Harassment and violence are daily concerns for Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza. Dating back to the beginning of Israeli occupation in 1967 (see our last blog post on settler violence), the Israeli Defense Forces and Israeli settlers have attacked Palestinian civilians on a routine basis. Reports of settler violence against men, women, and children from all areas of the West Bank continue to pour into databases. Recently, a Palestinian home was set on fire by Israeli settlers in Duma, Nablus, killing 18-month-old Ali Dawabshe and hospitalizing the Dawabshe family. While multiple news outlets covered the attack, most instances of settler violence go unreported. The graph below, comprised of data from the Palestinian Liberation Organization Negotiations Affairs Department, tracks trends in settler violence since 1 June, 2015. It also provides insight into the types of attacks and the conditions that Palestinians face under the ongoing Israeli occupation.
Figure 1 shows the number of injuries per day in two-week segments from the beginning of June until early August (note that this data only includes three days’ worth of data in the month of August). We see an upward trend in the number of injuries with five injuries in the first two weeks of June to 19 injuries towards the end of July. In total, over the last 64 days there have been 48 injuries (0.75 injuries per day). This is slightly higher than the average daily injuries from the previous ten months (during July 2014 – May 2015 the average was 0.72 per day). Injuries due to settler violence have occurred almost daily for the past eleven years we have tracked settler violence, and the number of incidents has generally increased in the most recent months of the conflict. The PLO’s report does not include damage to property, psychological damage, or interruption of everyday routines in its definition of injury.
The PLO Negotiations Affairs Department’s daily report on settler violence tracks the occurrence of assault within the West Bank. These attacks are constant, and the reports frequently list more than one attack per day in major cities such as Hebron and Nablus. Figure 2 shows the number of attacks that occurred on each day from the beginning of June until 3 August. We see a general rise in the number of attacks, with a slight ease of violence in early to mid July. The attacks remain consistently high towards the end of July, with a maximum of nine attacks in early August. There were a total of 145 attacks in the 64 days recorded (2.27 attacks per day).
Map of where settler violence occurred in Summer 2015
The violence is persistent and has been increasing in the more recent weeks. Palestinians living in the West Bank are under constant threat of violence as they carry out their daily routines.Within these incidents of settler violence reported by the PLO, there were:
29 stonings of Palestinians, which resulted in at least one hospitalization.
Eleven vehicular assaults whereby eleven Palestinians were run over and hospitalized.
44 assaults on places of worship, 39 of which were on Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Three incidents of arson which resulted in at least three injuries and the death of an 18-month-old Palestinian infant.
31 incidents of destruction of property, some of which overlap with other incidents.
Two incidents of open gunfire of armed settlers toward unarmed Palestinian civilians.
16 settler raids on Palestinian villages and homes.
We recognize that documenting settler violence represents only a small fraction of the structural, cultural, physical, and psychological violence inflicted upon Palestinians as part of the brutal Israeli military occupation of Palestine. This post does not describe the injuries and deaths that have occurred at the hands of the Israeli Defense Forces, nor attacks by Palestinians on Israeli property or livelihood. Furthermore, the numbers reported in this post do not represent 100 percent of all settler violence incidents against Palestinians, but rather only the incidents that have been recorded by the PLO.