In his regular briefing to the UN Security Council(UNSC) in New York on Tuesday, Tor Wennesland, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East, said he was particularly referring to Israeli settler terrorism against Palestinian civilians, the official Palestinian Wafa news agency reported.
“I remain gravely concerned by the escalating spiral of violence we are witnessing in the occupied West Bank. I condemn all acts of violence against civilians, including all acts of terror, which exacerbate mistrust and undermine a peaceful resolution to the conflict. The violence must stop and all perpetrators must be held accountable,” he added.
“I am particularly alarmed by the extreme levels of settler violence, including large numbers of settlers, many armed, systematically attacking Palestinian villages, terrorizing communities, sometimes in the proximity of Israeli security forces. Israel, as the occupying Power, has an obligation to protect Palestinians and their property in the occupied Palestinian territory and to ensure prompt, independent, impartial, and transparent investigations into all acts of violence,” Wennesland stated in his remarks made on the situation in the Middle East and the implementation of Security Council Resolution 2334 (2016).
“Children in particular must never be the target of violence, used or put in harm’s way,” he emphasized.
According to human rights groups, acts of violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians and their property are a daily occurrence throughout the occupied West Bank.
More than 600,000 Zionists live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds.
All the settlements are considered illegal under international law. The UN Security Council has condemned in numerous resolutions the Israeli regime’s settlement constructions in the occupied territories.
Wennesland also noted that he remained “deeply troubled by the relentless expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, that fuels violence and is impeding access by Palestinians to their land and resources, reshaping the geography of the occupied West Bank and threatening the viability of a future Palestinian State.”
This comes as the Israeli regime has been pressing ahead with its illegal settlement expansion in the Palestinian territories despite international outcry. The policy has seen the support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s extremist cabinet.
In the latest move to expand illegal settlements, the regime’s authorities on Monday approved the construction of nearly 5,700 new settler units in the occupied West Bank.