UN experts condemn ‘record year of Israeli violence’ in occupied West Bank
By Peter Kenny
GENEVA (AA): UN experts* on Thursday condemned “rampant Israeli settler violence and excessive use of force by Israeli forces” against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank this year, making 2022 the deadliest since 2005.
In a statement, the experts said 2005 was the year that UN started systematically documenting fatalities in the area of the occupied Palestinian territory.
They said, “150 Palestinians have been killed in the occupied West Bank by Israeli forces so far this year, including 33 children.
“In addition, a boy was killed by either Israeli forces or Israeli settlers who were firing side-by-side.”
Settlers killed at least two Palestinians, they added.
They also said that 10 Israelis, including five settlers, one settlement guard, and four Israeli force members, had been killed by Palestinians in the occupied West Bank in 2022.
“We remind Israel that pending the dismantlement of its unlawful occupation, Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory must be treated as protected persons, not enemies or terrorists,” the experts said.
Protection under international law
They demanded Israel ensure the protection, security and welfare of the Palestinian people living under its occupation under international law.
“Armed and masked Israeli settlers are attacking Palestinians in their homes, attacking children on their way to school, destroying property and burning olive groves, and terrorizing entire communities with complete impunity,” said the experts.
They said that “disturbing evidence” of Israeli forces frequently facilitating, supporting, and participating in settler attacks, made it difficult to discern between Israeli settler and state violence.
“The impunity of one is reinforced by the impunity of the other,” said the experts.
They added: “Illegal settlement poses a corrosive threat to Israeli society as a whole unless Israeli forces abandon this dominant settlers mindset and rightfully treat Palestinians in the occupied territory as protected persons.”
They predicted that “Israel’s deplorable record” in the occupied West Bank will likely deteriorate further in 2023.
“No peaceful settlement can be pursued under Israel’s repressive occupation: a reality that should be a wake-up call for all decision-makers.”
The experts include Francesca Albanese, special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967; Morris Tiball-Binz, special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions; and Clement Voule, special rapporteur on freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
On Wednesday Israel’s mission to the UN in Geneva released its own message singling out earlier remarks made by Albanese as “alarming statements” such as the term “the Jewish lobby,” which it said is “a deplorable term.”
“It is about time that the United Nations take concrete action in addressing systemic antisemitism within the United Nations Human Rights Council and its mechanisms,” said the Israeli statement.
“The lack of accountability and impunity for comments made by UN officials only works to legitimize antisemitism and endangers the Jewish people.”
*The experts: Francesca Albanese, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, Morris Tiball-Binz, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, and Clément Voule, Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association.
The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council.
Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organisation and serve in their individual capacity.
[Photo: Funeral: Family members and relatives of 16 years old Palestinian Diaa al-Rimawi, killed by Israeli forces near village of Aboud, in the village of Beit Rima, in West Bank, on December 09, 2022. Photojournalist :Issam Rimawi/AA]
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