Earlier this year, NIFC approved emergency funding for a project with Haqel – In Defense of Human Rights, a Jewish-Arab human rights group that works in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Throughout the year, settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank was already increasing under Israel’s extremist government. Now, since the horrific events of October 7th, there has been a dramatic increase in retribution attacks against Palestinian communities throughout the West Bank, worsening an already volatile and dangerous situation.

Two weeks ago, Haqel submitted a petition to the High Court on behalf of six Palestinian villages in the South Hebron Hills in Area C to demand that the army, police, and other government agencies take immediate action against the rise in settler violence and the forced displacement of communities. Settlers and the army have repeatedly attacked and threatened Palestinian communities, resulting in Palestinians fleeing their homes and villages in fear. To date, over 15 communities have left their villages including 98 households — a total of 828 residents, including 313 children. The petition requested that the High Court issue an interim order that the IDF forces in the West Bank, the Israeli police, and the head of the Civil Administration in the West Bank use their power to end such attacks and protect the petitioners and their property — protection that is regularly denied, despite Israel’s obligation under Israeli law, international humanitarian law, and precedent set by court rulings.

Throughout the year, with NIFC support, Haqel has operated a 24/7 hotline for Palestinians to report incidents of settler and army violence. They have received 5-8 calls every day, particularly on weekends. Haqel’s team works with landowners, farmers, and community representatives to provide immediate legal aid to Palestinians who have been threatened, attacked, beaten, and arrested by settlers and security forces.

Haqel’s co-director, Adena Ben-Reuven, is one of our 2023 Featured Activists. Read the profile on Adena here.