According to UN head Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, tensions and violence are fueled by the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.
Antonio Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations, has urged Israel to immediately “cease all settlement activities” in the occupied Palestine territory, claiming that Israel’s plans to advance settlement construction are a significant barrier to lasting peace and a source of “tensions and violence.”
The UN president made his remarks after the bloodiest violence in years broke out when Israeli soldiers attacked the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank on Monday, killing five Palestinians, including a 15-year-old boy, and injuring more than 90 others.
For the first time in almost 20 years, Israeli helicopter gunships blasted rockets at targets in the Jenin camp while Palestinian fighters engaged in hours-long combat using small arms and explosives to wreck multiple Israeli military vehicles and imprison soldiers inside. According to witnesses, eight Israeli soldiers were hurt during the roughly 10-hour-long fighting.
The deputy spokesperson for the secretary general, Farhan Haq, released a statement on Monday that read, “The Secretary-General reiterates that settlements constitute a flagrant violation of international law.”
According to Haq, Humanitarian needs have worsened due to the growth of these unlawful communities.
According to Haq, the UN chief said the move “further solidifies Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory, infringes on Palestinian land and natural resources, restricts the freedom of movement of the Palestinian population, and undercuts the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination and sovereignty.”
Israel’s Supreme Planning Council will convene next week and will discuss plans for the approval of 4,560 dwelling units in various West Bank locations.
Netanyahu’s settlement expansion plan appears to put Israel at odds with his closest friend, the United States, which expressed “serious disquiet” about the plan and allegations of modifications to the procedures for planning and approving settlements on occupied Palestinian territory.
Palestinian organizations have also expressed grave concern that Israel may soon seize the entire West Bank.
According to Khaled Elgindy, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC, the UN chief’s forceful remarks must now be backed up by concrete action.
This Israeli government’s activities, according to Elgindy, “have exacerbated practically every negative trend that you can envision from the violence on the ground to settlement expansion, to evictions, to building and expanding settlements.”
“They will simply be ignored as they usually have been,” he continued, “unless the extremely strong words are paired with some type of action by significant parties, like the United States or the European Union, some sort of consequence to these activities.”
For these powerful statements to be supported by actual action, he continued, “we just haven’t seen that at all.”
Palestinian organisations have also expressed their grave concern that Israel may soon seize control of the entire West Bank.
The Palestinian foreign ministry stated that approving settlement development would be a “dangerous escalation to complete the annexation of the West Bank.”