Bethlehem, occupied West Bank – Abuses of power committed by Israel’s Civilian Security Coordinators (CSCs), civilian guards of the illegal settlements, continue to contribute to settlement expansion into Palestinian-owned land across the occupied West Bank, according to an Israeli rights group.
In following the behaviour of the CSC guards over a decade, rights group Yesh Din has come across reports of guards doling out death threats and chasing Palestinian farmers from their fields at gunpoint to prevent them from harvesting, among other violations.
“When these [violations] are done systematically over the years, Palestinian farmers understand that it’s not useful to come to their own land located near what used to be settlement outskirts,” said Eyal Hareuveni, a researcher at Yesh Din. “And when done repeatedly again and again for a few years, the Palestinian gives up.”
The “unused” space is then allocated for settlement expansion, according to Yesh Din lawyer Michal Pasovsky.
“The minute these borders of the CSC [guarding zone] extend beyond municipality borders and Palestinians are afraid to go to their land, that gives the settlers an opportunity to build there,” Pasovsky said