Israel and the Occupied Territories: Rising violence in the West Bank may have irreversible consequences for communities

ICRC Geneva- The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) fears that the alarming levels of violence in the West Bank may lead to irreversible consequences for its communities. Since January of this year, more than 360 people have been killed in the occupied West Bank and over 2,000 wounded, making it the deadliest year in over a decade.
Article 31 October 2023 Israel and the occupied territories

The heightened insecurity has led to death, injury and tragic displacement. The complete closure of some cities and villages has significantly restricted the movement of people and goods. The escalating violence and road blockages have severely restricted access to their fields and in particular to olive groves for farmers, which in turn will have an impact on their main source of livelihood.


“We are extremely concerned about the rising levels of violence in the West Bank. Stronger efforts are needed to ensure that these cycles of violence do not continue and that populations and their properties are respected and protected at all times. The sharp increase in number of arrests is also of high concern for the ICRC.” – says Fabrizio Carboni, ICRC Regional Director for the Near and Middle East. 

The ICRC reminds all actors that civilian lives and property must be respected and protected at all times. Restrictions on movement must not prevent civilians from maintaining their livelihoods and accessing essential services, including medical care. Such restrictions should be established only to respond to imperative reasons of security, and only by the competent authority.

Any use of force during law enforcement operations must be in accordance with international law rules and standards. These operations must respect the legal standards of necessity, proportionality, and precaution, to avoid loss of human lives and prevent a further escalation of violence. Lethal force can only be used as a last resort and only when there is an imminent threat to life.

The ICRC is deeply concerned for not being able to assess the treatment and conditions of people detained. Regular contact between detainees and their families needs to be reestablished after weeks of suspension of family visits. The ICRC remains in contact with the families of the detainees, and is also engaging with the relevant authorities on this critical matter in its usual bilateral and confidential dialogue. Committed to its mandate and responsibilities, the ICRC will continue reminding the relevant authorities of their obligations for as long as it is necessary.

The ICRC has been present in Israel and the occupied territories since 1967 and work with the Palestine Red Crescent Society and Magen David Adom in Israel. The ICRC has offices in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. As a neutral, independent humanitarian organization, it promotes compliance with international humanitarian law (IHL), and works to mitigate the impact of violence, conflict, and occupation on civilians through protection activities and assistance programmes.


For more information, please contact:

Stephen Ryan (English) T. +972 52 690 2305

Suhair Zakkout (Arabic) T.+20 1207704923

Rula Tabari: (Arabic) +972 52 6019 148