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- 912 Defa Okundu
Since the coronavirus crisis broke out settlers aggression toward Palestinians continue among that the incident happened in "Metzoke Dragot"
Settlers aggression toward Palestinians is not widely covered by media, among that the incident happened in “Metzoke Dragot” along the (Dead Sea) where Palestinians were attacked and torched their vehicles by a group of settlers. Yet this was just one of multiple of physical assaults against Palestinians in the previous weeks, were the settlers scourge have increased drastically in all parts of the West Bank.
Since coronavirus crisis broke out aggression of settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank have increased in favor of Israeli state, despite constraints in movement, closures and a series of strict social lockdowns. In these violent incidents, settlers, some of them carrying firearms physically assaulted Palestinians with the aid of clubs, axes, electroshock weapons, stones and assault dogs. Settlers also attacked homes, torched cars, vandalized and uprooted trees and other crops, and stole livestock.
Settlers also harass Palestinian shepherds in the Jordan Valley, near the settlements of “Rimonim” and “Kochav Hashahar”. Settlers also graze their cattle and sheep in Palestinians’ cultivated fields, mostly in the Jordan Valley. These routine acts of harassment and vandalism are not included in the above data.
In most of violent incidents that got carried out by settlers included, violently droving Palestinian farmers and shepherds out of pastureland, prevented access to farmland and damaged crops. Settlers also vandalized hundreds of trees: about 240 olive trees in land belonging to the villages of Turmusaya and al-Mughayir, 30 in Qaryut, 50 in Ras Karkar and hundreds more in lands belonging to the village of al-Khader. These aggressions are part of a strategy by the settlers and Israeli authorities systematically aiming to block Palestinian access to land which they harvest or graze their cattle in –one acre, field at a time- and control those lands. This way the state transfers the means of livelihood of Palestinians into the hands of Israelis. Settler violence is the state’s unofficial, privatized arm that serves to gradually achieve this goal.
The state’s full support for this violence is evident in the actions of Israeli security forces on the ground. Five of eight attacks on Palestinian homes occurred in the presence of soldiers who allowed the settlers to do what they please. In at least three incidents the soldiers fired tear gas canisters at residents and arrested some of them. In other three cases, the soldiers arrived with marauding settlers or joined them early on in the assault. Similar incidents occurred, with soldiers firing rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters at residents.
Israel allows settlers to attack Palestinians and damage their property virtually unimpeded, as a matter of policy. This includes provision of military protection for the attackers, and in some cases soldiers’ active participation in the assault. The police in the other hand, hold back from enforcing the law on the offenders. This police behavior is part of Israel’s strategy to take over the West Bank and its resources by encouraging the dispossession of Palestinians throughout the West Bank. The fact that this violence has exacerbated during a global pandemic adds another layer of brutality to Israel’s policy which strikes down all the international laws and norms.
Abdullatif Khader/ Palestinian lawyer specialized in occupation and Wall of apartheid matter