Aid agencies urge action as settler attacks on Palestinians top 1,000 in West Bank

Aid agencies urge action as settler attacks on Palestinians top 1,000 in West Bank
The increase in settler attacks has prompted aid groups to call on the international community to aid Palestinians.
3 min read
06 July, 2024
Israeli soldiers argue with a Palestinian man after an attack by Jewish settlers in the village of Burin, south of Nablus, after burning and destroying Palestinian vehicles. [Getty]

Aid agencies have urged urgent action after the number of Israeli settler attacks since 7 October reached 1,000 cases in the occupied West Bank

Israel’s latest war on Gaza has been accompanied by increased Israeli raids on the West Bank, where settlers have used the opportunity to attack Palestinians and their property.

The Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA) warned urged authorities to prevent the Israeli annexation of Palestinian land and to hold illegal settlers accountable for attacks. 

"In a context where outpost legalization is being fast-tracked, and Israel is stealing more and more land, foreign governments must act now to stop this illegal appropriation by taking meaningful measures to hold the Israeli Government and perpetrators of these attacks to account," said Sally Abi Khalil,  Middle East and North Africa Director of UK charity Oxfam. 

Settler attacks doubled to an average of four attacks daily amid the months-long conflict.

According to AIDA, increased settler violence in the West Bank since October has resulted in the killings of at least ten people, including two children, and injuries to 234 others, among them 20 children.  

Aid groups added that the escalation has also caused the forced displacement of 1,260 people, including 600 children, from 20 different communities. 

AIDA reports that despite limited sanctions on some Israeli settlers, it has not curbed violence due to support for settlers from the Israeli government.

AIDA has advocated for the removal of settlements and supports a Palestinian-led construction process in Area C, as well as reparations for Palestinian victims, including restitution, rehabilitation, compensation, and guarantees against future violations. 

Israel has occupied the West Bank since 1967, establishing settlements considered illegal under international law.  

Settlement expansion, which has been ongoing under successive Israeli governments, has accelerated sharply since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned to power in late 2022, leading a hardline pro-settler coalition. 

Currently, over 490,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank, excluding annexed East Jerusalem, alongside about three million Palestinians. 

Recent unrest at an unauthorised outpost coincided with Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who is a West Bank settler, declaring plans for over 5,000 new housing units for Israelis in the occupied territory.  

"We are building the good land and thwarting the establishment of a Palestinian state," Smotrich announced on X.

Peace Now, an Israeli anti-settlement watchdog, reported that the Israeli council responsible for West Bank construction is expected to advance plans for approximately 6,000 new settlement housing units this week.  

Increased settler attacks continue While Israeli forces have killed at least 38,098 people in nine months of war on the Gaza Strip.

The toll includes at least 87 deaths over the past 48 hours, a ministry statement said.  

It added that 87,705 people had been wounded in the Palestinian enclave since 7 October.