In today’s Haaretz there is an article warning of the dangers of settler violence in the West Bank. Specifically, the article is about a report from the United Nations Office of Humanitarian Affairs for the occupied Palestinian territories that states that over 250,000 Palestinians are at risk of settler violence across the West Bank. Unfortunately, the article implies the danger in dismantling illegal settlements – namely, the settlers will attack Palestinians for retribution:
According to the report, if Israel takes significant action against the outposts, around 250,000 Palestinians in 83 West Bank communities will be “highly of moderately vulnerable” to settler violence.
The article also notes the inability (or perhaps unwillingness) of Israeli security forces to stop illegal settler behavior and egregious settler violence:
“The concern about the possible outbreak of waves of settler violence and their impact on the Palestinian population stems … from the inadequate level of law enforcement by the Israeli authorities,” the report’s authors write. “[T]he main concern is the frequent failure of the Israeli security forces to intervene and stop settler attacks in real time, including the failure to arrest suspected settlers on the spot.”
“Among the main reasons behind this failure is the ambiguous message delivered by the Government of Israel and the IDF top officials to the security forces in the field regarding their authority and responsibility to enforce the law on Israeli settlers,” the report continues.
The publication of this report is a positive development because it highlights an ongoing reality in the West Bank. While not all settlers are of the extremist violent type, there are attacks on Palestinians and Palestinian land nearly everyday by settlers. Publicity could help improve the situation. Unfortunately, the publication of the report is also a double-edged sword: revealing the reality of settler violence and the incapacity of Israeli security services is, well, revealing the sad reality.
Of course, there are numerous instances of violence against Israeli committed by Palestinians as well and this is mentioned in the article. Without effective security by Israel, violence by Palestinians and Israeli will continue to be a problem. Tel Aviv must take a stand and be clear about the role of the security forces in the West Bank.
Photo from In Minds