Israeli Settler violence against Palestinians reaches crescendo

Many Israeli militia families now own property that once belonged to a Palestinian family, part of a massive erosion of the ethnic Palestinian population in occupied Palestine. Many violent takeover attacks supported by Israeli courts brought about the continued evictions of Palestinians from their homes to be taken over by Israeli ‘settlers’.

Since 7 October 2023, there has been an increase in the ongoing settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem. This followed the Israeli military’s mobilization of 5,500 settlers, who are also army reservists. The IDF also issued 7,000 firearms to these ‘battalion’ members and to what are referred to as “civilian security squads” within the settlements, according to a Haaretz report.

Israeli settlers have been attacking humanitarian aid delivery trucks and putting the lives of truckers and workers at risk.

Video: Settler attacks on humanitarian deliveries to Gaza. One truck driver told The Guardian that, “We were carrying oil, sugar and other things and driving from the Tarqumiya crossing,” he said. “We left in a convoy with an army vehicle in front of us and an army vehicle behind us, and we took a special army road that civilians could not cross. Suddenly, after 20 minutes on the road, near the crossing, we were surprised by at least 400 settlers. They attacked us. The rest of the drivers and I escaped from the vehicles after the settlers started throwing stones at us.’’

Israeli settlers carried out 800 attacks during this period, resulting in the displacement of over 1,222 Palestinians from 19 herding communities according to UN figures.

Tragically, nine Palestinians were killed by settlers using firearms. The situation remains alarming and urgent, with nearly 1,000 Palestinians newly and forcibly displaced from their homes. The violence escalated after Hamas’s attacks on Israel, making 2023 the most violent year on record for settler attacks in the West Bank. This violence has continued in 2024.

After numerous of these pogrom-style attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinian villages in the West Bank, Canada’s Foreign Minister announced sanctions against seven Israeli settlers and five entities in the occupied territories.

Canada’s Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said, “We remain deeply concerned by extremist settler violence in the West Bank and condemn such acts, not only for the significant impact they have on Palestinian lives but also for the corrosive impact they have on prospects for lasting peace.”

The seven individuals sanctioned by Canada are the following:

  • Ben Zion Gopstein
  • Daniella Weiss
  • Einan Ben-Nir Amram Tanjil
  • Elisha Yered
  • Ely Federman
  • Meir Mordechai Ettinger
  • Shalom Zicherman

The five entities sanctioned by Canada are the following:

  • Amana
  • Hilltop Youth
  • Lehava
  • Moshe’s Farm
  • Zvi’s Farm

Canada has urged citizens that travel to Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip is not advised.

Subsequently, Israel’s Finance Minister, Bezalel Smotrich, has claimed that the Israeli security and political cabinet has approved new punitive measures against the Palestinian Authority. These measures include the authorization of five settlement outposts and the convening of the Supreme Planning Council to plan the construction of thousands of new settlement homes in Palestinian territories.

Netanyahu to further expand settlements

Netanyahu to further expand settlements. Israeli Finance Office handout. Photo is cropped. Art, cropping, enhancement: Rosa Yamamoto / Feminine-Perspective-Magazine

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who heads a pro-settler party, explained in a statement that the government supported his proposal which includes the following key decisions. Netanyahu’s office was unavailable for comment.

  • Expand settlements in the West Bank and legalize 5 settlement outposts heretofore classified as illegal.
  • Apply the Israeli law in areas administratively controlled by the Palestinian Authority.
  • Withdraw executive powers from the Palestinian Authority in areas east of Bethlehem and southeast of Jerusalem.

According to the Gaza Media Office, “Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza has resulted in 47,765 victims and missing people, 37,765 of whom arrived at hospitals.”