As the war in Gaza continues, and the Israel-Lebanon border heats up, there are also rising tensions in the West Bank, with a shocking increase in settler violence that threatens to destabilize an increasingly volatile situation.
According to the Israeli human rights organization, Yesh Din, in the month following the October 7 terror attack, 163 Palestinians were killed by settlers and Israeli security forces in the West Bank and more than 900 adults and children were forcibly driven from their homes following settler violence. These actions constitute a violation of human rights, threaten to inflame an already dangerous situation, and endanger the possibility of a two-state solution.
Despite President Biden’s recent warnings that attacks by “extremist settlers” amount to “pouring gasoline” on the already raging fires in the region, the Israeli government has failed to rein in these settlers, and the attacks are escalating. The consequences of this vigilantism and the displacement of Palestinians in the West Bank could be the expansion of the current war to another dangerous front.
Instead, it is vital that every effort be made to stabilize the West Bank by strengthening the Palestinian Authority (PA). Doing so would enhance its ability to uphold the rule of law, protect civilians, and deter extremist elements in the West Bank.
That is why we are supporting a new letter being circulated by Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-CA) and Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and Congresswoman Susan Wild (D-PA) calling on the administration to make clear to the Israeli government that it must take immediate steps to stabilize the West Bank by upholding the rule of law, protecting all civilians under its jurisdiction, holding perpetrators of vigilante attacks and intimidation to account, and bolstering the PA.