Residents of Ras At-Tin pack their belongings as they flee due to settler violence. Photo: B'Tselem

West Bank: Entire Palestinian communities disappeared due to Israeli settler violence

Published 10. Aug 2023
Israeli settler violence and illegal takeover of Palestinian lands have forcibly transferred nearly 500 Palestinians from seven communities, over the past 20 months. Twelve families in the Ras At-Tin Bedouin community, northeast of Ramallah, fled their homes this week.

“There are entire Palestinian communities being wiped off the map, a shameful legacy of unrelenting violence, intimidation and harassment perpetuated by Israeli settlers and, in some cases, encouraged by Israeli authorities,” said Ana Povrzenic, NRC’s country director for Palestine.

“The rapid establishment of settlement outposts and takeover of Palestinian land is choking Palestinian communities, destroying their livelihoods, and putting Palestinian lives at risk. Palestinians have no choice but to flee, leaving behind their homes, schools, and jobs.”

In the latest incident, a dozen families comprising 89 Palestinians, including 39 children, were forcibly transferred from Ras At-Tin, following increased settler harassment and intimidation. Israeli settlers took over the community’s grazing lands and established a vineyard next to an Israeli military base. Israeli forces prevented Ras At-Tin residents from accessing their lands.

Some 60 Palestinian communities in the occupied West Bank are at heightened risk of forcible transfer due to Israeli settler and soldier violence, settlement expansion, and Israel’s deeply discriminatory policies and practices, including its unlawful planning and zoning regime.

“Without holding Israel accountable, more and more Palestinian communities will be forcibly transferred,” warned Povrzenic. “How many more Ras At-Tins must there be before the international community acts?” 

Notes to editors:

  • International law prohibits Israel as an occupying power from forcibly transferring members of the occupied population from their existing communities against their will. The term “forcibly” is not restricted to physical force, but may include threat of force or coercion, such as that caused by fear of violence, duress, detention, psychological oppression or abuse of power.
  • Since 2022, at least 488 Palestinians, including 263 children, from seven communities in Area C of the West Bank have been forcibly displaced due to an increasingly coercive environment, according to the UN. These include Ein Samiya (132 displaced), Wadi As-Seeq (35 displaced), Wedadie (21 displaced), Lifjim (46 displaced), Ras At-Tin (99 displaced in 2022, 89 displaced in 2023), Al-Baqa’a (54 displaced), and Khirbet Bir Al-Idd (12 displaced).
  • The UN has documented 591 Israeli settler attacks so far this year that have resulted in casualties and property damage. The monthly average for the first six months of 2023 is 39 per cent higher than the monthly average of settler-related incidents in all 2022.
  • Settlers killed six Palestinians and injured 204, including 24 children, in the first six months of 2023.
  • The West Bank Protection Consortium was formed to prevent the forcible transfer of Palestinians in the West Bank. It is a strategic partnership of five international NGOs, 10 EU donors, Canada, the United Kingdom and EU Humanitarian Aid.

    For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:  
    Ahmed Bayram, Regional Media and Communications Adviser, Middle East Regional, +962 7 9016 0147 
    NRC global media hotline:, +47 905 62 329