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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
1 November 2011




ISRAELI SETTLER VIOLENCE IN THE WEST BANK

عنف المستوطنين الإسرائيليين في الضفة الغربية


NOVEMBER 2011







1. Violence by Israeli settlers undermines the physical security and livelihoods of Palestinians living under Israel’s prolonged military occupation. This violence includes physical assaults, harassment, takeover of and damage to private property, obstructed access to grazing and agricultural land, and attacks on livestock and agricultural land, among others.

2. In recent years, many attacks have been carried out by settlers living in settlement “outposts,” small satellite settlements built without official authorization, many on privately-owned Palestinian land. Since 2008, settlers have attacked Palestinians and their property as a means of discouraging the Israeli authorities from dismantling these outposts (the so-called “price tag” strategy).

3. The root cause of the settler violence phenomenon is Israel’s decades-long policy of illegally facilitating the settling of its citizens inside occupied Palestinian territory. This activity has resulted in the progressive takeover of Palestinian land, resources and transportation routes and has created two separate systems of rights and privileges, favoring Israeli citizens at the expense of the over 2.5 million Palestinian residents of the West Bank. Recent official efforts to retroactively legalize settler takeover of privately-owned Palestinian land actively promotes a culture of impunity that contributes to continued violence.

4. The Israeli authorities repeatedly fail to enforce the rule of law in response to Israeli settlers’ acts of violence against Palestinians. Israeli forces often fail to stop attacks and follow-up afterwards is inadequate or poorly conducted. Measures of the current system, including requiring Palestinians to file complaints at police stations located inside Israeli settlements, actively work against the rule of law by discouraging Palestinians from filling complaints.

5. The risk of displacement of vulnerable families as a result of settler violence is an issue of increasing concern. S ettler violence creates pressure and constant hardship on some Palestinian communities, particularly when combined with other difficulties, such as access and movement restrictions and house demolitions. Displacement has serious immediate and longer-term physical, socio-economic and emotional impacts on Palestinian families and communities.

6. Under international humanitarian law and international human rights law, Israel is obligated to prevent attacks against civilians or their property and ensure that all incidents of setter violence are investigated in a thorough, impartial and independent manner.



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