[News] Group leaks EU report on Israeli settler violence suppressed by Dutch government

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Apr 5 11:21:58 EDT 2012

Group leaks EU report on Israeli settler violence 
suppressed by Dutch government

Submitted by Ali Abunimah on Thu, 04/05/2012 - 12:43

A European Union report on Israeli settler 
attacks against Palestinians, that was suppressed 
at the insistence of Dutch foreign minister Uri 
Rosenthal, has been published today by a nongovernmental group.

The Rights Forum, an organization headed by 
outspoken former Dutch Prime Minister Dries van 
Agt, released the EU report on its website.

The documents made available by The Rights Forum 
include a “Cover Note” from the EU Heads of 
Mission in Israeli-occupied Ramallah and an “EU 
Note on Settler Violence” dated February 2012.

The second document contains a note at the bottom 
that “NL [The Netherlands] places a general reserve on the document.”

The cover note states at the outset:

     Settler activity is a leading cause of 
violence against Palestinian civilians, 
destruction of Palestinian property and the abuse 
of Palestinian rights under international law. 
Discriminatory protections and privileges for 
settlers further compound these abuses and create 
an environment in which settlers can act with apparent impunity.

     This atmosphere of impunity is contributing 
to the persistence of, and indeed an increase in 
violent attacks by settlers on Palestinians.

The note goes on to detail some of these 
increases based on UN statistics and notes that, 
“92% of the 600 cases related to settler violence 
monitored by Israeli NGO Yesh Din between 2005 
and April 2010 were closed by Israeli authorities without resolution.”

It states that “Settler violence occurs 
throughout the year, yet with particular 
increases in property and land damage observed 
during periods of intensive agricultural activity.”

The cover note outlines several specific cases of killings:

     In May 2010 a 15 year old Palestinian was 
shot and killed by a settler after the 
Palestinian threw stones at his car driving near 
Ramallah. In Sep 2010, one Palestinian was killed 
in Silwan by a private security guard, employed 
by the settler organisation Elad. One young 
Palestinian was shot dead by settlers on 27 Jan 
2011 near Nablus and another one the following day near Hebron.

International law

The cover note emphasizes the applicability of 
the Fourth Geneva Convention and Israel’s 
responsibility – and complete failure – as the 
“occupying power” to protect the Palestinian 
population. It also reiterates that all the 
settlements in the West Bank including East 
Jerusalem are illegal under international law.

In the recommendations section, the cover note 
calls for a slightly more active EU role in 
raising the issue of settler violence with 
Israeli authorities, but the only actual, and 
rather limited sanction proposed is that the EU 
“consider including violent settler leaders and 
those calling for violent acts against Palestinians on travel watch lists.”

Given the gravity of the situation the documents 
reveal, this is less than the minimum action one 
should reasonably expect and it reflects no break 
from the timidity, passivity and complicity of EU 
policymakers in sustaining the Israeli occupation 
and colonization of Palestinian land.
The suppressed report

The second document released by The Rights Forum 
is a straightforward and factual account of the 
large increase in settler violence, based largely on UN statistics.

Citing UN OCHA the document details:

     In 2011 there were 411 settler attacks 
resulting in Palestinian casualties and property 
damage compared to 266 attacks in 2010, an 
increase of more than 50%. Comparted to 132 
attacks in 2009, the number has more than tripled.
     In 2011, three Palestinians were killed and 
183 injured by Israeli settlers.
     During the same period, eight settlers were 
killed (in three difference incidents including 
the murder of a family of five in Itamar) and 37 injured by Palestinians.
     Nearly 10,000 Palestinian-owned trees 
(primarily olive trees), have been damaged or destroyed by settlers in 2011.
     Over 90% of monitored complaints regarding 
settler violence filed by Palestinians with the 
Israeli police in recent years have been closed without indictment.

It is unclear why the Dutch government attempted 
to suppress this report, however it is in line 
with the extreme and consistent pro-Israel 
policies of the Dutch government in recent years.

In January, a Dutch legislator from the far-right 
Freedom Party, which though not a participant in 
it supports the Dutch coalition goverment in 
parliament, called on Israel to build more 
settlements on occupied Palestinian land.

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