Israeli settlers throw stones at Palestinian houses (not seen) in the West Bank city of Hebron

Rights group accuses Israel of using settler violence to seize land

Report by B’Tselem details takeover of nearly 30 square kilometers — around half the size of Manhattan — of farm and pasture land in West Bank by settlers over past five years

Associated Press |
Published: 11.14.21, 14:34
Israel has been using settler violence as a “major informal tool” to drive Palestinians from farming and pasture lands in the West Bank, an Israeli rights group said Sunday.
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  • A report by the group B’Tselem detailed the takeover of nearly 11 square miles (30 square kilometers) of farm and pasture land in the territory by settlers over the past five years. That’s an area around half the size of the island of Manhattan.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    Israeli settlers throw stones at Palestinian houses (not seen) in the West Bank city of Hebron
    Israeli settlers throw stones at Palestinian houses (not seen) in the West Bank city of Hebron
    Israeli settlers throw stones at Palestinian houses (not seen) in the West Bank city of Hebron
    (Photo: Reuters)
    B’Tselem also challenged repeated claims by the government that violence against Palestinians is carried out by a violent fringe among the settlers and security forces are doing their best to stop it.
    Recent months have seen a steep increase in violence committed by Jewish settlers in the West Bank against Palestinians. Last week, a group of Israeli settlers vandalized dozens of cars in a town near Ramallah, and in September, dozens of Israeli settlers attacked a Bedouin village in the southern West Bank, leaving several injured, including a Palestinian toddler.
    B’Tselem said the military “does not prevent the attacks, and in some cases, soldiers even participate in them.” It says that law enforcement does little to take action against settlers who commit violent acts against Palestinians “and whitewashes the few cases it is called upon to address.”
    “When the violence occurs with permission and assistance from the Israeli authorities and under its auspices, it is state violence. The settlers are not defying the state; they are doing its bidding,” the organization said in its report.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    A settler and children stand next to a temporary structure in the West Bank outpost of Maoz Ester
    A settler and children stand next to a temporary structure in the West Bank outpost of Maoz Ester
    A settler and children stand next to a temporary structure in the West Bank outpost of Maoz Ester
    (Photo: Reuters)
    The Israeli military did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.
    Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Six-Day War. In the decades since, it has built dozens of settlements — now home to nearly 500,000 Israelis — that most of the international community considers illegal and an obstacle to peace. The Palestinians seek the West Bank, along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, as part of their future state.
    On Friday, a group of Jewish settlers attacked Palestinians harvesting olives who were accompanied by Israeli activists. Two Israelis, including a prominent rabbi and peace activist, were injured in the incident.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    Palestinian students and teachers wait for Israeli soldiers to allow them to cross a military checkpoint near the Jewish settlement of Beit Hadasa in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron
    Palestinian students and teachers wait for Israeli soldiers to allow them to cross a military checkpoint near the Jewish settlement of Beit Hadasa in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron
    Palestinian students and teachers wait for Israeli soldiers to allow them to cross a military checkpoint near the Jewish settlement of Beit Hadasa in the West Bank city of Hebron
    (Photo: AFP)
    Neta Ben Porat, one of the injured activists, said she suffered injuries to her head and arm. She said the entire area is video monitored by the army, and soldiers chose not to come to their aid. The military said in a statement to Army Radio that troops “separated between the sides and dispersed the confrontation” and arrested three settlers.
    Rabbis for Human Rights in Israel said in a statement Friday that “the state and its enforcement agencies are failing time after time to ensure the safety of farmers and activists in the harvest, and the blood spilled today is also on their hands.”
    Last month, Defense Minister Benny Gantz called on the military to combat rising settler attacks against Palestinians and Israeli troops in the West Bank to react “systematically, aggressively and uncompromisingly” to such behavior.
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