Israeli forces bringing war to the occupied West Bank, warns UN rights office

May 8, 2024

 Amid raging war in Gaza, Israeli atrocities against Palestinians in the Occupied West Bank have increased substantially, a senior official with the UN human rights office, OHCHR, said on Wednesday.

“The Israeli defence force (IDF) is acting as if there is an armed conflict in the West Bank,” Ajith Sunghay, head of the OHCHR Office in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, told UN News, a media website.

He said the situation there was already very dire even before hostilities erupted in Gaza on Oct 7.

Last year was the deadliest ever for Palestinians in the West Bank since the UN began keeping records in 2005, and there was also a spike in violations including settler violence, excessive use of force by the IDF, demolitions and evictions.

Demolitions were reported on Tuesday in the northern village of Furush Beit Dajan, the UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, said on social media.

Sunghay said that while global attention has been focused on Gaza, the intensity and frequency of violations increased in the West Bank.

“If we talk about the number of people killed or injured, either because of these massive incursions by the IDF into the West Bank – particularly in Tulkarem, Jenin, Nablus; sometimes into Jericho and other parts as well – that spiked up,” he said.

The number of people detained has also “spiked up massively”, reaching close to 9,000, he added.

He noted that “whatever happens in Gaza has a massive impact on the West Bank,” and vice versa, “because they’re the same people”.

“We now see huge fear among the population of the West Bank, as well, on a regular basis worried about incursions, worried about raids, worried about arrest and detention, worried about settler violence and, of course, with massive significant movement restrictions, that impacts their day-to-day life.”