US envoy to the United Nations calls West Bank settler violence 'abhorrent'
“We are deeply concerned by the violence perpetrated by Israeli settlers in the West Bank against Palestinians and their property,” Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the Security Council earlier this week.
“Reports of masked men terrorising a village in Hebron, destroying homes and injuring children on September 28, and similar acts elsewhere in the West Bank, are abhorrent,” she added.
Thomas-Greenfield’s comments come as Israeli settlers have upped their attacks on olive groves and farmers in the West Bank.
Olives are a key source of income for Palestinian farmers, and settlers often target the crops and crucial points of the year, including setting fire to trees and poisoning plants.
Settler violence has also increased since the start of the year in the West Bank in Hebron, where they have stormed homes and attacked residents.
Despite condemning settler violence, the US envoy said the Security Council focused too much on criticising Israel.
“Far too often, the substance of these discussions is cantered almost entirely around criticism of Israel and counterattacks,” Thomas-Greenfield said.
“I sincerely hope that going forward, council members will do their best to take a more balanced approach. Also, there are other countries and situations in the region that merit Security Council attention and should not be neglected.”
She also spoke of the “progress” made through the Abraham Accords, and the “re-engagement between Israeli and Jordanian leaders”.
However, others who attended the Security Council meeting emphasised the support for a two-state solution, and criticised Israeli actions that violate it.
“[A two-state solution on the pre-1967 borders] is not the designation Israel has in mind, according to their colonial policy, actions on the ground and the statements of its officials,” said Riyad Mansour, the Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine.
“It does not make sense to wait until both parties are ready, when one party is actively violating agreements. Israel’s vision is guided by a colonial appetite. Israel wants Palestinians to lose hope and eventually surrender.”
The United Kingdom’s UN representative Barbara Woodward acknowledged a rise in the number of demolitions of Palestinian homes, settler attacks, and the Israeli security forces’ use of excessive force.