(Israel Twitter)-There have been reports of a rise in Israeli settler violence against IDF troops and Palestinian neighbors in 2009. Maj-Gen Shamni said "In the past, only a few dozen individuals took part in such activity but today that number has grown into the hundreds ... engaged in conspiratorial actions against Palestinians and the security forces. It's a very grave phenomenon. A UN report recorded 222 acts of settler violence against Palestinians and IDF troops in the first half of 2008 compared with 291 in 2007. In 2008–2009, the defense establishment began to adopt a harder line against unruly settlers. Extremists responded with a tactic dubbed "price tagging," vandalizing Palestinian property when the government sent in police or soldiers to dismantle outposts.
Violence against Palestinians has been harshly condemned by leading religious figures in the West Bank, among them Rabbi Menachem Froman of Tekoa, who said:
Targeting Palestinians and their property is a shocking thing, It's an act of hurting humanity. This builds a wall of fire between Jews and Arabs.
The umbrella organization of municipal councils of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Yesha Council and former Knesset member and settler Hanan Porat has also condemned violence against Palestinians.
In response to settler violence towards Israeli security forces, the Israeli government said it would increase law enforcement and cut off aid to illegal outposts. When buildings were evacuated by the Israeli government, settlers lashed out at Palestinians because they were "easy victims. The United Nations accused Israeli security forces of failing to intervene in settler attacks and arrest settlers suspected of violence.
Israeli civilians living in the Palestinian Territories are not subject to military or local law, but are prosecuted according to Israeli penal law. In 2008, Haaretz wrote that "Israeli society has become accustomed to seeing lawbreaking settlers receive special treatment and no other group could similarly attack Israeli law enforcement agencies without being severely punished.
Gush Emunim Underground was a militant organization associated with Gush Emunim that operated in 1979–1984. The organization carried out attacks against Palestinian officials and Arab students and plotted an attack on the Dome of the Rock. In 1994, Baruch Goldstein, a settler from Hebron and member of Kach party killed 29 Palestinian worshipers and injured 125 at Cave of the Patriarchs during Muslim prayer services. The attack was widely condemned by the Israeli government and Jewish community.
The Palestinian leadership has accused Israel of "encouraging and enabling" settler violence in a bid to provoke Palestinian riots and violence in retaliation.