Lafy ‘Awad. Photo courtesy of the family

On 13 Nov. 2015, after a demonstration against the Separation Barrier in Budrus, several Palestinians approached the barrier. Soldiers emerged from an ambush and grabbed Lafy ‘Awad. They beat him as he tried to break free and his friends threw stones at the soldiers. He began to flee and a soldier shot him in the back, killing him. Three years ago soldiers killed Samir ‘Awad in almost identical circumstances; only recently was a decision made to try them on minor offenses. The policy of allowing armed ambushes against stone-throwers continues to take lives, permitting unjustified use of lethal force and needless death.

Police officer shoots girl lying motionless on the ground today (23 November 2015) in Jerusalem. Still from video.

In past two days, Palestinian girls attacked Israelis and were shot to death by security forces when lying motionless on the ground, posing no danger. Since early Oct., 48 knife attacks on Israelis have ended with Palestinian assailants/suspects shot to death. The recent surge of knife attacks is horrifying and security forces must protect the public and apprehend suspects, but they cannot act as judge or executioner. Top officials encourage the public to shoot anyone suspected of attacking Israelis, regardless of whether they pose danger, raising concern that these acts will go uninvestigated and the killers will continue to be role models.

The settlement of Itamar. Photo: Abed Omar Qusini, Reuters, 12 March 2011

On 21 Oct. 2015 PM Netanyahu retroactively approved an urban building plan for the settlement of Itamar. A week later he granted similar approval to 3 more settlements. Once again Israel retroactively approved settlement construction it had deemed illegal for years defined. Contrary to media reports that presented the PM as capitulating to pressure from settlers, his actions are consistent with a long-standing Israeli policy to facilitate de facto annexation of West Bank land.

Hadar Buchris was waiting at a hitchhiking stop in Gush Etzion in the West Bank when a Palestinian assaulted and stabbed her with a knife. She died of her wounds in hospital in Jerusalem. B’Tselem expresses deep sorrow over the attack and conveys its sincerest condolences to the family. Intentional assaults against civilians undermine every moral, legal and human standard. B’Tselem strongly condemns such assaults against Israeli or Palestinian civilians and calls once again on politicians and leaders to avoid fanning the flames of violence.

Military training in Khirbet Humsah, 12 Nov. 2015. Photo: Photo: ‘Aref Daraghmeh,, B’Tselem

On Thursday, 19 Nov. 2015, 13 families from Khirbet Humsah in the northern Jordan Valley were forced to temporarily evacuate for the purpose of allowing the military to hold exercises in the part of the village close to their homes. It was the sixth time this month that these families were forced to leave their homes. On three of these occasions, the Civil Administration (CA) did not allow them to return until midnight. The CA has relocated residents of this community 17 times since the beginning of 2015 – on the grounds that the area is needed for military training.

Palestinians today (Thursday, November 19, 2015) killed five people in shooting and stabbing attacks in Tel Aviv and Gush Etzion, and injured 11 others. B'Tselem expresses its shock and pain at the loss of civilian lives, sends its deepest sympathies to the families of those killed, and wishes the injured a speedy and full recovery. B'Tselem strongly condemns any and all deliberate attacks on Israeli and Palestinian civilians and reiterates its call to politicians and leaders to act responsibly and refrain from stirring up violence.

Soldiers watch protesters on other side of perimeter fence separating Israel and the Gaza Strip. Photo taken by demonstrators.

Since 9 Oct. 2015 solidarity protests with West Bank Palestinians have been held in Gaza. B’Tselem found that 14 people have been killed and 379 wounded, mostly by live fire. Israeli soldiers stationed across the fence, dozens of meters away from protesters generally faced no mortal danger that would require use of live fire; they could have used crowd control measures instead. The large number of casualties indicates excessive use of live fire and raises concerns of unjustified, disproportionate and unlawful gunfire.

Home of the ‘Amer family, neighbors of the Abu Shahins, damaged by the demolition and no longer habitable. Photo by Iyad Hadad, B’Tselem, 16 Nov. 2015

Israeli security forces recently demolished the homes of 6 Palestinian families in the West Bank as retaliation for attacks their relatives are suspected of perpetrating against Israelis. The blasts rendered another 8 apartments uninhabitable, leaving homeless 39 people, incl. 17 minors, suspected of no wrongdoing. Although it constitutes collective punishment prohibited by international law, this extreme policy has been repeatedly sanctioned by Israel’s High Court. Demolishing or sealing a home is a draconian, vindictive measure directed at entire families suspected of no wrongdoing.

Civil Administration bulldozer transports olive tree uprooted from Beit Jala’s groves at Bir ‘Unah. Photo by Sarit Michaeli, B’Tselem, 20 August 2015

In Aug. 2015, Israel renewed construction work on the Separation Barrier near the Palestinian town of Beit Jala, seizing private land and uprooting ancient olive trees. This creates facts on the ground although legal proceedings are still underway. The barrier will sever residents from their farmland, which provides vital income and rare recreation, block expansion of Beit Jala, damage ties with monasteries in the Cremisan Valley that service the community, and complete the effective annexation to Israel of large tracts of last.

Israeli security forces examine the Litmans’ car. Photo by Musa Qawasma, Reuters, 13 November 2015

B’Tselem expresses its shock over Friday (13 November 2015) morning’s attack in which Rabbi Yaakov Litman and his son Netanel were killed and the mother and another son lightly injured, when Palestinians fired at the car carrying seven members of the Litman family through the South Hebron Hills. Three daughters suffered anxiety attacks. B’Tselem conveys its condolences to the family and strongly condemns any and all deliberate attacks on Israeli and Palestinian civilians. B’Tselem reiterates its call to politicians and leaders to act responsibly and refrain from stirring up violence.

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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