Israeli soldiers are joining colonialist settlers in attacks on a Palestinian village in the occupied West Bank, according to human rights NGOÂ BâTselem.
The village of âUrif, which is located near Nablus, lies in close proximity to the notorious settlement of Yitzhar, established in 1983.
All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law, and described by international human rights groups as part of an inherently discriminatory regime.
According to BâTselem, the Palestinian residents of âUrif âhave been suffering for years from repeated attacks by settlersâ, with most attacks taking place âin farmland close to the village water tower, which is situated some 500 metres from its easternmost homesâ.
In recent months, moreover, the Israeli human rights group âhas documented three attacks by settlers in the area, some of which included the active participation of soldiersâ.
In March, âsettlers assaulted residents of the villageâ, while the Israeli occupation forces âwho accompanied them shot and killed one resident and injured a boy aged 14â. In April, settlers cut down 57 trees on âUrifâs land and vandalized vehicles.
In June, âsettlers injured a shepherd and assaulted other residents, while soldiers joined in the attack, injuring another resident,â BâTselem added.
Since then, the NGO continued, there have been four more documented incidents of settlers and soldiers assaulting âUrif residents, torching fruit trees and vandalizing cars.
These repeated attacks âare intended to usurp ever-increasing areas of Palestinian land and to annex the land de facto to the settlementsâ, said BâTselem, with the result that Palestinians âlose not only their land but also their livelihood.â
In addition, the conduct of Israeli forces, âproviding guarding services for the assailants and actively participating in attacksâ, part of what BâTselem describes as a âviolent routineâ, sends Palestinians âa message of complete disregard for their lives, safety and property.â
BâTselem added, according to Days of Palestine, that the violence experienced by Palestinians in âUrif, and other communities, âis part of an integrated policy which sees the state, through the military and the settlers â engaging in continued efforts, over time, to dispossess as many Palestinians as possible, driving them to leave their land âvoluntarilyâ so that it can be seized.â
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