B’Tselem condemns Palestinian statements supporting attacks against settlers

In the last few days there has been an increase in fatal attacks on settlers by Palestinians. During this period, several figures in the Palestinian National Authority have publicly stated that such attacks are legitimate due to the illegal status of the settlements and the fact that the settlers are armed.

Statements of this kind undermine fundamental principles of both international human rights law and international humanitarian law. The fact that individuals live in a settlement does not affect their civilian status. This is a civilian population that includes children. The fact that there are many incidents of settlers engaging in illegal violent acts against Palestinians cannot justify such statements.

Establishment of the Israeli settlements contravenes international law, making them illegal. Since the settlements violate international law, the settlers have no right to settle there permanently. The demand to evacuate the settlements in the context of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement is legitimate. However, it is clear that this in no way justifies the attacks on settlers.

A fundamental principle of international law is not involving civilians in fighting. The position that “all means” must be used in the battle against Jewish settlement is unacceptable, and blatantly contradicts this principle.

B’Tselem urges the Palestinian National Authority to renounce these statements and to formally declare its’ opposition to attacks on settlers

Issued on June 21, 2001