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Israeli settler violence intrinsic to theft of Palestinian land, rights group insists

ISRAELI state violence is intrinsic to the occupation of Palestine, with assaults soaring during the olive-harvesting season, human rights group B’Tselem said today.

A new report shows major theft of farm and pastureland, with a total of 28,000 dunams of land stolen from Palestinians, which has been facilitated by physical attacks.

B'Tselem said that settler violence is not instigated by private individuals but constitutes an unofficial arm of the force that the Israeli state uses to expel Palestinians from their land.

“As the governing power in the West Bank, Israel could choose to prevent these acts. Instead, the state has harnessed settler violence to promote its policy of taking over Palestinian land for Jewish use,” the report said.

“To that end, Israel has for many years backed, protected and financed settlers who violently dispossess Palestinians of their land.”

According to B’Tselem, which has monitored settler violence for more than 30 years, Tel Aviv facilitates illegal settlement expansion by financing security, paving roads and hooking them up to the electricity and water grids.

The report said that the military does not prevent the violence and sometimes even take part in it.

“State violence – official and otherwise – is part and parcel of Israel’s apartheid regime, which views lands between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea as a resource meant to benefit Jews,” B’Tselem added.

“The apartheid regime is based on organised, systemic violence against Palestinians carried out by numerous agents: the government, the military, the Civil Administration, the Supreme Court, the Israel police, the Israel Security Agency, the Israel Prison Service, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and others. Settlers are yet another function on this list,” the Israeli human rights group said.

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