Pharmacy Checkpoint, al-Sahleh Street. Photo by Eliana Mahamid, B’Tselem, 5 October 2016.

For over twenty years, Israel has been enacting a policy of separation based on discriminatory practices, implemented primarily through many permanent checkpoints in the city. Since Oct. 2015 the military has enhanced infrastructure and beefed up security checks at existing checkpoints, and placed age restrictions on entry to certain neighborhoods. This added a dimension of severe collective punishment to Israel’s separation by discrimination policy in central Hebron. This conduct makes it almost impossible for Palestinians to lead normal lives in the area, forcing them to leave and advancing the ongoing silent transfer of Palestinians from Hebron’s city center.

Civil Administration officials arrived at the community of Ibziq to deliver temporary evacuation order. Photo by ‘Aref Daraghmeh, B’Tselem, 15 Nov. 2016

Today, 20 Nov. 2016, Civil Administration officials handed evacuation orders to 14 families in Ibziq, north of Tubas. The families, 78 people, including 42 minors are to evacuate from Monday early afternoon to Tuesday morning, and for the same time Tuesday to Wednesday. They will have to spend two nights outside, away from home. The military has been training extensively throughout the Jordan Valley in recent weeks, turning out scores of residents in Palestinian communities in these areas, which Israel defines as firing zones.

On 25 Oct. 2016, a military inquiry stated security forces “could have acted differently in recent incidents involving the shooting of Palestinians – and in some cases could [have] even avoided opening fire”. B'Tselem’s investigation shows that security forces killed two Palestinians, one aged 15, and injured another Palestinian aged 15 without justification. The security establishment’s response to the incidents prevents real change on the ground or steps against those responsible. Accordingly, it will not prevent similar incidents in the future.

The ruins of the family home of Sharif ‘Awadallah. Photo by Iyad Hadad, B’Tselem 27 July 2016.

In July 2016 Israel demolished 13 homes in Qalandia al-Balad, close to the Separation Barrier. Since Qalandia and other neighborhoods were cut off by the Barrier, the Jerusalem Municipality has virtually halted the supply of municipal services and rarely enforces building laws. As a result, Palestinians from East Jerusalem have been attracted to the area. In a rare exception to its usual policy, the Jerusalem Municipality has decided to provide a service in the area: house demolitions.

Target-practice image placed by soldiers in residential area of an al-Fajam area community, near ‘Aqraba. Photo by ‘Aref Daraghmeh, B’Tselem, 17 Oct. 2016

In recent weeks, the military has held several maneuvers in residential areas or grazing land belonging to Palestinian communities. Israel claims that the areas are “firing zones,” despite the fact that these communities have lived and worked on the land for many years. The repeated displacement threatens the ability of residents to continue living in the communities. As an occupying power, Israel may not use land for general military purposes, and certainly must not displace the residents or damage their livelihood on these grounds.

The confiscation in Khirbet Tall al-Himma this week. Photo by ‘Aref Daraghmeh, B’Tselem, 7 Nov. 2016

On Thurs. Nov. 11, Civil Administration forces arrived at the community of Khirbet Tall al-Himma, located in the northern Jordan Valley, south of ‘Ein al-Beida. The forces dismantled six tents and confiscated them together with two tents that had not been pitched yet. Three of the tents had been used as dwellings by members of the community, and the rest were used as livestock pens. These structures were donated to the community this week by a humanitarian aid agency, after the Civil Administration demolished these families’ homes on 27 September 2016, leaving 25 people, 10 of them minors, homeless.

Still from video.

On 2 November 2016, soldiers entered the village of Zabubah, in the northern West Bank, in pursuit of children who had thrown rocks at the separation fence. The soldiers entered the center of the village and ran toward a group of children who had gathered there. The children dispersed, but one of them, an 11-year-old, froze. Video footage from a security camera shows an officer pushing the child forcefully and knocking him to the ground.

"For the past 49 years – and counting – the injustice known as the occupation of Palestine, and Israeli control of Palestinian lives in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem, has become part of the international order. The first half-century of this reality will soon be over. On behalf of B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, I implore you today to take action. Anything short of decisive international action will achieve nothing but ushering in the second half of the first century of the occupation..."

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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