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Israel NGO urges international community to protect Palestinians from settler attacks

January 31, 2020 at 12:37 pm

Jewish settlers burn Palestinian’s vehicles in Qalqilya, West Bank on December 20, 2019. [Nedal Eshtayah – Anadolu Agency]

An Israeli human rights organisation has called on the international community to “intervene” to protect Palestinians from attacks by Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank.

In a statement published yesterday, Yesh Din slammed “the systematic failure of Israeli law enforcement to protect Palestinians” from “criminal acts by Israeli civilians (settlers and others)”.

Since its founding in 2005, the NGO said it has “documented about 2,000 incidents of violence, assault, threats, vandalism of private property and mosques, damage to or destruction of olive trees, arson, land takeover and more” in the West Bank.

According to Yesh Din, “the common thread between the offenses investigated in these cases is that they were ideologically motivated.”

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“The perpetrators set out to intimidate their victims in an effort to drive them off their land in the service of expanding the settlement enterprise and further entrenching Israel’s control over land in the West Bank while pushing Palestinians out.”

Per data collected by Yesh Din, between 2005 and July 2019, Palestinian victims chose to file police complaints in 1,291 incidents (and hundreds of other victims chose not to file such complaints).

About 91 per cent of the files were “closed at the end of an investigation with no indictment filed”, Yesh Din reported; of the closed investigation files, 82 per cent “were closed in circumstances attesting to police failure to investigate and solve the crime”.

Alongside the latest data, Yesh Din has also this week published a collection of testimonies by Palestinians attacked by settlers.

Surveying “15 years of gross negligence by Israel’s law enforcement agencies in the face of ideologically motivated crime by Israeli civilians against Palestinians”, Yesh Din reached the conclusion that Israeli authorities are “unable or unwilling to take resolute action in keeping with its legal duties to eradicate violence and harm to Palestinians and their property”.

Thus, Yesh Din concludes, “we believe that the international community, which shares in the responsibility for protecting the rights of Palestinians living under occupation, has an obligation to intervene and take action to ensure Palestinians get the protection Israel fails to provide.”