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Israel Carrying Out “Unprecedented Bloodshed” in West Bank Amid Gaza Genocide

Israeli forces have killed over 500 Palestinians in the West Bank since October.

Palestinian ambulances are parked as clashes take place between Palestinian protesters and Israeli troops during a raid on the Balata refugee camp on June 3, 2024.

As Israel has carried out its genocide of Palestinians in Gaza under the guise of eliminating Hamas, Israeli forces and settlers have also killed over 500 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank since October, marking a level of violence that the UN human rights chief has said is “unprecedented” in the region in this amount of time.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported this week that it has recorded a death toll of 505 Palestinians in the West Bank since October 7. In the same amount of time, 24 Israelis were killed, eight of whom were in the military.

“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,” UN High Commissioner Volker Türk said in a statement. “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.”

OCHA reported that, just over the past week, Israeli forces shot and killed six Palestinians, including a 22-year-old man who was killed amid an Israeli raid of his sister’s wedding and whose body is being withheld by Israeli forces, and two children near Aqbat Jaber Refugee Camp in Jericho. According to Defence for Children International Palestine, Israeli forces or settlers have killed at least 45 children in the West Bank just this year so far.

Also in the last week, OCHA documented 17 instances of attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinians and their property, including the vandalism of 860 olive, fig and grape vine trees across the West Bank. Israeli settlers have killed 10 Palestinians across 943 attacks they have carried out against Palestinians in the West Bank since October.

Israel’s escalation of violence against Palestinians in the West Bank — and its massacre in Gaza — come amid calls from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabinet for Israel to wrest control over Palestinian territory. The settler violence in the West Bank undermines Israel’s narrative that it is only killing Palestinians in Gaza in order to root out Hamas forces, instead indicating that the Netanyahu regime is embarking on a new, even bloodier era in Israel’s decades of violence and apartheid.

“While all eyes are on Gaza, the people of the West Bank must also be supported and protected. The situation here is volatile,” warned OCHA Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory Muhannad Hadi.

“We can’t wait for the West Bank to become another Gaza,” Hadi said.

The acceleration of the slaughter in the West Bank is what helped to fuel a record death toll for Palestinians there in 2023, according to OCHA counts, with over 507 recorded Palestinian deaths, including 124 children. This is more than triple the previous record high, set in 2022, of 146 Palestinians.

Settler violence has also escalated in East Jerusalem, where, on Wednesday, thousands of Israelis marched through Palestinian communities, chanting “death to Arabs” and attacking Palestinians, including journalists, along the way.

During the march, Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir declared, “the Damascus Gate is ours. The Temple Mount is ours. And God willing complete victory is ours.” Ben-Gvir was referring to the site of Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of the holiest sites in Islam, which Israeli forces and settlers have attacked relentlessly over the years.

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