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OCHA: Israeli settler violence continues to rise in occupied Palestine

Feb. 17, 2019 11:42 A.M. (Updated: Feb. 19, 2019 10:29 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The uptrend in Israeli settler violence against Palestinian civilians and property in the occupied West Bank recorded in recent years has continued since the beginning of 2019, with a weekly average of seven attacks resulting in injuries or property damage, compared with an average of five in 2018 and three in 2017, according to OCHA’s report.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its bi-weekly report on protection of civilians in the occupied Palestinian territory covering the first two weeks of February that “vandalism of Palestinian property and uprooting of trees were carried out by both Israeli settlers and authority.”

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

Israeli settlers physically assaulted and injured a 20-year-old Palestinian man near the Jibiya village in the central West Bank district of Ramallah. A total of 425 Palestinian-owned trees were vandalized by Israeli settlers in three separate incidents in in the Hebron district, in the southern West Bank, and Jalud village in the Nablus district, in the northern West Bank.

In another four separate incidents, Israeli settlers punctured the tires of 14 Palestinian-owned vehicles and spray painted racist graffiti in al-Lubban al-Sharqiya and Huwwara villages, south of Nablus, and in al-Khalayleh, near the Jerusalem district, and attempted to set fire to a local mosque in Deir Dibwan village in the Ramallah district.

OCHA said, “Israeli army 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, on the grounds that the area is 'state land’ and located in what was classified by the 1993 Oslo Accords as Area C, which makes over 60% of the area of the West Bank that remains under full Israeli military rule and where Palestinians are not allowed to build on or develop.”

In a similar incident, during the previous reporting period, on January 22nd, the Israeli military authorities uprooted 1,250 Palestinian trees in Safa village near Hebron located near the illegal Israeli settlement of Bat Ayin.

OCHA added that during the reporting period, 15 Palestinian structures were demolished or seized in occupied East Jerusalem and Area C, under the pretext that it was built without the nearly-impossible to obtain Israeli permit, displacing 39 Palestinians and affecting the livelihoods of 70 others.

“Seven of the 10 structures targeted in East Jerusalem, all residential, were demolished by their owners following the receipt of final demolition orders, reportedly to avoid incurring additional fines. The other five structures were located in Area C. Overall, 48 structures have been demolished or seized by Israel in the West Bank since the start of 2019.”

OCHA also reported that on February 6th, Israeli forces displaced, for up to 14 hours, about 400 Palestinians in the northern Jordan Valley during Israeli military training. The training disrupted the livelihoods and access to services of two Bedouin villages located in an area designated as a “closed military and firing zones.”

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