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Special Focus: Alarming Increase in Settler Attacks against Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) - Reporting Period: 3 - 14 October 2022
24، Oct 2022

Earlier this year, in April, Al-Haq voiced its concerns as to the rising level of violence committed by Israeli settlers in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).[1] Then calling on the UN special procedures to intervene “concerning the intensifying level of violence against Palestinians by colonial settlers illegally residing in the occupied Palestinian territory… committed with institutionalized impunity”.[2] Since October, the Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) and extremist illegally transferred in settlers have been escalating violent attacks against Palestinians across the West Bank. An emerging pattern of widespread attacks has been documented by Al-Haq in Burin and Huwara in Nablus, Al-Bireh and Al-Mazra’a al Gharbiyeh outside Ramallah, Sheikh Jarrah in Jerusalem, the villages of villages of Bardla and Ain Al-Bayda, and Tal Ramidah and Shahada Street in Hebron. On 7 October, Mahdi Mohammad Abdulmuti Ladadwa, 17 was killed by live bullets fired by Israeli forces in Ramallah, during a settler attack.[3] Al-Haq stresses that this pattern of attacks is significantly impacting on the life and security of Palestinians living in the OPT, as well as the stability of the area.

As of 23 October 2022, 165 Palestinians have been killed in attacks, including in settler attacks - “an alarming increase which has not been recorded since 2015.”[4] The United Nations have also shared their concerns regarding the escalation.[5]   In the month of September alone, Al-Haq documented the killing of 17 Palestinians by the IOF. Within the past three weeks, from 1 October to 23 October, Al-Haq documented the killing of 19 Palestinians, including 7 children, by the IOF across the occupied West Bank. OCHA reported that the killings took place “during search-and-arrest operations, exchanges of fire, or in confrontations between Israeli forces and Palestinians in the West Bank including East Jerusalem, often following settler attacks or incursions into Palestinian villages”.[6] Against this backdrop, some, including Israeli lawmakers[7] and three former Israeli commanders,[8] have expressed their “fears of a third Intifada”.[9]


  1. Patterns of Settler Attacks Across the West Bank

On 3 October 2022, settlers attacked the homes of Palestinian residents living near the entrance of Al-Bireh, including the house of the Al-Harini family[10] Meanwhile on the same day, in the Palestinian village of Huwara in Nablus, settlers marched through the streets and “clashed with local youths”, causing injuries to 16 Palestinians.[11]

On 4 October, at approximately 9:00 pm, a group of settlers attacked Muhammad Ibrahim Duikat along the Yitshar settlement, south of Nablus. The latter sustained bruising.[12] In Nablus, settlers attacked the Hawara Secondary School for Boys in Hawara town, south of Nablus, with stones, under the protection of the IOF. Ambulance crew from the Palestine Red Crescent said it attended three injuries, including a student and the principal of Hawara school, when settlers attacked the school. In this context, a number of civilians suffered from suffocation.”[13] OCHA further reported that the attack forced “the administration to suspend school [...]; two students and the school principal were injured, 250 students were otherwise affected, and damage to property was reported.”[14]

The IOF subsequently shot teargas canisters at Palestinians who threw stones at the settlers.[15] Near Huwara, Al-Haq documented that another group of settlers threw stones at Palestinians’ cars.[16] Settlers further threw stones at Palestinians’ vehicles at the northern Al-Bireh checkpoint, under the protection of the IOF, who prevented vehicles from passing.[17] Meanwhile Israeli settlers set fire to uncultivated Palestinian lands, physically assaulted Palestinians, and threw stones at Palestinian cars and houses in Madama and Huwara on both 28 September and 4 October. This series of incidents resulted in 19 Palestinians being injured.[18]

On October 5, in the Farsiya area, a group of settlers destroyed solar panel cells, the contents of a residential tent, as well as a water tank owned by Raed Mohammed Fares. Moreover, at approximately 9:05 am, settlers threw stones at the secondary school in the village of Burin, south of Nablus, which injured Abd al-Hamis Idris Abu Shehadeh, a teacher, as well as student, Walid Nidal Fakhri Khums, 16.[19]

