Israeli Settler assaults against land and property during the second quarter of 2015, (April – June) / 2015

Israeli Settler assaults against land and property during the second quarter of 2015, (April – June) / 2015


Recorded increase in the Israeli settler assaults against Palestinian civilians, their land and properties in the occupied West Bank during the second quarter of 2015.

The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (ARIJ) documented a total of 178 assaults carried out by groups of Israeli settlers which included physical assault caused by the hit-and-run incidents that mostly targeted children and elderly (men and women), the destruction of properties (homes and cars), the confiscation of Palestinian land for settlement expansion, the burning and damaging of trees in addition to the repeated incursions to religious and historical sites in the oPt, most particularly Al-Aqsa Mosque in the occupied city of Jerusalem. These assaults are the result of Israel's years-long policy of disregarding the repeated settlers’ assaults and provocations against the Palestinian community.  See Graph 1

Despite the fact that Israeli settler assaults against Palestinians varied in their type and location, the goal behind such attacks is clear and specific, that is, to impose themselves (settlers) as "lords of the land" in the occupied Palestinian territory in clear and flagrant violation of all international laws that condemn their existence.

The 6th paragraph of article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states that “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” And this is exactly what Israel did following its occupation of the Palestinian territory in June 1967, where it embarked on enacting of illegal and ambiguous laws in an attempt to allow for a “legitimate seizure” of the Palestinian land in a deceptive and democratic manner for the purpose of building settlements, resettling Israeli settlers, and thus, consolidating its control of the land it occupied.

Additionally, article 8 (part 2) (b) of ROME STATUTE OF THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT adopted in Rome on the 17th of July, 1998, identified that: ”For the purpose of this Statute, "war crimes" means:

(b) Other serious violations of the laws and customs applicable in international armed conflict, within the established framework of international law, namely, any of the following acts: “ The transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies, or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory;”

Also, the Draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind with commentaries of 1996[1], article 20 (part 2) (c)(1) defines the following:

“Any of the following war crimes constitutes a crime against the peace and security of mankind when committed in a systematic manner or on a large scale:

(i) The transfer by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies;”

The numerous acts of violence carried out by Israeli settlers

Israeli settler assaults on religious and historical sites ranked top of all assaults that were carried out in the occupied West Bank during the second quarter of 2015 with a record of 66 assaults, 56 of which were against Al Aqsa Mosque itself.

Assaults on Palestinian civilians ranked secondhighest with a record of 37 assaults. These assaults included hitting and insulting Palestinians, running over children and elderly in addition to terrorizing Palestinians with sticks, chains and guns especially those whose land border Israeli settlements, military bases or exclusive Israeli settler bypass roads.

Comes in the third place, the assaults carried out by settler groups against Palestinian properties such as homes, cars, etc… where ARIJ recorded a total of 26 assaults during the reporting period. Graph No. (2) gives details of the type of assaults carried out by Israeli settlers in the oWB.


In addition to the aforementioned, Israeli settlers have also caused the damage of more than 2260 trees in the occupied West Bank Governorates. These damages were mainly recorded in areas bordering Israeli settlements/outposts, military bases or Israeli bypass roads. In Bethlehem Governorate for example, the villages of Husan, Al Khader and Al Jab'a where among the most targeted communities during the reporting period as settlers living in Beitar Illit, Bayt Ayn and Efrat settlements has caused the damage and loss of 420 trees.

In Hebron Governorate, Israeli settlers living in Karmi Tsur, Susiya and Migdal Oz settlements have vandalized 1233 trees owned by Ash Shoyukh, Yatta, Halhul and Khirbet Susiya communities. Additionally, the villages of Sarta,  Yasuf and Deir Estyia in Salfit Governorate also lost 610 trees during the reporting period due settler assaults.

Notice that the Governorate of Jerusalem was among the most affected Governorates by settler assaults due to the repeated settler incursions to Al-Aqsa Mosque and assaulting worshipers; where ARIJ recorded a total of 72 assaults during the reporting period. Followed by Hebron Governorate, where most religious settlers live,  ARIJ recorded 37 assaults; as well as Nablus Governorate which came in the third place in terms of the number of assaults, with 23 assaults recorded. Graph No. 3 shows the distribution if Israeli settlers attacks in the occupied West Bank, by Governorate level.

To conclude,

This is the reality created by Israel’s constant discrimination and enforcement of law in the occupied Palestinian territory especially when it comes to settlers assaults, where Israel stands silent in the face of the majority of settler assaults against Palestinians, while rushes to convict Palestinians in the Israeli courts under the excuse of “acts of terror”.  

In almost all cases of committed Israeli settler assaults in the oPt against Palestinian civilians and their properties, the Israeli occupation army have done little to nothing to fight these assaults and therefore, these assaults continued to increase over the year. According to International Humanitarian Law, mainly “Article 43 of Convention (IV) respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land and its annex of the Hague convention which was adopted on 18 October 1907”, Israel must ensure the security and safety of the Palestinians of the OPT: “The authority of the legitimate power having in fact passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all the measures in his power to restore, and ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety, while respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country.” 


[1] Text adopted by the International Law Commission at its forty-eighth session, in 1996, and submitted to the General Assembly as a part of the Commission’s report covering the work of that session (at para. 50). The report, which also contains commentaries on the draft articles, appears in Yearbook of the International Law Commission, 1996, vol. II, Part Two.


Prepared by:  
The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem


Categories: Settlers Attacks