Yesterday, 27 May 2017, “The Invisible Walls of Occupation” was announced as winner of the Best Interactive Experience Award at the T.O. WebFest 2017, a Toronto festival dedicated to web-based content. Viewers of the interactive documentary, which illustrates various aspects of Palestinians’ daily life under occupation, are invited on a virtual tour of the Palestinian village of Burqah. The project was co-produced by B’Tselem and Canadian digital studio Folklore, and is based on a B’Tselem report by the same name.

Today, Hamas authorities in Gaza reportedly executed three men convicted of assassinating a senior member of its military wing in a rushed trial without legal representation or an appeals instance. Since Hamas took over Gaza, its courts have issued 90 death sentences and 25 people have been formally executed. The Hamas military wing has summarily executed at least 31 others, 15 of whom had not been sentenced to death. Executions, with or without trial, are prohibited. A regime that takes human lives as punishment or deterrent is committing an intolerable violation of human rights.

Palestinian women demonstrating in East Jerusalem in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners' strike. Photo by Amar Awad, Reuters, 29 April 2017.

Some 150 Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike have reportedly been taken to hospital as their medical condition worsened. As long as Israel continues to ignore its obligations to the prisoners and violates their rights, their condition will deteriorate, raising fear of force-feeding, which the international medical community widely regards as prohibited. Holding so many Palestinians in prisons inside Israel, most without a fair trial, some with no trial at all, and the draconian restrictions they face are an integral part of the occupation regime.

‘Abd al-‘Aziz ‘Aqel, one of the landowners, holding an uprooted seedling. Photo by Abdulkarim Sadi, B’Tselem, 3 April 2017

On 3 Apr. 2017, the Civil Administration used bulldozers to uproot 135 olive saplings in Wadi Qana, near Qaliqiliyah, on land owned by Palestinians from Deir Istiya. In 1983, the CA declared the valley the Nahal Qana Reserve, and in recent years, Israeli authorities have been pushing to exclude Palestinian farmers from the wadi, and displace them using different practices, while giving settlers free reign. Like elsewhere in the West Bank, declaring land a nature reserve does not serve to protect nature, but to displace Palestinians in favor of Israeli interests.

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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 be screened at the Vienna Shorts Festival on Sunday, 4 June 2017. The film is also a candidate in an international film competition taking place at the festival. The documentary follows 12-year-old Muhammad Burqan, who lives in Area H2 of Hebron, a section of the city under full Israeli control.

Soldiers near the entrance to Allenby Bridge Crossing. Photo by Ronen Zvulun, Reuters, 10 March 2014

Israel controls all West Bank entrance and exit points, so any departure requires Israeli approval. Palestinian West Bank residents can only travel abroad via the Allenby Bridge Border Crossing. Israel uses its control over the crossing to deny travel to many residents, keeping them confined to the West Bank for years, without any judicial review or explanation. This policy harms thousands of Palestinians denied travel for no defensible reason and many others who do not even bother making the attempt, and illustrates Israel’s full control over the lives of all West Bank residents.

Fatimah Hjeiji, 16

On 7 May 2017, Fatimah Hjeiji, 16, approached a metal barrier near Damascus Gate, East Jerusalem. Hjeiji stopped, stood, and brandished a knife at 5 police officers on the other side of the barrier, who then fatally shot her. The Police District Commander called the shooting legal and appropriate, ignoring the facts of the case which indicate Hajij posed no threat to the officers. The continued policy of fatally shooting Palestinians who do not pose a mortal danger illustrates the discrepancy between accepted norms prohibiting such use and frequent shoot-to-kill incidents which are encouraged by senior officials and public sentiment.

The neighborhood of Batan al-Hawa in the heart of Silwan, East Jerusalem, is the setting for the largest expulsion in recent years in the city, a process supported by the Israeli government and courts. Click on the figures to enter the neighborhood’s story.

Over the past twenty years, Israel has taken measures to guarantee a nearly blanket exemption from its obligation under international law to pay compensation to Palestinians harmed by its security forces. In a new report released today (Wed., 8 March), B’Tselem traces the development of this practice and illustrates how it has led to a major drop in the number of claims for damages Palestinians filed in recent years. Israel’s policy reflects how little value it places on the lives, bodies and property of Palestinians living under its control.

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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