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UN warns of rise in Israeli violence, vandalism in West Bank

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The file photo shows an Israeli settler standing guard in the occupied West Bank town of al-Khalil (Hebron) on November 3, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

The United Nations says violence and vandalism committed by Israeli settlers against Palestinians and their property have been on the rise since the beginning of the year 2018.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on Sunday made the news in a report published in its biweekly Protection of Civilians, comparing a weekly average of five attacks resulting in injuries with an average of three in 2017 and two in 2016.

The report, which covered the period from November 20 to December 3, further said Israeli authorities had demolished or seized 33 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C of the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds, including two structures built as humanitarian assistance, under the pretext of lacking a building permit.

OCHA said the controversial demolitions and seizures had displaced 16 people, including six children, and affected at least 226 others, adding that 24 of the targeted structures had been in East Jerusalem al-Quds and the remaining nine had been in Area C, which makes more than 60 percent of the entire occupied West Bank.

The report added at least 11 attacks had been conducted by Israeli settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank during the same period, resulting in Palestinian property damage. Furthermore, about 85 Palestinian-owned trees, mostly olive ones, had been vandalized by Israeli settlers in Turmusayya village, near Ramallah.

In five other incidents in different localities of the West Bank, Israeli settlers punctured the tires of 52 Palestinian vehicles, and wrote racist and anti-Arab slogans with spray on some of the vehicles and on the walls of schools, mosques and several homes.

Back in October, Israeli settlers stoned to death a Palestinian woman near a West Bank checkpoint south of Nablus.

The tragic incident came two days after a group of Israeli settlers from the Yitzhar settlement broke into a high school in Urif village, located in southern Nablus, and began throwing stones at horrified students inside their classrooms.

Dozens of students were injured during the invasion, which also led to the disruption of classes and material damage.    

About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

Israel's continued settlement expansion on Palestinian territories has been a major sticking point in Israeli-Palestinian talks, which have stalled since 2014. 

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