Settler attacks raise West Bank tension ahead of UN

September 15, 2011 16:29

RAMALLAH - An escalation in Jewish settler attacks on Palestinian villages in the Israeli-occupied West Bank risks triggering retaliation, a Palestinian official said on Thursday, pointing to a growing risk to stability in the region.

Incidents over the past two weeks have included acts of vandalism against three West Bank mosques, increasing tension just a week before the Palestinians seek recognition of statehood at the United Nations.

In some villages, Palestinians are organizing neighborhood watch groups in an effort at deterrence. The governor of Nablus, an area where villages are often targeted, ordered the formation of the unarmed volunteer groups last week.

"We are very much concerned by the significant increase in settler violence and aggression against Palestinians," Palestinian Authority spokesman Ghassan Khatib said.

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