Skip to main content
European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
16 April 2024

Supporting Palestinian communities affected by settler violence in the West Bank

In recent years, violence perpetrated by Israeli settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank has been on the rise. On average, 3 settler-related incidents occurred per day in the first 8 months of 2023, compared to an average of 2 per day in 2022 and 1 per day the previous year.

Since the 7 October attacks, these incidents have surged to an average of 7 per day, marking the highest daily average of settler-related incidents affecting Palestinians since 2006, when the United Nations started recording such data.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), between 7 October 2023 and 29 January 2024, at least 198 Palestinian households - 1,208 people, including 586 children - have been displaced due to settler violence and access restrictions. This includes the displacement of entire Bedouin communities.

In 2023, the European Union supported UNRWA with €1.5 million in humanitarian funding to provide protection services to Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, including the Bedouin communities at risk of displacement in Area C.

The aid supports UNRWA in advocating for duty bearers to respect, protect, and fulfill the rights of Palestinian refugees under international law. Additionally, it allows UNRWA to assist refugee households facing displacement, demolitions, and settler violence, helping them cope more effectively with the harsh circumstances by providing them with cash assistance and other forms of support.

Panoramic view
© UNRWA, 2024

The herding community of Wadi Siq, east of Ramallah, had lived on the mountain slopes since the 1980s. The community consists of 144 individuals, including 66 children. Most of the members are Palestinian refugees.

A tractor carrying goods on a lorry.
© UNRWA, 2023 (photographer: Ddodeen)

From 7 October, Israeli settlers attacked Wadi Siq daily until one night they gave the community an ultimatum: evacuate or there will be violence. 5 days later, heavily armed settlers stormed the community, shooting live ammunition into the air.

Aid workers taling to an older man.
© UNRWA, 2024

Since 7 October violent Israeli settlers have killed at least 9 Palestinians in the West Bank.

Community members, fearing for their lives, immediately fled to the nearby mountains with no time to collect any belongings. Some sustained injuries due to falling.

View of a destructed house
© B'Tselem, February 2024

Over the following days, settlers invaded and looted their homes, while preventing residents from retrieving their belongings, and vandalised a community school co-funded by the EU. The displacement forced children to temporarily stop attending school.

A tractor on a field.
© UNRWA, 2024

UNRWA monitored and reported the settlers’ attacks against Wadi Siq to Israeli Authorities, requesting immediate intervention to stop them, and ensure accountability for these incidents and the safety of residents.

Aid workers talking to a farmer. In the back a tree with green grounds.
© UNRWA, 2024

UNRWA also helped humanitarian actors to reach the displaced community. Together with OCHA, they led a convoy of 9 humanitarian organisations to assess and respond to the needs of the displaced community of Wadi Siq.

View of a camp with tents.
© UNRWA, 2023 (photographer: Ddodeen)

The EU funds UNRWA to provide comprehensive support to families affected by settler violence in the West Bank. Eligible families receive cash assistance, which is critical for recovering from the loss of personal belongings and essential items.

A woman, standing at the right, talking to 4 children in front of her.
© UNRWA, 2024

In addition, thanks to EU funding, UNRWA provides psychosocial support and ensures that refugees affected by all forms of violence have access to essential basic services through close coordination with other humanitarian actors.

  • Logo of The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

    Story by The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)

    Publication date: 16/04/2024