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UN chief: Palestinians are ‘living in hell’ under prolonged Israeli occupation

Mourners react as they attend the funeral of Palestinian resistance fighter Baker Hashash, who was killed by Israeli forces during a clash, in Nablus in the Israeli occupied West Bank, on January 6, 2022. (Photo by Reuters)

Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres says Palestinians are suffering and “living in hell” under the prolonged occupation of the Israeli regime, as tensions are high in the occupied West Bank after Israeli settlers set dozens of Palestinian homes and cars on fire in what appeared to be the worst outburst of settler violence in decades.

Guterres said in an interview with the Qatar-based al-Jazeera television news network that he was following with great concern the situation in the town of Huwwara, where a Palestinian aid worker was killed, hundreds of others wounded and dozens of homes and cars were torched during the last week’s rampage by Jewish extremists.

He stressed that the Palestinian people are suffering a lot at present and that life in the Israeli-besieged Gaza Strip in many aspects is “a life of hell.”

Guterres also repudiated assertions that his organization is exercising double standards regarding the Palestinian issue compared to what it is doing with Ukraine.

The UN chief also claimed there is no alternative to the so-called two-state solution to the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East al-Quds as its capital.

Israel, which captured the territory in 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognized by the international community, calls al-Quds its indivisible capital.

The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued illegal settlement expansion.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East al-Quds. 

The international community views the settlements – hundreds of which have been built across the West Bank since Tel Aviv's occupation of the territory in 1967 – as illegal under international law and the Geneva Conventions due to their construction on the occupied territories.

The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.

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