West Bank: Jewish settlers form ‘militia’ in occupied Palestine

Jewish settlers with assault rifles in the West Bank (Menahem Kahana - AFP)

Middle East Monitor  /  September 21, 2022

Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank have apparently formed a militia to carry out night operations against the Palestinians, the official Kan broadcaster has reported. The so-called “Civil Guard”, it is claimed, will help the Israel occupation army.

Settlers launched a night patrol on Route 60 on Monday night. The road passes through the Palestinian town of Hawara, south of Nablus.

Kan quoted settler Kobi Zayat as saying that for about six months settlers had been facing daily stone-throwing by Palestinians on the road that passes through Hawara. They claim that they had no other roads to use for access to Jerusalem and central Israel.

Zayat lives in the illegal settlement of Yitzhar. He added that after two shooting attacks last week, the settlers decided to help the army to protect themselves and strengthen the settlers’ feeling of safety. There are now concerns that armed settlers will carry out reprisals against Palestinians in the area.

In January 2022, the Israeli Minister of Internal Security, Omer Bar-Lev, admitted that the settlers practice “organized terror” against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. The number of attacks by settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank, carried out in front of Israeli soldiers, has doubled recently. Such attacks include physical assaults, vandalism and the burning of property and crops, say the Palestinians.

According to the Israeli human rights movement Peace Now, around 666,000 Jewish settlers live in 145 large settlements and 140 random outposts (not even licensed by the Israeli government) in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. All Jewish settlers and their settlements are illegal under international law.