IDF Leader Denounces Jewish Settlers' Violence in West Bank

Last year, the United Nations reported that attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank had increased in the weeks following the October 7 attacks that triggered the war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, with at least 115 people killed, more than 2,000 injured and around 1,000 forcibly displaced from their homes, citing violence and intimidation by Israeli forces and settlers.

General Fuks argued that terrorizing Palestinians living alongside Jews was “a dangerous mistake” and that the actions of violent Jewish settlers threatened Israel's security.

But Mr. Smotrich has been vocal about his desire for Israel to reclaim all of the West Bank. Last month, he struck a deal with ministers to release some of the money withheld by the Palestinian Authority in exchange for legalizing five more Jewish outposts, and last week, the Finance Ministry released about $136 million.

Mr. Smotrich said in a social media post that day that he was working with planning authorities to approve more than 5,000 additional housing units in the West Bank. “We are building the good country and hindering the creation of a Palestinian state,” he said.

Last month, an Israeli ministry approved the largest West Bank land grab since the 1993 Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinians, claiming about five square miles in the Jordan Valley, according to Peace Now, an Israeli group that monitors settler activity. Israel has seized about nine square miles of land this year, making 2024 by far the peak year for land grabs, Peace Now said.

Although the settlers and ministers are rebels, their activities are a source of tension for Israel and other nations, including its ally, the United States, at a time when the country is increasingly isolated in the world because of its conduct in the war in Gaza.

“Settlements continue to be counterproductive to a two-state solution,” White House national security spokesman John Kirby said in a briefing with reporters Monday. “We do not support it.”

John Reiss contributed to the writing of the report.

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