On 6 October, in Ain Al-Bayda a large number of settlers destroyed houses, uprooted trees and threw stones at Palestinian residents. A Palestinian minor, Adly Shafi, 16, sustained injuries. Near the entrance of Al-Bireh, dozens of settlers pelted Palestinians’ vehicles with stones, under the protection of the IOF. [20]

On 7 October, as residents of the village of Al-Mazra’a al Gharbiyeh, northwest of Ramallah, attempted to repel the settler attacks, Mahdi Mohammad Abdulmuti Ladadwa, 17 was killed. An eyewitness described to Al-Haq:

20 soldiers stormed the place and I saw them firing gas and sound bombs, and the young men threw stones at them. I heard two bullets that I realised were live bullets and then I […] saw a group of soldiers (20 soldiers), including three soldiers carrying a wounded person […]. I realised that the injured was a Palestinian youth and in a critical condition.[21]

It has been reported that Ladawa stood less than 20 meters away from the Israeli soldiers when he was shot at and did not pose any threat to their life.[22] Another boy, Nour ‘Ali al-Sa’di Shreiteh, 16 was injured by live bullets fired by Israeli forces in his pelvis,[23] while a further 50 Palestinian minors sustained injuries.[24] West of the Kiryat Arba settlement, settlers destroyed eight olive trees belonging to Abdul Karim Al Jabari and planted on his land.[25]

On 9 October, numerous settlers entered the agricultural lands in the villages of Bardla and Ain Al-Bayda, destroyed the cucumber crop and uprooted a sapling from the farm of Ashraf Sawafta, located in Bardla.[26]

On 10 October, in the evening, settlers attacked residents of the Tal Ramidah neighbourhood and Shahada Street of Hebron; eight Palestinians were injured by pepper gas suffocation.[27]

On 11 October, the IOF closed the checkpoint leading to the city of Nablus after an alleged Palestinian shooting injured an Israeli soldier near the illegal settlement of Shafi Shimron located northwest of Nablus. Under the protection of the IOF, settlers intensified their attacks and assaults on Palestinian civilians and their properties, namely burning parks and destroying dozens of shops. They further attacked vehicles on the surrounding roads.[28]

On 12 October, at approximately 9:00 am, settlers attacked an ambulance used to transport kidney dialysis patients in Nablus, Huwara. In Kasra, southeast of Nablus, at approximately 7:50 pm, a group of settlers beat the farmer, Murad Jamal Bani Odeh and burned a truck belonging to Ahmed Nashat Atta Allah and a poultry farm, which resulted in the death of 30,000 birds and the burning of the entire farm.[29]

On 12 and 13 October 2022, Israeli settlers, armed with rifles, rocks and pipes assaulted Palestinians, and attacked homes, vehicles and stores in Huwara, near Nablus, in the occupied West Bank. The settlers involved physically beat Palestinian residents and shot live ammunition.[30]  On the same days, confrontations further arose between Palestinians and Israeli settlers in Jerusalem. On Thursday night, October 13th, Jewish settlers shouted “death to Arabs” and attacked the residents of Sheikh Jarrah, as well as their properties. As a result of the physical assaults and rock-throwing committed by settlers, 20 Palestinians were injured and transferred to hospital. The tremendous violence of these attacks can be inferred from the injuries reported: including a broken arm, and internal bleeding due to fractures of one victim’s skull.[31]

Later in the day, Israeli settlers set on fire a café near Huwara Park, which led to the outbreak of confrontations amid heavy firing of bullets and tear gas, with Israeli forces targeting the shops in the center of the town. As a result, a number of Palestinians suffocated as they inhaled tear gas and pepper gas. A civil defense vehicle belonging to the village of Burin was further attacked and damaged by stones thrown at its windshield. The homes attacked included that of Sabri Najib near the Suleiman Al-Farsi roundabout. Settlers also perpetrated the burning of olive trees and the home of Ziad Ghalib Thamidi, as well as the destruction of the vehicle of Hasan Haj Hamed. As a result, two Palestinian residents were wounded by live bullets fired at their legs and back. Further, 60 Palestinians were injured due to the inhalation of tear gas and pepper spray.[32]

