Friday, September 05, 2008

430,000 Breaches of International Law

It's been hard to believe, but since the beginning of this year the situation in Tuwani has gotten much worse. The settlers of Ma'on and Havot Ma'on have attacked the Palestinians in tharea more frequently and more severely and no one knows just what accounts for the change. I still can't sayt hat I do, but recently an article published by the BBC at least managed to verify my own experiences.

Israeli officials have reported 429 incidents of settler violence against Palestinians in the first half of 2008, up from a total of 551 attacks in all of 2007. It should be said that these statistics are undoubtedly nowhere near comprehensive. In July CPT documented 7 settler attacks in Tuwani, only one of which was reported to the police. You'll see why Palestinians aren't making police reports in a moment.

According to Yesh Din (a wonderful Israeli organization), 9 out of 10 police investigations don't lead to anyone being charged. Yesh Din looked at 163 cases and found only 13 which ended with the attackers being indicted.

We found that even with overwhelming evidence - like videotapes of the crimes of settlers - Israeli police still refuse to take action. Going to the police is a nightmare, especially for Palestinians. My neighbors have told me stories of making police reports, only to be told that they would be arrested or fined. Why would you bother?

And here's my favorite part of the situation. Now that settler attacks are on the rise, the Israeli government has "postponed"the dismantlement of Migron, the largest unauthorized settlement in the West Bank. There are 430,000 Israeli settlers living in the West Bank in contravention of the Geneva Convention. Even when some of these citizens attack children, the Israeli government has shown it will do nothing.

No comments: