United Nations Human Rights experts have expressed alarm “at the rising rate of violence directed by Israeli settlers towards Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory”, in a statement released on Wednesday.
The experts, led by UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Palestine, Michael Lynk, described settler violence as “an extremely disturbing feature of the Israeli occupation.” They added that “in 2021, we are witnessing the highest recorded levels of violence in recent years and more severe incidents.”
— The Palestine Chronicle (@PalestineChron) November 11, 2021
In the first 10 months of 2021, there have been 410 attacks by settlers against Palestinians, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). In these attacks, four Palestinians were killed, OCHA reported.
“The ubiquity of these attacks, and the credible reports of the Israeli military’s passivity in combating this violence, has deepened the atmosphere of fear and coercion throughout the West Bank,” said the experts, noting that the settler violence mostly targeted Palestinian residents of the so-called Area C, which is under complete Israeli security and civil control.
“We are very troubled by the failure of Israel, the occupying power, to exercise its substantial obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention, including Article 27, to protect the population under occupation,” the UN experts concluded.
Last night, settlers fired live ammunition, threw stones, smashed car windows and injured at least five Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills. The military evacuated a tent settlers had set up in Firing Zone 918, and when it left the area, > pic.twitter.com/54rSx5TRrp
— B'Tselem בצלם بتسيلم (@btselem) November 11, 2021
Settler violence against Palestinians and their property is routine in the West Bank and is rarely prosecuted by Israeli authorities.
“Jewish settler violence should not be analyzed separately from the violence meted out by the Israeli army, but seen within the larger context of the violent Zionist ideology that governs Israeli society entirely,” wrote Palestinian author and editor of The Palestine Chronicle, Ramzy Baroud.
“Settler violence has long since become part of Palestinians’ daily life under occupation,” according to the Human Rights Group B’tselem. “Israeli security forces enable these actions, which result in Palestinian casualties – injuries and fatalities – as well as damage to land and property. In some cases, they even serve as an armed escort, or even join in the attacks”.
Over 600,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of international law.
(The Palestine Chronicle)