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WCLAC submission to the UN on settler violence
03 September 2015

Ramallah (Nisaa FM) - On 2 September, WCLAC (the Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counseling, an independent Palestinian non-profit NGO espousing a feminist vision based on equality and social justice) lodged a submission with two United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteurs providing an update on the situation on the ground regarding the impact of settler violence on women in the West Bank.

WCLAC’s submission notes that as of mid-2015:

- There are approximately 585,000 Israeli settlers residing in East Jerusalem and the West Bank representing an increase of 65,000 (12.5 %) since the publication of a UN Report in January 2013 on Israeli settlement activity; 

- By 2016 the number of settlers will exceed 600,000, making the widely stated goal of a two-state solution (supported EU, US and UN) increasingly improbable. 60,000 of the settlers in the West Bank are US citizens; 

- Housing starts in the settlements are projected to jump 68 per cent in 2015; 

- Although settler attacks are projected to be down in 2015, so called “price-tag” attacks are on the rise; and 

- According to a recent report the chance that a complaint submitted to the Israel Police by a Palestinian victim of settler violence will lead to an effective investigation, the location of a suspect, prosecution, and ultimate conviction is just 1.9 per cent.

In WCLAC’s 2014 Narrative Report published earlier this year, it is noted that Palestinian women, similar to all women living in militarized conflict zones, bear the heaviest burdens of sustaining life in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, a fact also established by a 2014 UN Women Palestine Research Report.

Supporting its submission to the UN on 2 September, WCLAC highlights the individual cases of five women who experienced attacks by settlers in 2015. It also draws attention to the correlation between settlement expansion and night raids conducted by the Israeli military on Palestinian homes. A conservative estimate suggests that nearly 1400 Israeli night raids take place on Palestinian territories on a yearly basis, meaning that more than 65,000 raids have taken place since Israeli martial law was imposed on the West Bank in June 1967.

While stating that the mass intimidation of the Palestinian people by the Israeli military is a crucial element in Israel’s current settlement policies, the submission nevertheless concludes on a hopeful note: that the failure of the political process to resolve the conflict increases the prospects of a formal investigation being initiated into Israel’s settlement policies by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court following Palestine’s accession to the Rome Statute earlier in the year.