Violence in Israel, the occupied West Bank 'must stop': UN rights chief

AFP , Tuesday 4 Jul 2023

The UN human rights chief on Tuesday decried the cycle of violence in Israel and the occupied West Bank, insisting that the killing and wounding must come to a halt.

A man flees falling tear gas in  the occupied West Bank of Jenin
A man flees falling tear gas canisters during an ongoing Israeli military operation in Jenin city in the occupied West Bank on July 4, 2023. Israel pushed on for a second day on July 4 with its biggest military operation in years in the occupied West Bank, which left 10 Palestinians dead and forced thousands to flee their homes. AFP


"The recent operation in the occupied West Bank and car ramming attack in Tel Aviv worryingly underscore an all too familiar pattern of events: that violence only begets more violence," Volker Turk said in a statement.

"The killing, maiming and the destruction of property must stop."

The ramming and stabbing attack in Tel Aviv wounded seven people on Tuesday before the suspect was shot dead, on the second day of Israel's biggest military operation in years in the occupied West Bank.

Palestinian militant group Hamas praised the "heroic" car attack in Tel Aviv as "an initial response to crimes against our people in the Jenin camp" where 10 Palestinians ranging in age between 16 and 23 years were killed on Monday and over 100 were wounded, including 20 in critical condition, when hundreds of Israeli occupation soldiers backed by warplanes, drones and tanks attacked Jenin.

Turk said the scale of the Jenin operation, including the use of repeated airstrikes, along with the destruction of property, raised serious issues regarding international human rights norms and standards.

Some of the methods and weapons used "are more generally associated with the conduct of hostilities in armed conflict, rather than law enforcement", he said.

"The use of airstrikes is inconsistent with rules applicable to the conduct of law enforcement operations. In a context of occupation, the deaths resulting from such airstrikes may also amount to wilful killings."

Turk said the Israeli forces in the West Bank needed to abide by international human rights standards on the use of force.

"These standards do not change simply because the goal of the operation is stated as 'counter-terrorism'," he said.

As the occupying power, Israel had to ensure that all operations were planned and controlled to minimise the use of force, notably lethal force.

"Israel must also ensure timely access to medical care to all those injured," he said.

* This story was edited by Ahram Online.

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