Israeli settler violence

Israeli settler violence refers to acts of violence committed by Jewish Israeli settlers and their supporters against Palestinians and Israeli security forces, predominantly in the West Bank.[3] In November 2021, Defense Minister Benny Gantz discussed the steep rise in the number of incidents between settlers and Palestinians in the West Bank, many of which result from attacks by residents of illegal settler outposts on Palestinians from neighboring villages.[4]

Swedish volunteer Tove Johannson (pictured) suffered a broken cheekbone from a hit in the face with a bottle by an Israeli settler in Hebron on November 18, 2006. She and other European members of the International Solidarity Movement sought to escort Palestinian children home from school.[1][2]

Palestinian police are forbidden from reacting to acts of violence by Israeli settlers, a fact which diminishes their credibility among Palestinians.[5] UN figures from 2011 showed that 90% of complaints filed against settlers by Palestinians with the Israeli police never led to indictment.[3] In 2011 the BBC reported that "vast majority of settlers are non-violent but some within the Israeli government acknowledge a growing problem with extremists."[6]

Between January and November 2008, 515 criminal suits were opened by Israel against settlers for violence against Arabs or Israeli security forces; 502 of these involved "right wing radicals" while 13 involved "left wing anarchists".[7][8] In 2008, the senior Israeli commander in the West Bank said that a hard core of a few hundred activists were involved in violence against the Palestinians and Israeli soldiers.[9]

Some prominent Jewish religious figures living in the occupied territories, as well as Israeli government officials, have condemned and expressed outrage over such behavior,[10] while religious justifications for settler killings have also been given.[11] Israeli media said the defense establishment began taking a harder line against unruly settlers starting in 2008.[12]

In the 21st century, there has been a steady increase in violence and terror perpetrated by Jewish settlers against Palestinians.[12] In 2012, an EU heads of mission report found that settler violence had more than tripled in the three years up to 2011.[13] United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) figures state that the annual rate of settler attacks (2,100 attacks in 8 years) has almost quadrupled between 2006 and 2014.[14] In 2021, there was yet another wave of settler violence which erupted after a 16-year-old settler died in a car chase with Israeli police after having hurled rocks at Palestinians. So far it has resulted in 44 incidents in the span of a few weeks, injuring two Palestinian children.[15] In the latter parts of 2021, there has been a marked increase in settler violence toward Palestinians, condemned at the United Nations Security Council.

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