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UN report shows 40% rise in settler violence in 2011

The United Nations publishes a report on settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, revealing a drastic rise in Palestinian casualties and property damage in 2011 compared with 2010

Activists trying to prevent a settler from pulling a Palestinian water hose out of a well. (Photo: Mairav Zonszein)

The United Nations Office for Coordination of Human Affairs (OCHA) in the Palestinian territories has just published a report on settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank that (not surprisingly) shows a significant rise since last year. The report covers not only physical harm to Palestinians, but also property damage, which can often be just as bad or worse than physical harm, as the impact of uprooted olive trees, damaged tractors or murdered sheep on Palestinian livelihood can be so grave that it ultimately costs lives.

The report also shows how such violent behavior leads to the displacement of Palestinian communities (read: gradual cleansing and land grab), who are forced to leave their homes and move towards larger urban areas of the West Bank.

Maybe the most disturbing statistic is that 90% of complaints filed with Israeli police by Palestinians of such incidents have been closed without any indictments. This means no accountability and no justice. As the report explains:

Measures of the current system, including requiring Palestinians to file complaints at police stations located inside Israeli settlements, actively work against the rule of law by discouraging Palestinians from filling complaint

The report is a confirmation and testament to the horrid and illegal behavior that has become an epidemic known as “price tags,” and it does not even include those acts of violence happening inside the Green Line – such as the attack on the Abu el-Abed restaurant in Jaffa last week or just last night (Sunday), when the Peace Now offices in Jerusalem were evacuated due to a bomb threat.

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    1. D Charles QC

      The Settler Movement is simply another form of terrorists and we could argue even “state sponsored”. Sure they do not blow themselves up but they certainly are doing everything they can to ensure the West Bank becomes part of Israel proper.

      We must ask the logic and motives behind them. They certainly are not looking to become future “Palestinian Jews” are they? Thus they claim the land as theirs and seek that it becomes incorporated into Israel or alternatively provokes enough conflict that eventualy Israel simply annexes the territory as a whole. Settler violence seems to imply the latter.

      It is also very clear that Settler violence is carefuly organised, knowing that any retribution and in many cases legitimate self-defence, will bring out the IDF on thier side.

      Certainly there will be some in the Palestinian camp who enjoy being the victims and will claim even more – but the overwhelming evidence is clear – as is the Settler’s motives.

      Israel most definitly has the right to prosper and live in tranquility, not be subject to terror or to live in fear. Their right to self-defence is also clear. However, so does the Palestinians – if they can create a non-terror-based nation. Right now the Settlers and the terrorists are feeding each other and the victims are the populations themselves.

      D Charles QC

      Reply to Comment
    2. gloria schwartz

      I am afraid for Israel…..Very afraid….

      Reply to Comment
    3. RichardNYC

      negotiations now. or unilateral withdrawal beginning with strategically insignificant areas.

      Reply to Comment
    4. ProphetJoe

      A 40% rise in violence against Palestinians — so says the “neutral” United Nations.

      Can you tell me what the definition of “violence” was in this report? Does violence include the settler (shown above) who was trying to protect the farm against thieves trying to steal his water? I’ve seen the video and he is not the aggressor. In fact, he is clearly the victim in this exchange.

      How about the U.N. report on violence against Jews? Did they do a study to see how many Israeli babies had their throats slit in the past year? How many Israelis were murdered? How many Israelis were killed or injured by rock-throwing Arabs? Or how many mortars and rockets were fired into the sovereign nation of Israel?

      What I am trying to point out is that you present a wholly one-sided argument here. How can you compare Israelis throwing rocks or uprooting olive trees to the Islamic Jihadists who strap bombs on themselves and walk into crowded shopping centers? Or how the “Palestinian side” denies the right of Israel to exist? I don’t see Israelis screaming “death to Arabs”. but I see Arabs doing it on TV almost every week. I see Palestinian supporters in the US who hold up signs saying “God Bless Hitler”. How can any reasonably intelligent person support someone who idealizes Adolf Hitler?

      Until both sides can agree to the others’ right to existence, there will continue to be skirmishes. There will be escalations and times of relative peace, but I don’t see any meaningful peace negotiations until the Arabs accept Israel. I’m sorry, but in my view, Israel is not to blame for the lack of peace in the Middle East.

