Middle East Monitor / March 26, 2022
United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet announced on Friday that Israel continues violating humanitarian law in Palestine.
Bachelet presented three reports to the UN Human Rights Council’s 49th session concerning the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories, stating: “The human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory deteriorated further during the reporting period, and violations of international humanitarian law continued and increased.”
The report covered the period from 1 November, 2020, to 31 October, 2021.
Bachelet disclosed: “261 Palestinians were killed [in Gaza], including 41 women, 67 children, and three people with disabilities, most in Israeli strikes… Over 2,200 Palestinians were injured.”
She added: “There were serious concerns regarding Israel’s compliance with the principles of distinction, proportionality and precautions under international humanitarian law. These concerns arose from a high number of civilian casualties, extensive damage to civilian objects and infrastructure, the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in densely populated areas, as well as the apparent absence of specific military objectives.”
At the same time, she indicated: “Israel’s continued use of collective punishment practices, expressly prohibited by international humanitarian law, violated a number of human rights,” citing the blockade of Gaza, which has entered its fifteenth year.
She said the collective punishment in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem “disproportionately affected women and children” and that: “Israeli authorities also withheld the bodies of 23 additional Palestinians, including children, killed by Israeli Security Forces during this period.”
Regarding Israel’s use of lethal force, she said: “My office also documented several cases in which Israeli Security Forces used lethal force when less lethal means could have been sufficient, or where an assailant no longer posed a threat.”
Bachelet stated that the expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied has persisted: “The number of new tenders and constructions increased. Settlers established 13 new outposts, illegal also under Israeli domestic law.”
During the period of her reporting, Bachelet cited: “Israel demolished 967 Palestinian-owned structures in the West Bank including East Jerusalem, the highest number since the United Nations started recording this data, displacing 1,190 Palestinians, including 656 children.”
In the report, she said: “The Bedouin community of Humsa al-Bqai’a, Israeli authorities demolished 196 structures, displacing 365 Palestinians, including 209 children. These actions placed the community under extreme pressure to move and appear to have led to at least 98 people leaving their homes.”
Bachelet also said that the Israeli occupation forces killed ten anti-settlement peaceful protesters and injured almost 11,000 others during the reporting period.