Critical Update on the Situation in Area "C" of the West Bank Amid Ongoing Assault on Palestinians in Gaza


Critical Update on the Situation in Area "C" of the West Bank Amid Ongoing Assault on Palestinians in Gaza


Issued by the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC)


15 October, 2023


Palestinian communities residing in Area "C" of the West Bank are facing a severe crisis due to the intensified aggression of Israeli forces and settlers as Israel continues its assault on Gaza. These areas, persistently targeted for long before the recent war, are at the epicenter of a violent onslaught in the West Bank that exacerbates an existential threat to Palestinian communities.


This dire situation is not merely a series of isolated incidents, but rather is emblematic of a systematic and brutal campaign of settler colonial violence aimed at wiping out the indigenous Palestinian population.


This past week was the deadliest in the West Bank since 2005 when OCHA started recording casualties. Over the course of seven days, Israeli forces or settlers have killed at least 56 Palestinians and injured at least 1200 in the occupied West Bank. At least 13 of those killed were children. The military has arrested at least 400 others. Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir announced the ministry’s purchase and distribution of 10,000 assault rifles along with helmets and body armor to further arm Israeli settler militias. Since October 7, there have been at least 67 settler attacks – some also involving Israeli forces – leading to casualties or property damage. This raises the daily average of settler attacks to eight incidents per day, a significant increase compared to the daily average of three incidents that had been reported since the start of this year. Israeli forces and settlers fire live ammunition without restraint, harming and murdering civilians, including women and children. Disturbingly, these acts of aggression are not only condoned but are often directly supported and even carried out by the Israeli military and/or government. Israeli settler attacks, especially in Area “C”, are certain to escalate even further.


Israel has manufactured a palpable atmosphere of fear. Under the protection of the military, settlers have grown emboldened to an extent that they are even attempting kidnappings, as seen in certain Bedouin communities. This surge in settler violence has had a specific focus on herding and other Palestinian communities that are already at risk of forcible displacement. On the 12th of October, settlers targeted at least three such communities near Ramallah, in the South Hebron Hills, and in the Jordan Valley, causing the forced displacement of Palestinians to leave their homes or face unbearable violence and danger. There are testimonies of communities in Wadi Siq, Arab Al-Mleihat, Al-Hamra, and Samra of being forcibly displaced by Israeli settlers and forces. The audacity of these acts reflects a belief in their impunity.


The heightened Israeli aggression against Palestinians in the West Bank has taken a dire toll on the livelihoods of farmers and rural communities, who rely on their lands for sustenance while already being faced by major obstacles.


Israel is further denying them access to their fields during an especially crucial harvest season like that of olives and guavas. Israel’s systematic denial of Palestinian farmers’ access to their fields robs them not only of their immediate source of income but also threatens the long-term food security of Palestinian communities. This is a blatant attack on Palestinian food sovereignty, a fundamental right to access, produce, and consume food in dignity. These actions exacerbate existing oppressive restrictions and reflect a grave violation of basic human rights.


Israel is also systematically destroying critical infrastructureRoads and water lines, essential for daily life and livelihoods, are being targeted and rendered inoperable. This further isolates and exacerbates the suffering of these Palestinian communities, making it even more difficult for them to access basic necessities like food and water.


The international community must not stand idly by in the face of such blatant ongoing human rights violations. The urgency of the situation demands immediate and decisive action to ensure the safety and security of the Palestinian communities in Area "C" and to hold the perpetrators accountable for their reprehensible actions.


To underscore the gravity of the situation, we present documented incidents of settler violence:

      Armed settlers, under military protection, opened fire on residents of Tuwani village, east of Hebron, and Burin, Yatma and Qabalan (all in Nablus).

      Assaults in the eastern regions of Hebron, including property destruction in Masafer Yatta and the demolition of residential structures and solar cells in Jinba.

      Complete forced displacement of 30 families in Wadi al-Siq and armed attacks on the crews of the Wall Resistance Authority.

      Settler attacks on a Bedouin gathering near Ein Shibli, close to the Al-Hamra checkpoint.

      Farmers in southern Nablus villages, from Duma to Burin, face extreme risks accessing their olive fields.

      In Yatta, a settler shot a Palestinian at point-blank range.

      Israeli forces destroyed agricultural roads and water lines in Deir Istiya, Salfit.

      All agricultural roads near the Givat Ronen outpost and Bracha settlement in Burin village have been closed.

      In Tubas, settlers attempted to abduct two young men.

      Palestinians are being denied access to their olive fields in Qarawat Bani Hassan village, Salfit.

      West of Ramallah, Israeli forces have sealed off all entrances to Al-Janiya and Ras Karkar villages.

      Farmers in Qalqilya behind the wall reported their inability to harvest guava crops due to movement restrictions.

      Settlers used a bulldozer to demolish two residential rooms, a water well, a fence, and multiple trees belonging to a Palestinian that was forcibly displaced this past week due to settler attacks in Mfagara, Masafer Yatta.


We urgently call upon the international community to take immediate and decisive action to halt Israel’s violations against and ensure the protection of Palestinians in the West Bank, and to safeguard Palestinian access to their lands.