City of Jenin in the occupied West Bank (source: Wikimedia Commons)
The United Nations has sounded the alarm bell about the deteriorating security situation in occupied Palestinian territory. In the year 2022, violence in the occupied territories has been the worst since 2015. The UN special coordinator for the Middle East urged Israeli and Palestinian leaders to restore calm.
Deadliest year since 2015
According to the UN, at least 120 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the year, making it the deadliest for Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in seven years. Nearly a fifth of those Palestinians killed by Israeli forces were children, of which the youngest was fourteen years old. Most were killed by Israeli soldiers during arrests or home demolition raids near Jenin and Nablus. Israel claims that most were killed during violent clashes with Israeli soldiers.
Recently, the White House also expressed its concerns about the deteriorating security situation in the West Bank. State Department spokesman Ned Price said that the US is “deeply concerned” by the 120 Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank since January.
Recent violent incidents
One of the most recent incidents of Israeli-Palestinian violence was the killing of an Israeli soldier by a Palestinian, at a checkpoint near a refugee camp in occupied East Jerusalem, last Sunday. Two others were wounded. That same day, the Israeli military had shot two Palestinian teenagers dead in a raid in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank. On Friday, two other Palestinian teens were killed in separate incidents.
In May, Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot dead by Israeli forces, while she was reporting on a raid. Journalists count as civilians in the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces.
“Breaking the Wave”
For months, Israeli forces have been doing raids in cities in the West Bank, as part of an operation dubbed “Breaking the Wave”. Israeli authorities claim the operation is targeting militants and their weapon stock. “Breaking the Wave” was launched in response to a series of attacks that killed 17 Israelis on Israeli territory, earlier this year, including three policemen and soldiers. In addition, three Israelis have been killed in the West Bank since last January, bringing the total number of casualties to 20.
Israeli authorities claim they increased military operations on Palestinian territory because the Palestinian Security Services are not effective enough. They say they have prevented at least 300 attacks. However, rights groups argue that the operations are proof of the deepening of the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and may fuel further Israeli-Palestinian violence.
Violence also stems from Palestinian frustrations over Israeli oppression and the continued occupation of Palestinian territories. In addition, Palestinian leadership is weak, unable to provide hope for a better future for its citizens. The leader of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas is growing increasingly unpopular for his cooperation with Israeli authorities, but also for what is considered authoritarian behaviour.
The military operations have sparked unrest within the West Bank, that has been under Israeli military occupation since 1967. The almost nightly raids, the clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians, and the resulting deaths lead to fears for further escalations of violence.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons