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Israel’s Settlements Expanded By Record Amounts Since Oct 7, Says UN Rights Chief

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Source: Twitter

Israel’s settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories have expanded by a record amount, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) chief Volker Turk said on Friday according to a Reuters report.

Turk’s remarks came with the release of a 16-page report by the UN, where he said in a statement. “Settler violence and settlement-related violations have reached shocking new levels, and risk eliminating any practical possibility of establishing a viable Palestinian State.”

The report will be presented to the Human Rights Council in Geneva in late March.

According to the UN report about 24,300 housing units within existing Israeli settlements in the West Bank were advanced during this period, the highest on record since monitoring began in 2017. This included approximately 9,670 units in East Jerusalem.

The report also found settlements have drastically increased since October 7 post the Hamas attack.

UN figures show that, since 7 October, there have been 603 settler attacks against Palestinians. A total of 1,222 Palestinians from 19 herding communities have been displaced as a direct result of settler violence. Since 7 October, the UN Human Rights Office has documented nine Palestinians killed by settlers using firearms. A further 396 have been killed by Israeli security forces, and two killed by either Israeli security forces or settlers.

In response to the report Israel’s diplomatic mission in Geneva said that the report should have included the deaths of 36 Israelis in 2023. “Human rights are universal, yet Israeli victims of Palestinian terrorism are ignored by the Office (of the High Commissioner) time and time again,” it said in a statement.

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Israel’s actions in Gaza have strained ties not just with the UN but more recently with the US as well.

In February, AP reported that the UNSC approved a statement condemning Israel’s construction and expansion of settlements which was approved by the US.

However, according to the report, diplomats stated that the presidential statements which was not legally binding.

Netanyahu responded to the UN statement by stating it “negates the rights of Jews to live in their historical homeland, ignores Palestinian terror attacks in Jerusalem in which 10 Israeli citizens were murdered this month, turns a blind eye to the fact that the Palestinian Authority subsidizes terror and pays the families of terrorists, and diminishes the antisemitism that led to the murder of millions of Jews.”

“The declaration didn’t need to be said and the United States didn’t need to join it.”