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In the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the continued expansion of settlements across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is illegal under international law, and has severe impact on the human rights of Palestinians. I am particularly concerned by very high levels of settler violence, and Israel’s failure to adequately protect Palestinians from such attacks, or hold the perpetrators to account. Demolitions of homes have recently increased, under the Israeli zoning and planning framework which discriminates heavily against Palestinians. So far this year, at least 481 people have been displaced as a result of demolitions, already exceeding the 472 displaced in all of 2018. Settler violence, demolitions and forced evictions all contribute to an environment which coerces Palestinians to leave their homes. In this context, I also note with concern a number of recent calls by Israeli officials for annexation of all or part of the West Bank.

I continued to be alarmed by reports of unlawful killings and injuries of Palestinians by Israeli security forces across the entire occupied territory, accompanied by a lack of full accountability for instances of possible excessive use of force. Moreover, my Office remains concerned that the targeting of human rights defenders – including with travel bans, delegitimising statements and reports, interrogation, detention and ill-treatment – by Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the de facto authorities in Gaza – has increased, resulting in  further shrinking of civil society space. I will be providing an update later this morning on the situation in Gaza, as requested in Council Resolution 40/13.

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