"Last year, the number of settler attacks resulting in Palestinian casualties and property damage increased by more than a third; since 2009 it increased by nearly 150%," revealed by a joint statement signed by the UN High Commissioner for Human rights, the UN children fund UNICEF, the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel, Israeli NGOs Yesh Din and B'Tselem and Palestinian NGO Al-Haq.
"There are two distinct phenomena," B'Tselem director Jessica Montell told a joint news conference with representatives of the other groups in Ramallah.
She cited "the price tag phenomenon which is actually related to settlers feeling threatened when there are military measures against settlements." Furthermore, "violence is a means of displacing Palestinians and expanding the settlement in a very explicit way," she added.
Participants at the news conference denounced the Israeli authorities' attitude and the de-facto impunity enjoyed by perpetrators, and urged them to take responsibility as the occupying power. More than 90 percent of the complaints filed against settlers in recent years have not been addressed, according to the United Nations.
"From the soldier on the ground and all the way up through the military, the police and the government, a much higher priority is given to Palestinian violence than to violence against Palestinians," Montell lamented.