Health Minister Slams Right-wing Coalition Partners for No-show at Settler Violence Summit

'Their silence and lack of interest is tantamount to the endorsement and encouragement of continued violence' Meretz head Nitzan Horowitz said, as settler violence in the West Bank spikes

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Car windows of Palestinians smashed by Jewish settlers in Hebron, in August.
Car windows of Palestinians smashed by Jewish settlers in Hebron, in August.Credit: Emil Salman

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz criticized right-wing members of Israel's coalition on Monday for failing to attend a Knesset conference on settler violence in the West Bank.

“There is supposed to be a consensus about the struggle against violence – lawmakers and ministers from the right should also be here. Their silence and lack of interest is tantamount to the endorsement and encouragement of continued violence,” said Horowitz, who heads the left-wing Meretz Party.

“Unfortunately, there are those in this house who are trying to minimize the seriousness of this phenomenon – some of them deny in whole or in part that it exists."

Settlers and Palestinian protesters clashing in the West Bank Village of Asira al-Qibliya, in September.Credit: Majdi Mohammed/AP

"I invited those Knesset members to go out into the field and meet with the victims, and to look at the videos and pictures that have emerged,” he said.

Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg, also from Meretz, told the conference that “it’s no secret that we joined with open eyes a coalition that doesn’t have the occupation on its agenda, but this doesn’t mean that we have to accept settler violence.”

The conference, called “Stop Settler Violence,” was organized by MKs Mossi Raz (Meretz), Osama Saadi (Joint List) and Ibtisam Mara’ana (Labor) as well as the nongovernmental organizations Breaking the Silence, Yesh Din and Peace Now.

Peace Now presented a study at the conference that showed that the majority of violent incidents committed by settlers against Palestinians occurred in areas near illegal outposts, even though the combined population of the outposts amounts to less than 5 percent of all settlers. The study found that the main flashpoints were near Yitzhar, Adei Ad, Esh Kodesh, the Ma’on outpost and Ronen’s Hill.

Figures from the defense establishment released last week showed that in the past year, the number of documented physical encounters between settlers and Palestinians had risen by 150 percent since 2019.

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