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 slogans and slashed the tires of several vehicles in Beit Hanina, a Palestinian neighborhood in east Jerusalem to the north of the occupied city, as reported by Palestinian news agency Wafa. The attackers are believed to be members of the terrorist group "Price Tag" which carries out regular attacks against Palestinians and vandalizes their property in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem as well as in Palestinian towns and villages inside Israel. Palestinian towns and villages on 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.The Israeli government is expected to approve construction of 4,500 new Jewish-only settlement units in the occupied West Bank this week, the Israeli Broadcasting Authority (IBA) reported. According to the IBA, the expected approvals may be postponed until after Knesset elections slated for April 9 if an ongoing dispute between the finance and defense ministries is not first resolved.
Roughly 650,000 Jewish settlers currently live on more than 100 settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem.
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