Dozens of US lawmakers yesterday urged US ambassador to Israel David Freidman to strongly and publicly condemn Israeli settler violence against the Palestinian people.
In their letter to Friedman, the 54 Democratic Party members of Congress expressed “concern with reports of acts of violence perpetrated” by Israeli settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank, and asked Friedman “to join us in strongly condemning all acts of violence, whether perpetrated against Israelis or Palestinians.”
They pointed out that there has been a “sharp increase” in settlers violence against Palestinians during the coronavirus crisis and revealed that “Incidents of violence against Palestinians committed by settlers increased 78% in the last two weeks of March. These acts include physical assault, uprooting of Palestinian-owned olive trees, and stoning of vehicles driven by Palestinians.”
“This spike amid the Coronavirus pandemic follows on already significant increases in settler violence against Palestinians over the last two years. As reported by the New York Times, “attacks by settlers on Palestinians and their property… increased by 50 percent” in 2018. In 2019, documented incidents of violence against Palestinians rose another 40%. During this same time period, the UN recorded a steady decrease in the number of incidents committed by Palestinians against settlement residents,” they added.
They urged Friedman “to urgently and publicly speak out against settler violence” and the US to “condemn all acts of violence that pull us further away from peace and should make its condemnation clear whether the victim is Israeli or Palestinian.”