Israeli officials and Jewish settlers have seized thousands of acres of land around West bank settlements, an Israeli human rights group reported.
The seizure to create security areas blocks Palestinians access to their land, according to a report released Thursday by B’Tselem.
As part of a military Special Security Area plan, some 12 settlements east of the security fence have been fenced off. Half of the land, B’Tselem charges, is privately owned by Palestinians.
Israeli officials told B’Tselem that the lands are fenced off as a warning zone to protect the settlers. But the B’Tselem report documents settlers living on and working some of the lands.
The report called on Israel to evacuate the settlements and for the settlers to “return to Israel.”
“I think it is one of the most outrageous reports that B’Tselem has ever published,” Dani Dayan, the head of the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, told the Jerusalem Post. B’Tselem had “crossed a red” line and was “cooperating with terrorism,” he said.
Dayan pointed out that B’Tselem blamed the army and the Israeli government for putting measures to protect the lives of Jewish settlers ahead of Palestinian civil rights, which he told the Post showed that the group does not care about Jewish lives.