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Bachelet warns of increased violence in the occupied Palestinian territories and calls for those responsible to be held accountable 

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News briefing 

Translated and edited by: Committee for Justice 

Geneva: 6 March 2022 

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, has warned of the significant increase in violence and the deterioration of the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territories. 

Bachelet indicated the need to commit to ensuring accountability and justice during an interactive dialogue with the Human Rights Council regarding the report of the High Commissioner on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem. 

Bachelet noted that during the reporting period, between November 1, 2020 and October 31, 2021, the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory further deteriorated. This period was also marked by a significant increase in violence; Including the largest escalation of hostilities between Israel and Palestinian armed groups in Gaza since 2014, where Israeli forces killed 315 Palestinians, and wounded 17,597 others, an increase of nearly five times compared to the previous report, also 14 Israelis were killed and 824 others were injured by Palestinians. 

The High Commissioner said that her office had documented several incidents in which the Israeli attacks may have violated the principles of international humanitarian law of distinction, proportionality and feasible precautions, and until now, after nearly 10 months, her office was not aware of any criminal investigation into these incidents. She also noted pervasive impunity afforded to members of the Israeli Forces for incidents of possible excessive use of force outside the context of hostilities. 

Regarding the accountability of the Palestinian authorities, Bachelet noted that the reporting period was marked by increased violence by Palestinian security forces, which may amount to a violation of the right to life and physical integrity. 

In her closing remarks, Bachelet said that it has been 18 months since Israel ceased to renew visas for staff of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights working in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, seriously affecting their work. 

Speaking as a concerned country, the State of Palestine, said the report lacked balance, because Israel was the occupying power and Palestine was a victim of colonial occupation, and the violence caused hundreds of deaths, all of which were flagrant violations of international law, and there was also medical negligence in the context of the COVID-19 epidemic. The demolitions and destruction of houses in East Jerusalem, and barbaric aggressions by settlers against Palestinians, with the settlers taking public and private property. 

The speakers condemned the escalation of settler violence, the blatant and brutal assault and the disproportionate use of force that resulted in the killing of hundreds of Palestinians, and urged the Council to end impunity, to hold Israel accountable, to end the culture of impunity, and to cooperate with the investigation committee. 

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