Israeli settler violence has risen against Palestinians: UN

The United Nations (UN) says acts of violence and vandalism committed by Israeli settlers against Palestinians and their property have risen since the beginning of the year 2019.

Palestine’s news agency’s, citing a report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), announced the news on Saturday.

OCHA’s biweekly report, which covered the period from January 29 to February 11 this year, showed a weekly average of seven attacks resulting in injuries or property damage compared to an average of five in the same period in 2018 and three in 2017.

Two Palestinian teenagers, 14 and 17 years old, were killed on February 8 by the live fire of Israeli troopers during the “Great March of Return” protest rallies in the besieged Gaza Strip, the report said, adding that in the same day, another two Palestinians also succumbed to the injuries they had received in similar protests in the previous reporting period.

OCHA said the four fatalities brought the Palestinian death toll during the Gaza protests since March 2018 to 263, including 49 minors.

“About 425 trees and 14 vehicles were vandalized, and one Palestinian was injured, in attacks by Israeli settlers during the recording period,” the UN agency also said.

The injured Palestinian was a 20-year-old man, who was physically assaulted by Israeli settlers near the Jibiya village in the central West Bank district of Ramallah, it explained.

The report said the 425 Palestinian-owned trees had been vandalized by Israeli settlers in three separate incidents in al-Khalil (Hebron) in the southern West Bank and in Jalud Village in Nablus, located in the northern West Bank.

Separately, Israeli settlers punctured the tires of 14 Palestinian-owned vehicles, spray-painted racist graffiti in al-Lubban al-Sharqiya and Huwwara villages, south of Nablus, and in al-Khalayleh, near the Jerusalem al-Quds district, the OCHA’s report further said, adding that the Israeli settlers also attempted to torch a local mosque in Deir Dibwan Village in Ramallah during the period.

“Israeli army’s uprooting of trees and destruction of property occurred mainly in the northern Jordan Valley where approximately 500 trees were uprooted, four dunams of cultivated land leveled and an irrigation network damaged on February 6th in Bardala village that affected the livelihood of seven families,” the report said.

During the previous reporting period, on January 22, the Israeli military authorities uprooted 1,250 Palestinian-owned trees in Safa Village near al-Khalil, OCHA added.

The UN agency also said that during the reporting period, 15 Palestinian structures were demolished or seized in East Jerusalem al-Quds and Area C of the occupied West Bank, under the pretext of lacking a building permit, displacing 39 Palestinians and affecting the livelihoods of some 70 others.

Back in October, Israeli settlers stoned a Palestinian woman to death near a West Bank checkpoint south of Nablus.

The incident came two days after a group of Israeli settlers from the Yitzhar settlement broke into a high school in Urif Village, located in southern Nablus and began throwing stones at horrified students inside their classrooms.

Dozens of students were injured during the assault, which also led to the disruption of classes and material damage.

About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

Israel’s continued settlement expansion on Palestinian territories has been a major sticking point in Israeli-Palestinian talks, which have stalled since 2014.

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