The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has warned of the growing influence of settlers and the expanding assaults on Palestinians and their properties in the occupied West Bank. In a statement issued on Saturday, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry cautioned against “the growth and spread of settler groups’ influence and the increasing danger of their attacks on innocent Palestinian civilians, their homes, and their properties, whether in their residential areas or on the roads.”
The ministry added that settler groups operate with support and protection from the Israeli army, and now even have ministers in the Israeli government openly endorsing their actions. The Palestinian Foreign Ministry called on the international community to designate settler groups as terrorist organizations and to pressure Israel to dismantle them and cut off their sources of funding.
These warnings come after Israeli security sources accused the Israeli government of preventing security agencies from dealing with settler “terrorism” against Palestinians in the West Bank. Last week, Haaretz newspaper reported that the Israeli army and the General Security Service (Shin Bet) had lost control and the ability to act against settlers in recent months, with settler “terrorism” being encouraged by ministers and members of parliament.
Furthermore, Israeli Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman called on Friday for an end to describing settler actions in the West Bank as “terrorism” and urged against the implementation of administrative detentions against them, in a message of support for settlers.
Last week, settlers carried out extensive attacks in several Palestinian towns and villages, the most violent of which occurred in Turmus’ayya near Ramallah. These attacks resulted in the burning of dozens of vehicles and homes, the fatal shooting of a Palestinian, and the injury of others.