Escalating violence claims over 200 Palestinian, nearly 30 Israeli lives this year — UN
The United Nations Middle East envoy revealed that the toll of violence in the occupied West Bank and Israel has reached alarming levels this year. More than 200 Palestinians and nearly 30 Israelis have lost their lives, a death toll exceeding that of the entire previous year and marking the highest fatalities since 2005.
UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Tor Wennesland, addressed the UN Security Council on Monday to shed light on the concerning situation. He highlighted that the mounting violence is driven by a sense of despair among Palestinians about their future and the lack of progress in attaining an independent state.
“Speaking from Jerusalem, Wennesland stated, “Palestinians and Israelis are losing their lives or sustaining injuries in almost daily acts of violence, including an unfortunate fatal shooting attack just hours prior to this briefing.” He underscored the perilous vacuum that has emerged due to the absence of a political solution to address the underlying issues fuelling the conflict, which has allowed extremists from all sides to exploit the situation”.
“Despite some efforts by Israelis and Palestinians to stabilize the situation, Wennesland expressed concerns about the continuation of unilateral actions that exacerbate tensions. He pointed to the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements, the demolition of Palestinian homes by Israel, Israeli military operations in areas of the occupied West Bank under Palestinian administrative and police control, and attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinian communities”.
Wennesland also touched on the involvement of Palestinian militants, further complicating an already delicate situation. He highlighted the fragility of the Palestinian Authority’s financial standing and the dire funding shortages faced by UN agencies, including UNRWA, which supports Palestinian refugees.
“While our immediate focus must be on addressing critical issues and de-escalating tensions on the ground, we cannot ignore the need to reestablish a viable political pathway,” Wennesland emphasized. He shared his hope that leaders would take prompt action to quell the violence, stating that the current cycle of violence only leads to more bloodshed.””
“Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield of the United States chaired the Security Council meeting and called for swift measures to de-escalate the situation. She reiterated her government’s commitment to a two-state solution. Russia’s deputy UN ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy highlighted the ongoing stagnation of the peace process, coupled with Israel’s unilateral actions to solidify its presence in disputed areas”.
“Isis Jaraud-Darnault, France’s UN political coordinator, condemned the Israeli colonization of Palestinian territories and the ongoing destruction of Palestinian homes and infrastructure. She cited a recent example of a school financed by European donors, including France, that was demolished in the occupied West Bank. Darnault emphasized the essential role the UN and regional actors must play in restoring a credible political outlook to pave the way for ending the violence”.
“Acknowledging the normalization of relations between Israel and some regional states, she stressed that this development can only contribute to stability and security when accompanied by renewed political efforts that address the aspirations of both Palestinians and Israelis”.