The violence continued on 14 October, when the IOF fired bullets and tear gas bombs heavily at the residents who were responding to the settler attack on Huwara. Settlers shot at the houses of the Palestinian residents of Huwara, which caused an explosion. Palestinians who tried to defend themselves were targeted by the IOF with bullets, tear gas and sound bombs. Two Palestinians were wounded by live ammunition and dozens suffered suffocated as a result of this attack.[33]

In both Huwara and East Jerusalem, settlers acted under the protection of the police.[34] In Sheikh Jarrah, not only did the police fail to prevent the attacks but they also arrested, “at least ten youth from the neighbourhood”.[35] At the same time, some popular right-wing Israeli parliamentarians joined the raid in Sheikh Jarrah, including Ben-Gvir who pulled out a gun and gave instructions to the settlers, to shoot the Palestinians who throw stones.[36] This alarming active incitement of violence toward Palestinians echoes the explicit “call for Israelis to arm themselves” that was made on 30 March 2022 by Israel’s former Prime Minister Naftali Benet.[37]

On 14 October, settlers cut down a number of olive trees and stole fruits south of Nablus governorate and in the north-western lands of the village of Qariyot southeast of Nablus city belonging to the citizens Laid Hamdan, Mahmoud Ratb, Ma’mon Theeb, and stole fruits from the town Awarta in the Nablus Governorate,[38] Moreover, on October 14, at approximately 3:30 pm, setters from the Yitzhar settlement set fire to the agricultural lands and olive trees in the village of Burin, south of the city of Nablus [39]

On the other side of the Green Line, in West Jerusalem, Palestine, several assaults on Palestinian workers have been reported, including aggressive gangs of Jewish minors harassing a Palestinian in central Jerusalem, following him down the city, throwing objects and shouting inciting language and taunts on 13 October.[40]


  1. Impunity for Settler Attacks

As a consequence of the abovementioned public incitements towards violence, 2022 has witnessed increasing “incidents of Israeli settlers entering Palestinian communities and private property, evolving into confrontations with Palestinians and clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces who intervene”.[41] The lack of genuine accountability of the perpetrators before Israeli courts has also significantly paved the way for this increase in settler violence: from 2005 to 2021, Israel has dropped 92 percent of all cases against Israeli settlers who attacked Palestinians, without even filing an indictment.[42] This leniency towards settlers has created a climate of impunity that further encourages violence towards Palestinians. In some cases, the Palestinian victims could not even file a complaint.[43] This is of critical importance in terms of international criminal justice insofar as it illustrates Israel’s unwillingness to ensure genuine investigation and prosecution of persons allegedly responsible for international crimes, which is one of the factors determining the admissibility of a case before the International Criminal Court.[44]

On the other hand, Palestinian attacked by Israeli settlers are often arrested.[45] This double standard consisting in arresting and charging Palestinians victims of settler attacks and not the settlers involved is another discriminatory tool used by the Zionist settler colonial and apartheid regime to further entrench its racial domination and oppression against the Palestinian people, which amounts to the crime against humanity of apartheid.


  1. Legal Analysis

Israel, the Occupying Power, is obliged to “ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety” in the occupied Palestinian territory.[46] Notably, the transfer in of the nationals of the Occupying Power is strictly prohibited under Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and amounts to a war crime within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC).[47] Accordingly, illegally transferred in settlers do not comprise the protected occupied population. As emphasised by former UN Special Rapporteur, Michael Lynk: “Israeli settlements violate the absolute prohibition against the transfer by an occupying power of parts of its civilian population into an occupied territory. The international community designated this practice as a war crime when it adopted the Rome Statute in 1998”. In this vein, settler attacks against Palestinians should not be merely viewed as crimes committed by individuals for private reasons. Rather, settler attacks form “part of the strategy employed by Israel’s apartheid regime, which seeks to take over more and West Bank land” and consequently incur both individual and State responsibility.[48]

Furthermore, acts of wilful killing, wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, wilfully depriving someone of the rights of fair and regular trial as well as extensive destruction and appropriation of property not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly constitute grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention when committed against protected persons in the context of an international armed conflict.[49] Alongside Israel, the Occupying Power, third States are also under the obligation to respect and ensure respect of the Fourth Geneva Conventions,[50] which prohibit the transfer of settlers in an occupied territory.[51] Consequently, each third State “shall be under the obligation to search for persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed, such grave breaches, and shall bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before its own courts.”[52]


