APN Condemns West Bank Violence; Urges Biden Administrations to Act

Americans for Peace Now (APN) condemns the pogrom which took place yesterday in and around Hawara and calls on the Biden administration to move past its statements of concern and to respond with action rather than words.

We hold the Israeli government responsible for its failure to prevent the settlers’ large-scale attack on Palestinians on Sunday, for its dismissive reaction to the pogrom, and for its ongoing settlement activity.

On Sunday, hundreds of Israeli settlers carried out a large-scale attack on Palestinians and their property at the town of Hawara near Nablus and other adjacent Palestinian villages. They did so as an act of revenge for Sunday’s shooting attack in which two settlers, young brothers, were killed.

APN strongly condemns the killing of Hallel and Yagel Yaniv of the adjacent settlement of Har Bracha. We send our condolences to their family and hope the terrorist who killed them would be caught and brought to justice.

But one horror does not justify another.

The settlers’ rampage went unhindered by Israeli troops who were present at the scene. One Palestinian civilian was shot dead, apparently by a settler. Dozens of others were injured – many of them struck with metal bars – dozens of cars were torched as were at least 15 Palestinian homes. Only a handful of settler suspects were detained. They were immediately released. 

According to credible reports, the IDF did not take measures to block the settlers’ path to Hawara, nor did it stop them from systematically attacking Palestinians and their property, nor did law enforcement authorities carry out appropriate arrests. According to press reports, Israeli authorities sought to let the settlers “vent” their anger. Following the settlers’ violent campaign, the government of Israel did not take any significant actions to address the settlers’ lawlessness. Instead, some members of Netanyahu’s coalition publicly supported the settlers’ violence. One even tweeted from the site as the settlers were on the attack.

APN joins its Israeli sister-organization, Peace Now (Shalom Achshav) in holding the government of Israel responsible for this travesty. As Peace Now said today, “this was the peak event of a long process that has been going on for years, in which settlers spare no means to implement their dangerous vision. Years of settler violence, land grabs, illegal establishment of outposts, and massive land seizure through settlements had to light a red flag among all of us that such an event would occur.”

The settlers’ violence goes hand in hand with the Israeli government’s continued settlement activity, despite public promises it made only yesterday, in Aqaba, Jordan, to halt settlements.

APN’s President and CEO Hadar Susskind said: “The time has come for the Biden administration to hold the government of Israel accountable for both its unrestrained settlement activity and its enabling of settler violence. These are two sides of the same coin. Our government has a large toolbox with which it could show Netanyahu and his government that it will not tolerate the Israeli government’s illegal, violent West Bank frenzy.”