Brief humanitarian ceasefire in Beit Hanoun, 26 July 2014. Photo: Muhamad Sabah, B'Tselem.

The UN report on the 2014 Gaza conflict rejects Israeli government and military officials’ view of what is permissible in combat in densely populated areas. The UN commission’s premise differs from that of these officials, seeing Gaza as the home of over 1.5 million civilians where combat took place, not as a battlefield on which civilians live. The report states that the immense harm to civilians during the fighting cannot be justified nor can IHL be interpreted so as to legalize it, even considering the modus operandi of Hamas and other armed groups. The commission also found that the responsibility for violating IHL rests with the senior political and military officials who drew up the policy and did not change it even when its lethal consequences became clear.

Residents of Kh. Basaliyeh putting out fire caused by military’s training. Between Kh. Basaliyeh and Humsah. Photo: ‘Aref Daraghmeh,, B’Tselem, 25 June 2015

In 7 days throughout June, Israel temporarily displaced hundreds of Palestinians in the Jordan Valley from their homes in order to hold military maneuvers, bringing the total since the beginning of 2015 to 20 such days. The displacements disrupt the residents’ lives and cause various difficulties, including burnt farmland in some cases, as part of a deliberate effort to pressure the communities to leave the area permanently. Israel must halt this policy immediately and enable Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley to live undisturbed.

Khader ‘Adnan at his bakery. Photo by Oren Ziv, activestills.org, 21 June 2013

Media reports state that Khader ‘Adnan’s legal counsel and Israel’s military prosecution have reached an agreement whereby ‘Adnan will end his hunger strike immediately and be released from administration detention on 12 July 2015. ‘Adnan, who lives in ‘Araba in the West Bank, was striking to protest being held in administrative detention for a cumulative period of nearly six years, without any charges being brought against him.

Police officer kicking Kifah Abu Khaled, still from video

On 2 June 2015 the Jerusalem Municipality bulldozers with police escort, arrived to the Abu Khaled family home in Silwan, to demolish two apartments built by the family. The family had no choice but to build without a permit since Jerusalem Municipality policy is to deny permits to residents of this and other Palestinian neighborhoods. One family member climbed to the roof to try to prevent the demolition. He was pepper-sprayed, forcibly taken off the roof, and arrested by the police. Relatives who demanded his release were also attacked with pepper-spray and physical violence. City workers demolished the two apartments.

Muhammad Hamad, 11, was severely injured by live fire. Photo: Iyad Hadad, B’Tselem, 19 March 2015

B’Tselem has recently documented dozens of cases near Ramallah in which Israeli security forces injured Palestinians, some of them severely, with live gunfire. Most injuries are apparently the result of.22 inch bullets, whose impact is less than that of “ordinary” bullets but can still cause grave, even fatal injuries. The regular use of live fire against demonstrators in breach of regulations indicates that it is part of a policy, an unlawful policy. B’Tselem calls on security forces to stop firing live ammunition at unarmed civilians, except in extreme cases of immediate mortal danger.

Maha Qawariq, her husband and two of their daughters. Masked soldiers woke the entire family in the dead of night and photographed them and their home. Photo: Salma a-Deb’i, B'Tselem, 26 April 2015

On several nights in April and May 2015, soldiers entered the homes of 20 Palestinian families in the villages of ‘Awarta and Madama. In each home the soldiers, some of whom were masked, ordered that everyone there be awakened, including children. They wrote down the details of the family members and the house, and took photographs of the building. Military officials told the media about training in the area which included this type of activity. B’Tselem documented four separate incidents of this type, indicating that this is a policy of blatant disrespect for Palestinians’ right to live undisturbed.

Nadia Abu al-Jamal and her children. Photo: courtesy of the family

Since the Nov. 2014 attack on a Jerusalem synagogue, in which Palestinians killed four worshippers and wounded seven, the authorities have threatened punitive action against the assailants’ families: demolition of the homes and deportation the wife of one of them, Nadia Abu al-Jamal. She and her children may be cut off from family and friends and denied many official services. The children would lose their state health insurance. Israel must stop punitive measures against family members who are not suspected of any wrongdoing.

A new report B’Tselem published today indicates that remand in custody is the rule rather than the exception for Palestinian defendants. Most cases, therefore, end in plea bargains. To all intents and purposes, the Israeli military court appears to be a court like any other. There are prosecutors and defense attorneys. There are rules of procedure, laws and regulations. There are judges who hand down rulings and verdicts couched in reasoned legal language. Nonetheless, this façade of propriety masks one of the most injurious apparatuses of the occupation. The rules of Israeli law, ostensibly applied to the military court, have been rendered essentially meaningless - merely serving to whitewash the flaws of the military court system.

The covered body of Danny Gonen is lowered into a grave during his funeral in the city of Lod near Tel Aviv. Photo: Baz Ratner, Rueters, 20 June 2015

On Friday 19 June 2015, a Palestinian shot two Israelis in their car by the ‘Ein Bubin natural spring near Ramallah, killing one and wounding the other. The man killed was 25-year-old Danny Gonen, a resident of the city of Lod, Israel. B’Tselem expresses shock at the killing and conveys its sincerest condolences to the Gonen family and its wishes for a speedy recovery to the wounded man. B’Tselem harshly condemns any deliberate attack on civilians.

Yusef a-Shawamreh next to the Separation Barrier. Photo: 'Abed Al-Hashlamoun, EPA

In March 2014, soldiers killed Yusef a-Shawamreh, 14, as he crossed the Separation Barrier to pick edible plants for his family. He was shot although he posed no danger, in broad daylight. In July 2014, the MAG Corps declared the investigation closed with no charges. Examination of the military file revealed a sloppy investigation and corroborated B’Tselem’s suspicion of unlawful conduct in the incident. The MAG Corps effectively sanctioned this conduct by accepting a flawed investigation and releasing the commanders from accountability.

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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