More than 120 Palestinians killed in the West Bank as Israeli military and settler violence surges

Palestinians in the occupied West Bank continue to experience a disturbing surge in violence by the Israeli military and settlers, causing critical health and humanitarian needs. Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) is alarmed about the escalating situation, and the lack of accountability for rights violations that have left countless Palestinians in need of urgent assistance.

Israeli forces and settlers have now killed more than 150 Palestinians across the occupied Palestinian territory since the beginning of the year. In the occupied West Bank alone, this year looks set to easily surpass 2022 as the deadliest year for Palestinians since the UN began recording data in 2005. At least 122 Palestinians, including 20 children, have been killed in the West Bank, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health and Defence for Children International–Palestine. The monthly average of fatalities from January to May 2023 is 85% higher than the monthly average of 2022. More than 4,351 Palestinians have also been injured, including 458 shot with live ammunition, according to the UN.

The past two weeks have seen a wave of violence, with Israeli forces carrying out a series of raids on Palestinian towns and villages. On 5 June, two-year-old Mohammad Tamimi succumbed to his wounds, days after Israeli soldiers shot him in the head at the entrance of the village of Nabi Saleh near Ramallah. His father was also injured during the shooting. The Israeli army has launched an investigation into the killing but, as highlighted by Israeli human rights organisation Yesh Din, such investigations rarely lead to prosecutions or accountability.

“Attacks against Palestinians, especially children, must not continue to go unnoticed and unchallenged. Every time a child is killed, another future is destroyed, another set of dreams is erased and another family is torn apart,” said Aisha Mansour, MAP’s West Bank Director. “Children will not be safe until impunity is ended, and so it is time for the UK and other states to ensure that these recurrent incidents are genuinely investigated and those responsible finally held to account.”

Israeli military raids and punitive home demolitions continue to happen on an almost daily basis. Palestinian residents of Aqbat Jabr refugee camp in Jericho have had their freedom of movement curtailed, and experienced repeated armed incursions, with victims of live ammunition injuries suffering from lifelong disabilities.

On 8 June, during a rare military incursion into the city of Ramallah, Israeli forces injured 35 Palestinians, 20 of whom were shot with live ammunition. During the raid, two journalists – Momen Sumreen and Rabih Al-Munir – were shot and injured. This comes just over a year after the deadly killing of Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American journalist, who, like Momen Sumreen, had been wearing a press vest when she was shot.

A day later, on 9 June, Israeli forces shot and killed 29-year-old Mahdi Biadsa near the Rantis checkpoint, west of Ramallah. The Israeli army claimed Mahdi was riding in a stolen vehicle and attempted to attack a soldier. On the same day, Israeli forces attacked a funeral in the town of Beit Umar in the Hebron district in the southern West Bank. Dozens of Palestinians were affected by tear gas inhalation and two were injured with rubber-coated steel bullets.

MAP responding as health services under strain

Health services in the West Bank are reeling under the strain caused by the constant violence. Palestinian healthcare has also been routinely targeted by Israeli forces and settlers. Repeated physical attacks and obstruction of ambulances and emergency medical teams are severely hampering their ability to reach those in need promptly.

“Attacks against Palestinians, especially children, must not continue to go unnoticed and unchallenged. Every time a child is killed, another future is destroyed, another set of dreams is erased and another family is torn apart.”

In the first five months of 2023, the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) recorded 149 violations against its medical teams. This is a 255% increase compared to the same period last year, and the current figure even surpasses the total number of violations which PRCS recorded for the whole of 2022.

In light of the health crisis in the West Bank, MAP has been working tirelessly to provide urgent aid and support to affected communities. Our response includes:

  • Providing essential medicines and supplies to the emergency rooms of Makassed and Rafidia Hospitals, and urgent care centres in Nil’in, Silwad, Beita and Bidya.
  • Supplying first aid kits to first responders and volunteers.
  • Delivering trauma care training to medical staff and paramedics in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
  • Providing ongoing essential primary healthcare services to communities threatened by demolitions and settler violence in Area C of the West Bank through mobile clinics.

Our teams witnessed the violence spill over into Gaza last month – where we responded rapidly to pressing health needs – but this danger continues to persist unless urgent action is taken by the international community to halt violence against Palestinians and attacks on healthcare.

Please support our emergency response to ensure Palestinian health workers have the supplies they need to save lives.


Ambulances respond during an Israeli military incursion in the West Bank city of Jenin. (Credit: Ayman Nobani).

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