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Lack of accountability for violations of humanitarian and human rights law has been identified as one of the key sources of humanitarian vulnerability in the occupied Palestinian territory. International law requires all state and non-state actors to effectively investigate suspected violations, and, depending on the findings, prosecute those responsible. The law also obliges relevant actors to compensate the victims of violations committed by institutions or individuals acting on their behalf. Action to that effect can significantly contribute to the rehabilitation of victims and survivors, as well as to the deterrence and prevention of future violations.
Articles, statements and press releases
The annual olive harvest, which takes place every year between October and November, is a key economic, social and cultural event for Palestinians. In the West Bank, more than 10 million olive trees are cultivated on approximately 86,000 hectares of land, representing 47 per cent of the total cultivated agricultural area. Between 80,000 and 100,000 families are said to rely on olives and olive oil for primary or secondary sources of income, and the sector employs large numbers of unskilled laborers and more than 15 per cent of working women. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the olive oil yield for the West Bank in 2019 is estimated to reach a record 27,000 tons, which is an 84 per cent increase over the previous year. The estimated record yield this year is due to the alternate fruit-bearing “on and off seasons” and less infestation by the olive fruit fly during the current season.
The high level of Israeli settler violence against Palestinians reported during the first four months of 2018 in an earlier Humanitarian Bulletin, continued through October as the annual olive harvest began. Since the start of 2018, OCHA has documented 217 incidents attributed to Israeli settlers that have resulted in Palestinian casualties (60 incidents) or in damage to Palestinian property (157 incidents). As a monthly average, this is the highest level of incidents recorded since 2014 and represents a 57 and 175 per cent increase compared with 2017 and 2016 respectively (see chart).
Today, the Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Jamie McGoldrick, and the UNRWA Director of Operations in the West Bank, Mr. Scott Anderson, join others in the international community in calling on the Government of Israel to cease its plans to carry out the mass demolition and transfer of the Palestinian Bedouin community of Khan al Ahmar – Abu al Helu
Violent clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian civilians in the West Bank, primarily during demonstrations and search and arrest operations, have been on the rise in recent years. In 2016, 19 Palestinians were killed and over 3,200 injured during such clashes; nearly 14 per cent of these injuries were from live ammunition. Serious injuries often result in long-term disability, rendering young Palestinians in constant need of medical treatment and humanitarian assistance, and disrupting the lives of their entire families.
Accountability for violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law by all sides during successive hostilities in Gaza is an urgent priority. Failure to ensure effective accountability for lives lost, homes destroyed and damage wrought fuels a culture of impunity that can lead to further violations. Eight years after the 2008-2009 (Cast Lead) hostilities in Gaza, victims are still bearing the consequences while lack of accountability persists.
Two years after the 2014 escalation of hostilities, justice remains elusive. Serious concerns persist regarding the lack of investigations and accountability by both the Israeli and Palestinian authorities into alleged violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, including allegations of war crimes, as well as lack of civil remedies and compensation to victims.