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Surge in Attacks by Israeli Settlers Against Palestinians in the West Bank Causes Outrage

Around 600,000 Israelis live in illegal Jewish-only settlements across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem – which remains in violation of international law.

Around 600,000 Israelis live in illegal Jewish-only settlements across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem – which remains in violation of international law.

According to new reports, Israeli settlers have escalated attacks against Palestinians and their homes across the West Bank, concentrated in and around the cities of Hebron and Bethlehem.

On Saturday, groups of Israeli settlers reportedly raided Palestinian homes in the Sa’ir neighborhood on the outskirts of the city of Hebron, and shouted profanities at people while threatening to murder families and burn down homes. In another neighborhood of Tel Rumeida, Israeli settlers also attacked Palestinian journalist Muhannad Qafisha, bruising his face and head before he was detained by Israeli forces. The Al-Odeesa neighborhood was also targetted, where Israeli settlers raided Palestinian homes and shouted threats.

In addition to the surge in attacks by Israeli settlers, Israeli forces set up additional military checkpoints for the entrances to the villages of Beit Awa, Kharsa, and Wadi Obeid near Hebron, harassing Palestinian families and offering little to no protection against the onslaught of attacks from Israeli settlers.

Outside of Hebron, Israeli forces also fired tear gas canisters at residents and shot at Palestinian youth with rubber-coated steel bullets in Qalqilya, while in the city of Bethlehem five Palestinians were detained for reasons unknown after their homes were raided.

This year alone, Israel has demolished and seized more than 690 Palestinian homes in the West Bank and Jerusalem, according to UN data. This is paired with Israel’s approval of the growing number of illegal settlements across the occupied territory of the West Bank, allowing Israeli settlers to illegally occupy land that rightfully belongs to Palestine.

In 2019, more than 8,337 housing units in settlements had been approved by Israel, which is a 50% increase in comparison to 2018 when 5,618 housing units were approved. The Israeli Civil Administration’s High Planning Subcommittee, which made the decision to allow the construction of these new settlements, is responsible for authorizing an increasing number of colonizing settlements across the West Bank.

In addition to the settler homes, the construction of the new Tunnel Road, which connects Bethlehem to the west, has been approved to help increase the number of settlements in Palestine. This worrying move will not only increase traffic between Isreal and its illegal settlements, but it will help establish the permanency of these settlements as well.

According to Peace Now, 59% of the new settler houses will be built on land that Israel would most likely have to abandon under a peace agreement with Palestine. Therefore this move to construct more than 2,000 homes is a blatant attempt to disregard any hope for future peace agreements, according to the watchdog: “Netanyahu continues to sabotage the possibility of a political agreement with the Palestinians by promoting more settlement construction in the West Bank, including in places where Israel may have to evacuate as part of a future agreement”.

As Israel continues to disregard international law in regards to the building of illegal settlements and attacking Palestinian civilians, it remains deeply worrying that Israel repeatedly moves with impunity. Attacks on Palestinians by illegal Israeli settlers – which include targetting civilians, homes, mosques, and Palestinian olive trees and crops – are only too common, and is almost never looked into by Israeli authorities. Around 600,000 Israelis live in illegal Jewish-only settlements across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem – which remains in violation of international law.

As Israeli settlers, fueled by their state’s absolute denial of Palestinian human rights, continue to brutalize those living under occupation, it remains to be seen for how long the majority of the international community will remain silent. For now, it seems that Palestinians will only continue to suffer under this brutal form of colonization until the world wakes up to one of modern history’s most atrocious crimes against humanity.

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