since the start of 2022 in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, including 26 since the start of October.

Norway’s delegate also expressed deep concern over the rise in the number of children detained, and physical violence against children during detention.

Moreover, among delegates expressing views on the matter was the representative of France. The French envoy Nathalie Broadhurst Estival explained that one of the root causes of this resurgence of violence is “the continuation of the Israeli settlement policy, illegal under international law.”

“Increasing settler violence must stop and those responsible must be held accountable by competent authorities,” she said, slamming the ongoing evictions of Palestinians and the demolition of their home, stressing that this is no longer acceptable.

Also, Venezuela’s delegate, Joaquín Alberto Pérez Ayestarán, criticized the silence of the international community, pointing out that "the international community and [the UN Security] Council cannot continue to stand idly by in the face of policies of aggression, settler occupation and apartheid that have resulted in the death of more than 10,000 Palestinians, including at least 2,000 children in the last 20 years.”

Only last month, 32 Palestinians, including six children, were killed by Israeli forces during demonstrations, clashes, search-and-arrest operations, attacks and alleged attacks against Israelis, while another 311 Palestinians, including one woman and eight children, were injured.

Attacks perpetrated by Israeli occupation soldiers and Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank and other areas have been on the rise, in an attempt to forcibly expel Palestinians from their lands and make way for expanding illegal Jewish-only settlements.

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