Israel's West Bank occupation could get a lot worse with military helicopters and drones deployed
Israel could deploy military helicopters and drones to the occupied West Bank, in a major escalation of operations in the Palestinian territories.
The aircraft could be used to assist military operations in the occupied territories after Israeli forces ramped up their assault on the city of Jenin, leading to the death of an Israeli army officer last week.
Last week, Israel shot dead Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, as she covered another Israeli raid on the city.
While Israel rarely deploys aerial forces in the West Bank, Haaretz said the military is considering using drones and helicopters in the occupied territories.
These aircraft would be deployed "defensively", the Israeli outlet reported, but the military has not ruled out using them to "secure ground troops through the use of deterrent fire and possibly shoot at armed combatants".
Palestinians have expressed growing concern about a possible escalation in Israeli violence, particularly operating in densely-populated areas. There are fears of more civilian deaths, as has happened with Israeli bombing of besieged Gaza.
"Insanity! The way to peace would be for Israel to end the occupation & leave the Palestinian land. But by planting 650,000 settlers in the WB, Israel has a dug a deep hole & are now digging deeper, escalating into all-out war. Come on, US. Do something," tweeted James Zogby, the founder of the Arab-American Institute.
AFP has recorded that 31 Palestinians and three Palestinian citizens of Israel have been killed since 22 March. Around 18 Israelis have been killed during the same period.