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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

"Deadly milestone" passed as over 500 Palestinians killed in West Bank since October 7


Israeli forces including and armoured bulldozer during an attack on the town of Deir al-Ghosoun in Tulkarm in the occupied West Bank, May 4, 2024, that killed at least 6 Palestinians -- image via video screenshot


The UN has announced that a "deadly milestone" has been passed with over 500 Palestinians having been killed by Israeli forces or settlers in the West Bank since October 7, 2023.


Two of the latest killings, on Saturday June 1, were of 16-year-old Ahmed Ashraf Hamidat and 17-year-old Mohammed Musa Al Bitar who, "along with the killings of four more Palestinians by the Israeli army on Monday, brings the Palestinian toll to 505."


This is all occurring despite the actual absence of official armed hostilities in the occupied territory.


UN Human Rights Chief Volker Türk said on June 4 in response to the news:


As if the tragic events in Israel and then Gaza over the past eight months were not enough, the people of the occupied West Bank are also being subjected to day-after-day of unprecedented bloodshed. It is unfathomable that so many lives have been taken in such a wanton fashion.
The killing, destruction and widespread human rights violations are unacceptable, and must cease immediately. Israel must not only adopt but enforce rules of engagement that are fully in line with applicable human rights norms and standards. Any allegation of unlawful killings must be thoroughly and independently investigated and those responsible held to account.
Pervasive impunity for such crimes has been commonplace for far too long in the occupied West Bank. Such impunity has created an enabling environment for more and more unlawful killings by the ISF [Israeli Security Forces]. International law must be respected and enforced, and accountability must be ensured.

According to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) the ISF "has often used lethal force as a first resort against Palestinian protesters throwing stones, incendiary bottles, and firecrackers at ISF armoured vehicles, in cases where those shot clearly did not represent an imminent threat to life. The prevalence of Palestinians who died after being shot in the upper part of the body, along with a pattern of the denial of medical assistance to those injured, suggests intent to kill in violation of the right to life, rather than a graduated application of force and an attempt to de-escalate tense situations."

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