West Bank violence in a 'downward spiral', UN envoys says

Tor Wennesland says situation in West Bank becoming increasingly difficult to contain

A Palestinian runs next to a burning tyre during clashes with Israeli forces during a protest in Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Reuters
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The UN's Middle East envoy told the Security Council on Friday that the situation in the occupied West Bank is in a downward spiral that is becoming increasingly difficult to contain.

This could be the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since 2006, Tor Wennesland said.

More than 120 Palestinians have been killed in raids and fighting in the West Bank and East Jerusalem this year, with violence surging following a series of attacks that killed 19 people in Israel in the spring.

The Israeli army said most of the Palestinians killed have been militants and said it was forced to act due to the refusal of Palestinian security forces to clamp down on armed factions.

However, local youths protesting against the incursions and some civilians have also lost their lives in the violence.

Alarmed by the intensity of violence in the occupied West Bank, Mr Wennesland reiterated that all perpetrators must be held accountable and called for security forces to exercise maximum restraint.

A Palestinian takes part in clashes with Israeli forces during a protest in Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Reuters

Unless the core political issues are addressed, the envoy warned, the deep-rooted mistrust and hostility between Israelis and Palestinians will continue to grow.

But Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian UN ambassador, asked the Security Council: “What would you do if your country was occupied, if your land was stolen and if your people were oppressed?

“Either we live side by side, or I fear we might die side by side.

"Help us live.”

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the UN, condemned the "spike" in violence and called for all perpetrators to be held accountable.

"Just as we've called on the Palestinian Authority to do more to prevent attacks, we also call on Israel to apply equal resources and equal vigour to prevent and investigate all violent attacks against Palestinians," she said.

"All perpetrators must be held accountable for their outrageous attacks. The world must see that arrests, convictions and punishments are carried out without bias."

Updated: October 28, 2022, 5:17 PM
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