The violence in the occupied West Bank “risks spiralling out of control”, according to the United Nations human rights chief who condemned Israel’s use of deadly force in a raid in the Jenin refugee camp that killed at least seven Palestinians, including children.
Israeli forces stormed the Jenin refugee camp on Monday to arrest two suspects.
What followed was a 20-year first: the use of helicopter gunships in the occupied West Bank, with the gunships pummelling the camp and, in addition to the deaths, injuring 91 people.
The UN’s Volker Turk made the remarks on Friday, warning that the situation was deteriorating sharply due to the use of heavy weaponry, urging Israel to stop the violence.
“This week’s violence in the occupied West Bank risks spiralling out of control, fuelled by strident political rhetoric, and an escalation in the use of advanced military weaponry by Israel,” Turk said in a statement.
He added that the raid was a “major intensification of the use of weaponry more generally associated with the conduct of armed hostilities, rather than a law enforcement situation”.
He called the air strikes with helicopter gunships a “major intensification of the use of weaponry more generally associated with the conduct of armed hostilities, rather than a law enforcement situation”.
Turk called on Israel to abide by international law, also adding that the current situation serves “only to drive Israelis and Palestinians deeper into an abyss”.
“Israel must urgently reset its policies and actions in the West Bank in line with international human rights standards, including protecting and respecting the right to life,” Turk said.
A day after the deadly raid, Palestinian gunmen killed four Israeli settlers at a petrol station between the Palestinian cities of Ramallah and Nablus.
Hours after that shooting, Israeli settlers stormed through Palestinian towns, torching property and smashing cars, killing one Palestinian man.
A large-scale military incursion on the Jenin camp has happened in the past as well.
In 2002, 52 Palestinians were killed in a raid. That event became a turning point for the camp, marking it as a symbol of resistance for Palestinians.
The camp is therefore a concern for Israel, which has been expanding its military raids in the occupied territory in recent months under its most right-wing government yet.
More than 700,000 Israelis live in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem, which Israel captured in the 1967 War. The settlements are not recognised as Israeli territory under international law.__Al Jazeera