Over 200 Palestinians, at least 25 Israelis killed, highest in a year since 2005

The current level of violence has surpassed last year's total death toll and are their highest level since 2005, Tor Wennesland told the UN Security Council.

More than 200 Palestinians and nearly 30 Israelis have been killed in the occupied West Bank and Israel since the beginning of 2023.

The current level of violence has surpassed last year’s total death toll and is at its highest level since 2005, UN Middle East envoy Tor Wiensland told the UN Security Council at a press conference on Monday, August 21.

“Palestinians and Israelis are killed in near daily violence – including just hours before this briefing when another fatal shooting attack killed an Israeli in the West Bank,” he said.

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“The unprecedented escalating violence is being fuelled by growing despair about the future among Palestinians and a lack of progress toward achieving an independent state,” he added.

He highlighted the continued expansion of illegal Israeli settlements, which constitute a violation of international law and a major obstacle to peace, Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes, its activities within the occupied West Bank, as well as attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinian villages.

The UN official also highlighted the Palestinian Authority’s “distressed” financial situation, which has led to cuts in civil servants’ salaries and social assistance.

“Some $14 million continues to be held each month in line with an Israeli law mandating the withholding of what Israel says the Palestinian Authority pays to perpetrators of attacks against Israelis, or to their families,” Wennesland said.

To curb the current violence, according to the UN official, “We urgently need to focus on addressing the most critical issues and de-escalating the situation on the ground; we cannot ignore the need to restore a political horizon.”

Wennesland also took to social media to call on “leaders to act now to calm the situation. He warned that this “spiral of violence is leading nowhere but to more bloodshed.”

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