Law enforcement in the West Bank is enslaved to the settlement project

Published: 
17 Jul 2013

Demolition of the home of the al-Fakir family in 'Ein al-Meyteh in the Jordan Valley, 17 January 2013. Photo: 'Atef Abu a-Rub, B'Tselem
Demolition of the home of the al-Fakir family in 'Ein al-Meyteh in the Jordan Valley, 17 January 2013. Photo: 'Atef Abu a-Rub, B'Tselem

B'Tselem responded to the report of Israel's State Comptroller, published today. The report, covering defense issues, states that Israelis living in 83 settlements in the West Bank do not pay leasing fees for land they received from the state and that the authorities do not enforce the law on illegal construction, fearing opposition by settlers.

B'Tselem said the comptroller's report added another layer to the understanding that Israel's entire law enforcement system in the West Bank is enslaved to the settlement project, and that the failings detailed are a direct result of the policy of successive Israeli governments, that have avoided for decades enforcing the law on Israeli citizens who harm Palestinians and their property.

Regarding the faults exposed in the conduct of the Office of the Custodian of Government and Abandoned Property in the West Bank, B'Tselem states that the real problem is not the financial loss, but the fact that the Israeli government provided the settlements with stolen land, and that in fact, the custodian is tantamount to a dealer in stolen goods, albeit a failed one.

Any allocation of West Bank land to Israeli settlements is illegal and unacceptable. This, regardless of whether the allocation was done based on the criteria set by the Israeli government or not. This is due to the fact that state land in the West Bank is intended for the use of the Palestinian public, not the State of Israel.