Violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians is a tool used by the State of Israel to displace indigenous Palestinians and make the expropriation of their land easier. Acts of violence are carried out by Israeli settlers with almost complete impunity.
Human rights NGO Yesh Din have recorded acts of settler violence over the years and have observed that only 8% of reports of offences against Palestinians result in indictments, the remainder are closed without action. The rights organisation state “Yesh Din’s long-term monitoring demonstrates that Israel’s law enforcement authorities systemically and pervasively fail to uphold its duty under international law to protect Palestinians from settler violence. Failure to enforce the law allows ideological crime in the West Bank to persist and by doing so, Israel is normalizing and extending its support for such violence.”Settler Violence by Sarah Holland
Settler violence is most frequently directed against farmers and their crops, including the olive tree, which is regarded as a symbol of Palestinian resilience and connection to the land. It is reported that a staggering 800,000 olive trees have been destroyed by either settlers or Israeli state forces since the occupation began in 1967.
Violence from the occupation and settlers also manifests in repressive and draconian policies designed to inhibit and subjugate Palestinians. Every facet of life is affected from agricultural productivity, water consumption, access to education, planning, health care and justice to simply being free to live lives without fear or oppression.
Rights organisation B’Tselem maintain that settler violence is part and parcel of the Israeli occupation and is used to make life unbearable for the Palestinians who have spent generations working their lands.
B’Tselem stated clearly in their report “Settler Violence = State Violence”:
“The combination of state violence and nominally unofficial violence allows Israel to have it both ways: maintain plausible deniability and blame the violence on settlers rather than on the military, the courts or the Civil Administration while advancing Palestinian dispossession. “
The final word must go to Ali Awad, who documents the state and settler violence in his village in the hopes of one day achieving justice:
“It could not be clearer: settler violence is state violence. And if that is not ethnic cleansing — if that is not terror — then what is?”Ali Awad, +972 Magazine