Statement by Lucia Elmi, acting Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, on the alarming increase in violence and movement restrictions in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem
With at least 105 Palestinians, including 26 children, killed by Israeli forces, 2022 has been the deadliest year since 2006, on a monthly average, for Palestinians residing in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem. The monthly average of Palestinian fatalities has increased by 57 per cent when compared with last year. Ten Israeli civilians, three foreigners and four Israeli soldiers have been killed by Palestinians from the West Bank in 2022.
Since the beginning of October alone, 15 Palestinians, including six children, have been killed by Israeli forces during search-and-arrest operations, exchanges of fire, or in confrontations between Israeli forces and Palestinians in the West Bank including East Jerusalem, often following settler attacks or incursions into Palestinian villages. In some instances, those killed did not appear to pose a concrete or imminent threat to justify the use of lethal force, raising concerns of excessive use of force.
In addition to this alarming situation, the United Nations is concerned about increasing movement restrictions. Earlier this month, after two Israeli soldiers were shot and killed at checkpoints in Nablus and East Jerusalem, Israeli forces imposed extensive movement restrictions, limiting access of many to health care, education, and livelihoods. In Shu’fat refugee camp, these restrictions have largely been lifted, but they remain in place in Nablus. Huwwara, one of Nablus city’s only access points, has also seen an increase in the severity and frequency of settler violence.
“The Israeli authorities have a legal responsibility to ensure the protection of all Palestinians,” said Lucia Elmi, the Humanitarian Coordinator a.i. “This includes guaranteeing that any measures taken do not affect people disproportionately”.
De-escalation is critical to avoid further loss of life, protect civilians and ensure access to essential humanitarian services.