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ICRC: Life Hard for West Bank Palestinians


The International Committee of the Red Cross says Israeli restrictions are having a severe impact on the livelihoods of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, where more than half the population lives in poverty.

In a statement Wednesday, the ICRC said although the Palestinian economy has shown some growth and people are more free to move, living a normal life is close to impossible for many Palestinians.

The group noted that harassment by Israeli settlers is a frequent occurrence, with roughly 10,000 olive trees belonging to Palestinians having been chopped down or burnt in the past three years. In addition, checkpoints and roadblocks in the West Bank make it difficult for Palestinians to get proper health care or visit their relatives.

Israel has not yet commented on the report.

ICRC head of operations for the Middle East, Béatrice Megevand-Roggo, says Israel must do more to protect Palestinians against settler violence, allow families to get to a hospital or school unobstructed and safeguard their land and crops.

Megevand-Roggo said Israel must find the right balance between meeting its security needs and protecting the rights of the Palestinian population.

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