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Bachelet condemns the deaths of children in Palestine

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GENEVA – The United Nations High Commissioner for Human RightsMichelle Bachelet, expressed this Thursday 11 her alarm and condemnation for the high number of Palestinians, including children, dead and wounded after a week of hostilities between Israel and armed groups in the Gaza Strip.

“Inflicting harm on any child during the course of a conflict is deeply disturbing, and killing and maiming so many children this year is inconceivable,” Bachelet said.

In the first week of August, 19 children were killed in the Occupied Palestinian Territory – 17 during hostilities in Gaza from August 5-7, and two more in Israeli police operations in the West Bank – raising the death toll since the start of the year to 37.

The civilian cost of the latest escalation in Gaza was high, and Bachelet’s office (OHCHR) verified that among the 48 Palestinians killed there were at least 22 civilians, including 17 children and four women.

Of the 360 ​​Palestinians injured, nearly two-thirds were civilians, including 151 children, 58 women and 19 elderly people. In a number of incidents, children were the majority of the victims.

Several Israeli strikes hit civilian objects at first sight, causing civilian casualties and damage to civilian objects, said Acnudh.

“International humanitarian law is clear. It is prohibited to launch an attack that is expected to incidentally kill or injure civilians, or damage civilian objects, disproportionate to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated. Such attacks must stop,” Bachelet said.

In violation of international humanitarian law, Palestinian armed groups also fired hundreds of rockets and mortars in indiscriminate attacks causing civilian casualties and damage to civilian property in Israel and Gaza.

“Inflicting harm on any child during the course of a conflict is deeply disturbing, and killing and maiming so many children this year is unconscionable” – Michelle Bachelet.

According to the Israeli authorities, a total of 70 Israelis were injured.

While the ceasefire over the latest escalation in Gaza holds, tensions remain high in the West Bank, where four Palestinians were killed and 90 others wounded by live ammunition fired by Israeli forces on August 9.

Among the dead was a 16-year-old boy, shot by Israeli soldiers during an arrest raid in Nablus that also left 76 wounded. Another 16-year-old boy was shot dead by Israeli soldiers after some Palestinians threw stones and fireworks at them at a checkpoint in Hebron.

Bachelet said that the widespread use of live ammunition by Israeli forces in police operations in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 2022 “has led to an alarming increase” in Palestinian deaths.

His office has documented the killing of 74 Palestinians this year, including 20 children. “In many incidents, Israeli forces used lethal force in a way that appeared to violate international human rights law,” Bachelet said.

The UN human rights chief called for “swift, independent, impartial, thorough and transparent investigations into all incidents in which a person was killed or injured.”

“An almost total lack of accountability persists in the occupied Palestinian territory,” Bachelet deplored.

He added that this lack of accountability includes both the violations of international humanitarian law by all parties to the hostilities in Gaza, as well as the repeated Israeli violations of international human rights law and the law of occupation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. .

He also included in that ruling “incidents of unnecessary and disproportionate use of force.”

“This climate of impunity, together with long-standing violations, drives the cycle of violence and the recurrence of violations,” he asserted.

He insisted that “the situation in Palestine is extremely fragile, and events like the one in Nablus risk triggering more hostilities in Gaza.”

“Ultimate restraint is necessary to prevent further bloodshed, including by ensuring that firearms are used strictly in compliance with international standards,” Bachelet concluded.

AE/HM

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