West Bank ‘Pogrom’ Shows Apartheid Must Go: Amnesty

The human rights group says the prolonged attacks against Palestinians underlines the need to dismantle illegal settlements and end the occupation.

The Israeli settlement of Givat Zeev in the Occupied West Bank. (Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)

By Brett Wilkins
Common Dreams

Amnesty International says the ongoing surge in deadly violence by Israeli settlers and soldiers in the West Bank “underscores [the] urgent need to dismantle apartheid” in the illegally occupied Palestinian territories.

For more than a week now, Israeli settlers have been attacking West Bank Palestinians in towns and villages including Al-Mughayir, Duma, Deir Dibwan, Beitin, and Aqraba, killing at least four people including a child; wounding dozens of others; and destroying homes, vehicles, and other property.

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) troops have either stood and watched or participated in the settler attacks, which the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem and others are calling a “pogrom.”

Amnesty Middle East and North Africa regional director Heba Morayef said:

 “The alarming spike in violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians across the occupied West Bank in recent days highlights the urgent need to dismantle illegal settlements, end Israel’s occupation of the occupied Palestinian territories, and its longstanding system of apartheid.

The appalling spike in settler violence against Palestinians in recent days is part of a decades-long state-backed campaign to dispossess, displace, and oppress Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, under Israel’s system of apartheid.

Israeli forces have a track record of enabling settler violence and it is outrageous that once again Israeli forces stood by and in some cases took part in these brutal attacks.”

Moratef said establishing Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories flagrantly violated international law and constituted a war crime. 

Armed Israeli settler accompanied by soldiers threatens Palestinian farmers near a-Tuwani, South Hebron Hills, April 2020. (Basel al-’Adrah, BT’selem volunteer)Wikimedia Commons)

“Violence is integral to the establishment and expansion of these settlements and to sustaining apartheid. It’s time for the world to recognize this and pressure Israeli authorities to abide by international law by immediately halting settlement expansion and removing all existing settlements.”

The latest wave of settler violence was sparked by the disappearance of Binyamin Achimair, a 14-year-old Israeli from the illegal settler outpost of Mal’achei Hashalom who went missing on April 12 while herding sheep near the village of Al-Mughayir east of Ramallah. As Israelis searched for Achimair, settlers began attacking Al-Mughayir’s residents and property.

Refugee Camp Attacked

Achimair’s body was found the following day. Israeli officials said he was killed in a “terrorist attack.” However, no Palestinian resistance group has claimed responsibility for the incident. A 21-year-old Palestinian man was arrested Monday in alleged connection with the boy’s death.

Late Friday, IDF troops and armored vehicles surrounded the Nur Shams refugee camp east of Tulkarem and besieged the community of more than 6000 Palestinians during a 50-hour raid in which residents were shot, homes were destroyed, and scores of people were arrested.

By Saturday, IDF soldiers had killed 14 people in the camp, including at least one child. More than 40 other Palestinians were wounded.

“I saw one of my relatives, Jihad Zandiq, put his hands in the air to the soldiers but then they shot him anyway from point-blank range and killed him. Half of his skull exploded,” eyewitness Mahmoud Qazmouz told Middle East Eye on Sunday.

Palestinian officials said Israeli troops attacked first responders attempting to rescue victims, including a volunteer paramedic shot in the leg.

Sanctions Against Settler Leaders

Illegal Israeli West Bank settlement as viewed from Bethlehem in 2011. (Flickr Montecruz Foto)

Meanwhile, a funeral was held Sunday for Mohammed Awad Allah Musa, a 50-year-old Palestinian Red Crescent Society volunteer paramedic who was shot dead Saturday by Israeli settler-colonists while trying to reach Palestinians wounded by rampaging settlers in the town of Sa’wiyah south of Nablus.

The Nur Shams raid and ongoing settler attacks came as the U.S. State Department on Friday announced new sanctions targeting far-right Israeli settler leaders, including Ben Zion Gopstein, the founder and head of the Jewish supremacist group Lehava.

The Biden administration — which backs Israel with billions of dollars in military aid and diplomatic support — is also reportedly considering imposing sanctions on the IDF’s Netzah Yehuda battalion over war crimes committed in the West Bank before the current Israeli war on Gaza, including the January 2022 death of Omar Assad, a 78-year-old Palestinian American man.

Responding to the prospect of the first-ever U.S. sanctions on his country’s military, far-right Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that “I will fight it with all my strength.”

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, at least 485 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli soldiers and settlers in the West Bank since Oct. 7, when Gaza-based militants attacked Israel. More than 1100 people were killed in the attack—some by responding Israeli forces—and over 240 Israelis and others were kidnapped by Hamas and other militants.

Israel’s 199-day retaliatory assault on Gaza — which critics including Israelis have called genocidal — has killed at least 34,151 Palestinians, mostly women and children, while wounding over 77,000 others, according to Palestinian and international officials.

At least 11,000 Gazans are missing, presumed dead and buried beneath the rubble of the hundreds of thousands of homes and other buildings that have been destroyed or damaged by Israeli bombardment. Around 90 percent of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have been forcibly displaced, and Israel’s continued obstruction of humanitarian aid delivery has fueled a burgeoning famine in which dozens of people, mostly children, have perished.

Brett Wilkins is a staff writer for Common Dreams.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

3 comments for “West Bank ‘Pogrom’ Shows Apartheid Must Go: Amnesty

  1. Em
    April 25, 2024 at 13:57

    What’s on your Pogrom menu today Israel?
    Why is this day different from yesterday?
    Because yesterday, it was a la Carte in Gaza, while nowadays it is take-out in the West Bank!
    Why, because the IDF chefs and their sous chef perpetrators are busy cooking up a take-out banquet for Rafah.
    Germany’s Holocaust menu is no longer palatable, as retribution for the ethnic cleansing of their direct ancestors.
    The more hazy memories of the pharaonic period of Egyptian rule, beginning 3200 years ago BC., are more suitable to today’s cultural table manners
    These extreme national Zionist’s appetites will never be sated!

    As George Carlin would probably say: Jokes aside…. this is NO joking matter.

  2. CaseyG
    April 24, 2024 at 19:56

    OMG—-what is wrong with you Biden? Murdering the citizens of Palestine? Does that make you feel big and strong and never having to answer to admit your assisting BiBi in his need to throw out and murder Palestinians?
    Words cannot truly address this lack of humanity.

  3. Lois Gagnon
    April 24, 2024 at 14:29

    The time has come for the settler colonialist project everywhere to be destroyed forever. Genocide is at the heart of this system and therefore the world as a whole must do all that it can to bring it to an end before it brings an end to us.

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