UN experts* today condemned renewed Israeli attacks against the Jenin Refugee Camp in the occupied West Bank on Thursday that killed at least nine Palestinians, and urged the international community to react without delay to stop the violence and ensure accountability.
“We deplore the Israeli army’s latest violent attack against the Jenin Refugee Camp, and the killing and wounding of Palestinians on Thursday. It shows a dangerous trajectory of violence in the occupied West Bank, continuing the alarming upward trend from 2022,” the experts said.
“None of this violence would occur if Israel were to end its illegal, half-century old occupation immediately and unconditionally as required by international law,” they said.
On the morning of 26 January, Israeli forces conducted a raid in the Jenin Refugee Camp in the north of the occupied West Bank. They fired live ammunition, killing at least nine Palestinians, including one elderly woman and two children. Over 20 people were reportedly injured and four of them remain in critical condition.
While circumstances of the raid and the number of persons killed and injured are still being verified, UN experts noted that this was the highest number of people killed in a single operation in the West Bank since 2005. So far this year, 28 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and two more by settlers in the occupied West Bank. This brings the death toll to more than one Palestinian a day, the experts said.
“The international community cannot and should not tolerate what appears to reflect Israel’s deliberate policy and practice of using lethal force without regard for limits set by international law,” they said.
The UN experts expressed dismay that 2022 had already been the deadliest year for the occupied West Bank, with 152 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces. Impunity continues to prevail.
Jenin Refugee Camp, often portrayed by Israel as the hotbed of Palestinian resistance, has been subject to frequent incursions and raids by Israeli forces, resulting in arbitrary arrests, killings and collective punishment of many among its 14,000 residents. During the second intifada, Israeli forces killed at least 52 Palestinians, destroyed more than 400 homes and damaged hundreds more, rendering more than a quarter of the population homeless. The experts noted that none of this violence has been accounted for.
“We recall once again that Israel, as long as it remains the occupying Power, has an obligation to ensure the protection, security and welfare of the Palestinian people living under its occupation,” the experts said.
“What we see is the contrary. Dehumanisation, demonisation and collective punishment of Palestinians, the latter of which is specifically prohibited under international humanitarian law and constitutes a war crime,” they said.
“We urge the international community to react without delay and take action as recommended by international law including the UN Charter,” the UN experts said. “This remains the only possible course of action to end the relentless violence, abuses and impunity, and to start to pave the way to a better future for Palestinians and Israelis.”