  1. Conclusion

Already in April 2022, settler violence reached an alarming level, the highest in “at least in five years”.[53] In July, the European Union (EU) condemned the increase in settler attacks and demanded a rapid and transparent investigation into the killing of Amjad Abu Alya, 15 who was shot in a settler attack at Mughayyer village, in Ramallah.[54] However, statements of condemnation have not curbed the violence. Al-Haq notes that the EU, which is the first commercial partner of Israel,[55] has thus the ability to take effective measures. These measures are not only a political matter. They are dictated by the international obligations of the EU, whose member States, who are all State parties to the 1977 Additional Protocol I, must “undertake to act, jointly or individually, in co-operation with the United Nations” in “situations of serious violations of the [Geneva] Convention or of this Protocol.[56]


  1. Recommendations

Al-Haq calls on Third States to:

  1. Uphold their obligation to ensure respect of the Forth Geneva Conventions (as per Common Article 1 Geneva Conventions) and pressure Israel to halt its violations of international law;
  2. Provide no form of assistance to such violations and take immediate actions and take measures against Israel’s settlement enterprise, including by instituting a ban on settlement imports, supporting and endorsing available mechanisms to counter the expansion of Israel’s unlawful settlement enterprise, including the UN Database of all business enterprises involved in or with settlements;
  3. Undertake necessary measures that guarantee Israel’s genuine law enforcement, investigation into incidents of colonial settler violence and accountability of direct perpetrators and other persons responsible for acts of violence against Palestinians, including Israeli officials, commanders, soldiers, and settlers.

[1] Al-Haq, “Urgent Appeal on Intensified Violence and Attacks against Palestinians by Colonial

Settlers”, 14 April 2022, available at:; Gershon Baskin, “Is a third intifada on the horizon?-opinion,” The Jerusalem Post, 3 August 2022, available at:

[2] Al-Haq, “Urgent Appeal” (n 1).

[3] Al-Haq, Monitoring and Documentation Department, “Field Information from October 3 to 10, 2022” (11 October 2022), p. 1; OCHA, “Protection of Civilians Report, 27 September- 10 October 2022”, 16 October 2022, available at:

[4] Al-Haq, “65 Organisations Send a Letter to the New High Commissioner for Human Rights, Urging for Concrete Measures to Ensure Justice and Accountability for the Palestinian People”, 18 October 2022, available at:

[5] United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs” (OCHA), “Protection of Civilians Report, 27 September- 10 October 2022”, 16 October 2022, available at:

[6] OCHA, Statement by Lucia Elmi, acting Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, on the alarming increase in violence and movement restrictions in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, 18 October 2022, available at: See also Al-Haq, “Al-Haq Urges States to Take Actions to Halt Israel’s Escalation of Military Raids, Killings, Settler Violence and Collective Punishments”, 19 October 2022, available at:

[7] I24news, “Israeli MP warns rising West Bank violence may signal trouble in 2022”, 7 January 2022, available at:

[8] Middle East Monitor, “Ex-Israel army commanders warn settler violence might ignite new intifada”, 11 January 2022, available at:

[9] CNN, “Fears of a third Intifada as Palestinians deaths reach 7-year high”, 23 September 2022, available at:

[10] Al-Haq, Monitoring and Documentation Department, “Field Information from October 3 to 10, 2022” (11 October 2022), p.5.

[11] The Palestinian Chronicle, “Dozens of Jewish Settlers Attack Palestinian School in Occupied West Bank”, 4 October 2022, available at:

[12] Al-Haq, Monitoring and Documentation Department (n 11) p.5.

[13] Al-Haq, Monitoring and Documentation Department (n 11) p.5.

[14] OCHA, “Protection of Civilians Report, 27 September- 10 October 2022”, 16 October 2022, available at:

[15] Ibid.

[16] Al-Haq, Monitoring and Documentation Department, “Field Information from October 3 to 10, 2022” (11 October 2022), p. 5.

[17] Ibid.

