US State Department accuses Israel of turning blind eye to settler terror

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

The US is accusing Israel of failing to prevent attacks by settlers in the West Bank, including the charge in the State Department’s annual report on terrorism released this week.

The report is the latest expression of US frustration with Israel’s failure to crackdown on settler violence following the deadly rampage that took place in Huwara over the weekend.

“Israeli security personnel often did not prevent settler attacks and rarely detained or charged perpetrators of settler violence,” the report states, pointing to just one settler convicted for throwing a stun grenade at a Palestinian home and being sentenced to 20 months in jail.

The chapter on Israel and the Palestinian Territories, which was released along with reports on other countries, covers 2021 and was penned well before Sunday’s mob spree through Huwara, which came after a Palestinian gunman killed Israeli brothers driving through the city.

An aerial view of a scrapyard where cars were torched overnight in the Palestinian town of Huwara near Nablus in the West Bank, February 27, 2023. (Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP)

The report notes that attacks by settlers were on the rise in 2021.

“UN monitors documented 496 Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians, including 370 attacks that resulted in property damage, and 126 attacks that resulted in casualties, three of which were fatal. This is an increase from the 358 settler attacks UN OCHA documented in 2020, 84 of which resulted in casualties,” the report says.

The report noted condemnations from the previous Israeli government as well as proposals to reform police in order to better address the issue, while lamenting the lack of follow-through.

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