AP: Israeli Settlers’ Rampage Against West Bank Village Leaves ‘Trail of Wreckage’

According to the UN, this pogrom was just one of nearly 800 settler attacks launched against Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank since Israel’s war on Gaza began.

A rampage led by illegal settlers against the village of Duma last month has left a “trail of wreckage,” including approximately $1.3 million in damages, epitomizing the dire situation for Palestinians within all the Israeli occupied territories during the Gaza war.

The leaders of the Duma community told the Associated Press that the Israeli army, Israel Defense Forces (IDF), arrived shortly after the three-hour attack erupted but hardly intervened to stop the mayhem apart from shooting at Palestinians attempting to repulse the settlers as homes and cars were set ablaze.

According to the UN, this pogrom was just one of nearly 800 settler attacks launched against Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank since Israel’s war on Gaza was launched last year. The head of the Duma village council told the AP that at least 15 homes were damaged by arsonists and six villagers were wounded by Israeli gunfire.

The trail of destruction left along Duma’s main road, “highlight the village’s limited resources to clean up and rebuild, let alone defend itself from future incursions, which seem inevitable.”

Duma is no stranger to extreme settler violence. In 2015, Amiram Ben Uliel firebombed a Palestinian home killing three members of a family, including an 18-month old baby, and severely burned a four-year old child.

This latest assault was ancillary to a series of settler and IDF attacks, which have included some ethnic cleansing, carried out after the dead body of a 14-year old Israeli settler boy was found in the illegal West Bank outpost of Malachei HaShalom, an area Palestinians are barred from entering.

The IDF blamed his death on a “terrorist attack” without evidence at the time, although an arrest was made days later of a man from the Duma village. Israeli security forces claim the 21-year-old man “linked himself to the attack.”

As Al Jazeera reported last month, “since [the boy’s body was found], the army has supported Israeli settlers as they attack Palestinian villages, injuring and expelling many.”

Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights group, accuses the IDF of facilitating these pogroms by protecting the violent settlers with an “umbrella of security.” As Ziv Stahl, the director of Yesh Din, explains “as soon as the Palestinians try to protect themselves, they’re the ones who the army attacks.”

Duma is geographically vulnerable, the AP notes, as it overlooks Jordan and settlements to the east but is surrounded by three steadily expanding illegal outposts. Duma falls under Area B of the West Bank, where the Palestinian Authority (PA) manages civil affairs but the Israeli occupation army runs security. The PA is backed and trained by Tel Aviv, London, and Washington, and rarely opposes Israel’s military operations. Soon after the war began, following settlers’ kidnappings of multiple members of the force, the PA’s armed unit which previously patrolled some of these areas at night was shut down.

“Over the past year, settlers have cut off Duma’s access to four vital springs and wells that surround the village by sabotaging roads and other infrastructure,” residents told the AP.

Since October 7th, more than 100 Bedouin Arabs, who had been living in pastures south of Duma, were forced to move out to the outskirts of the area after settlers began stealing their livestock and torching their tents. Yesh Din reports the Bedouin Arabs living outside Duma are one of 16 such communities displaced by settler violence during the war.

Ibrahim Dawabsha, a Duma resident whose sole source of income, his truck, was destroyed by settlers, was asked by the outlet what his fellow villagers can do to defend themselves from these mob assaults going forward. “What preparations? There are no preparations,” he answered. Dawabsha added most of his family hid in his kitchen while settlers burned part of his home with firebombs.

The Health Ministry, based in Ramallah, says that almost 500 Palestinians have been killed and thousands more have been injured in the West Bank since the October 7 Hamas attack. Most of the Palestinians murdered were gunned down by the IDF. According to UNICEF, last year was the deadliest year on record for Palestinian children.

Connor Freeman is the assistant editor and a writer at the Libertarian Institute, primarily covering foreign policy. He is a co-host on the Conflicts of Interest podcast. His writing has been featured in media outlets such as Antiwar.com, Counterpunch, and the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. He has also appeared on Liberty Weekly, Around the Empire, and Parallax Views. You can follow him on Twitter @FreemansMind96.