newsIsrael-Palestinian Conflict

Police: Dozens of false complaints filed against ‘settlers’

Fifty percent of the accusations called in by left-wing groups in recent months have been baseless.

Left-wing protesters hold PLO flags in Huwara, near Nablus in Samaria, March 3, 2023. Photo by Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90.
Left-wing protesters hold PLO flags in Huwara, near Nablus in Samaria, March 3, 2023. Photo by Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90.

Far-left Israeli groups are increasingly spreading false accusations against Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria, causing severe harm to the Jewish state’s international standing, a representative of the Israel Police told lawmakers at the Knesset in Jerusalem on Tuesday.

“Since the beginning of the war, there has been an upsurge in complaints from Palestinians and anarchists,” Ch. Supt. Avishay Mualem, the commander responsible for police activity in Judea and Samaria, told the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

According to Mualem, most reports come from organizations on the “extreme left, anarchists, who are generally in Tel Aviv and call the 100 police emergency hotline to report violence by right-wing activists in the South Hebron Hills.”

The Israel Police only has one patrol in the area; an investigation showed that some 50% of the complaints filed by left-wing groups in recent months have been false, Mualem said.

The actions of these organizations are causing reputational damage to the entire State of Israel and have even led the United States and other countries to impose far-reaching sanctions on citizens over alleged incidents of “settler violence” in Judea and Samaria, he continued.

Tuesday morning’s discussion in the Knesset, initiated by MK Zvi Sukkot of the Religious Zionism Party, took place amid an uptick in violence by Palestinian terrorists in Judea and Samaria, which some claim is being exacerbated by the backing they receive from far-left Israeli allies.

Sukkot opened the debate by saying that while the Knesset has hosted several meetings on the subject of “settler violence,” it has failed to act against those “who are actually committing tremendous and severe violence in Judea and Samaria: anarchists and far-left activists.”

David Elhayani, head of the Jordan Valley Regional Council, alleged that “there is a group of people here—structured and financed—whose entire goal is to create friction and unrest to tarnish the State of Israel.”

Otzma Yehudit Party lawmaker Limor Son Har-Melech called for swift action to “eradicate this phenomenon, which endangers the security of the citizens of the State of Israel and would not exist in a sane country.”

According to data gathered by authorities, compared to the same period last year, the past four months saw a decrease of 50% in the number of violent incidents committed against Palestinians in Judea and Samaria.

Between Oct. 7, 2022, and Feb. 24, 2023, authorities recorded 489 incidents of nationalist crime committed by Jews in Judea and Samaria. In the period from Oct. 7, 2023, when Hamas launched its war against Israel, to Feb. 24, 2024, authorities registered 256 such incidents.

Representatives of the IDF told members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee last month that “there is no such concept as settler violence” in Judea and Samaria.

“There is nationalistic crime, but we are talking about a few incidents. … We have great respect for the residents of Judea and Samaria. They are our brothers, and it is our job to ensure their safety,” the senior IDF officials told lawmakers during a closed-door meeting.

Meanwhile, Judea and Samaria saw a dramatic rise in Palestinian attacks in 2023 compared to the previous year, with shootings reaching their highest level since the Second Intifada of 2000-05, IDF data shows.

Between Oct. 7 and Jan. 15, Rescuers Without Borders first responders recorded more than 2,600 Palestinian attacks targeting Israelis in Judea and Samaria, including 760 cases of rock-throwing, 551 fire bombings, 12 attempted or successful stabbings and nine vehicular assaults.

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