UN rights chief warns of increasing violence in Palestine, Israel

Increasing violence against both Israelis and Palestinians has had tragic consequences on the innocent people, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk said Friday.

The official, while speaking at the 52nd session of the UN Human Rights Council, Turk, said that the year 2022 saw the highest number of both Palestinians killed in the past 17 years and Israelis killed since 2016.

“This death toll has further, and sharply, deteriorated in the first weeks of 2023, and in the month that has just ended,” explained Turk.

The human rights chief, in his report, said 131 Palestinians were killed by Israeli Security Forces (ISF) personnel over the past year in a context of law enforcement, outside any context of hostilities.

“This includes 65 people who we understand were not armed, nor engaged in any attacks or clashes. Since 2017, fewer than 15% of such killings have been investigated, and fewer than 1% led to an indictment,” he said.

Turk also said 13 Israelis, including three children, were killed by Palestinians.

“On both sides there is, I believe, a growing sense of a narrowing future, in which nobody can even hope for peace and security, for anyone’s children,” he stressed.

He urged decision-makers and people on all sides to step back from the context of extremism and violence and find a two-state solution, with mutual recognition of the legitimate rights of all Israelis and Palestinians to live in dignity, peace and security.

“For this violence to end, the occupation must end,” Turk explained.

Meanwhile, Turk called for recommendations from the human rights system that would make an immediate difference, include treating cases of violence equally, ending the Gaza blockade and easing restrictions.

“In addition, all sides should adhere completely to the agreement reached at the summit in Aqaba on 26 February and build on this experience of opening the issues to regional solutions, to resolve other issues in the future,” he stressed.

Turk said member states should play a role in “assisting all parties to find the exit ramp”.

“Within a foreseeable horizon, there must be a two-State solution, with an end to the occupation, and mutual recognition of the legitimate rights of all Israelis and Palestinians to live in dignity, peace and security,” he noted.

The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is one of the world’s most enduring conflicts, beginning in the mid-20th century. Various attempts have been made to resolve the conflict as part of the Israeli–Palestinian peace process, alongside other efforts to resolve the broader Arab–Israeli conflict.

Source: Sudan Tribune