Burning the Olive Branch: Settler Violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

By Palestine Center Interns — Sarah Dickshinski, Abby Massell, Zoë Reinstein, and Mirvat Salameh

In an attempt to hold Israel accountable and inform the rest of the world, the Negotiations Affairs Department of the Palestine Liberation Organization maintains a “Daily Report” database that offers basic information about Israeli-Palestinian interactions that occur during a 24-hour period in the occupied Palestinian territories. Where the PLO report covers a range of incidents that take place in the oPt, the Palestine Center analyzes the reports specifically for acts of violence committed by Israeli settlers against Palestinians, forming the Settler Violence Project. We extract the time, location, and a brief description of the violent act from the database and then classify the violence into one of four categories: Assault, Assault on a Place of Worship, Raid, and Destruction of Property.

Soccer and settlements

As soccer grows in popularity in the U.S. and more fields sprout up around the country, in some places in the world building a field is not just about love of soccer, but about freedom. Such is the situation in Wadi Foquin, a small agricultural village in the West Bank of the occupied Palestinian territories. The village council of Wadi Foquin began construction on a soccer field in the summer of 2015 to accompany a newly built park providing recreational space for their children, youth, and families.

Israeli Settlements, American Money. What’s Next?

Despite America’s longstanding position considering Israeli settlements illegitimate, successive administrations have done very little to stop the expansion of the settlement enterprise. Israel continues to build these settlements unabatedly, precisely because America’s position is void of any substantive action.

Among the settlers

The settlers told me that the great political development of the last year or two is that the Tel Aviv elite now concede that the settlers are never leaving. The elites give lip service to a Palestinian state because the world wants to hear that. But few in Jewish Israeli society even want that to happen; it would tear the country apart.

A grim start to the new year in Bethlehem

Bethlehem, occupied West Bank – Each year, tens of thousands of Christians make their way to the historic city of Bethlehem for Christmas. Believed by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus, Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the city’s Christmas mass is broadcast around the world. Tourists, diplomats and journalists flock to the church annually to see the nativity scene. But Bethlehem has not been immune to the tensions between Palestinians and Israelis that have escalated over the past few months. Clashes on the streets of Bethlehem often last for hours, well into the night, as Palestinians hurl rocks and Israelis respond with tear gas and bullets.

Israel’s expanding West Bank settlement bloc condemned

The U.S. State Department on Friday condemned Israel’s decision to expand the boundary of an existing West Bank settlement bloc, saying it hinders attempts to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians. Israel’s defense ministry in late December added a compound in the West Bank to the jurisdiction of the Gush Etzion regional council, near Jerusalem.

US sued over donations for illegal Israeli settlements

A lawsuit has been filed in a US court seeking to stop non-profit groups from sending billions of dollars worth of tax-exempt donations to support illegal Israeli settlements and the Israeli army. A group of American citizens filed the suit on December 21 against the US Department of Treasury, claiming about 150 non-profits have sent an estimated $280bn to Israel over the past two decades.

Two Israelis charged in firebombing that killed Palestinian family

Two Israeli Jewish citizens have been charged in the arson attack that killed three members of the Dawabsha family last summer. Israeli prosecutors charged 21-year-old Amiram Ben-Uliel with three counts of murder. Ben-Uliel was also charged with attempted murder for trying to set fire to another house. Prosecutors also charged a minor with accessory to murder. He reportedly helped plan the attack but did not show up to execute it.