UN demands to stop settlement activity and tighten penalties for settler violence

United Nations human rights experts, including the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Palestine, called on the international community to impose deterrent measures on the prolonged Israeli occupation, and to demand that the occupying power immediately halt its settlement project, protect Palestinians from settler violence and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions ".

"Violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank has increased significantly in recent months, with attacks and the destruction of property in an atmosphere of impunity," the experts said in a statement today, Wednesday, regarding the escalation of settler violence and their continuing attacks, as a result of the lack of accountability.

They added, "During the past year, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs documented 771 incidents of violence by settlers, which caused injury to 133 Palestinians, and destroyed 9646 trees, and 184 vehicles, most of them in the Hebron, Jerusalem, Nablus and Ramallah areas."

They stated that "during the first three months of this year, more than 210 violent incidents by settlers were recorded, with one Palestinian killed."

They called on "the Israeli army and police to investigate these acts of violence and prosecute the perpetrators with firmness and determination, pointing out that" settler violence was mostly ideological and designed primarily to seize land, but also to terrorize and terrorize the Palestinians. "

The experts considered that "violence and intimidation often prevents Palestinians from accessing and cultivating their lands, and creates a coercive environment that pressures them to move away from certain areas or even to move from them."

They said, "Settlers primarily target Palestinian livelihoods in rural areas, and cause the destruction of livestock, agricultural lands, trees and homes, as well as the establishment and expansion of Israeli settlements, which aim to create illegal justifications for imposing Israeli sovereignty over the land. Settler violence aims to make life." The daily Palestinian diet is unacceptable. "

They expressed their concern over “reports that more than 70 families live in the Karm al-Jaouni area in Sheikh Jarrah in Jerusalem, and are threatened with forced eviction to establish new settlements, and 7 families have already received eviction orders from their homes by May 2, despite the forced evictions. That lead to population transfer is strictly prohibited under international law. "

The UN experts pointed out that settler violence continues to target pregnant women, young children and the elderly. The pattern of attacks and violence, especially by settlers with ideological motives, constantly confirms that the nature of attacks on all groups of Palestinians is being erased.

They reported that “in one incident south of Hebron on March 13th, a Palestinian family and their eight children were attacked by 10 Israeli settlers, some of them armed. The injured parents received treatment in a clinic in Hebron, and the children are still in a state of shock.”

They added, "We are extremely concerned about the culture of impunity in which these attacks occur, and in many cases, the Israeli army was present or nearby, and did not take sufficient measures to protect Palestinians from this violence, and this amounts to a discriminatory and racist approach to military and security protection." In the West Bank. "

They explained, "The situation is particularly dire in the H2 area of Hebron, where a long-term pattern of violence by Israeli settlers has been imposed, the presence of the Israeli army intensified and harsh restrictions imposed on the Palestinian population for the benefit of the settlers."

The UN experts pointed out that “according to the Israeli Yesh Din Organization for Human Rights, between 2005-2019, 91% of investigations into cases brought by Palestinians with ideological-motivated crimes were closed without charges brought by the Israeli army, and this number is limited. Compared to the number and nature of crimes committed by Israeli settlers, it emphasizes more than anything else the systematic policy of impunity in the occupied Palestinian territories.

And they considered that "international law requires the occupying power in all circumstances to protect the population under its control, as Article 27 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states that the protected population must be treated humanely at all times, and they must be specially protected from all acts of violence or threats." .

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