Israel does not prevent the attacks, and in some cases, soldiers even participate in them, a new report by the Israeli rights group says.

B’Tselem 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.”
B’Tselem 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.” (AA)

Israel has been using settler violence as a “major informal tool” to drive Palestinians from farming and pasture lands in the occupied West Bank.

A report published on Sunday by the Israeli rights group B’Tselem detailed the takeover of nearly 11 square miles (30 square kilometres) 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.

B’Tselem also challenged repeated claims by the Israeli 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 occupied West Bank against Palestinians. 

Last week, a group of Israeli settlers vandalised 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.

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Israeli forces not preventing attacks

B'Tselem said the Israeli military “does not prevent the attacks, and in some cases, soldiers even participate in them.” 

“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 organisation said in its report.

Israel occupied the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast 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. 

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. 

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies