Palestinian human rights group seeks investigation into violence from illegal Yitzhar settlement

The Palestinian human rights group Al Haq appealed to the United Nations Special Procedures to look into violence by settlers from the illegal Yitzhar settlement, including shooting at villagers with live ammunition and torching agricultural lands

February 18, 2021 by Peoples Dispatch
Armed Israeli settlers from the Yithzar settlement. Photo : Palestinian Information Center

The Palestinian human rights group Al Haq has written to the United Nations (UN) Special Procedures urgently seeking an investigation into Israeli settler violence emanating from the illegal Yitzhar settlement against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, the Wafa News Agency reported on Wednesday, February 17. The rights group presented the UN with evidence of 10 such attacks from Israeli settlers, detailing the deaths, injuries and damage to property suffered by the Palestinians over the years.

In its appeal, the human rights group urged the UN Special Procedures, including the Special Rapporteur, to apply pressure on Israel to “guarantee the protection of the Palestinian civilian population in the OPT [Occupied Palestinian Territories] by taking all necessary measures to ensure effective law enforcement against Israeli settler perpetrators and investigation into incidents of settler violence” and to “afford all victims of settler violence access to justice and effective remedies, including by ensuring the investigation of incidents, the prosecution of potential perpetrators, and reparations for its wrongful inaction.” It also urged the UN to demand that Israel stop all of its illegal construction and expansion of settlements in the occupied Palestinian Territories for which Israel continues to confiscate Palestinian-owned land, displacing hundreds of people in the process.

Al Haq reported that these attacks include beatings, throwing stones, shooting at villagers with live ammunition, torching agricultural lands, trees and cars, confiscating and pillaging natural resources, including land and water, attacking and suppressing peaceful assemblies, denying access to property and to sources of livelihood, and spray-painting hate speech on cars, walls, and other Palestinian properties.

According to Al Haq, the settler attacks on the Palestinians are done under the full protection of the Israeli military and security forces, which reportedly not only turn a blind eye to the brutal and violent settler attacks on Palestinians, but at times also actively take part in the violence, or blame and take action against the Palestinians in the aftermath of an attack. In cases where Palestinians try to defend themselves and their property, Israeli security forces violently attack and suppress them.

The human rights group also demanded that Israel be subject to an international investigation for committing the human rights violations and war crimes against the Palestinian people, and urged the International Criminal Court to begin a full, thorough, and comprehensive investigation into the situation in the State of Palestine.