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Settler Attacks on Palestinians

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Israeli authorities scoff at these obligations and ignore them. As a result, Palestinians suffer horrifically from settler attacks alone.

On August 19, the London Guardian headlined "Jewish settler attacks on Palestinians listed as 'terrorist incidents' by US," saying:

For the first time, the State Department classified them this way. Israeli officials also condemned them. In July, EU parliamentarians denounced settler violence. They also demanded "an immediate end to house demolitions, evictions, and forced displacement of Palestinians."

In mid-August, Maxwell Gaylard, Deputy Special Coordinator for Middle East peace and humanitarian/development activities, expressed concern for the dire humanitarian situation affecting almost 1,000 South Hebron Hills Palestinians.

In all cases, rhetoric substitutes for policy. Culpable settlers aren't punished. They're free to commit crimes with impunity. They've done it for decades. So have Israeli security forces. Condemnations without teeth are worthless. Palestinians suffer horrendously as a result.

In contrast, their violence on Jews brings severe recrimination, prosecutions and imprisonment. Harsh penalties follow routine incidents. Justice isn't Israel's long suit or America's.

In June, B'Tselem discussed settler violence. It comes in various forms. Land, crops, and other property are damaged or destroyed. Palestinians are harmed and sometimes killed.

B'Tselem documented numerous incidents. They include blocking roads, throwing stones at cars and homes, raiding Palestinian villages and land, torching fields, uprooting trees, damaging other property, and causing injuries or deaths.

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Security forces do practically nothing to help. At times, during witnessed incidents, they don't intervene. They're slow investigating reported violence. Reports when they're issued whitewash them.

During one September 2011 period, B'Tselem documented 10 incidents. They included damaging Palestinian property, torching a mosque, and spraying offensive graffiti on walls of two others.

Rather than restricting violent settlers, Israeli security forces "imposed restrictions on Palestinians."

Israel is obligated to maintain order and protect Palestinian security. Its High Court ruled that "protecting the security and property of the local residents is one of the most important basic obligations placed upon the military commander in the field."

It added that defense officials must "give clear, unequivocal instructions to the forces that are deployed in the field." They must also "allocate forces to protect the property of the Palestinian residents (HCJ 9593/04 Murar et al. v. IDF Commander for Judea and Samaria et al.)"

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The ruling fell on deaf ears. Policy didn't change.

Recent reports like these are commonplace:

Settler runs over Palestinian child. Doctors called her injuries moderate. She could have been killed.

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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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