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38 Israel police stations in illegal West Bank settlements, report finds

Israeli police [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]
Israeli police [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

There are dozens of Israeli police stations located in the occupied West Bank in settlements considered illegal by the international community, including some built on privately-owned Palestinian land, a new report has found.

The report, "Cops and Robbers: Distribution of Israel Police stations throughout the West Bank", is the work of Kerem Navot, an anti-occupation Israeli civil society organisation.

Giving some background, Kerem Navot explain that just one week after Israel's military occupation had begun in June 1967, the Israeli army signed an order "allowing Israel Police to operate in the West Bank, despite the fact that it was not part of the sovereign territory of the State of Israel."

"As such," Kerem Navot adds, "the Israel Police were not authorised to operate there to begin with."

More than half a century later, and the organisation's survey found that there are now 38 Israeli police stations in the occupied West Bank, "all of which are located within settlements or areas subject to full Israeli control in Area C [60 per cent of the territory]."

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In addition, a number are also "illegally located" on land confiscated from private Palestinian owners – a situation Kerem Navot describes as "disgraceful" and "paradoxical".

Seventeen stations were established on land that Israeli authorities unilaterally declared to be "state land", while eight stations "were established on private land seized by the army for 'security purposes'". Another two stations were "established on land expropriated for public purposes".

One station, at Givat Ze'ev, was "fully established on privately owned Palestinian land", while a station at Ma'ale Adumim settlement "was partly established on private Palestinian land and partially on Palestinian land expropriated for public purposes."

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A police station in Elkana settlement "was built on private Palestinian land in part, and partly on Palestinian land seized for security purposes", and another station, Vered Yeriho, "was established in part on private Palestinian land and partly on territory declared state land".

Kerem Navot notes that "in addition to police stations, a system of Border Police bases were established throughout the West Bank."

The Border Police are, in fact, military forces in every respect, primarily deployed to suppress the Palestinian population, hardly contending with the enforcement of civil law

the group adds.

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