Spiralling violence: On the West Bank

Without a freeze on Israeli settlements, violence in West Bank will continue 

Published - June 23, 2023 12:10 am IST

An Israeli raid in Jenin with combat helicopters that killed seven Palestinians; a gun attack by two Palestinians at an Israeli settlement in Eli that killed four; and a rampage of an Arab village by Israeli settlers in which one Palestinian was killed and several others injured — the occupied West Bank witnessed a sharp escalation in violence this week that is reminiscent of the waves of attacks and counter-attacks during the second Intifada. As Israel tightens its grip over the West Bank, where Jewish settlements have gradually mushroomed, new, local Palestinian resistance groups such as the Jenin Brigade have emerged, carrying out attacks on Israeli soldiers and settlers using home-made weapons and low-tech bombs. Jenin, in the northern West Bank, has emerged as a hotbed of violent Palestinian resistance. Israel carries out raids in the region almost on a daily basis, causing casualties on the Palestinian side. According to the UN, Israel has killed at least 114 Palestinians, including civilians and militants, this year (as of June 12) in the West Bank, while at least 19 Israelis have fallen to Palestinian attacks. Tuesday’s raid was carried out a day after the Israeli cabinet approved plans to build new settlements in the West Bank. After the Eli attack by Palestinian gunmen, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced plans to build 1,000 new settler homes.

The West Bank has been burning for quite some time. Israel, which has established checkpoints that criss-cross the occupied territories, has managed to prevent, so far, the rise of another organised resistance after the second Intifada even while deepening the occupation. As hopes for a political solution waned, Palestinians began launching isolated, often suicidal, knife attacks against Israeli soldiers (in what some call the ‘knife intifada’). But in the latest phase of violence, local Palestinian groups are carrying out bigger attacks and in retaliation, Israel would rain fire on Palestinian villages and demolish the houses of the attackers, with impunity. The Palestinians are divided, with Fatah controlling the West Bank and Islamist Hamas ruling Gaza. The Arab world, which once supported the Palestinian aspiration for nationhood, is now focused on improving ties with Israel. The U.S. and Europe, who are sending billions of dollars and some of their most advanced weapons to Ukraine to help it fight Russia, hardly raise a voice when Israeli troops are killing Palestinians in the occupied territories every day. The status quo in the West Bank and Gaza (blockaded by Israel for over a decade) is a recipe for disaster. Unless there are genuine efforts to freeze the Israeli settlements and open a dialogue between the two sides, the cycle of violence will continue endlessly.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.