Jerusalem, Aug 11 (EFE).- The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) Friday reported a distressing surge in Israeli settler violence within the occupied West Bank, resulting in the displacement of some 500 Palestinians from seven communities in the past 20 months.
The NRC indings shed light on an alarming trend where the escalating violence and illegal land seizures by Israeli settlers have forcibly uprooted Palestinian families from their homes.
The growing crisis has caused entire Palestinian communities to vanish, victims of unyielding violence, intimidation, and harassment that are at times even encouraged by Israeli authorities, lamented Ana Povrzenic, NRC’s country director for Palestine.
“There are entire Palestinian communities being wiped off the map, a shameful legacy of unrelenting violence, intimidation and harassment perpetuated by Israeli settlers,” Povrzenic said in the report.
While the pattern of settler violence has persisted for decades amid the longstanding Middle East conflict, its intensity has reached new heights over the past year.
Just last week, a 19-year-old Palestinian lost his life due to settler aggression in the village of Burqa.
Data by collected in the first half of this year by the United Nations shows 591 incidents related to settlers, leading to casualties and property damage among Palestinians.
This marked an alarming 40 percent increase compared to the same period in 2022, which witnessed the highest count of such incidents since the UN began recording them in 2006
This year alone has witnessed the deaths of 10 Palestinians and the injury of nearly 2,000 more in the occupied West Bank due to violent confrontations involving settlers, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
“The rapid establishment of settlement outposts and takeover of Palestinian land is choking Palestinian communities, destroying their livelihoods, and putting Palestinian lives at risk,” said Povrzenic. “Palestinians have no choice but to flee, leaving behind their homes, schools, and jobs.”
A harrowing example highlights that a dozen families comprising 89 Palestinians, including 39 children, were forcibly evicted from Ras At-Tin due to relentless settler harassment and intimidation.
Settlers unlawfully seized grazing lands, even establishing a vineyard near an Israeli military base, while Israeli forces barred Ras At-Tin residents from accessing their rightful lands.
The report said some 60 Palestinian communities in the occupied West Bank were at heightened risk of losing their home due to a grim mix of “Israeli settler and soldier violence, settlement expansion, and Israel’s deeply discriminatory policies and practices, including its unlawful planning and zoning regime.”
Parallelly, the region also witnesses violent clashes between the Israeli Army and Palestinians.
In a recent incident, a 23-year-old Palestinian named Mahmud Jarad lost his life during a confrontation with Israeli troops in the Tulkarm refugee camp on Friday, while four others sustained critical injuries.
The official Palestinian news agency, Wafa, said Jarad was transported to the nearby Thabet hospital in critical condition before he breathed his last.
The daily vicious cycle of violence mirrors the region’s deadliest period since the Second Intifada (2000-2005).
The death toll this year alone stands at 179 Palestinians, including attackers, militants, civilians, and minors.
Meanwhile, 28 people on the Israeli side have lost their lives due to attacks carried out by new Palestinian armed groups, including settlers and uniformed personnel. EFE