The European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP) strongly condemns Israel’s latest assault on Palestinians in Nablus.
Around 10.15 am on 22nd of February 2023, the Israeli military started their raid on the West Bank city of Nablus, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. This attack lasted for over four hours and unfolded in the narrow streets of the old city, often packed with civilians, families and people shopping.
This military attack was premised on real time information – thought to be a geolocated Facebook post made by one of the militants- aimed at several Palestinian militant groups such as Lions’ Den, the Nablus Brigade and the Balata Brigade, based in a neighboring refugee camp.
As inscribed in the bullet riddled walls of the old city of Nablus, this operation was the deadliest in over 20 years; at least 11 Palestinians were killed, including a 16 year old child and a 72-year-old man.The number of Palestinian deaths is one more than that of the Israeli military raid that took place last month in Jenin, which was the deadliest in the West Bank since 2005.
Moreover, at least 102 people were injured, including 82 being hit by live ammunition: six of them are currently in critical condition and a 66-year old man suffering from gas inhalation died in hospital following the raid.
Palestinian videos posted on several social media show young men who appear to be unarmed, being fired at and running away through the streets of Nablus. Another Twitter post displays horrifying footage showing a military vehicle driving into a crowd of Palestinians in Nablus. On top of that, and as previously seen in the Jenin attack, Twitter posts show the Israeli army preventing ambulances and medical services from reaching the injured.
The trend whereby Israel is multiplying its military operations and killing of Palestinians- with the military incursions in Jenin and Jericho earlier this year, alongside a worrying increase in settler violence across the OPT – means the level of violence reached this year is the highest in decades.
The U.N. Human Rights Office has said that Israel’s intensifying raids raise “serious concerns of excessive use of force” and has called for investigations into deadly operations. According to the Palestinian health ministry, since the beginning of 2023, Israeli soldiers and settlers have killed at least 60 Palestinians, including both militants and civilians.
This goes hand in hand with an increase in expulsions and house demolitions – notably the case of Masafer Yatta – and a settlement expansion that is increasingly becoming de jure, which is a testimony to Israel’s extreme right wing government’s unapologetic settler colonial agenda.
Indeed, on Thursday 16th of February 2023 the United States said it was “deeply dismayed” by Israel’s expansionist plans, which include the construction of thousands of additional buildings in new settlements. The White House press secretary stated that “Settlement, construction and expansion in the heart of the West Bank to include the legalization of outposts creates facts on the ground that undermine a two-state solution.”
The rise in both state and settler violence, the de facto and increasingly de jure annexation of Palestinian lands, demolition of Palestinian structures and expansion of Israeli settlements is extremely worrying and requires urgent action from EU and European officials.
The EU’s and European governments’ lack of reaction and its continued unconditional ties to and cooperation with the Israeli apartheid state is in contradiction to its core values, and renders the EU and Europe complicit in Israel’s repeated violations of human rights and international law.
We demand that the EU and European governments take urgent action and:
- immediately suspend bilateral agreements with Israel, including Horizon Europe;
- ban all economic transactions with illegal Israeli settlements;
- impose sanctions on Israel for its blatant violations of international law and human rights, including the imposition of a two-way military embargo on Israel.