Israeli settlers set fire to several Palestinian-owned houses in many villages near the occupied West Bank city of Nablus Image Credit: Twitter

The UN Security Council has called for an immediate de-escalation and an end to “unilateral actions” in the occupied West Bank after a surge of deadly violence. The closed-door meeting was called by the UAE, based on a request by Palestine.

The UAE’s ambassador to the UN, Lana Nusseibeh, emphasised the importance of promoting dialogue and diplomacy between Israeli and Palestinian officials.

The call for de-escalation came after Israeli settlers rampaged through Palestinian towns in the occupied West Bank, torching cars and homes and killing a Palestinian.

The raids on Nablus and incursions into the village of Hawara to the south followed a drive-by shooting that killed two brothers from an Israeli settlement.

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Settler violence continues

This marks the third time the UN Security Council has convened an emergency meeting since Israel’s far-right government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came into office two months ago.

The incident occurred just after a high-level summit meeting between senior officials from Israel, the Palestinian Authority, the US, Jordan, and Egypt in the Jordanian city of Aqaba.

Israeli delegates promised to suspend settlement expansion in the West Bank, which the participants confirmed in a joint statement.

Palestinians inspect scorched cars in a scrapyard, in the town of Hawara, near the West Bank city of Nablus, Monday, Feb. 27, 2023. Scores of Israeli settlers went on a violent rampage in the northern West Bank, setting cars and homes on fire after two settlers were killed by a Palestinian gunman. Palestinian officials say one man was killed and four others were badly wounded. Image Credit: AP

Settler violence continues to be a major obstacle to peace between Israel and Palestine, as it undermines the trust and goodwill that is essential for any meaningful negotiations to take place. Settlers have often engaged in a range of violent activities, from destroying Palestinian property to attacking civilians.

The impact of this violence on the Palestinian people has been devastating. Not only does it cause physical harm and damage to property, but it also creates a sense of fear and insecurity that makes it difficult for Palestinians to trust Israel or to believe in the possibility of a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

Full accountability and legal prosecution

As Palestinian ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour noted, it is the responsibility of the Security Council to provide protection for Palestinians. There must be full accountability and legal prosecution of those responsible for the attacks and compensation for those who lost property or were otherwise affected.

It is clear that the ongoing violence between Israelis and Palestinians is a serious issue that requires immediate attention. Dialogue and diplomacy must be prioritised to resolve the conflict, and concrete steps must be taken to address the obstacles to peace.

The UN Security Council must continue to play a role in providing protection to the civilian population and holding those responsible for the violence accountable for their actions.

Ultimately, the only way to achieve a lasting peace between Israel and Palestine is through dialogue, cooperation, and a commitment to mutual respect and understanding.

However, this can only be achieved if both sides are willing to take concrete steps to address the obstacles to peace, including settler violence.

This also means cracking down on the extremist groups that often incite this violence and halting the expansion of settlements in the occupied West Bank. Without these measures, any talk of peace with the Palestinians will remain mere lip service.