JERUSALEM, Monday, January 07, 2019 (WAFA) – Terror attacks by Israeli Jewish groups against Palestinian civilians in the occupied territories have tripled in 2018 in comparison to the previous year, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Sunday.
It said that as of mid-December, 482 such incidents had been reported, compared to 140 for 2017.
United Nations and human rights organizations have also reported a sharp rise in number of attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinians, which reached a high point in December following the killing of two Israeli soldiers in a West Bank attack.
Settlers went on a rampage for days in the West Bank after the attack, throwing rocks at Palestinian cars, beating up Palestinians, vandalizing villages and cutting down trees while the Israeli soldiers, whose presence was beefed up in the occupied territories, either stood by and watched while armed settlers attacked Palestinians, or, as many reported, encouraged and rooted the settler attacks.
In one serious incident in October, settlers stoned a Palestinian car in the north of the West Bank causing the death of a woman passenger, a mother of eight children. Only this week did Israel announce the arrest of five settlers it said were connected with the attack.
Haaretz said terror attacks by Jewish groups have decreased in 2016 and 2017 after a crackdown against Jewish settler extremists following the murder by burning of three members of Dawabshe family – the parents and an infant - in the northern West Bank village of Duma.
However, it said, over the past year and after the extremists were released and the rise of new, younger extremist terror groups such as the Hilltop Youth, violent acts increased once again. In some cases, terror suspects were quickly released from custody without further legal action taken against them indicating impunity against punishment.
This was coupled with strong expression of support for the terror suspects and extremist settlers by senior government officials, including Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked who last week called a mother of a Jewish terror suspect to show support and told her to “stay strong,” and that she called the state prosecutor to discuss her son’s case with him.