2023 Is Already the Deadliest Year on Record for Palestinians in Occupied West Bank, Says UN Envoy

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Palestinian protesters hold flags during a protest against the killing of Palestinians near the fence of the Gaza-Israel border, east of Gaza City, on July 3, 2023. (Photo by Rizek Abdeljawad/Xinhua)

Israeli occupation forces have killed over 200 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank this year, surpassing the total number of deaths last year (167), said the UN’s Middle East envoy Tor Wennesland in a special briefing to the UN Security Council on August 21. This year’s death toll is already the highest since 2005.

The UN envoy blamed “unilateral acts” by Israel, including increased settlement expansion, demolition of Palestinian homes and other structures, and settler violence, as the main reasons for the number of deaths in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Israeli state violence against Palestinians has increased tremendously in the last few years. Israeli security forces have carried out near-daily raids in Palestinian localities, with increased demolition of Palestinian homes and other structures including schools. On August 22, Israeli occupation forces killed another Palestinian teenager, Othman Atef Abu Kharj, during a raid in al-Zababdeh town near Jenin in the occupied West Bank. Israel has also repeatedly allowed extremist illegal settlers to go on rampages inside Palestinian localities under tight security cover.

Wennesland noted the dire financial condition of most of the Palestinian institutions such as the Palestinian Authority, which has a projected deficit of over $370 million this year. The condition of UN agencies such as the UN Relief and Work Agency and the World Food Program is similar, threatening the food security of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees in the occupied territories. 

from the Peoples Dispatch / Globetrotter News Service

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