The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem documented 49 violent settler attacks in the five weeks between 21 December 2020 and 24 January: ‘Twenty-eight involved physical assaults: 19 cases in which settlers threw stones at passing vehicles; three cases of shooting; and six attacks of other kinds. In the other incidents, settlers vandalised Palestinian property, damaged crops and attacked homes.’
Four Palestinian children were injured by stones thrown by settlers: Mahmoud a-Tmeizi, 13; Sama Buziyah, 11; Hala Mashur Qut, 10; and five-year-old Jad Suaftah.
In at least 26 of the 49 cases documented by B’Tselem, Israeli security forces were present during the attack. In five cases, they also attacked Palestinians.
In the six months before 21 December 2020, B’Tselem documented 108 incidents of settler violence.
The human rights group says settler violence against Palestinians, with the full backing of the Israeli state, ‘has long since been a routine part of the occupation in the West Bank’.
B’Tselem goes on: ‘Israel sends security forces to protect the assailants and turn a blind eye to the crimes committed before their very eyes. It also takes care not to take retrospective action against the perpetrators. By doing so, it privatises the oppression of the Palestinians and enjoys the fruits: the transfer of Palestinians’ means of subsistence and livelihood to Jews, who take over the land and treat it as their own. This is precisely what a Jewish supremacist regime looks like.’
According to international law, the West Bank and East Jerusalem are ‘occupied Palestinian territories’ and all Israeli settlements built there are illegal.
More than 600,000 Jewish settlers currently live in more than 250 illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.