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UN: violence in occupied West Bank could undermine Gaza truce

Norway's representative in the Palestinian Territories Tor Wennesland on February 17, 2009 [KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP via Getty Images]
UN Special Envoy to the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland on February 17, 2009 [KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/ Getty Images]

The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process warned on Tuesday that violence in the occupied West Bank could lead to disruption of the fragile truce in the Gaza Strip. Tor Wennesland made his comment as he voiced his concern in his briefing at the UN Security Council about recent developments in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the deteriorating security situation.

"Clashes, attacks, military operations, and high levels of settler-related violence have continued as Palestinian militant factions call for increased confrontations with Israel," explained Wennesland. "Continued unilateral steps – including Israeli settlement advancement, evictions, and demolitions – and the severe fiscal and economic crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) further exacerbate the situation and undermine the PA's institutional stability."

READ: UN calls on Israel to stop evicting Palestinians

He added that if this is all left unchecked, not only may the situation in the West Bank further deteriorate, but these dynamics could also have an impact on the security situation in Gaza and undermine the cessation of hostilities that has held there since May this year. The UN official urged all parties to take immediate steps to reduce tension and restore calm.

"Twelve Palestinians, including one woman and four children, were killed by Israeli security forces across Palestine since 29 September, while 306 others were injured," he pointed out.

The last major Israeli military offensive against the Palestinians in Gaza took place in May. At least 260 Palestinians were killed, including 67 children and 41 women; thousands were wounded.

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