Israeli rights group: IOF uses settler violence to take over West Bank land
B'Tselem, an Israeli human rights organization, released a new report on Sunday detailing how Israel has used settler violence against Palestinians to misappropriate more than 28,000 dunams of West Bank farmland and pastureland that has long served Palestinian communities.
B'Tselem's new report demonstrates that settler violence is not a private initiative, but rather an unofficial branch of Israel's state violence used to expel Palestinians from their land. Attributing the violence to young fundamentalists or "rotten apples" while maintaining a semblance of law enforcement allows Israel to have the best of both worlds: maintain a comfortable space for "plausible deniability" while reaping the benefits of the violence by seizing large swaths of West Bank land.
The report clarified how settler violence has complemented official methods by helping Israel take over farmland and pastureland that, for many decades, served Palestinian communities in five areas: shepherding communities in Masafer Yatta in the South Hebron Hills, in the southwestern Hebron Hills, and in the Jordan Valley, and established villages west of Ramallah and west of Nablus. According to the report, the state has dispossessed these communities of thousands of dunams by using settler violence.
This has been done explicitly in some areas by the military closing off swaths of land or requiring Palestinians to request advance permission to access their own land. In others, farmers and shepherds avoid the area for fear of being attacked by settlers.