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EU urges Israel-Palestine to defuse tensions, says lethal force should be 'last resort'

Palestinians stage a demonstration at the Shu’fat refugee camp in Jerusalem to protest after nine Palestinians were killed and 20 others injured by the Israeli army in the West Bank on Thursday, on January 26, 2023 [Saeed Qaq/Anadolu Agency]

The European Union on Saturday called for immediate de-escalation of spiraling Israel-Palestine tensions, stressing that Tel Aviv should only use lethal force as "a last resort", reports Anadolu Agency.

"The European Union fully recognises Israel's legitimate security concerns, as evidenced by the latest terrorist attacks, but it has to be stressed that lethal force must only be used as a last resort when it is strictly unavoidable in order to protect life," the bloc's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement.

He said the EU is "very concerned by the heightened tensions in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory."

"We call on both parties to do everything possible to de-escalate the situation and to restart security coordination, which is vital to prevent further acts of violence," Borrell added.

READ: US 'concerned' about escalating 'violence' in West Bank

Seven Israeli settlers were killed in a gun attack in an illegal settlement in occupied East Jerusalem on Friday, while at least two more were injured in another shooting on Saturday.

The attacks came after the Israeli military killed nine Palestinians and wounded dozens in an operation in the occupied West Bank town of Jenin on Thursday.

"This brings the number of Palestinians killed in the West Bank to 30 since the start of this year. Last year, more than 150 people were killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank, including 30 children, the highest number since the end of the Second Intifada in 2005," Borrell said.​​​​​​​

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