Newsletter 31 Jul. 2012

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NEWSLETTER 31 Jul. 2012
B'Tselem - The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories
Levy Committee Report: Where are the Palestinians?
Levy Committee Report: Where are the Palestinians? The people harmed by the settlement are ignored

Dear friends,

On 9 July 2012, the media published the recommendations of the Levy Committee, which was appointed by Netanyahu with the goal of finding ways to make construction in settlements legal. Retired High Court Justice Edmund Levy, who chaired the committee, exceeded all expectations. The committee concluded that the West Bank is not occupied territory; that international law does not prohibit the establishment of settlements; and that since settlers did not know that construction occurring in the territories was illegal, some way should be found to retroactively legalize this construction.

These findings completely contradict the position taken by Israel for decades. They also contradict hundreds of High Court rulings and the opinions of legal experts, the Red Cross, and the international community.

The committee’s benevolence did not extend to the 2.5 million Palestinian residents of the West Bank. They are barely mentioned in its report. Their right to use “state lands” is not addressed; their exclusion from broad swathes of the West Bank merits no notice; and there is not a word about the impact of the settlements, including their preemptive use of natural resources, on the lives of Palestinian residents. The committee makes no attempt to explain what is the legal basis for Israeli rule over the Palestinians, which enables it to take away their land. If there is no occupation, and if the territories are not part of the sovereign territory belonging to the State of Israel, what normative framework governs Israel’s actions in the West Bank?

The only proper path for the Israeli government to take regarding this report is to reject its conclusions and shelve it.

Yael Stein

Research Director

Levy Committee Report: Where are the Palestinians?
The Levy Committee was founded explicitly to find ways of legalizing illegal acts. Therefore, it is not surprising that its conclusions appear tailored to the settlement agenda. The report's conclusions have no basis in international law and almost completely ignore the people most hurt by the establishment of settlements, the West Bank's two and a half million Palestinians.
Appeal against the closing of investigation into beating of Silwan resident by Border Police officer
Wahid a-Rawidi the day after the incident. Photo: Suad Abu Ramuz

On 17 July 2012, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) filed an appeal with the State Attorney against the decision by the Department for the Investigation of Police (DIP) to close the investigation into a complaint by Silwan resident who was beaten by Border Police officers on 15 September 2011. In the appeal, ACRI argued that the DIP closed the case without pursuing all possible means to clarify the circumstances of the incident, and demanded that the State Attorney instruct the DIP to conduct a thorough investigation.

Video documentation: officer head-butts a Palestinian youth, Hebron
Video documentation: officer head-butts a Palestinian youth, Hebron

Yesterday evening, 25.7.2012, a volunteer in B'Tselem's camera distribution project documented from his window a soldier detaining a number of Palestinian youths at the military checkpoint near the Beit Hadassah settlement in Hebron. One of the youths argued with the soldier. Later the video shows an officer holding the youth and taking him by force up the street, then head-butting him, breaking his nose. B'Tselem reported the incident to the IDF spokesperson's office and the Military Police Investigative Division (MPIU).

Hamas authorities execute three people in Gaza
On 17 July 2012, the Hamas authorities in Gaza executed three Palestinians condemned to death by Gaza courts. Since Hamas took over in Gaza, 33 people have been sentenced to death by its courts, and 13 people have been executed, including some who were sentenced to death before the Hamas takeover. B’Tselem condemns the use of capital punishment, which is immoral. The state may not violate a person's right to life as means of punishment, even for the purpose of law enforcement.
Border Police in Hebron abused a schoolboy, ‘Abd a-Rahman Burqan, twice in one month
Border Police in Hebron abused a schoolboy, ‘Abd a-Rahman Burqan, twice in one month

On 29 June 2012, a B’Tselem volunteer documented an assault on a 9-year-old boy, ’Abd a-Rahman Burqan, by Border Police officers in Hebron. B’Tselem also took testimony about an attack on ‘Abd a-Rahman on 3 June 2012, which was not documented on video. In the first incident, a Border Police officer allegedly chased ‘Abd a-Rahman and, after catching him, stepped on his hand and kicked him, then released him. B’Tselem contacted the Military Investigations Unit (MIU) on 1 July 2012 about that incident. A few hours later, B’Tselem received video documentation of the second incident. After the media publicized the video, the MIU notified B’Tselem that it would begin investigating both incidents.

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