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Israel Controls Palestinians Using ‘Organized Violence’

Palestinian workers from Gaza cross the Beit Hanoun (Erez) border crossing to work in Israel. (AFP)

Israel is controlling the fate of five million Palestinians in the occupied territories and practicing systematic, active and continuous violence against them, an Israeli human rights group said.

B’Tselem accused Israel of subjecting Palestinian lives to a daily routine of violence – some of it overt, but more often implicit.

The state seizes Palestinian lands through public and official methods by obtaining approval from legal advisors and judges, while settlers who wish to seize Palestinian lands use violence, the organization explained.

It warned against aggravating settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, noting that it is part of the strategy employed by Israel’s apartheid regime, which seeks to “take over more and more West Bank land.”

“The state fully supports and assists these acts of violence, and its agents sometimes participate in them directly,” B’Tselem stressed.

It pointed out that settler violence is a form of government policy, aided and abetted by official state authorities with their active participation.

The state legitimizes this reality in two complementary ways, it added.

“Since occupying the West Bank in 1967, Israel has misappropriated more than two million dunums of land throughout the West Bank, it said.

“Israel uses this land for its own purposes, including building new settlements, expanding the territory it controls – including farmland and industrial zones – and paving roads that mainly serve the settler population.”

It said West Bank settlements dominate hundreds of thousands of dunums to which Palestinians have limited access or none at all.

“Other areas have been effectively taken over by settlers through daily acts of violence, including attacks on Palestinians and their property.”

B’Tselem said the mechanisms and routines of Israeli control differ according to time and circumstances.

Israel uses different methods to control Palestinians in every area, it said, noting that there are differences between Israel’s external control over Gaza and its direct control over the West Bank and annexed East Jerusalem.

In the Gaza Strip, Israel determines critical aspects of daily life as it is the main power deciding who and what can enter or leave Gaza.

“Israel decides which foods will be available to Gaza residents and which food they may export. It does not allow Palestinians to leave Gaza – with very few exceptions – and prohibits them from visiting their relatives in the West Bank.”

“Israel determines the level of medical care available in Gaza, as it decides which medical equipment will be allowed in, what medications will reach hospitals, and what professional seminars doctors can travel to attend,” the report revealed.

Similarly, it added, the critical shortage of electricity in Gaza lies is primarily Israel’s doing.

“The power shortage has led to a shortage of potable water and prevents proper waste treatment.”

In other words, decisions made by Israeli officials are what determines the standard of living in Gaza as well as opportunities for economic development, education, starting a family and so on.

Nearly two million Palestinians living in Gaza are left with no control over their lives, the organization lamented.

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