Settler Attacks on Palestinians in West Bank Raise Concerns


Israeli settlers in the West Bank have allegedly carried out more than 100 assaults against Palestinians since the beginning of the conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, according to a report by the human rights group Yesh Din. These attacks have occurred in at least 62 different locations in the West Bank and have resulted in the deaths of at least six Palestinians due to live fire.

Yesh Din claimed that some of these attacks were conducted with the protection of soldiers. Incidents included the theft of Palestinian property such as solar panels and generators, as well as acts of vandalism like burning homes and vehicles and uprooting trees. The group argued that despite these incidents, no settlers have been detained, arrested, or investigated in connection with these assaults. Law enforcement authorities have not commented on these allegations.

The violence by settlers appears to be aimed at displacing Palestinian communities, potentially to take control of their homes and lands. Entire shepherding communities have reportedly been forced to evacuate due to increased settler violence. The most recent village to be abandoned was Wadi Seek, home to around 200 people in the central West Bank. Witnesses reported that settlers entered the village and opened fire on remaining residents after women and children had already been evacuated. Three Palestinians were reportedly wounded in the incident.

Additionally, in the village of Ein Shabli in the Jordan Valley, most residents fled in recent weeks due to alleged threats by armed settlers. Some locals claimed to have received threatening phone calls from individuals posing as Shin Bet agents or police officers, urging them to leave their homes within days or hours in light of the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

Since the conflict’s onset on October 7, the Palestinian Authority health ministry reported that at least 96 Palestinians in the West Bank have been killed, primarily in clashes with soldiers. The Israel Defense Forces have stated that they arrested 800 wanted Palestinians across the West Bank, including over 500 affiliated with Hamas.

The conflict between Israel and Hamas began with a sudden ground, air, and sea assault by Hamas from the Gaza Strip into Israel. The situation escalated with thousands of rockets fired from Gaza, leading to significant civilian casualties on both sides. Israeli forces have responded with extensive strikes on Hamas targets, aiming to dismantle the group’s power in Gaza, where it has ruled since 2007. The exact number of casualties in Gaza, including the count of terror operatives, remains unverified, according to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry.

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