UN documents 591 settler-related incidents in occupied Palestinian territory in 1st half of 2023

UN documents 591 settler-related incidents in occupied Palestinian territory in 1st half of 2023

Incidents up 39% compared with monthly average of 2022, says OCHA

By Beyza Binnur Donmez

GENEVA (AA) - The number of settler-related incidents in the occupied Palestinian territory reached 591 in the first six months of 2023, the UN said on Friday.

"That’s an average of 99 incidents every month and a 39% increase compared with the monthly average of the whole of 2022, which is 71," Jens Laerke, spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said at a UN briefing in Geneva.

The number of such incidents, which are resulting in Palestinian casualties, property damage, or both, in 2022 was already the highest since OCHA started recording them in 2006, Laerke said.

He highlighted that Palestinian communities who rely on herding are particularly vulnerable, saying that in the last two years, at least 399 people were forcibly displaced due to settler violence targeting seven communities engaged in herding across the occupied Palestinian territory.

Three of these communities – Al Baqa’a, Khirbet Bir al'Idd, and Wedadiye – have been completely depopulated due to the violence, while the rest of the communities only have a few families remaining, he added.

Numerous communities throughout the West Bank are under threat of forced displacement as a result of a coercive environment created by demolitions, settlement activities, and other harmful practices.

"Israeli settlements are illegal under international law," he said. "They deepen humanitarian needs due to their impact on livelihoods, food security and access to essential services."

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