Israeli security forces are joining settlers in murderous West Bank rampages, UN says

Geneva, Switzerland - The UN voiced grave concern Tuesday over escalating Israeli violence in the West Bank, demanding that Israel's security forces "immediately" stop supporting settler attacks on Palestinians in the occupied territory.

The UN demanded Israeli security forces stop supporting settler attacks in the West Bank like the one that killed Yazan Shtayyeh, whose funeral was held Monday.
The UN demanded Israeli security forces stop supporting settler attacks in the West Bank like the one that killed Yazan Shtayyeh, whose funeral was held Monday.  © IMAGO / APAimages

With the assault on Gaza raging, the UN rights office decried that Palestinians in the West Bank had been "subjected to waves of attacks by hundreds of Israeli settlers, often accompanied or supported by Israeli security forces (ISF)".

"The Israeli security forces must immediately end their active participation in and support for settler attacks on Palestinians," rights office spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani told reporters in Geneva.

"Israeli authorities must instead prevent further attacks, including by bringing those responsible to account."

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She stressed that "those reasonably suspected of criminal acts, including murder or other unlawful killings, must be brought to justice through a judicial process that complies with international human rights standards, following a prompt, impartial, independent, effective and transparent investigation".

Shamdasani pointed out that following the killing of a 14-year-old Israeli boy from a settler family last weekend, "four Palestinians, including a child, were killed and Palestinian property was destroyed in revenge attacks."

Near the city of Nablus, "dozens of settlers attacked" the nearby hamlet of Khirbet al-Tawil late on Monday, killing two people, the mayor of Aqraba, Salah Bani Jaber, told AFP.

The UN rights office, she said, had received information that "armed settlers and Israeli forces" had entered a number of towns and villages.

"Dozens of Palestinians were reportedly injured, including through the use of firearms, by settlers and ISF, and hundreds of homes and other buildings, as well as cars, were torched," she said.

"Three Israeli soldiers suffered injuries after they were hit with stones," she added.

Israeli settlers continue West Bank encroachment

Israeli security forces – who sometimes employ settlers – have been taking part in near-daily raids on Palestinians towns and villages in the illegally occupied West Bank.
Israeli security forces – who sometimes employ settlers – have been taking part in near-daily raids on Palestinians towns and villages in the illegally occupied West Bank.  © IMAGO / Middle East Images

The UN also highlighted reports that settlers had established at least two new illegal outposts in recent days in the Jordan Valley and South Hebron Hills – the latest move in a program of settlement expansion that has been described as a war crime.

The outposts, she said, were "near Palestinian communities which have been repeatedly attacked by settlers in the past months and are at imminent risk of being forcibly transferred from their homes and land".

"Israel, as the occupying power, must take all measures in its power to restore, and ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety in the occupied West Bank," she said.

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"This obligation includes protecting Palestinians from settler attacks, and ending unlawful use of force against Palestinians by the ISF."

The West Bank, which Israel has illegally occupied since 1967, had been subjected to record levels of Israeli violence even before the October 7 Hamas attacks, with the situation drastically worsening since then.

At least 468 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces or settlers across the West Bank since October 7, according to local Palestinian officials.

Cover photo: IMAGO / Middle East Images

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