|Settler violence on the rise; seven Palestinians injured and over 800 trees vandalized|
This week witnessed eight Israeli settler attacks across the West Bank resulting in Palestinian injuries (four) or damage to their property (four), as well as one incident resulted in injuries among Israeli settlers.
Israeli settlers from Itamar settlement raided the neighbouring village of Beit Furik (Nablus) twice during the week, on 22 and 27 January, triggering clashes with the residents. Israeli forces that arrived at the site in both cases intervened and fired rubber-coated-metal bullets or live ammunition at Palestinians, injuring four of them, and detaining another two, including a 16-year-old boy. During 2013, 201 Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces during interventions in settler attacks.
The day before, also in the Nablus area, Israeli settlers from Rehelim settlement raided the neighboring village of Qabalan and vandalized ten Palestinian vehicles, sprayed “price tag” graffiti on several walls and damaged 20 olive seedlings.
The most serious incident in terms of property damage occurred on 22 January when Israeli settlers from Giv’at Hara’el settlement outpost uprooted and vandalized 800 olive saplings in Sinjil village (Ramallah) that were recently planted through a donor-funded project; fifteen (15) Palestinian families were affected as a result. On 14 January (previous reporting period), a group of Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian workers implementing a donor-funded project in the village of Burin (Nablus), for the rehabilitation of an agricultural road in Area B; the incident ended with no injuries. In response, the Israeli military designated the area as a “closed military zone”, resulting in the suspension of the project until further notice.
This week also recorded multiple incidents of physical assault or intimidation by Israeli settlers targeting Palestinian farmers or herders, most of which ended without casualties or damage. In one of the incidents, however, a 60-year-old Palestinian herder from Um al Kheir (Hebron) lost consciousness after being attacked by settlers from Karmel settlement, while grazing his sheep in the area.
Also this week, two separate incidents of physical assault resulting in injuries were recorded in East Jerusalem: on 24 January, two Palestinians were attacked by a group of settler while driving through the Pisgat Ze’ev settlement; and, on 22 January, two Israelis were attacked by Palestinians in At Tur area.