Israel-Palestine conflict: UN humanitarians voice concern over escalation in West Bank

UN OCHA reports 168 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in West Bank, 233 settler attacks recorded since 7 October

Palestinian youths waving Hamas flags clashed with Israeli Defence Forces at a checkpoint in Ramallah, West Bank on 27 October (photo: Getty Images)
Palestinian youths waving Hamas flags clashed with Israeli Defence Forces at a checkpoint in Ramallah, West Bank on 27 October (photo: Getty Images)


The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has voiced extreme concern over escalating violence and tensions in the West Bank, controlled by Palestine Authority, as well as the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

In its latest situation update, OCHA said since the conflict erupted on 7 October, 168 Palestinians, including 46 children, have been killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank.

An additional eight people, including a child, were killed by Israeli settlers in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, while three Israelis died in attacks by Palestinians.  

"The number of Palestinians killed in the West Bank since 7 October accounts for 42 per cent of all Palestinian fatalities in the West Bank in 2023 (416)," the UN body said in the update.

About 59 per cent of the overall fatalities occurred during confrontations that followed Israeli search-and-arrest operations, primarily in Jenin and Tulkarm governorates, it said.

Some 27 per cent were in the context of demonstrations in solidarity with Gaza; 7 per cent were killed in settler attacks against Palestinians, and the remaining 7 per cent were killed while attacking or allegedly attacking Israeli forces or settlers.

Since the beginning of hostilities, Israeli forces have injured 2,552 Palestinians, including at least 25 children.

At least 66 Palestinians have been injured by settlers, while some 32 per cent of those injuries have been caused by live ammunition. 

In the past 48 hours, armed settlers opened fire and injured with live ammunition a Palestinian herder in the village of Kisan (Bethlehem).

The incident occurred as Palestinian herders were grazing sheep when settlers reportedly from the Asfar settlement outpost asked them to leave at gunpoint, leading to stone throwing between the Palestinian herders and settlers, before one of the settlers opened live fire.

Since 7 October, OCHA has recorded 233 settler attacks against Palestinians, resulting in Palestinian casualties (29 incidents), damage to Palestinian-owned property (168 incidents), or both casualties and damage to property (36 incidents).

"This reflects a daily average of seven incidents, compared with three since the beginning of the year. Over one-third of these incidents included threats with firearms, including shootings. In nearly half of all incidents, Israeli forces were either accompanying or actively supporting the attackers" OCHA added.

As of Saturday, a total of 11,078 people have died in Gaza and 1,200 in Israel.

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