Breaking the Silence (BtS), an Israeli charity staffed by IDF veterans, said its new publication shows that the Israeli military is increasingly part of sustaining an “ecosystem of violence” in the Palestinian occupied territories because they provide a “cloak of protection” for the settlers who are becoming more aggressive. Israel’s security forces are complicit in a “drastic surge” in violence committed by Israeli settlers against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.
BtS’s advocacy director, Ori Givati, their new report, shows “that there is no action nor will from the government or the military to stop settlers from attacking”. He explained that “This is part of a very well-planned strategic mission of the settlers to take over more and more of Palestinian land,” he said.
He said that "Settler violence is not committed in a vacuum. They are the biggest criminal enterprise in Israel, and not only are they immune from repercussions but they receive embracement from the military and government."
BtS said its report illustrates the impunity of violent settlers to legal consequence, the lack of clear orders for soldiers regarding managing settlers and what the group calls the “duplicitous relationship’” between settlers and soldiers, “at times nurturing close relationship with the soldiers, and at the next moment enacting violence towards them”.
Data from the United Nations and, separately, data collated by Israeli rights group B’Tselem, shows a marked increase in violent incidents committed by Israeli settlers compared with previous years.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) shows that more Palestinians were injured either by settlers or members of the Israeli security forces in attacks in the first six months of this year than in the whole of 2020. This was almost on par with the yearly total in 2019.
According to B’Tselem, they have logged a 33 per cent increase in attacks during the first six months of 2021 compared with the same period last year. The group said this was “enacted with an increasingly open cooperation by Israel’s security forces and with the full backing of Israeli authorities”.
B’Tselem told The Independent. “This violence is a constant element of Israel’s apartheid regime, aspiring to remove Palestinians from their lands in order to facilitate their takeover,” it added.
According to Israeli monitoring group Peace Now, the surge in violence also tallies with a spike in settlement expansion in the West Bank – in particular, the soaring numbers of outposts.
“Settlers see themselves as a state within a state,” the former captain said. “Some of them openly talk about arming militia groups in order to fight the Israeli army if they ever change policy and try to enforce the laws against the Palestinians against them.”