Adjust size of text


Follow us and continue the conversation

Your saved articles

You haven't saved any articles

What are you looking for?

Palestinians flee due to fear of settler violence in West Bank village

TJI Wrap
Print this

Published: 26 May 2023

Last updated: 5 March 2024

Residents of Ein Samia are leaving due to fear of settler violence; violent outbreak near Homesh; US raises concerns.

A community of some 200 Palestinians living in tents and temporary structures in the West Bank village of Ein Samia have decided to leave their home due to ongoing Israeli settler violence.

Two of the residents of the village, which has existed since the 1980s, said that the problems began about five years ago, but worsened over the past year. Ein Samia is located near the Israeli settlement of Kochav Hashahar and the Habladim outpost, which is regarded as a centre of violence in the West Bank.

The B'Tselem nonprofit organisation has documented several settler attacks in the area of the village over the years, including one in which a Palestinian was attacked with a bat and another involving spike strips being placed on the road leading to the village.

“We decided to leave out of fear of the settlers,” Khader, a father of nine, told Haaretz. “I left for my children. My youngest said to me, ‘I don’t want to live here – the settlers come and throw stones. Tomorrow, they could kill me.’”

This week there was an outbreak of violence near Homesh, a West Bank settlement which has been at the centre of a debate about settlement expansion.

Several Palestinians and an Israeli settler were hurt on Wednesday during clashes which erupted after European officials toured the area.

According to the Yesh Din rights group, several extremist settlers attacked Palestinians in the village of Burqa and set fire to homes. Video from Burqa showed residents trying to extinguish the blazes.

The Palestinian Red Crescent rescue service reported two wounded.

The attack comes as expansion is provoking international concern. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s inner circle sought to assure the Biden administration on Tuesday that Israel was not pursuing a major expansion in West Bank settlements, amid signals to the contrary from the IDF and one of the government’s most senior members.

Last week, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich directed several government offices to prepare for the doubling of Israel’s settler population, which currently stands at roughly half a million, adding that it is a central issue for the new coalition.

Days later, IDF Central Command chief Yehuda Fox signed a military order revoking the ban on Israelis entering Homesh, one of four settlements Israel evacuated in 2005 as part of its withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

In a carefully worded statement on Sunday, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said the US government was “deeply troubled” by the Israeli order allowing settlers to establish a permanent presence in Homesh. He noted that Israeli law defines the outpost as built illegally on private Palestinian land. 

“This order is inconsistent with both former Prime Minister Sharon’s written commitment to the Bush administration in 2004 and the current Israeli government’s commitments to the Biden administration,” Miller said, adding that settlement expansion on land sought by the Palestinians for a future state is an obstacle to achieving a two-state solution. 

Plans for 400 new homes inside the Palestinian neighbourhood of Abu Dis were also given the go-ahead by the Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee last week, paving the way for Israel to drastically expand a Jewish enclave in the heart of the town.


West Bank Palestinian village residents flee amid ongoing Israeli settler violence (Haaretz)

Amid signs of expansion, Israel assures US it’s not planning to double settler numbers (Times of Israel)

Settlers clash with Palestinians near Homesh after EU officials tour West Bank site (Times of Israel)

US 'deeply troubled' by Israel's Homesh settlement order (Al-Monitor)

Ultranationalist MK says goal of new law is to resettle north West Bank settlements (Times of Israel)

Jerusalem planners give initial approval to Jewish enclave in Palestinian Abu Dis (Times of Israel)


Three Palestinian militants killed in Israeli West Bank raid; US slams latest settlement expansion (AP)
Three Palestinian militants were killed in an Israeli army raid in a West Bank refugee camp on Monday, Palestinian officials said, while the Biden administration sharply condemned Israel’s latest act of settlement expansion.

Israelis arrested for suspected attack on Arab minors (Haaretz)
The assault took place last month when the three, one of whom was a soldier on leave, attacked two minors on racial grounds.

IDF soldiers sentenced for beating Palestinian (Jerusalem Post)
Two of the soldiers were sentenced to 60 days in prison and the third was sentenced to 40 days in prison.

The Jewish Independent acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of Country throughout Australia. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and strive to honour their rich history of storytelling in our work and mission.

Enter site