World, Middle East

UN ‘concerned’ about rising violence in occupied West Bank

Special Mideast Coordinator Tor Wennesland urges Israeli security forces to ‘exercise maximum restraint’

Zehra Nur Duz   | 06.05.2021
UN ‘concerned’ about rising violence in occupied West Bank Israeli forces raid and search for Palestinian who allegedly attacked 3 Jewish settlers at an Israeli checkpoint, in Aqraba town of Nablus in West Bank on May 04, 2021. Some Palestinians detained by the forces. ( Issam Rimawi - Anadolu Agency )

ANKARA

A UN peace envoy expressed “deep concern” on Thursday for a surge in violence in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, since the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“In the past few days alone, two Palestinians, including a woman and a child, were killed in separate incidents, by Israeli security forces (ISF) in the context of clashes or attacks,” Tor Wennesland, UN's special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, said in a statement.

Wennesland urged the ISF to exercise maximum restraint and resort to deadly force only when strictly unavoidable to protect life.

“Perpetrators of violence on all sides must be held accountable and swiftly brought to justice,” he said.

Wennesland is also worried about the evictions of Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah and other neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem in favor of Israeli settlers.

He urged Israel to halt demolitions and evictions in line with obligations under international humanitarian law.

"I call on political, religious and community leaders on all sides to stand firmly against violence, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric. If unaddressed, the situation could spiral out of control.”

Palestinian territories, including the West Bank, and East Jerusalem, have been under Israeli occupation since 1967.

Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood

The Israeli Central Court in East Jerusalem approved a decision to evict seven Palestinian families from their homes in favor of Israeli settlers at the beginning of 2021.

Since 1956, a total of 37 Palestinian families have been living in 27 homes in the neighborhood. However, illegal Jewish settlers have been trying to force them out on the basis of a law approved by the Israeli parliament in 1970.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced to flee their villages and towns in historical Palestine to neighboring countries including Jordan, Lebanon and Syria in 1948.

Residents of another part of Palestine found themselves displaced to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank amid rising attacks by Zionist gangs to pave the way for the creation of Israel.

Palestinians use "Nakba" in Arabic, or "The Catastrophe” in English, to refer to the 1948 expulsions by Zionist gangs.

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict dates to 1917, when the British government, in the now-famous Balfour Declaration, called for "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people."

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