Translated and edited by: Committee for Justice
Geneva: August 11, 2022
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, has expressed her deep concerns about the high number of Palestinians, including children, killed and injured in the occupied Palestinian territory this year, including in intense hostilities between Israel and Palestinian armed groups in Gaza last weekend.
‘Unconscionable’ killing of Palestinian children:
“Inflicting hurt on any child during the course of conflict is deeply disturbing, and the killing and maiming of so many children this year is unconscionable,” Bachelet said in a statement, published by the Human Rights Council’s media center in Geneva.
The High Commissioner confirmed that the United Nations Human Rights Office has documented that of the 48 Palestinian fatalities in the recent hostilities in Gaza, at least 22 were civilians, including 17 children and four women, with 22 fatalities still undetermined. Of the 360 Palestinians reported injured, nearly two-thirds were civilians, including 151 children, 58 women and 19 older people. In a number of incidents, children were the majority of casualties.
Bachelet stressed that international humanitarian law is clear in prohibiting an attack that is expected to kill or injure civilians or harm civilian objects in a manner disproportionate to the concrete and direct military advantage expected, saying: “Such attacks must stop.”
The situation in Gaza is worrying:
Addressing the situation in the West Bank, Bachelet said: “While the ceasefire for the latest escalation in Gaza is holding, tensions remain very high in the West Bank, where four Palestinians were killed and 90 others were injured by live ammunition fired by Israeli forces on 9 August. Among those killed was a 16-year-old boy, shot by Israeli soldiers during an arrest raid in Nablus which also left 76 injured. Another 16-year-old boy was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers after some Palestinians threw stones and fireworks at them at a checkpoint in Hebron.”
Disproportionate use of force:
Bachelet noted that the widespread use of live ammunition by Israeli forces in law enforcement operations throughout the West Bank – including East Jerusalem – in 2022 led to an alarming increase in the number of Palestinian deaths. The UN Human Rights Office in the occupied Palestinian territory has this year documented the killing of 74 Palestinians, including 20 children. In many incidents Israeli forces used lethal force in a manner that appeared to be in violation of international human rights law, she added.
Impunity leads to violence:
“This climate of impunity, along with the long-standing violations, drives the cycle of violence and the recurrence of violations,” said Bachelet.
“The situation in Palestine is extremely fragile, and events such as in Nablus risk igniting further hostilities in Gaza. The utmost restraint is necessary to prevent further bloodshed, including by ensuring that firearms are used strictly in compliance with international standards,” the High Commissioner added.