Creating new perspectives since 2009

UN: 1,100 Palestinians displaced in 2022 by Jewish settlers in West Bank

September 26, 2023 at 9:55 am

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) Humanitarian Coordinator Lynn Hastings speaks during a press conference at the UN compound in Gaza City on 23 May 2021 [EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images]

Since 2022, over 1,100 Palestinians from 28 communities have been displaced citing rising violence and prevention of access to grazing land by illegal Israeli settlers, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said last week.

During the same period, 1,614 settler-related incidents resulted in Palestinian casualties or property damage, an average of 80 incidents per month – the highest volume ever documented by the UN since it began tracking such behaviour in 2006.

Four communities have been completely displaced since 2022 and now stand empty. Six other communities have seen their populations drop down by half.

“The UN has recorded unprecedented levels of settler violence against Palestinians this year,” said Lynn Hastings, humanitarian coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory.

“The humanitarian community is responding to their immediate needs, but there would be no need for humanitarian assistance if their fundamental rights were upheld.”

Some 10,000 residents remain in the assessed communities, and along with others across the territory, they are in urgent need of humanitarian support because of settler violence and the failure of Israeli authorities to hold perpetrators accountable, the UN explained.

READ: Israel forcibly transferring Palestinians in West Bank: Rights group

This, together with Palestinians’ inability to obtain approvals to build, demolitions, evictions, movement restrictions and ongoing settlement expansion, creates a coercive environment that contributes to displacement that may amount to forcible transfer, a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the UN said.

In the report, the UN says Palestinian herders require support for their livelihoods, including to feed and protect their herds, and humanitarian assistance to address their basic needs for shelter, food, water, education and health care.

Settlement expansion has been promoted by successive Israeli governments over nearly six decades, but current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right government has made it a top priority.

Settler firebrand and Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich now oversees settlement policy and has vowed to step up construction and to legalise outposts built without authorisation.

All settlements and outposts are illegal under international law.