Israeli settlers have dramatically increased their attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank over recent months, a report by the Washington Post has revealed.
Settlers’ violent incidents increased by about 150 percent in the past two years, the report quoted Israeli official data.
A United Nations agency has separately found that 115 Palestinians have been beaten or otherwise attacked by settlers since the start of the year, with four fatalities.
More than 300 incidents of property destruction, including olive trees cut and burned during the autumn harvest, were documented over the same time period.
In a similar report, The Guardian spoke to Palestinian farmers, settlers, and Israeli human rights activists on how settler violence is fuelling West Bank tension.
The Guardian quoted the Israeli human rights agency B’Tselem as saying that Israel has “harnessed settler violence to promote its policy of taking over Palestinian land for Jewish use”.
In Burin the previous month, troops did not prevent settlers repeatedly stoning a home occupied by three women and a small boy, and only when a larger army force finally arrived after 40 minutes, did the settlers finally leave, while torching 100 olive trees.
But events took a darker turn in the south Hebron hills village of Khalat al-Daba on 10 November. Settlers, told by a military civil administration officer to dismantle a tent they had erected, ostensibly to provide shade for their sheep but close to a Palestinian farm building, remained in the area, moving their flock into olive trees cultivated by the villagers.
The report raises the question of what Israel is doing to curb what increasingly looks like rural settlers’ systematic use of violence.