West Bank settlers are armed and dangerous

Palestinians living in the West Bank are living in constant fear of attacks from both Israeli soldiers and settlers. 

Zahrat lives near Nablus in the West Bank. She told Socialist Worker that she and her family recently witnessed a horrific attack from the Israeli army. 

“We are suffering from siege and attack by the army and settlers,” she said.

“On Saturday the occupation army forces came in the street in front of my house where my son, who is six years old, was with his father planting crops.

“Other children were playing near the house.

“The occupation forces began shooting randomly at people, wounding a seven-year-old child and three others. They are in the hospital in serious condition.

“What is the reason for this attack and shooting of children? Is this a children’s war? I fear for my young son and daughter.

“We are scared for our children when they go to school. We live in fear.

“Also at night, settlers attack, burn cars, vandalise, and shoot. We are living in a state of terror and starvation.”

Israeli settlers murdered a Palestinian man by shooting him in the chest in Qarawat Bani Hassan in the north of the West Bank last week. 

In Wajih Al-Qat, a group of 15 settlers set fire to a Palestinian’s car and smashed the windows of their homes with rocks.

The threat of constant violence from settlers has led more than 1,000 Palestinians to flee their homes. 

The village of Zanuta in the Hebron hills now stands empty.

A former resident of the village, Abdul Hadi Al-Til, said that settlers had pointed guns at their heads and told them, “Either you move from here, or you will die.”

After being expelled from her home in Zanuta, Issa

Ahmad Baghdad said that what is happening is “a new Nakba”. That’s a reference to the mass ethnic cleansing and murder of Palestinians by Zionists in 1948.

When villagers tried to return, Israeli soldiers told them that they couldn’t build any new structures. They also said that settlers would likely attack them again. 

It’s not hard to see where the settlers have the confidence to murder, intimidate and drive Palestinians from their land. 

Far right national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir began handing out rifles to settlers last month. 

And Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich further fanned the flames when he said that “there are two million Nazis” in the West Bank. 

While the Israeli state bombs Gaza, it is using another tactic in the West Bank.

It wants to build up the confidence of the settler movement to work with Israeli state forces to push the Palestinians from their homes. 

Zionist troops take more hostages 

The Israeli state has been regularly kidnapping Palestinians across the West Bank—including children. 

Police snatched a teenager from his home In the village of Umm Al Khair last Saturday. 

Israeli forces blindfolded him, tied his hands behind his back, slung him into the back of a truck and drove him away.

His family had no idea where the police had taken him. 

The Villages Group, which monitors and assists those living under occupation in the West Bank, reported that the young man the police seized endured a night of horror at the hands of the Israeli police. 

“His mother and sisters told us that he was wounded all over, beaten up all night, his knees were stepped on, he could not walk.

“He was not given anything to drink or eat while being kidnapped.

“He is such a delicate and sensitive child his mother told us. How would he recover?” 

“When he called his family to come pick him up, he could not tell them where he was. He was blindfolded from the moment he was kidnapped until his captors threw him out somewhere. He did not know where he was taken, probably to a nearby army base.

“Now we understood how come we couldn’t locate him —it was no official arrest, just a random harassment by soldiers on the ground.”

This is just one story of kidnapping, torture and imprisonment by the Israeli state in the West Bank.

Israel has arrested almost 3,500 Palestinians in the West Bank since 7 October. The number of arrests increased through last week and at the beginning of this one.

The Israelis were “compensating” for the prisoners that the Palestinian resistance forced them to release in exchange for Israeli detainees. And they were filling up the jails in case they need future exchanges. 

Last month troops murdered six Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza. Soldiers tortured to death prisoners Omar Daraghmeh, Arafat Hamdan, Abdel Rahman Marei, Thaer Abu Asab, Majed Zaqoul, and another prisoner whose name hasn’t been released. 

The Palestinian Commission for Detainees and ex-Detainees Affairs said that Palestinian prisoners are beaten daily with batons and rifles by guards.

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