Settlers’ attacks on Palestinians increased by 150% compared to last year

The number of physical attacks carried out by settlers in the West Bank has reached 250 since the beginning of the year, compared to 100 in 2019, an increase of 150%, according to data presented at an Israeli security meeting held yesterday, Thursday, And it was published by Haaretz’s military analyst, Amos Harel, on Friday.

The Israeli security meeting, Thursday, was attended by Defense Minister Benny Gantz, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi, the head of the Shin Bet security service, the head of the police and other security officials.

Pictures from the West Bank indicate that settlers used the weapons of the occupation soldiers in a number of attacks, and that the occupation soldiers did not intervene to stop the settlers' attacks in many cases. According to Haaretz, Kohavi issued “clear instructions” to the soldiers not to “stand aside during these attacks.”

According to the newspaper, a large part of the attacks that occurred during the olive harvest were caused by attacks by settlers who live in “illegal outposts” who attacked the residents of neighboring villages.

In addition, 60 confrontations between settlers and Israeli security forces have been recorded since the beginning of the year, compared to 50 in 2019. And 135 attacks by settlers throwing stones at Palestinians have been recorded since the beginning of the year, compared to 2019.

Harel quoted a senior Israeli security source as saying that the perpetrators of the attacks “are not children having fun,” and continued, “We have to call things by their names. In some cases, it is simply about Jewish terrorism. I do not rule out the possibility that we will witness another deadly attack such as the killing of the Dawabsheh family in Douma in 2015. This trend is also detrimental to the state abroad. There is no meeting with foreign ambassadors in which the settlers’ attacks on the Palestinians are not discussed.”

Harel attributed the Israeli security’s sleight of hand in dealing with the settlers’ attacks to “the influence of the ancient settlers’ institution on the various governments. For years, army and police officers in general have warned of overly intensive care with the phenomenon, fearing political complicity that would haunt them when they moved to another position,” as well as “the tolerance of the Israeli security services toward Jewish ideological criminals.”

According to B'Tselem, the Israeli army refrains from engaging in confrontations with the aggressor settlers, although from a legal point of view, the occupation soldiers have the power to arrest and detain them. The occupation army prefers to remove the Palestinians from their agricultural lands or pastures, rather than confronting the settlers.

In the confrontations, which start with settlers’ attacks, the occupation soldiers issue orders declaring the site a “closed military zone” that apply only to the Palestinians, or the soldiers disperse them using tear gas canisters, stun grenades, rubber-coated metal bullets, and even live bullets.

Sometimes the soldiers themselves take part in the attacks launched by the settlers against the Palestinians, or stand by and watch without interfering to prevent the attack, according to a B’Tselem report.

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