A UN-appointed commission of inquiry has expressed alarm over the growing violence by Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank and announced its intention to probe the issue further.
The commission, which was established by the UN Human Rights Council in 2021, said on Tuesday that the increasing attacks by Jewish settlers on Palestinians and their property were a “major concern” and a means of ensuring Israeli annexation of the territory.
The West Bank, which Israel occupied in the 1967 Middle East war, has witnessed a surge of violence in the past 15 months, with frequent Israeli raids and attacks.
The commission also accused the Israeli government of imposing growing restrictions on Palestinian civil society groups and violating their human rights.
Israel, which did not attend the meeting, rejected the commission’s report as a “stain on the UN and on the Human Rights Council” and accused it of being biased and one-sided.
An Israeli ally, the United States, also criticized the commission, which has an open-ended mandate, for giving disproportionate attention to Israel and called for its termination.
The commission’s member, Miloon Kothari, responded by saying that as long as the occupation continues, the UN needs to continue to investigate the situation rigorously and called for an end to the Israeli occupation.
The commission’s findings are not legally binding but may be used by international courts in future cases.