Rights group warns of ‘sharp rise’ in violence against Palestinians by Jewish settlers

Middle East Monitor  /  October 5, 2023

An international human rights organization warned, on Thursday, of a “sharp increase” in violence by Israeli settlers in the Occupied Palestinian Territories “under the political cover of the government Israel”, Anadolu Agency reports.

EuroMed Rights, a network of 68 human rights organizations, institutions and individuals based in 30 countries across Europe and the Mediterranean region based in Geneva, Switzerland, presented its report at the UN Human Rights Council’s 54th session.

The number of settlers’ attacks in the first half of 2023 reached 1,148, “nearly equaling the total number of attacks recorded in the (entire) previous year (2022), which was 1,187,” the rights organization representative said, adding that such violence is committed “under the political cover of the Israeli government.”

“This increase indicates an unprecedented level of violence, with almost no accountability or punishment measures in place,” she said as EuroMed shared her video on social media, without mentioning her name.

She noted that Israeli government ministers’ “provocative rhetoric” is a “major contributor to the significant increase in settler violence, as the government supports settlers in various ways, including protecting them from security or judicial prosecution.”

She concluded her speech by urging the international community “to be present on the ground to protect vulnerable Palestinian communities at risk of displacement, as well as to take concrete steps to pressure Israel to end its military occupation.”

In September, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said since 2022, over 1,100 Palestinians from 28 communities have been displaced, citing rising violence and prevention of access to grazing land by illegal Jewish settlers.

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

Successful Israeli governments have promoted settlement expansion across the Occupied Palestinian Territories, but current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right government has made it a top priority.

Several Israeli ministers, including Finance Minister, Bezalel Smotrich, and National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, made clear statements encouraging settlers’ violence and vowing to expand settlement construction across the Occupied Territories.

All Jewish settlements and outposts are illegal under international law.