‘Israel is committing genocide across the whole of Palestine’ – says the US-based Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention

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Students at Harvard University in Massachusetts stage a rally against the Israeli genocide in Gaza

THE US-based Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention has issued an ‘active genocide alert’ over the situation for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

‘Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians across Palestine,’ the Lemkin Institute said earlier this month.

Last weekend, violence against Palestinians escalated sharply as large groups of Israeli settler mobs launched attacks on at least 17 Palestinian villages following the disappearance of an Israeli teenager.

Settlers killed thousands of chickens and dozens of sheep, and stole others.

They blocked entrances to villages, set Palestinian homes on fire, burned hundreds of olive trees, injured dozens of Palestinians with live ammunition and destroyed private Palestinian property, including cars and livestock pens.

Settlers were often accompanied and protected by the Israeli military.

In total, between 12th and 15th April, seven Palestinians were killed in the occupied West Bank, including at least two children.

Palestinian human rights groups Al-Haq, Al Mezan and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights this week urged the ‘international community, private actors and businesses, to respond to the widespread violent attacks against Palestinians and their property across the West Bank’.

Before 7th October, ‘violence in the West Bank was already on pace to eclipse that of any year on record’, the Lemkin institute said, ‘with Israeli military forces killing roughly 200 Palestinians in the West Bank in the first nine months of 2023’.

After Israel began its campaign of slaughter in the Gaza Strip, violence by Israeli settlers and the state against Palestinians reached its peak in the West Bank.

This made 2023 the deadliest year in the occupied West Bank since the UN monitoring group OCHA began recording casualties in 2005.

‘Israeli military forces continue a campaign of genocide and unprecedented violence in the West Bank,’ the Lemkin Institute said.

On 12 April, a 14-year-old Israeli settler went missing near the village of al-Mughayyir, near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

Despite no evidence linking the boy’s disappearance or death to Palestinians, hundreds of settlers launched a rampage against Palestinian villages and communities in the West Bank on 12th and 13th April.

He was found dead the next day near the settlement outpost of Malachei Hashalom, which was constructed on private Palestinian land in 2015.

The Israeli army labelled it a ‘terrorist attack’ as soon as he was found dead, igniting violence from settler mobs against Palestinians.

‘Under the watchful eye and protection’ of the Israeli army, some 1,500 to 2,000 settlers, some of whom were armed, stormed the village of al-Mughayyir over two days, Palestinian human rights groups said.

Jihad Afif Abu Aliyya, 25, was killed during these attacks.

He ‘was shot in his head while protecting one of the homes targeted by settler attacks’, the Palestinian rights groups said.

When Jihad was shot, he was among a group of around 25-27 Palestinians on the rooftop of a Palestinian home, which was surrounded by around 400 Israeli settlers.

Settlers continued to fire at Palestinians as they attempted to evacuate Abu Aliyya for medical attention, leaving him to bleed for 30 minutes.

Israeli settlers completely burned at least 14 homes and partially burned 15 others in al-Mughayyir.

They also completely destroyed more than a dozen livestock pens and partially burned four.

Settlers also set fire to around 60 vehicles in the village.

Settlers from the Beit El settlement also attacked the nearby village of Beitin on 13th April, where they set fires and vandalised Palestinian property.

Palestinian residents of the village tried to confront the settlers to defend their community. The settlers fired live ammunition at them.

Among those responding to the distress calls was Omar Ahmad Abdulghani Hamed, a 17-year-old high school senior and the youngest of his siblings.

He was shot in the head just as he arrived to the scene of the attack.

The bullet entered his forehead and exited from the back, according to Defence for Children International – Palestine, which conducts field investigations of the killings of Palestinian children.

He was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

That same day, Israeli settlers launched violent attacks in Duma, Qusra and al-Sawiya, villages south of Nablus in the occupied West Bank.

‘They set fire to 300 olive trees, destroyed livestock sheds, and killed 40 sheep, as well as over 10,000 chickens,’ Palestinian human rights groups documented.

In Duma, hundreds of armed settlers, accompanied by Israeli soldiers, opened fire on Palestinian residents.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society reported that at least five village residents sustained injuries from live ammunition, knife attacks and physical assaults.

‘These latest attacks have resulted in the forcible displacement of five families from Duma and another five families from Qusra, whose homes have been rendered completely uninhabitable due to these acts of arson,’ the Palestinian human rights groups reported.

Meanwhile, during a military incursion on 15th April into Rafidia, a neighbourhood in the eastern part of the city of Nablus, an Israeli soldier shot and killed a Palestinian teenager, striking him in the head from a short distance.

The soldier opened fire from inside a heavily armoured military vehicle at Yazan Muhammad Shtayyeh, 17, while he was allegedly throwing stones at Israeli soldiers along with other Palestinian youths.

One week before, on 8th April, Israeli forces shot and killed a teenage Palestinian girl at the Tayasir checkpoint near Tubas, north east of Nablus.

Asma Imad Saad Daraghmeh, 17, was ‘allegedly attempting to carry out a stabbing attack when Israeli forces shot her several times at a distance of around 10 metres (33 feet),’ DCIP said.

Israeli forces refused to allow Palestinian medics to reach or treat Asma, the human rights group said, leaving her to die.

‘Asma laid on the ground at the checkpoint bleeding heavily, according to eyewitnesses,’ DCIP said.

Israeli forces then confiscated her body.

Israel has been routinely conducting prolonged military raids in towns, cities and refugee camps across the West Bank, particularly in the north.

Israeli military raids often include highly destructive attacks on infrastructure, with Israeli bulldozers damaging water pipes, roads and power facilities.

The Israeli army has also been conducting aerial attacks in the occupied West Bank, a practice it revived from the second Intifada two decades ago.

Israeli troops have killed at least 435 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, including 112 children, since 7 October.

Additionally, Israeli settlers have killed at least 10 Palestinians, and another six were killed by either Israeli army or settler fire, according to documentation by UN monitoring group OCHA.

Israeli forces have injured nearly 4,900 Palestinians in the West Bank since 7th October.