Israel has done little to stop settler violence, UNSC envoys charge

“The safety of Israelis is definitely important, but Palestinians deserve equal measures of security and dignity.”

 Israeli settlers are seen on the edge Burin village in the West Bank in early November. (photo credit: YESH DIN)
Israeli settlers are seen on the edge Burin village in the West Bank in early November.
(photo credit: YESH DIN)

Israel has done little to halt attacks by settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank, a number of United Nations Security Council envoys said on Tuesday as they took the Jewish state to task on the matter during their monthly meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“The number of attacks by settlers in the first 10 months of 2021 was the highest recorded level of violence in recent years,” a Vietnamese representative told the UNSC. 

“We have not seen any effort by relevant authorities to reverse this trend,” the Vietnamese said. “The Israeli government and security forces have done too little to stop settler attacks and protect the Palestinians.

“The safety of Israelis is definitely important, but Palestinians deserve equal measures of security.” Many of the 15 UNSC members, also condemned settler violence.

British Ambassador to the UN Barbara Woodward and Ireland’s Ambassador to the UN Geraldine Byrne Nason called on Israel to stop such attacks.

 A MEETING of the UN Security Council earlier this year. (credit: JOHN MINCHILLO/REUTERS) A MEETING of the UN Security Council earlier this year. (credit: JOHN MINCHILLO/REUTERS)

“Settler violence is reprehensible. All perpetrators must be held accountable and the culture of impunity around such incidents of violence [must] end,” Nason said.

US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that during her visit to Israel and the Palestinians territories, she had seen “how serious the security situation is for Palestinians.”

“I heard stories about Israeli settlers attacking Palestinians, ransacking homes and destroying property in the West Bank, and this is an issue that I discussed extensively with Israeli counterparts,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland said that “Settler-related violence remains at alarmingly high levels.” He charged that setters and Israeli civilians had “perpetrated some 54 attacks against Palestinians” in the last month.”

It was a number that was higher than the 41 Palestinian attacks against Israelis during the same month.

Most of the attacks against Israelis that resulted “in injury or damage were caused by stones and Molotov cocktails thrown at civilian vehicles and buses,” Wennesland said.

The special coordinator condemned the November 21 shooting attack in Jerusalem’s Old City in which a Palestinian member of Hamas killed 26-year-old Israeli-South African tour guide Eliyahu David Kay.

He also spoke of the November 24 incident, in which Palestinian Raid Kharaz and his 10-year-old son were injured in a car accident in the West Bank near the village of Mughayir.

“According to witnesses, the car was hit by objects thrown by Israeli settlers. Israeli authorities have opened an investigation into the incident,” Wennesland said.

Separately, a number of countries took Israel to task for its decision to designate six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist organizations.

Norway and Ireland’s envoys said Israel had not provided any evidence to back up that claim. Nason said that Ireland would continue to work with those NGOs until such time as compelling evidence was provided showing their link to terrorist activity.