Palestinians living in the West Bank have been subject to growing pressure from illegal Israeli settlers supported by the IDF. Attacks include property damage, arson, destroying olive groves and livestock, physical assault and intimidation. When Palestinians respond to attacks by settlers they face heavily armed interventions from Israeli troops. In 2022 Israel killed 167 Palestinians in the West Bank. The majority were unarmed civilians. The youngest was seven years old. The eldest was 80. Before the Hamas attack on Southern Israel on 7th October, the BBC reported that over a hundred Palestinians had been killed in the West Bank this year. In the three weeks since then the UN report that over 120 more have been killed.
Israel is using the Hamas attack as an excuse to escalate its war against the West Bank. And while the scale of death and destruction has not yet reached the level of carnage in Gaza there are some ominous developments. We reported at the beginning of this phase in the conflict that extremist Israeli groups were calling for the kidnapping and murder of all Arabs. “Without mercy, every Arab regardless of sex and age you should immediately kidnap and kill.“ Since then Israel has been arming settler groups in the West Bank who are threatening a new Nakba, referring to the campaign of terror in 1948 when three quarters of a million Palestinians fled from armed settler groups and militias. Thousands more were killed.
Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank have distributed threatening leaflets on cars and left bloodied dolls at schools, warning Palestinians to leave or be killed. “By God, we will descend upon your heads with a great catastrophe soon. You have the last chance to escape to Jordan in an organised manner,” said one leaflet circulated on Friday in the West Bank city of Salfit. “After that, we will destroy every enemy and forcefully expel you from our holy land … Load your bags immediately and leave wherever you came from. We are coming.” The leaflet also warned of a new “major Nakba”, referencing the 1948 displacement of 750,000 Palestinians from their homeland.
David Mivasair, a Canadian rabbi and peace activist who is calling for a ceasefire, has shared messages from a Palestinian village in the South Hebron Hills, where settlers, masquerading as a military force, have launched a barbaric assault on Susyiah village. They attack, they vandalise, and “if the villagers do not vacate within 24 hours, they vow to return and perpetrate murder.” Ten villages have already been abandoned. Susyiah is next. While most of the media pay scant attention to life in the occupied territories, last night Channel 4 News broadcast a report from Matt Frei in Susyiah where villagers are refusing to leave.
Israel is deliberately bombing Gaza into oblivion, ostensibly to eradicate Hamas. In reality they are carrying out ethnic cleansing with the threat of genocide in order to extend the borders of an exclusively Jewish state in the Palestinian homeland. They have the full support of the US and UK governments and their opposition parties with Sir Keir Starmer leading the charge.
Life long socialist. Now retired, I have been an office junior, a bookseller, a docker and a teacher. I write a lot and read a lot more. Committed member of the Society of Authors, English PEN and the National Education Union. Never voting Labour again.