Following the recent increase in attacks by Israeli settlers on indigenous Palestinians in the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority issued a statement, Wednesday, calling on the international community to ‘intervene with Israel over the violent and provocative actions by settlers, which the Israeli authorities refuse to control.’Israeli settlers, who live in the West Bank in violation of international law, frequently attack Palestinians. These attacks have increased in recent days, with settlers firebombing a Palestinian home near Nablus, smashing Palestinian shops and cars in the Hebron area, and beating one Palestinian man to death while shouting ‘Death to Arabs’ in East Jerusalem.
Prosecution has only been brought in the case of Hussam Rwidy, the 24 year old man, stabbed to death in East Jerusalem, although the prosecution brought is for manslaughter, despite the facts of the case showing that the act was murder.Palestinians have challenged the Israeli government’s lack of action, but the settlers have announced a ‘Day of Rage’ to take place on Thursday – a reference to the revolts in the Arab world, which held ‘Days of Rage’ in opposition to the dictatorships in their respective countries. Israeli settlers, however, are not protesting a dictatorship, but have organized the rally in order to call for further expansion of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.
One reporter with Agence France Presse said that one of the protest organizers from Havat Gilad settlement in the northern West Bank told him that they plan to invade Palestinian villages and expel the residents of those villages during their ‘Day of Rage’ on Thursday.
The original impetus for the protest was the dismantling of a settlement outpost near Nablus on Monday by Israeli authorities.
Palestinian Authority spokesman Ghassan Khatib urged the international community to ‘send a clear message to Israel that its tolerance of settler violence is dangerous and provocative.’ He added, ‘These settlers act above the law, and the failure of the Israeli authorities to take action suggests that the rule of law does not apply to them.’
Around 500,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, having moved there in the years since Israel began its occupation of Palestinian land in 1967.