Rise in Israeli settler violence on West Bank Palestinians forcing families to flee homes

At least eight Palestinians have been killed and hundreds forced from their homes amid a rise in Israeli settler violence. ITV News Security Editor Rohit Kachroo speaks to families forced from their land

Over a day, ITV News watched a community being dismantled. 

In the West Bank villages of Zanuta and A'nizan, residents were told by Israeli soldiers that they had 24 hours to take everything away.

Their homes, some made of tin and tarpaulin, were brought down by the people who had lived in them for years.

This is part of a wave of settler violence. 

The Al Tals were the last of 15 families to leave the villages before they ceased to exist.

They said that their relatives had been on the same patch of land for generations. But during a heartbreaking afternoon, they packed their livestock, their clothes and a few kitchen items onto trucks, along with their three children - the youngest Hebe is 4 months old.

Their neighbours, the Saname family, told ITV News they had been scared off their land. 

Bullied at first from above by low-flying drones sent up by Israeli settlers nearby, then followed by break-ins and violence while they tried to sleep.

The children told ITV News that they were terrified  - and they still are. 

Their father Mohammed said that what followed the campaign of intimidation was a knock at the door from a group of soldiers.

The Saname family, told ITV News they had been scared off their land. 

"When the army comes here they are not talking, they are hitting us, moving us and they told us we have to leave this area, in 24 hours we must be out". 

To see the future, they don't need to look far. Across the hill is an Israeli settlement in a Palestinian majority area.

The mosaic map of the West Bank is being transformed under the current Israeli government by developments like this one, a trend which has been accelerated in the last month.

Settler attacks have killed 29 people this year according to the UN Humanitarian Affairs Office, OCHA - a 15 year high.

At least eight of those have happened since the October 7 attack by Hamas which Israel says killed more than 1,400 people sparking the conflict in Gaza, a separate Palestinian enclave. 

In fact, it was few hours after the October 7 attacks when armed settlers turned up near Issa Amor's home in Hebron.

He says he knew some of the people who were trying to force him out. Amor told us he was arrested, beaten and humiliated: "Beating you, hitting you, insulting you in a way of sexually coming to you with his body to your mouth, saying 'I will rape you'. Threatening to shoot you."

The objective of some settlers, to chip away at the land Palestinians hoped would form part of a state, is being pursued with renewed anger - land that both communities say they have a right to.

On Friday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for an end to extremist violence against Palestinians in the West Bank and said he had a commitment from the Israeli government to do so.

“We will be looking closely to ensure that our friends make good on that commitment,” he said.

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