A Palestininan elderly woman crosses a street which has been bulldozed by the Israeli forces during a raid in Jenin in the occupied West Bank on January 29, 2024. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

International news

Amnesty International has highlighted an alarming increase in violence by Israeli forces against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank over the last four months. The human rights organization has documented numerous instances of what it describes as unlawful killings and excessive use of force during protests and raids. Moreover, it accuses Israeli forces of preventing injured Palestinians from receiving critical medical care.

This surge in violence includes deadly raids and disproportionate force, raising tensions in the region. A notable tactic reported was a raid carried out by Israeli forces disguised as medical personnel. The year 2023 witnessed the killing of at least 507 Palestinians in the West Bank, including a minimum of 81 children, marking a significant rise in fatalities post-October 7 and the highest death toll since 2005. As of January 29, 2024, at least 61 Palestinians, with 13 children among them, have been killed.

Amnesty International's investigation into four specific cases of lethal force resulted in the execution of 20 Palestinians, seven of whom were children. The organization's researchers conducted interviews with witnesses, including first responders and local residents, and analyzed related images and videos, revealing a grim picture of the situation.

The research also found instances where Israeli forces attacked individuals and paramedics trying to assist injured Palestinians and used excessive force to disperse Gaza-related solidarity protests. Erika Guevara-Rosas, the director of Amnesty International's research and advocacy, criticized Israel's actions as a blatant disregard for Palestinian lives, labeling the killings as violations of human rights agreements and part of an oppressive system against Palestinians.

Amnesty calls for international legal intervention, noting the reluctance of Israeli authorities and their legal system to hold perpetrators accountable. It suggests that the International Criminal Court should investigate these actions as potential war crimes, stressing the importance of upholding international justice standards.

The report details a specific raid on the Nur Shams refugee camp in Tulkarem, where Israeli forces killed 13 people and arrested 15, highlighting the use of disproportionate force. The case of 15-year-old Taha Mahamid, shot dead by Israeli forces, is mentioned as a stark example of unnecessary lethal force.

Furthermore, Amnesty addresses the issue of Palestinian protesters facing undue violence, emphasizing the regular occurrence of Gaza-related solidarity protests and the lethal response of Israeli forces. The organization also criticizes the blockade of medical care to injured protesters, sharing eyewitness accounts of attacks on ambulances and medical personnel.

This detailed report from Amnesty International sheds light on the dire human rights situation in the occupied West Bank, calling for immediate international action to address the violence and uphold the rights of Palestinians.