Joint statement on settler violence on the West Bank

Published

Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, the European Union, Finland, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom call on Israel to take immediate and concrete steps to tackle record high settler violence in the occupied West Bank.

Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, the European Union, Finland, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom express their grave concern about the record number of attacks by extremist settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank. Since the start of October, settlers have committed more than 343 violent attacks, killing 8 Palestinian civilians, injuring more than 83, and forcing 1026 Palestinians from their homes. 

We strongly condemn the violent acts committed by extremist settlers, which are terrorising Palestinian communities. We reiterate our position that Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank are illegal under international law and remind Israel of its obligations under international law, in particular Article 49 of Geneva Convention IV.  

This rise in extremist settler violence committed against Palestinians is unacceptable. Israel, as the occupying power, must protect the Palestinian civilian population in the West Bank. Those responsible for the violence must be brought to justice. Israel’s failure to protect Palestinians and prosecute extremist settlers has led to an environment of near complete impunity in which settler violence has reached unprecedented levels. This undermines security in the West Bank and the region and threatens prospects for a lasting peace.

While we welcomed the Government of Israel’s statement on this issue on 9 November where it conveyed that action would be taken against violent perpetrators, proactive steps must now be taken to ensure the effective and immediate protection of Palestinian communities. Words are important, but must now be translated into action.