Ever since Israel occupied the West Bank, successive Israeli governments have used the various subordinated authorities and agencies in order to establish Israel’s control over the area. Israel employs a range of methods and practices designed to reinforce its authority over the Palestinian population in the West Bank, land and local resources. In so doing, Israel violates international law, which determines that occupation is a temporary situation, and that the occupying power holds the occupied land in trust, and for the benefit of the local population.
The policies practiced by Israeli governments in the West Bank, both overt and covert, are marked by human rights violations against Palestinian residents of the occupied territory. These violations include legally sanctioned theft of land and dispossession of Palestinians under the auspices of the law or for lack of law enforcement, and the absence of accountability in cases of violence perpetrated against Palestinians or their property in a manner that provides near impunity for Israeli citizens and security forces personnel.
Israel’s settlement policy helps increase control over the West Bank. This policy mainly entails the construction of Israeli settlements and outposts in the occupied territory, yet is not limited to taking over land for construction and farming, and includes a litany of accompanying restrictions, such as security arrangements which prohibit Palestinians from accessing vast areas in the West Bank, building roads for Israelis only to travel on, and archaeological excavations used to take over land and create a historical narrative that excludes Palestinians.
In addition, the Government of Israel has been gradually absolving itself of its duty to act within international law, and extricating itself from its duty to protect the property of the protected Palestinian population. This is a policy of de-facto annexation, while Israel refrains from officially annexing the West Bank, a step which would require granting Palestinian residents of the West Bank citizenship and equal rights.