Several Palestinians have been injured after a group of extremist Israeli settlers armed with live ammunition attacked Palestinians who were protesting against expansion of Israeli settlements, in a village in the occupied West Bank.
Rateb Jabour, coordinator of an Anti-Wall and Settlement Popular Committees, which monitors Israeli violations in the area said that settlers escorted by soldiers opened fire at a peaceful crowd gathered in Khallet al-Dabe‘h village, south of al-Khalil, and also assaulted local residents with sticks and rocks on Wednesday evening, Palestine's official Wafa news agency reported.
The Alliance for Human Rights, a group of activists allied to document human rights abuses in Palestine, said that at least five Palestinians were injured by live rounds of ammunition in the brutal assault.
Several more sustained injuries and bruises as they tried to fend off the settlers and defend themselves.
Various attacks on Palestinian property, including arson and graffiti, have become a daily occurrence throughout the occupied territories, particularly in the West Bank.
Israeli settlers have noticeably escalated attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank in recent months.
However, Israeli authorities rarely prosecute the assailants, and the vast majority of the files are closed due to deliberate police failure to investigate properly.
A report released at the beginning of November by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) stated that 287 Palestinians were attacked by settlers this year so far, with 102 of those attacks resulting in casualties since the start of this year.
For years, Israel has clearly allowed its settlers to assault Palestinians and inflict damage on their property as one of its policies. This has included provision of military protection for the attackers, and in some cases troopers' active participation in the assault.
The United Nations has already warned of a surge in Israeli settler violence against Palestinians, mostly in the areas of al-Khalil, al-Quds, Nablus and Ramallah.
More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East al-Quds.
The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.
Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East al-Quds as its capital.