The United States has listed attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinians in the West Bank as “terrorist incidents” in an unusual move from Washington to criticize Jewish attacks on Palestinians and their property.
In its Country Reports on Terrorism provided to Congress, the State Department mentioned that “attacks by extremist Israeli settlers against Palestinian residents, property, and places of worship in the West Bank continued.”
It listed under “terrorist incidents” a Nov. 10, 2011 attack on Mamilla Cemetery in Jerusalem when vandals sprayed “price tag” graffiti in Hebrew on four Muslim graves.
It also mentioned the Dec. 14, 2011 attack on a Jerusalem mosque which was torched and its walls sprayed with anti-Arab graffiti, such as “A Good Arab is a Dead Arab,” “Mohammed is Dead.
”The report also listed a Dec. 15, 2011 attack by Israeli settlers on a mosque in the village of Burqa in the Ramallah.
Increasing attacks against Palestinian by radical Jewish settlers prompted various Western-based human rights organizations to be more vocal about the issue.
On Friday, the United States condemned “in the strongest possible terms" the firebombing of a Palestinian taxi in the West Bank.
“We extend our deepest sympathies to the victims, among them children, and we hope for their speedy recovery. We note that the Government of Israel has also condemned this heinous attack and pledged to bring the perpetrators to justice. We look to Israeli law enforcement officials to do so expeditiously," the U.S. State Department said in a statement.”
The U.N. office for humanitarian affairs reported last year that settlers attacks causing casualties or damage increased 144 percent between 2009 and 2011.
“Violence by Israeli settlers undermines the physical security and livelihoods of Palestinians living under Israel’s prolonged military occupation,” according to the U.N. report.
“This violence includes physical assaults, harassment, takeover of and damage to private property, obstructed access to grazing and agricultural land, and attacks on livestock and agricultural land, among others,” the report added.
In December 2011 Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned about “homegrown terror” attacks committed by extremist settlers against Israeli soldiers