Protect Palestinians from Settler Violence in the West Bank
Since the death of Ahuvia Sandak, there settlers have violently attacked Palestinians and their property in the West Bank on a daily basis. Most evenings, and occasionally in the middle of the day, Palestinians are made to suffer from stone-throwing attacks on their vehicles and homes; their roads being blocked by boulders; destruction of their crops and property; and physical attacks with pipes and sticks. Based on testimonies gathered by Yesh Din: Volunteers for Human Rights, it appears that some of these attacks occur in the presence and plain view of soldiers who refuse to stop settler violence nor to protect Palestinians. The soldiers do not arrest nor detain the attackers, and in the best-case scenario, will separate the groups. However, most often, the IDF soldiers do nothing at all.
On February 8, 2021, we wrote to the Military Command, along with Yesh Din, to demand that the army protect Palestinians from settler violence. Attorneys Michal Ziv of Yesh Din and ACRI’s Roni Pelli underscored Israel’s obligation, in accordance with Israeli High Court rulings and international law, to provide security for and to protect the inhabitants of occupied territories, and in particular, to defend them from intimidation, harassment, and physical violence. We demanded investigations into instances of settler violence in which soldiers simply stood by, as well as to revise the army’s rules and regulations to reflect these obligations.
We further insisted that all available measures be taken to stop this wave of violence, including:
● Stationing routine forces in areas that are regularly targeted by vigilantes, and the reinforcement of existing patrol units
● Issuing clear directives to commanders and soldiers active in these areas outlining their authorities and obligations regarding law enforcement against Israeli citizens who are violating the law
● Setting up points of contact for immediate, real-time responses to extreme cases and exceptional incidents
● Preventing the use of daily closure orders to distance Palestinians and solidarity activists from aiding them, instead enabling Palestinians to access their land without fear
● Rigorous assessment, strict supervision, and oversight, of settler-held weapons