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    5. laila

      Prophet Joe,
      you don’t see Israeli screaming death to Arabs because you choose to conveniently turn your head somewhere else, possibly with your small fingers in your ears.
      Try visiting Hebron with the Breaking the Silence tour with eyes and ears open. A simple search on you tube might also help.

      Reply to Comment
    6. BTW, Prophet Joe, the video does not show a settler saving ‘his’ water. It shows a settler attacking a Palestinian farmer who is drawing water from a well on his own land.

      Your comment is just… sad, really.

      Reply to Comment
    7. ProphetJoe

      @Laila: I’m confident there are ultra-conservative Israelis who shout “death to Arabs” or something similar, but I see it as coming from the edge of society — the extremists. I don’t see the Israeli government ranting on TV about building nuclear weapons so they can rid the world of Arabs. The same does not appear true in the reverse — Iran has repeatedly talked about wiping Israel “off the map” and the jubilant celebration of terrorist acts seems very “mainstream” in the Arab world. You need to look at the actions of BOTH sides — do you see Jews wearing bomb vests and strolling into the Dome of the Rock and blowing up Muslims? I am, admittedly, an American with no Middle East ties, but I have not seen these acts — not even on YouTube. Why is it we see Muslims do it with some frequency? Lastly, why on earth would you assert that I have small fingers? Please respond with facts I can verify and not name calling/insults. If you want to persuade independent thinkers, show us proof.

      @Lisa: You claim the video shows an Israeli settler attacking a Palestinian farmer… IsraeliNationalNews.com (Arutz Sheva) describes it differently in this article: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/142585#.TrtMOFb6PlY I’ve heard of Arutz Sheva. I understand you’re one of the co-founders of 972mag.com — until yesterday I’d never heard of you, so you’ll excuse me if I don’t take your word for it. Can you cite a few other mainstream Israeli News agencies which classified this as an attack of a Palestinian farmer on his own land? Say where was this exactly? The news story I reference above said it was on the Har-Sinai farm? Wasn’t that named for Yair Har-Sinai — an unarmed Israeli farmer murdered about 10 years ago? Did they ever convict someone for his murder?

      Reply to Comment
    8. Nestor Makhno


      You know, i have to admit, I am not a very intelligent person, so I am coming to you with my questions because ist seems you are a very wise person.
      Well one of my question is; what is the difference between a suicidal attack on a group of “innocent people” and countless attacks with F 16 warplanes, Merkava Tanks and killing drones on unarmed civilians.
      I have anaother question; Could you explain to me what the by you called “unarmed israeli farmer”was doing there in the first place. Was it his land or did he procure this land illegally in violation of numerous UN SC resolutions which call for the withdrawal of the illegally occupied westbank and Golan heights by Israel.
      I have al lot of other questions, but for the moment I am just curious to know your answers on the two I asked you advice for.

      Reply to Comment
    9. mailman


      Let me answer your question.

      What is the difference between a palestinian spontaeneously detonating on public transport and the IDF attacking a mortar emplacement. Well, the most obvious difference is that the Palestinian is deliberately and purposely attacking civilians with the sole aim of murdering them while the IDF is attacking a mortar emplacement that has just fired mortars at a civilian population centre.

      Secondly, which law are you referring to in particular? Now, be specific here…I dont want waffle about “international law” because international law is actually quite clear here. Israel has every right to the Golan Heights as it was captured in a defensive war, a war started by Arabs. So it is perfectly within its rights to retain the Golan heights.

      Look, the reality is that there could be peace in the Middle East tomorrow. All that requires is for the Arab world to accept Israels right to exist in peace. Quite simple really…except for the fact that the Arab world has been in a continuous state of war against Israel since its foundation over 60 years ago.

      The problem here arent Jewish settlers like the Fogel children. The problem is rampant Arab anti-semitism and racism backed and bolstered by the useful fools in the west who are even more anti-semetic than the Arabs.

      So perhaps the next time you could ask your friends in Hamas or Hesbullah, why do the fear the Jews so much that they must dedicate themselves to their total and utter destruction?


      Reply to Comment
    10. ProphetJoe

      @Nestor – Thank you for your compliment. Based on your questions, you sound quite intelligent yourself.

