Violence against Palestinians by settlers continued yesterday within the context of the ever-expanding settler population in the occupied territories. Israeli settlers spray-painted racist graffiti and slashed tires of several vehicles in the villages of Al-Janiya and Ras Karkar, west of the city of Ramallah in the West Bank, as reported by Palestinian news agency, Wafa.
Palestinian towns and villages in the West Bank are frequently targeted by extremist Jewish settlers. Israeli daily Haaretz recently reported that settler attacks on West Bank Palestinians had tripled in 2018, with at least 482 separate attacks recorded last year, up from 140 attacks in 2017. According to the newspaper, attacks ranged from beating up Palestinians and vandalizing their property to cutting down trees belonging to Palestinian farmers.
In a rampant wave of vandalism, Jewish settlers continue to destroy Palestinian olive groves in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. More than 7,000 Palestinian-owned trees were vandalized in 2018, according to the United Nations.
Rights groups also charge that Palestinian crops have long been vandalized by settlers without any serious effort by the authorities to stop it. Around 400,000 Israelis live in settlements that dot the West Bank and range in size from large towns to tiny hamlets. The international community regards all Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories to be illegal and a major obstacle to Middle East peace. The area, captured by Israel in 1967, is not sovereign Israeli territory, and Palestinians there are not Israeli citizens and do not have the right to vote.
Israeli settlers shot and killed a Palestinian man in the occupied West Bank last month. Hamdi Nassan, 38, died after being shot in the back with live ammunition, according to the Palestinian health ministry. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the killing, warning that the latest attack "will lead to serious consequences, further tension and the creation of a dangerous and uncontrollable atmosphere," in a statement published by Wafa. The U.N.'s Mideast envoy Nikolay Mladenov called the death of the Palestinian man in the West Bank clashes with Israeli settlers "shocking and unacceptable." Mladenov called on Israel to "put an end to settler violence and bring those responsible to justice."