West Bank Violence, Settlement Expansion – UNSC Members Raise Concerns

A United Nations Security Council meeting. (Photo: video grab, via UN News website)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

“We are clear: these settlements are illegal under international law. We reiterate our call on Israel to immediately and completely stop all settlement activities.”

Some UN Security Council members, including the United States, have voiced concern about the conflict in the West Bank and urged Israel to end all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory.

“The world’s eyes are, rightfully, on Gaza. But we cannot ignore the situation in the West Bank,” US envoy to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, told a Security Council meeting on Tuesday on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question.

Thomas-Greenfield said six months into 2024, the number of Palestinians killed in the West Bank “remains deeply alarming.”

She expressed concern at “the significant uptick in deadly violence against Palestinian civilians by settlers in the West Bank – and condemn it in the strongest terms.”

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“We urge Israel, working in coordination with the Palestinian authorities, to prevent these attacks,” the envoy said.

She expressed the US administration’s “belief that Israel’s program of support for the expansion of settlements is inconsistent with international law, and only serves to weaken Israeli security.”

“We reiterate our position that advancing Israeli settlements in the West Bank is an obstacle to the achievement of a two-state solution – the end state we all want to see, as we seek to bring the fighting in Gaza to a close,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

Sanctioning of Extremists

The envoy highlighted the US government’s sanctioning of “a number of extremist settlers and their organizations involved in acts of violence.”

She said the administration has also sanctioned the “violent extremist Israeli group ‘Tzav 9,’ which has repeatedly sought to thwart the delivery of aid to Gaza, including aid transiting the West Bank.”

Funding for the Palestinian Authority, which has limited governance over the occupied West Bank, has been drastically reduced due to a dispute over the transfer of tax revenue collected by Israel on behalf of the Palestinians.

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Thomas-Greenfield said the US will continue to engage the Israeli government “to release the full clearance revenues due to the PA on time, every month – including the transfers that Israel has not sent since April 5.”

‘Note With Concern’ – UK Envoy

The UK’s envoy to the UN, Barbara Woodward, urged Israel to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza “through all crossing points immediately and guarantee deconfliction for aid convoys and other humanitarian work.”

She also said her government noted “with concern” the continuing construction of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.

“We are clear: these settlements are illegal under international law. We reiterate our call on Israel to immediately and completely stop all settlement activities,” Woodward said.

Adding “We condemn the human rights abuses and incitement of violence against Palestinian communities in the West Bank, where the UK has taken action, in the form of sanctions, against a number of those individuals and groups responsible.”

Woodward said her government was “also deeply concerned” by Israel’s suspension of revenue transfers to the Palestinian Authority and “the risks to correspondent banking relations.”

“Such measures harm chances for peace, security and stability,” she stressed.

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‘Illegal Annexation’ – France

French envoy Nicolas de Riviere said, “As the situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate, Israeli settlement activity is accelerating in the West Bank.”

He stressed:  “We will never recognize the illegal annexation of territory, nor the legal recognition of illegal settlements.”

He also condemned settler violence, stating that France would impose new sanctions against perpetrators.

“France condemns this policy which runs counter to international law and which imperils the prospect of achievement of a two-state solution. We will never recognize the illegal annexation of territory, nor the legal recognition of illegal settlements,” de Riviere said.

He also reportedly called on Israel to cease obstructing the transfer of revenues to the PA.

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France urged the avoidance of any measure that may result in the conflagration of the situation in Jerusalem and the West Bank, said de Riviere.

‘West Bank Terror’ – Algeria

Algerian envoy Amar Bendjama condemned the humanitarian situation in Gaza and the Israeli occupation “must be held accountable for this devastation”.

He noted that the threat of a widening conflict is real and must be addressed, and denounced Israeli “West Bank terror.”

“The situation in the West Bank will deteriorate further if the occupying power does not cease its policy of terror, of expansion of settlement, we call for full compliance with resolution 2334,” said Bendjama, referring to the Security Council resolution that was adopted in December 2016.

The resolution said Israel’s settlement activity is a “flagrant violation” of international law and has “no legal validity.” It demands Israel immediately cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.

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Stressing that “settler terror” has reached an “unprecedented level” often perpetrated under the protection of the Israeli army, he said Algeria demands “accountability for the perpetrator of this act of terror.”

He also demanded the imposition of sanctions against Israel for its non-compliance with Security Council resolutions.

Condemning provocative assaults on holy sites, he reportedly reaffirmed that the entire area of the Aqsa Mosque Compound is an exclusive Muslim place of worship.

“Those who believe they can uproot the Palestinians from their land by force are mistaken,” he stated.

He said Israel’s plans will ultimately fail because “the Palestinians have learned from the Nakba of their ancestors.”

‘Deeply Concerned’ – Slovenia

Slovenian Ambassador Samuel Zbogar said his country is “alarmed” by the situation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

“We remain concerned over the advancement of settlement plans, demolitions and seizures, of Palestinian-owned structures in front of our own eyes, we are deeply concerned about impunity of persistent settler violence affecting the population in the West Bank and aid delivery to Gaza,” he reportedly said.

Tensions have been high across the occupied West Bank since Israel launched a deadly military offensive against Gaza, which has killed more than 37,600 Palestinians since Oct. 7.

Funeral Attacked

On Wednesday, Israeli occupation forces detained a Palestinian youth and attacked the funeral of a resident of Hebron (Al Khalil), in the southern occupied West Bank, according to the official Palestinian news agency, WAFA.

The Israeli forces raided the Muslim cemetery in the al-Ras neighborhood and attacked mourners with sound bombs and rubber-coated metal bullets. No injuries were reported.

They also detained a youth after severely beating him. He was then taken to an unknown location, said WAFA.

More Arrests

Israeli occupation forces detained at least 20 Palestinians during military raids across the occupied West Bank in the past 24 hours, WAFA reported, citing the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) and the Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs.

The organizations said in a joint statement that most of the arrests occurred in Hebron and Jenin governorates, while the rest of the detentions occurred in Bethlehem and Qalqilya.

According to the report, the total number of Palestinians who were detained in the occupied West Bank since October 7 has risen to over 9,400.

Homes Demolished

Israeli forces demolished 17 Palestinian-owned homes in the occupied West Bank, including Jerusalem, on Wednesday, and another in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1948, reported WAFA.

In the city of Jericho, the occupation demolished four houses east of the city, under the pretext that they were built without an Israeli-issued building permit.

Another home was demolished in the village of Bitello, west of Ramallah, while a home belonging to the Abu Subeih family in the Wadi Qaddoum neighborhood in the East Jerusalem town of Silwan was also demolished.

The occupation army, accompanied by a bulldozer, stormed Hebron, where they demolished eleven homes and other facilities in the Umm Al-Khair community in Masafer Yatta, south of the city.

In the city of Kafr Qara, within the 1948 occupied territories, Israeli bulldozers demolished a house that was still in the construction stage, under the same pretext.

(PC, Anadolu, WAFA, UN News)

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