The spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights strongly urges Israel to step up its protection of Palestinian civilians and their property, in light of the recent escalation in violence against them from extremist settlers within the West Bank, Haaretz reported.Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), stated that Israel has a legal obligation “to protect Palestinian civilians and property in the occupied Palestinian territory.”

Speaking from Geneva on Tuesday, Colville claimed that the emboldened attacks, which started in early September, were “emblematic of the phenomenon of settler violence throughout the West Bank.”

The OHCHR has noted the increase in violence against Palestinians in recent weeks. Coleville specifically cited the uprooting of over 200 olive trees in the West Bank village of Qusra, and anoher incident in which a civilian was shot dead by an Israeli soldier in the same village only two weeks prior.