UN rights chief condemns ‘unprecedented bloodshed’ in occupied West Bank

Israeli forces kill, injure and arrest many Palestinians every day during numerous raids in the occupied territory.

A Palestinian man inspects the damage to a building after Israeli forces raided the West Bank city of Jenin
A Palestinian man inspects the damage to a building in the occupied West Bank after an Israeli raid in May that killed several Palestinians [Majdi Mohammed/AP Photo]

The United Nations has renewed its call for an end to violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

Volker Turk said in a statement released on Tuesday that in addition to the death toll in the Gaza Strip, “the people of the occupied West Bank are also being subjected to day after day of unprecedented bloodshed”. The UN human rights chief’s words came as the Israeli military and settlers carried out new attacks in the territory.

“Pervasive impunity for such crimes has been commonplace for far too long in the occupied West Bank,” he said, adding that this has created an environment for more “unlawful killings” by Israeli forces.

According to Turk, Israeli forces shot dead 16-year-old Ahmed Ashraf Hamidat on June 1 and critically wounded 17-year-old Mohammed Musa al-Bitar, who died a day later, near the Aqabat Jaber refugee camp in Jericho.

They were shot in the back at a distance of about 70 metres while running away after throwing stones or Molotov cocktails at a military post in the occupied Palestinian territory, he said.

The war in Gaza has seen a wave of violence and arrests unleashed in the West Bank. At least 505 Palestinians have been killed in the occupied West Bank since the October 7 attacks on Israel, according to data confirmed by the United Nations. Data shows that 24 Israelis have been killed.

A tally by the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society records the arrests of 9,025 people in the same period, including 300 women and 635 children. Many of those who have been released have reported being tortured and abused during their detention.

Renewed violence

As Turk’s statement was released, reports of renewed violence and arrests in the West Bank were being filed.

Al Jazeera reporters on the ground confirmed that Israeli forces shot and killed two Palestinian men from Tulkarem on Tuesday, with the army claiming they were about to carry out an armed attack.

Three more Palestinians were killed in an Israeli raid on Nablus.

The Wafa news agency reported early on Tuesday afternoon that 22 Palestinians, including former detainees, had been arrested since dawn.

The arrests, which were accompanied by raids and threats against families of the detained, were carried out in Ramallah, Bethlehem, Nablus, Salfit, Tubas, Jericho and East Jerusalem.

For a second consecutive day, Israeli forces have also imposed a blockade on Jericho.

Meanwhile, in Ein Samiya, east of Ramallah, Israeli settlers stole 120 sheep belonging to a Palestinian citizen in the latest attack on farmers, according to a Wafa report citing a security source.

Source: Al Jazeera