Palestinian women walk along unlit street in Gaza during power blackout. Photo by Mohammed Salem, Reuters, 11 Jan. 2017

The past two weeks have seen a worsening in Gaza’s electricity crisis, with the more than 1.5 million Gazans getting power for just 3-4 hours out of every 24 due to a financial dispute between the PA and the Hamas over payment of fuel taxes imposed by Israel. Even if the present crisis is resolved, Gazans will still suffer power shortages. Israel is directly responsible for the situation: preventing restoration of the power plant it bombed in 2006; impeding infrastructure repairs and upgrades; and compelling Gaza authorities to purchase only Israeli fuel at a price residents are hard put to pay.

A.Z. at home after being discharged from hospital. Photo by Iyad Hadad, B’Tselem, 28 Nov. 2016

On 10 Nov. 2016 soldiers shot A.Z., 15, injuring him in the hand and thigh, after he threw a stone at their fortified watchtower and threw down ground sandbags located there. The military took A.Z. to hospital in Israel without informing his parents. He was held under military guard there for four days, incl. three during which his legs were shackled. A police investigator questioned him without the presence of any adult on his behalf. Minors are entitled to special protection by law, common sense and moral values. This right was grossly violated in this case, as in countless others.

Roadblock on al-Madares Street. Photo by Hussam ‘Abed, B’Tselem, 9 Jan. 2017

On Sunday 8 Jan. 2017 Fadi al-Qunbar, 28, of Jabal al-Mukabber, carried out a ramming attack at the Armon Hanatziv Promenade in Jerusalem, killing 4 soldiers and injuring 15. Israeli authorities have since adopted punitive measures against his extended family and other locals. Collective punishment and administrative measures against Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem are an acknowledged Jerusalem Municipality policy and the mayor boasts of it. While the policy is overt, this does nothing to detract from its being wrongful and involving widespread persecution by the authorities of thousands of Jerusalem residents.

Muhammad Burqan. From “The Boy from H2” by Helen Yanovsky

A short documentary by Helen Yanovsky, “The Boy from H2” - created in collaboration with B’Tselem’s field researchers and Camera Project volunteers in Hebron, and produced by B’Tselem’s video department - will premiere at the 67th Berlinale as part of the Berlinale Shorts competition. The documentary follows 12-year-old Muhammad Burqan, who lives in Area H2 of Hebron, a section of the city under full Israeli control.

Border Police entering a Palestinian home in Silwan. Photo by Activestills, 30 Sept. 2014

The neighborhood of Batan al-Hawa, East Jerusalem, is the site of the vastest dispossession effort being planned in the city. The neighborhood’s children and teenagers are hardest hit by the friction with settlers, police and security guards. Testimonies gathered by B’Tselem paint a grim picture of minors being held or detained, often with security forces employing violence and acting in a demeaning manner.

Members of the Hanani family among the ruins of the entrance to their cave, demolished this week in Khirbet Tana. Photo by Salma a-Deb’i, B’Tselem, 3 Jan. 2017

On 2 Jan. 2017, Civil Administration forces demolished ten homes and a livestock pen in Wadi Esneisel and Bir al-Maskub, north of the Ma’ale Adumim settlement, leaving 78 people homeless, including 52 minors. The next day, the forces continued, demolishing six homes and 16 livestock pens in the community of Khirbet Tana, located close to Beit Furik in the Nablus district, leaving 29 people homeless, including 15 minors. This followed the demolition of 79 structures in the community in 2016.

Soldiers capture 7-year-old Muhammad Shteiwi. Video stills by Abdallah Qadumi, B'Tselem, 23 Dec. 2016

On 23 Dec. 2016, masked soldiers captured Palestinian boy Muhammad Shteiwi, 7, during the weekly protest at Kafr Qadum. They detained him for some 10 minutes, while firing at protestors. The incident, captured on video by B’Tselem volunteer Abdallah Qadumi, is yet another example of the inevitable daily injustices resulting from the occupation.

Residents and police in the neighborhood of Batan al-Hawa. Photo by Hussam ‘Abed, B’Tselem, 29 Nov. 2016

B’Tselem mapped the processes underway in Batan al-Hawa, which is facing the most extensive dispossession in East Jerusalem in recent years. Israeli authorities have already transferred 9 of its roughly 50 parcels to the Ateret Cohanim association, and settlers have moved in to 5. Eviction claims are pending against 81 Palestinian families who have lived in the neighborhood for decades. Residents are also subjected to other types of pressure. Settler presence brings with it the police, the Border Police and private security guards; they regularly use violence against local residents, including live fire and crowd control measures, threats, arresting minors and disrupting the fabric of life.

The report B’Tselem published today shows how Israel has been taking over Palestinian rural space, fragmenting it, dispossessing its residents of land and water, and handing over these areas to settlers. The process is illustrated through a case study of three villages in the Nablus District - ‘Azmut, Deir al-Hatab and Salem - telling what these communities have undergone since Israel established the Elon Moreh settlement nearby. Through this case study, the report illustrates a broader policy Israel has been implementing throughout the West Bank for decades, and in which the settlers play a key role.

Reality check: Almost fifty years of occupation

The occupation is 49 years old. That’s 17,898 days. International law defines occupation as a temporary situation, but after nearly 50 years the reality in the West Bank and Gaza can no longer be considered temporary. It is unreasonable to keep hoping that Israel end this situation of its own volition. As the occupation enters its 50th year, B’Tselem presents the current situation in the West Bank and Gaza. The facts are well-known. Equally well-known is that standing idly by means perpetuating the current situation. Determined action is needed now to clearly demonstrate the termination of local and international cooperation with the occupation.

B'Tselem has championed human rights in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for over two decades, promoting a future where all Israelis and Palestinians will live in freedom and dignity.

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