Montreal, February 27, 2023 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) demands that the Canadian government hold Israeli officials responsible for acts of settler terrorism in the Palestinian town of Huwara and several other villages near Nablus in the occupied West Bank. Over a period of five hours last evening, more than 400 Israeli settlers attacked Huwara, Zaatara, Burin, and Asira al-Qibliya, killing at least 1 Palestinian and wounding at least 390, while torching at least 75 homes (35 of which were destroyed completely) and 100 vehicles. At least 9 families reportedly had to be rescued from their burning homes. Although a public announcement for the pogrom was widely circulated hours in advance, Israeli forces allowed settlers to enter the town freely and did not intervene until hours after the start of the violence; eyewitnesses say that soldiers protected settlers and were a “partner” in the attacks. CJPME argues that action from Canada and the rest of the international community is necessary to protect Palestinians from future atrocities committed by Israeli settler and state forces.
“Last night’s horrifying settler pogrom against Huwara is the inevitable consequence of decades of ruthless and unbridled Israeli colonization of the West Bank, combined with the election of outright fascists into government,” said Michael Bueckert, Vice President of CJPME. “This incident further proves that Israeli authorities are both unable and unwilling to protect the Palestinian people under Israeli military occupation, as required by international law” added Bueckert. CJPME notes that the Israeli military has followed up on the incident by increasing its military presence in the occupied West Bank. It has also begun enforcing a siege on Nablus with severe restrictions on movement, intensifying its violence and oppression against Palestinians.
CJPME warns that there is every indication that Israeli violence will escalate further in the immediate future. On February 22, several days prior to the settler attack, an Israeli invasion of nearby Nablus killed at least 10 Palestinians, including two elderly people and a child, and injured at least 100 people with live ammunition and tear gas. On February 26, several hours before the attack on Huwara, a Palestinian shot and killed two Israeli settlers as they were in their car and driving through the town, for which settlers have sought extrajudicial revenge. Although the Israeli government has nominally distanced itself from the settler attacks, multiple far-right coalition lawmakers and settler leaders have incited terrorism and genocide, calling for “burning villages” and for Huwara to be “wiped out.”
CJPME notes that last night’s attack on Huwara should not be viewed as exceptional, but that it is consistent with how the Israeli government has facilitated settler violence against Palestinians for years. According to a report by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, the Israeli state “fully supports and assists” acts of settler violence against Palestinians, and that settler violence should be understood as “a form of government policy, aided and abetted by official state authorities with their active participation.” In 2021, an investigation found incidents of settlers and Israeli soldiers operating together as “joint militias” to kill Palestinians.
About CJPME – Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is a non-profit and secular organization bringing together men and women of all backgrounds who labour to see justice and peace take root again in the Middle East. Its mission is to empower decision-makers to view all sides with fairness and to promote the equitable and sustainable development of the region.
For more information, please contact: Michael Bueckert, VP CJPME: 613-315-7947 or [email protected].
Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East www.cjpme.org
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