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Israeli Report: Attacks by settlers doubled in 2021

Jerusalem24 – Data from the Israeli security forces showed that attacks perpetrated by settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank have doubled in 2021. The security services reviewed the data in front of security officials and representatives of the political leadership during closed discussions, Haaretz newspaper reported today, Sunday.

The data touched on the years 2019-2021, and indicated an increase in attacks, which are described as “national crimes”, despite the imposition of restrictions on movement in Israel and settlements, last year, in the wake of the Corona pandemic.

Palestinian shepherd Mamoun Amin Nassar seen after being attacked by settlers on May 27, 2017 in Madama, West Bank (Photo Credit: Zakariya Sada, field researcher with Rabbis for Human Rights)

The data indicated that settlers carried out 363 attacks against Palestinians in 2019, and the number of these attacks increased to 507 in 2020, and to 416 terrorist attacks in the first half of this year, which is more than all terrorist attacks committed by settlers in the whole of 2019.

In the first half of 2020, settlers committed 263 terrorist attacks against Palestinians, and in the first half of 2019 they committed 224 attacks. It is noteworthy that this data is according to the documentation of the Israeli military and security apparatus.

According to the data, in the first half of this year, settlers committed approximately 139 attacks on property, throwing stones and “price-tag” operations, compared to 111 such attacks in 2020 and 83 similar attacks in 2019.

In the first half of this year, settlers carried out 130 physical assaults on Palestinians, compared to 52 physical assaults in 2020, and 63 such attacks in 2019. In parallel, verbal confrontations and Settler initiated riots were documented in the West Bank.

The Israeli security service considered that the increase in Jewish attacks in the West Bank occurred in December 2020, following the killing of a settler by a Palestinian in the Jenin area, and the killing of another settler during a chase by the Israeli police.

Illustrative: Israeli soldiers stand by as masked Israeli settlers throw stones at Palestinian protesters (unseen) gathering during a demonstration against construction on an Israeli outpost near the Palestinian village of Turmusaya and the settlement of Shilo, North of Ramallah in the West Bank, on October 17, 2019. (Photo Credit: Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP)

The Israeli newspaper, Ha’aretz, quoted sources in the security apparatus as saying that the policy followed by the Israeli army and police is what led to the rise in national crimes against the Palestinians. Since the settlers’ death, the political echelon has been trying to avoid confrontations with the settlers and allowing the extremists among them to act as they like throughout the West Bank.

A security source told the newspaper that “we were in a series of electoral rounds, and it was clear to everyone that no one wants to engage in confrontations with the “Tilal Youth,” a settler  group. Also, violent groups, rioters in the outposts, were aware of this. The events in Sheikh Jarrah and the military operation of the Keeper of the Fences (the aggression on Gaza last May) encouraged these extremist parties to carry out their actions.”

Most of the attacks carried out by settlers during the last two years took place in Hebron, Ramallah and Nablus. 200 Jewish attacks were documented in Hebron during the year 2020, compared to 104 attacks in 2019. In Nablus, 141 Jewish attacks against Palestinians were documented in 2020, compared to 90 attacks in 2019.

Ha’aretz, referred to one of these attacks, last May, when dozens of settlers attacked the village of Asira al-Qibliya in the Nablus governorate, threw stones at homes and residents and fired in the air, and as a result, confrontations developed. However, when the Israeli military that arrived in the village they dispersed the Palestinians by firing tear gas and stun grenades, one of the soldiers fired live ammunition, which led to the death of 19-year-old Hussam Asairah.

On the same day, settlers attacked the village of Urif, near Nablus, and some of them were armed and threw stones at homes and residents. At that time, two Palestinians were killed and 12 others were wounded.

A sign on the road near the Yitzhar settlement, South of Nablus, in the occupied West Bank.

The data indicated that the settlement of Yitzhar, South of Nablus, to be the largest source of settler attacks against Palestinians. Yitzhar is considered one of the main extremist settler strongholds in the West Bank. 84 attacks were launched from Yitzhar in 2020, folled by the outpost in Hebron who launched 83 attacks in the same year. The data was referring to the settlements of Emek Shilo, Rehalim and Bat Ayin; each of which committed approximately 25 attacks against Palestinians throughout 2020.

Mohammad Hamayel

Ramallah based journalist, Mohammad graduated from Al-Quds University with a B.A. in Media and Television. He has covered the 2015 Jerusalem Intifada as well as the Great March of Return for international media outlets. currently an editor/presenter at Jerusalem24. A UN alumni and a follower of global events and politics, especially American affairs.

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