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Settler Attacks on Palestinians

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Arson attacks are increasing in numbers and frequency. In 2005, they represented about 6% of attacks. In 2011, they rose to 11%.

The vast majority of settler attacks are structurally related to occupation. Greater number of settlers increase their frequency.

PC's data comes mainly from Palestine Monitoring Group (PMG) reports. It's an "inter-agency group of Palestinian civilian ministries and security agencies."

Established in August 2003, PMG monitors ground conditions in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. Catalogued daily, it's an invaluable resource.

Violence includes "price tag" attacks. Settlers use the term to describe retaliations relating to Israeli government actions limiting their political goals. Palestinians bear their brunt.

From September 2004 - December 2011, 3,700 incidents occurred. They're catalogued by time, type, location, number of injuries and/or deaths, and settlements of origin. Every West Bank governorate is affected.

Key is that Israeli and Palestinian security forces do little to protect civilians from violence. They're largely vulnerable on their own. They live in a virtual war zone. 

For example, on August 23, Al Haq headlined "Escalation in Settler Violence: Molotov Cocktail Severely Injures Palestinian family," saying:

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Days earlier, "an Israeli settler threw a Molotov cocktail into a Palestinian taxi." Ghayatha family members were severely injured. Some are in critical condition.

Basem Ghayatha saw an Israeli settler in Orthodox dress walk through nearby bushes. Within two meters of the taxi, he threw the explosive. It set the vehicle ablaze. Basem lost control. He crashed into a roadside safety barrier. Passengers were trapped for several minutes engulfed in flames.

Jamila's plastic shoes melted to the floor. She struggled to get out. Her daughter Iman followed. A passing car driver called an ambulance. Family members were taken to Jersulem's Haddasa 'Ein Karim Hospital.

Everyone suffered severe burns. Ayman is most critical. Hasan's condition is severe. Six-year old Muhammad sustained burns over 35% of his hands and back. Basem got second degree burns on his face and third degree ones on his hands. Family members are still recovering.  

Israeli soldiers protect settlers. They enjoy virtual impunity. Palestinians are vulnerable to everything from routine vandalism to  arson and murder. Who can they turn to for help with no willing source. According to Al Haq:

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"The consistent failure of the Israeli authorities to act with due diligence has encouraged an increase in settler attacks against Palestinians." 

As occupying power, Israel is responsible for "protect(ing) the occupied Palestinian population." It "therefore (must) conduct thorough investigations, bring those responsible to justice and punish them if found guilty."

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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