      Question #1 – Although you don’t name the parties directly, it seem quite reasonable to assume you mean the Arabs and the Israelis respectively. The various Arab groups (Hamas, Hizbollah, Islamic Jihad, et al) are, for all intents and purposes, waging a guerilla war against Israel. As a student of military history, I can fully see the benefits of conducting guerllia warfare. None of the aforementioned groups, nor the Arab nations sponsoring them (Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, etc.) has the outright military strength, technology or will to carry out a conventional war against Israel. They’ve tried that option numerous times. The Six Days War and the Yom Kippur War are 2 prime examples of coordinated, multi-national Arab attacks against Israel. It won’t work. Like Saddam’s vaunted Republic Guard in Iraq, we see that these nations just don’t have the capabilities to defeat a well-trained, well-equipted, modern western army such as the IDF.

      Historically, guerilla wars have been carried out against military targets in order to expedite governmental/regime change. In this case, the Arab fighters are choosing civilian targets (which goes against every UN regulation regarding war) because they can’t afford a direct military conflict. If this minority of Arabs (the terrorists) were to try direct mass raids against Israeli military targets, they would be wiped out quickly. Instead, the intent is to terrorize the civilian population and to use the media to spin the conflict into a propaganda war.

      From Gaza, we see a steady stream of mortars and rockets meant to harass and demoralize the Israelis. We see the terrorists use schools and hospitals as launching points. We see them use Arab civilians as human shields because they know the Israelis don’t want civilian casualties. Just look at the last Gaza conlfict (known as Operation Cast Lead in Israel). In some cases, the IDF used cell phones to call into targeted areas to warn civilians to leave. Instead the terrorists used these warnings to their advantage by increasing the civilians present — so in reality, it is the terrorists who should be held accountable for many of the Arab civilian deaths. Unfortunately, the terrorist leaders don’t mind using civilians as pawns in their game of propoganda. It’s a win-win situation for the terrorists — if they can launch 1-2 rockets into southern Israel, they can shake their fist in the air and yell “Look at me! I am fighting for Palestine!”. And if the rocket attack spawns a retaliation against the launch site (often a civilian entity like a school) the terrorists yell “Look at the Jews destroy our poor school!” As I said, it’s a win-win situation for the Arab terrorists.

      Now, let’s consider another point about military history. History has shown 2 important things: 1) Overwhelming military might wins conflicts more often that negotiated settlements (peace talks) and 2) to the victor go the spoils. In the case of Israel, they are not using overwhelming military force. They have been measured in their response in the last few decades. Secondly, although they have won large areas of land during the wars that they’ve won — remember, they controlled the West Bank, the Golan Heights, Gaza, and the Sinai Peninsula at one time — as a token of peace and goodwill, they have returned the latter pieces of land over time. They have kept the West Bank and incorporated it back into Israel (it was Jewish land in ancient times) in order to protect their nation from Arab aggression. (this answers your second question as to why an Israeli settler was there.)

      What have the Arab nations conceded for peace in the region? Has the Hamas Charter been revised to allow for a Jewish state? Has Iran ceased calling for nuclear weapon development in order to ‘wipe Israel off the map’? No, the terrorists want this conflict. They believe in the glory that it brings — even in death. Until the Arabs groups accept and embrace the existence of Israel, I’m afraid the Jews will just keep having to defend their nation against this geo-politcal terrorism. Because the terrorists use violence, the Israelis will retaliate.

      Hope this answers your questions.


      Reply to Comment
    11. Sarah

      Hey, guess what? There’s a VIDEO of this incident. And 972 got it totally wrong. Check it out, folks—these guys may be “Activists trying to prevent a settler from pulling a Palestinian water hose out of a well” but their implied righteouness is contradicted by the fact that they were caught in the act of stealing water from a Jewish farmer:http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/142585

      The violence here is solely on the part of Leftist and Arab thieves. The pushing, tearing of clothes, thievery is all by your heroes. Do you lie in this column on purpose or are you simply sloppy on fact-checking and swallow everything your “friends” tell you? 972 has long dealt in half-truths–nice to see it finally caught on tape.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Scott-F

      I just went to Hebron yesterday. You know… that place where there are 400 settlers living “illegaly”. I saw more than 50 armed guards throughout the city protecting the settlers and their homes. I saw the homes that the Palestinian people were forced to evacuate so that the settlers could move in. I saw the jewish school, that used to be a madrasa, before it was confiscated. All this in Area A under the Oslow treaty, a land supposed to be under full Palestinian military and civil control.

      But you are right, the Palestinians should negotiate. I’m sure the Israelis will follow through on their end…. this time.

      Reply to Comment