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At the same time that the Israeli genocide in Gaza is proceeding, the violence in the West Bank has been surging. Al-Monitor reported on Nov. 17 that settler violence has driven hundreds of Palestinians from their homes in the West Bank. “The scale and intensity of the attacks have escalated,” said Dror Sadot, a spokesperson for Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, told Al-Monitor. “What we’re seeing is the settlers are basically targeting community after community, attacking multiple times … under the cover of the Gaza war.”

As of Nov. 12, a total of 963 Palestinians have left their homes in the West Bank due to attacks, threats and restrictions by Israeli settlers since the Gaza war began Oct. 7. That number over four weeks is nearly double the 480 Palestinians who fled the West Bank in the 21 months prior.

According to B’Tselem, the settler attacks are not separate from Israeli government policy: “Israel and the settlers want the same thing and aim for the same goal: to Judaize Area C,” said Dror. “Israel is basically granting the settlers immunity. Nobody is being held accountable. So it’s kind of an unofficial arm of the state.” In other words, it’s a situation of complete lawlessness encouraged by the Israeli government, particularly National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, both of whom are particularly violent products of the settlers movement.

“The people who are the violent settlers are sitting in the government and the settlers know that,” said Dror.

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