According to media reports, the Israel Police notified the families of the perpetrators of the horrendous attack that it may withhold the bodies at this stage because a funeral procession and erection of a headstone "may glorify… the terrorist and make him a role model,” and that this step may “serve as a deterrent". This is another form of harm to innocents official justify as deterrence. B’Tselem calls upon the authorities to make a clear distinction between the grave actions of the deceased and any harm to their relatives, who are not suspected of any offense.

(left to right) Jessica Montell, Salma a-Deb'I, Anne Ramberg, Secretary General of the Swedish Bar Association, Hagai El-Ad. Photo credit: Tom Knutson.

The 2014 Stockholm Human Rights Award was presented to Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem at a gala event in Stockholm, Sweden, last night (25 November 2014). Established in 2009, the Stockholm Human Rights Award is awarded annually by the International Bar Association, the International Legal Assistance Consortium and the Swedish Bar Association to an individual or an institution for outstanding contributions to the rule of law and the promotion and protection of human rights. B’Tselem was represented at last night's ceremony by B’Tselem Executive Director Mr. Hagai El-Ad, his predecessor Ms. Jessica Montell, and by Ms. Salma a-Deb'i, B’Tselem’s field researcher for the Nablus District.

East Jerusalem does not exist in a vacuum. The recent violence in East Jerusalem is happening against the backdrop of a harsh, ongoing state of occupation. There are land grabs and discrimination, as well as severe restrictions on construction and development. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that the violence is a “direct outcome of incitement by Abu Mazen”. Yet the direct, causal link Netanyahu is trying to portray ignores the overall picture, which includes Israeli authorities manipulating the declaration of national parks in East Jerusalem for political ends. 

Operation Protective Edge ended in late August 2014, but most residents of the Gaza Strip are still suffering its consequences. The video shows the apartment of the Sukar family in a-Shuja’iyeh neighborhood in Gaza City, which was heavily shelled in the operation. The parents and their seven children now live in an apartment that does not provide them shelter from the cold and rain: “This apartment had been hit by shells and parts of it were destroyed. Whenever it rains, the house is flooded. The children get sick with colds. I hope we’ll be able to go back to our apartment, with all our belongings and furniture, especially the washing machine… This war set us forty years back…"

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced yesterday (22 November 2014) that he plans to promote a bill which would revoke the residency status and social security benefits of individuals who commit terrorist attacks or other serious offenses from nationalistic motives and their families. incoming Minister of Interior, Gilad Erdan, has revoked the permanent residency status of the man who drove the perpetrator of the suicide attack at the Dolphinarium nightclub in Tel Aviv in 2001, to the site of the attack. Residency status and social security benefits are not a favor or boon granted by the authorities. It is Israel’s fundamental obligation toward all individuals living in its territory, be they citizens or permanent residents.

Search and rescue team collects bodies from site of attack. Photo: Oren Ziv, Activestills, 18 November 2014.

B’Tselem is shocked by and finds abhorrent this morning’s attack, in which Palestinians killed Jewish worshippers at the Bnei Torah Synagogue in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Nof. We extend our condolences to the families of the people killed and convey our wishes for a speedy recovery to the wounded. B’Tselem strongly condemns any and all intentional assaults against Israeli or Palestinian civilians and reiterates its call to politicians and leaders to act responsibly and avoid fanning the flames of violence.

Israeli Prime Minister has ordered the demolition or sealing of the homes of the families of the Palestinians who carried out recent attacks against Israelis. This action constitutes harming the innocent. It is collective punishment that is both unlawful and immoral. The security establishment has announced its intention to demolish or seal six homes: three in East Jerusalem, one in Nablus and one in Hebron. Since 1967 Israeli security forces have demolished hundreds of homes to punish relatives of Palestinians who harmed or allegedly harmed Israelis.

Still photo from secutiry camera footage.

The arrest of a Border Police officer suspected of killing Palestinian youths at Bitunya confirms B’Tselem’s finding that Nadim Nawarah and Muhammad Salameh were killed by live fire and not rubber-coated bullets. Officials and pundits initially attempted to divert attention from the grave outcome by smearing the credibility of security camera footage. The authorities would do well to focus on uncovering the truth, instead of creating media spins to shirk responsibility. The investigation must be speedily completed and those responsible tried.

A police cordon at the entrance to the neigbourhood of al-'Esawiyah. 'Amer 'Aruri, B'Tselem, 8 Sept. 2014

In response to recent events in East Jerusalem, officials made statements about measures they think should be taken to ensure order in the city, and some of these have been implemented. These measures constitute selective enforcement of laws in order to pressure a population that already suffers from a severe shortage of infrastructure, housing and public services. Law enforcement authorities must act to curb violence. However, the draconian measures currently being taken against Palestinians in East Jerusalem amount to collective punishment of a population that lives under occupation and already suffers systematic discrimination.

Village of Burqah

The report published today concerns the village of Burqah, Ramallah District. A rather unremarkable village, Burqah has never taken center stage in the fight against the occupation, and has not been subjected to extreme punitive measures. In fact, we chose to focus on Burqah precisely because it is unexceptional, as a case in point demonstrating what life under the occupation is like for residents of Palestinian villages. Burqah is a small, picturesque village, set amidst fields. Like many other villages, it endures severe travel restrictions which isolate it from its surroundings. It is also subject to massive land-grabs and stifled planning, all of which have turned it into a derelict, crowded and backward village with half its population living at or below the poverty line.

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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