Seventeen Israelis have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in a racist attack on a Palestinian village in the occupied West Bank last month, police said Wednesday.
Police said Jewish Israelis armed with stones, clubs and “other objects” wounded one Palestinian and vandalized shops, vehicles and property in the northern West Bank village of Hawara on January 24.
The suspects — who live in the West Bank, Jerusalem and northern Israel — are under investigation for perpetrating “an attack, participation in a prohibited gathering and destroying property with a racist motive”, police said.
Human rights groups say that West Bank Palestinians face frequent attacks by Jewish Israelis and that perpetrators often go unpunished as Israeli security forces rarely take action.
Israel’s B’tselem rights group, which closely monitors West Bank violence, said in November that it had documented 451 incidents of Jewish settler violence on Palestinians since early 2020.
In 66 percent of cases in which settlers attacked Palestinians, Israeli security forces did not visit the scene, B’tselem said.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs recorded 410 attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinians in the first 10 months of 2021, compared to 358 in 2020.
The Israeli army said it documented 100 attacks by Palestinians against Jewish settlers in the West Bank last year.
Israel has occupied the West Bank since the Six-Day War of 1967. Since then, some 475,000 Jewish settlers have moved into the territory, living in communities considered illegal under international law alongside nearly 2.9 million Palestinians.
In February, Amnesty International designated Israel as an “apartheid” state that treats Palestinians as “an inferior racial group,” joining other rights groups such as Human Rights Watch.