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The Latest | Israel must stop settler attacks on Palestinians, UN human rights office says

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LA Post: The Latest | Israel must stop settler attacks on Palestinians, UN human rights office says
April 16, 2024
The Associated Press - AP

Israeli security forces “must immediately end their active participation in and support for settler attacks on Palestinians,” the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said Tuesday.

The statement follows a wave of settler attacks on Palestinian towns and villages in the West Bank triggered by the killing of a 14-year-old Israeli boy in what authorities say was a militant attack. The Palestinian Health Ministry says seven Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces or settlers since the attacks began Friday, and another 75 have been wounded. Israeli authorities have urged people not to resort to vigilante attacks as tensions soar. But rights groups have long accused Israeli forces of routinely ignoring settler attacks or even taking part in them.

Tensions in the region have ramped up since the start of the latest Israel-Hamas war on Oct. 7, when Hamas and Islamic Jihad, two militant groups backed by Iran, carried out a devastating cross-border attack that killed 1,200 people in Israel and kidnapped 250 others. Israel responded with an offensive in Gaza that has caused widespread devastation and killed over 33,800 people, according to local health officials.

World leaders have urged Israel not to retaliate after Iran launched hundreds of drones, ballistic missiles and cruise missiles over the weekend in an unprecedented revenge mission that pushed the Middle East closer to a regionwide war. The attack happened less than two weeks after a suspected Israeli strike in Syria killed two Iranian generals in an Iranian consular building.

Currently:

— Iran's direct attack on Israel upended decades of shadow warfare.

Biden hosts Iraqi leader after Iran’s attack on Israel throws Mideast into greater uncertainty.

— Israeli military renews warnings to Palestinians not to return to war-torn northern Gaza.

— Pro-Palestinian demonstrators shut down airport highways and key bridges in major U.S. cities.

— Israel’s military chief says that Israel will respond to Iran’s weekend missile attack.

Here is the latest:

UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICE CALLS ON ISRAELI FORCES TO STOP SETTLER ATTACKS ON PALESTINIANS

GENEVA — Israeli security forces “must immediately end their active participation in and support for settler attacks on Palestinians," according to a Tuesday statement from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights after a wave of settler attacks on Palestinian towns and villages in the West Bank triggered by the killing of a 14-year-old Israeli boy in what authorities say was a militant attack.

The Palestinian Health Ministry says seven Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces or settlers since the attacks began Friday, and another 75 have been wounded.

Israeli authorities have urged people not to resort to vigilante attacks as tensions soar. But rights groups have long accused Israeli forces of routinely ignoring settler attacks or even taking part in them.

The U.N. statement said “Palestinians have been subjected to waves of attacks by hundreds of Israeli settlers, often accompanied or supported by Israeli Security Forces.” It said that in addition to deaths and injuries, the attacks have also included the torching of hundreds of homes and other buildings, as well as cars.

“Israel, as the occupying power, must take all measures in its power to restore, and ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety in the occupied West Bank,” it said.

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war and has built scores of settlements there that are now home to over 500,000 Jewish settlers. The Palestinians want the West Bank, which is home to some 3 million Palestinians, to form the main part of their future state.

Violence has surged in the West Bank since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack out of Gaza that triggered the war. The Palestinian Health Ministry says at least 468 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the war in Gaza. Most were shot dead by Israeli security forces during arrest raids or violent protests.

DEATH TOLL IN GAZA SURPASSES 33,800, HEALTH MINISTRY SAYS

RAFAH, Gaza Strip — The Gaza Health Ministry says the bodies of 46 people killed by Israeli strikes have been brought to local hospitals over the Past 24 hours. That brings the overall Palestinian death toll from the Israel-Hamas war to at least 33,843, the ministry said Tuesday.

The Health Ministry does not distinguish between fighters and civilians in its tallies but has said that women and children make up most of those killed.

Israel blames civilian casualties on Hamas because the militants fight in dense, urban neighborhoods. The military says it has killed over 13,000 militants, without providing evidence.

Israel withdrew more forces from Gaza earlier this month after wrapping up its offensive in the southern city of Khan Younis. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to invade the southernmost city of Rafah, where over half of Gaza’s population has sought refuge from fighting elsewhere.

The war erupted when Hamas launched a wide-ranging attack into southern Israel on Oct. 7. Palestinian militants killed some 1,200 people that day and took around 250 hostage. Israel’s offensive has driven some 80% of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million from their homes and pushed the besieged territory to the brink of famine.

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