Settler Attacks are escalating in the Westbank - Doctors of the World

Settler Attacks are escalating in the Westbank

AIDA (Association of International Development Agencies) and 25 NGOs are urging the international community to intervene to stop settler attacks against Palestinian civilians and protect Palestinian communities near illegal settlements. These organizations call on international actors to hold the Israeli government accountable for its systematic failures in addressing these attacks, the forcible transfer of Palestinians, and the expropriation of large areas in the occupied West Bank.

Starting on Friday, April 12, attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinian villages in the West Bank escalated and continued through Sunday. These attacks have resulted in the deaths of two Palestinians, including a child, and numerous injuries, with nearly half of the victims suffering from live ammunition wounds. Additionally, settlers set fire to several houses and vehicles across the West Bank.

Media reports indicate that thousands of armed Israeli settlers, escorted by the Israeli army, invaded West Bank villages such as Al-Mughayyir, Khirbet Abu Falah, As-Sawiya, and Deir Dibwan, among others. During these incursions, the Israeli army protected the settlers, blocked access to the villages, and prevented Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances from reaching the injured. According to Israeli media, settlers claimed to be retaliating for the death of a 14-year-old Israeli teenager from the illegal outpost Malachei Hashalom. However, the identity of the perpetrators remains unknown.


The International Community Must Act


These violent attacks by self-proclaimed militias against entire Palestinian communities must be condemned unequivocally. The international community must respond promptly and firmly by pressuring the Israeli government to end these attacks and urgently defuse the situation. Palestinian communities near settlements are particularly vulnerable to such violence.

As the occupying power, the Israeli government has an obligation to protect the Palestinian population, including respecting private property. However, the government has allowed these large-scale attacks by self-proclaimed militias to become routine. In 2023, similar raids occurred in Huwara, Turmus Ayya, and many other Palestinian communities, often with near-total impunity for Israeli perpetrators.

While the international community focuses on Gaza, the Israeli government has not only permitted settler violence to escalate but has also continued the expansion of settlements on Palestinian land and the illegal seizure of Palestinian territories by declaring them “state lands of the State of Israel,” a clear violation of international law.

Despite some states adopting sanctions targeting violent Israeli settlers and outposts, these measures are insufficient to deter the Israeli government from transferring its citizens to occupied Palestinian territory in violation of international law, arming them, conscripting them into reserves serving in the West Bank, and supporting settlement expansion through land expropriation and illegal construction in existing settlements. The scale and intensity of settler attacks have only increased. States are obligated under international humanitarian law to ensure compliance with the Geneva Conventions, which may include implementing measures such as arms trade restrictions.


700 Settler Attacks Since October 2023


The UN has recorded more than 700 settler attacks since October 7, 2023, averaging four attacks daily in 2024. These figures include only attacks resulting in injury or material damage and exclude cases of firearm threats, harassment, and intimidation. The UN estimates that the Israeli army was present or involved in half of the settler attacks over the past year. The Israeli government has consistently failed to hold settlers and the Israeli army accountable: only 3% of investigations into settler violence resulted in partial or total convictions. Furthermore, in 2023 alone, more than 1,500 Palestinians were forced to flee their homes due to settler violence and have since been barred from returning to their land.

AIDA calls on the international community to take decisive action against the Israeli government for failing to prevent settler attacks, prosecute violent settlers, and deter its armed forces from participating in or allowing such attacks. Immediate measures must be implemented to protect Palestinian communities near illegal settlements. Additionally, actions must be taken against the Israeli government for its grave violations of international law by continuing to transfer its population to occupied Palestinian territory.


Recommendations for International Action


AIDA members urge third states to:

  • Demand that the Israeli government immediately stop, reverse, and prevent all settlement construction and expansion, including the creation of outposts, provide guarantees of non-repetition, and offer full reparations for any damage caused.
  • Demand that the Israeli government take all necessary actions against settlers inciting and initiating violence and expel them from the occupied territory.
  • Expand measures targeting settlers to also apply to Israeli government bodies, officials, settler associations, and any other entity actively encouraging violations of international humanitarian law, including through settlement expansion, obstructing humanitarian aid, and the forcible transfer of Palestinians.
  • Demand that the Israeli government reverse the designation of occupied territory as “state land.”
  • Demand that the Israeli government end the highly coercive environment it is creating for Palestinians in the West Bank.
  • Facilitate the immediate return of all displaced Palestinian communities.
  • Actively work to replace the discriminatory planning regime imposed by the Israeli government in Area C with an autonomous, rights-based, Palestinian-led construction process.


Doctors of the World: Action in the Westbank 


In the Nablus region and the northern Jordan Valley, Doctors of the World provides psychosocial support to victims of violence by settlers and the Israeli armed forces. Medical staff are trained to detect psychosocial disorders, enabling them to refer patients to appropriate health facilities. A referral system for mental health disorders, developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, has been adopted as an official national tool.

Our organization also offers psychosocial support through discussion groups, where victims of attacks or those who feel threatened can share their experiences. This support is provided in villages and certain schools, particularly in areas where children are especially vulnerable to violence. These efforts help strengthen resilience and improve stress management among the affected populations.

However, mental health as well as physical health will only get worse if the violence perpetuated by the illegal Israeli settlers continues. Immediate international action is the most crucial part to improving the wellbeing of Palestinians in the West Bank.



© Israel Fuguemann