Thursday, September 11, 2008

B'Tselem Report: Israel increased area of dozens of settlements east of the Separation Barrier by tens of thousands of dunams

Press Release, 11 Sept. '08

"Today (11 September), Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem is publishing a report on Israel’s blocking of Palestinian access to land around settlements lying east of the Separation Barrier. The report reveals that state authorities and settlers have de-facto annexed rings of land amounting to tens of thousands of dunams to these settlements.

Control of these lands is seized by a variety of means, but two modus operandi stand out: 1) settlers, and sometimes members of Israel’s security forces, violently attack and harass Palestinians who venture near settlements; and 2) erecting fences and other physical and electronic devices around the lands, blocking Palestinian access to them. In many cases, the authorities turn a blind eye to unlicensed closure of lands, systemically avoiding their duty to enforce the law on criminal settlers.....

In the report’s conclusion, B'Tselem provides a number of alternative measures that Israel can take to protect settlers while reducing infringement of Palestinians’ rights. However, the organization emphasizes that, given the illegality of the entire settlement enterprise, Israel is obligated to evacuate all settlements and must not work to perpetuate them. Therefore, the only lawful way to protect the settlers is by evacuating them and returning them to Israel. "

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