PalestineHuman RightsMiddle East

UN rights experts warn of surge in ‘israeli’ settler violence against Palestinians

Zionist settlers are increasingly getting involved in acts of violence against Palestinians in an “atmosphere of impunity,” the United Nations human rights experts have warned.

“In 2020, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) documented 771 incidents of settler violence causing injury to 133 Palestinians and damaging 9,646 trees and 184 vehicles mostly in the areas of Hebron (al-Khalil), Jerusalem [al-Quds], Nablus and Ramallah,” the experts said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Already, during the first three months of 2021, more than 210 settler violent incidents were recorded, with one Palestinian fatality.”

Israeli authorities should “investigate and prosecute these violent acts with vigor and resolve,” the statement read.

The group of experts for the report included Michael Lynk, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, Balakrishnan Rajagopal, special rapporteur on adequate housing and right to non-discrimination, and independent expert Claudia Mahler.

The violence was predominantly ideologically motivated and primarily aimed to take over land but also to “intimidate and terrorize” Palestinians, the report said.

“They primarily target the livelihoods of rural Palestinians, vandalizing livestock, agricultural lands, trees and homes,” the experts said.

The report referred to an incident in al-Khalil on March 13, which saw a Palestinian family of parents and eight children attacked by 10 Israeli settlers, some of whom armed. The children were left traumatized, and the parents were hospitalized with injuries.

“We are deeply worried by the atmosphere of impunity in which these attacks are taking place.”

The rights experts also expressed concern about scores of Palestinian families living in the occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah who face the threat of eviction from their homes.

“Similarly worrying are reports that over 70 families living in the Karm Al-Ja’buni area of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem [al-Quds] are under threat of forced eviction to make place for new settlements.”

“Seven households have already received eviction orders and asked to vacate their homes by 2 May 2021. Such forced evictions leading to population transfers are strictly prohibited under international law.”

“Palestinians must be protected from settler violence and the perpetrators must be held to account for their actions,” the statement concluded.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds. 

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

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