[18] OCHA, “Protection of Civilians Report” (n 14).

[19] Al-Haq, Monitoring and Documentation Department (n 11) p. 5.

[20] Ibid., p. 5-6.

[21] Al-Haq, Affidavit, Mohamed Saleh Mahmoud Shreiteh (10 October 2022), Affidavit on file with Al-Haq.

[22] Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), “Seriously Escalating Killings Due to Crimes of Excessive Use of Force: 4 Palestinians Killed, including 2 Children, and 10 Others Wounded, including Child in Critical Condition, By Israeli Occupation Forces Fire in the West Bank, 8 October 2022, available at: .

[23] Ibid.; OCHA, “Protection of Civilians Report, 27 September- 10 October 2022”, 16 October 2022, available at:

[24] OCHA, “Protection of Civilians Report, 27 September- 10 October 2022”, 16 October 2022, available at:

[25] Al-Haq, Monitoring and Documentation Department (n 11) p. 6.

[26] Ibid., p. 6.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Al-Haq, Monitoring and Documentation Department, “Daily Field Information from 11/10/2022 to 14/10/2022” (14 October 2022).

[29] Ibid.

[30] Zena Al Tahhan, « Doctors among two Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in Jenin”, Al-Jazeera, 14 October 2022, available at:; Oren Ziv, 13 October  2022, Twitter, available at:

[31] Zena Al Tahhan, « Doctors among two Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in Jenin”, Al-Jazeera, 14 October 2022, available at:

[32] Al-Haq, Monitoring and Documentation Department, “Daily Field Information from 11/10/2022 to 14/10/2022” (14 October 2022), p. 1.

[33] Ibid.

[34] Zena Al Tahhan, « Doctors among two Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in Jenin”, Al-Jazeera, 14 October 2022, available at:

[35] Ibid.

[36] Edo Konrad, Twitter, 13 October 2022, available at:

[37] Prime Minister’s office, Recorded Statement by PM Bennett, 30 March 2022, available at:

[38] Al-Haq, Monitoring and Documentation Department, “Daily Field Information from 11/10/2022 to 14/10/2022” (14 October 2022), p. 2.

[39] Al-Haq, Monitoring and Documentation Department, “Daily Field Information from 11/10/2022 to 14/10/2022” (14 October 2022), p. 2.

[40] Edo Konrad, Twitter, 13 October 2022, available at:

[41] OCHA, “Protection of Civilians Report, 27 September- 10 October 2022”, 16 October 2022, available at:

[42] Zena Al Tahhan, “Israel drops prosecution of Jewish settler who killed Palestinian”, Al-Jazeera, 26 August 2022, available at:; Yesh Din, “Law Enforcement on Israeli Civilians in the West Bank (Settler Violence): Yesh Din Figures 2005-2021,” December 2021, p. 1, available at:

[43] B’Tselem, “Video Channel: Settler Violence = State Violence”, September  2022, available at:

[44] Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Article 17.

[45] The Electronic Intifada, “Palestine in Pictures: September 2022”, 4 October 2022, available at:; Al-Jazeera, “Palestinians threatened by Jewish ‘terrorist militia’ in Naqab”, 24 March 2022, available at:

[46] Article 43, of the 1907 Hague Regulations annexed to the Hague Convention IV Respecting the Law and

Customs in War on Land (hereinafter ‘Hague Regulations’).

[47] Article 8(2)(b)(viii), Statute of the International Criminal Court.

[48] B’Tselem, “Settler Violence = State Violence”, 25 November 2021, available at:

[49] Forth Geneva Convention, Article 147.

[50] Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949? (“Forth Geneva Convention”), Common Article 1.

[51] Forth Geneva Convention, Article 49.

[52] Forth Geneva Convention, Article 146.

[53] Patrick Kingsley, « As Violence Rises in the West Bank, Settler Attacks Raise Alarm”, New York Times, 27 April 2022, available at:,year%20and%20killed%20five%2C%20U.N.

[54] Wafa News Agency, “EU condemns recent increase in Israel settler violence”, 31 July 2022, available at:

[55] European Commission, “Israel-EU trade relations with Israel. Facts, figures and latest developments”, available at: