‘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 Baml, declaring land a nature reserve does not serve to protect nature, but to displace Palestinians in favor of Israeli interests.

Photo: Reuters

Reportedly, a month ago (6 April 2017) Hamas authorities in Gaza executed three people convicted of collaboration with Israel. Since Hamas took control of Gaza, its courts have imposed 85 death sentences and 22 people have been executed in formal proceedings. The military wing of Hamas has summarily executed at least 31 others, including 15 against whom legal proceedings were still underway. Executions - following a real trial, a show trial or no trial at all - are prohibited. A regime that takes human lives as punishment or deterrent is committing an intolerable violation of human rights.

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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.

Still from video

On Friday, 10 Feb. 2017, Madama residents went out to enjoy the good weather at a spot south of the village. Soldiers guarding the nearby settlement of Yitzhar came there and threw tear-gas canisters at the villagers. Ahmad Ziyadah, a B’Tselem camera project volunteer, began filming some of the soldiers and was ordered to leave. When he refused, he was violently detained. His brother arrived to help him and a soldier fired a rubber-coated metal bullet at short range at his knee. Ziyadah, who did nothing more than film the soldiers, was kept in custody for six days with the backing of a military court.

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.

On 21 March 2017, two Gazan men and a minor went from Rafah towards the perimeter fence, hoping to enter Israel for work. Around midnight, before they tried to cross the border and although they posed no danger, the military fired a shell at them. They fled, but another shell killed Yusef Abu ‘Athrah (15) and injured one man. The military's statement, that the suspicion the three had been trying to plant an explosive device on the fence was investigated after the fact, attests to a ‘shoot first and ask questions later’ policy.

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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