B'Tselem in the Media

2 Jan 2016

Ms. Shaked has advertised the legislation as providing more transparency, but that is not the real agenda. In fact, the legislation is aimed at delegitimizing progressive groups in Israel that have long been advocates for human rights and opposed to Jewish settlements in the West Bank, such as Peace Now, B’Tselem, the New Israel Fund and others. The reality is that many of these progressive groups rely on such funding from foreign organizations, and the law would force them to carry an unpleasant label suggesting that they are somehow at odds with Israel’s interests. Millions of dollars are also being sent to Israel to support right-wing causes such as settlement activity, but it comes largely from individual donors, not governments, so it would not be covered by the law. Israel’s nongovernmental organizations are already required, under an earlier law, to file disclosure reports of their funding, so the only effect of the new requirement would be to force them to wear a public badge in a way that is odious.

1 Jan 2016

Op-ed: The fact that something is legal doesn’t make it justified; sometimes, the fact that something is legal serves only to illustrate the bankruptcy of the legislative mechanisms in a place where criminal acts have become lawful.

16 Dec 2015

An Israeli rights group on Wednesday accused Israeli security forces of using "excessive and unwarranted" force in the killing of some Palestinians who attacked or were suspected of attacking Israelis during the current wave of violence.

Israeli officials rejected the charges by the B'Tselem group. The watchdog's statement said Israeli officers had used excessive lethal force against Palestinians in at least 12 cases in Jerusalem and the West Bank over the past two months.

According to the group, Israeli soldiers and police officers fired at some Palestinian assailants even after they were wounded and posed no further threat.

15 Dec 2015

Michal Rozin, a legislator for the left-wing Meretz party, called on Israel’s attorney general to investigate the video’s producers for “blatant incitement” against the four activists named in the clip: Ishai Menuhin, the director of the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel; Avner Gvaryahu, outreach director for Breaking the Silence; Sigi Ben Ari of the Center for the Defense of the Individual; and Hagai El-Ad, executive director of B’Tselem.

Israel’s government has repeatedly blamed incitement through social media for the latest wave of deadly attacks on Israelis by Palestinians, and demanded that websites remove videos praising or encouraging such violence.

“The central issue is not Im Tirtzu,” Mr. El-Ad wrote on Facebook. “The voice is indeed their voice, but the hands are those of the government — a government that has no ideas besides more and more occupation, which drags more and more Palestinians and Israelis into violence. With no idea what to do, they resort to incitement.”

9 Dec 2015

Human rights activists have labelled the policy of punitive house demolitions collective punishment that violates international law. "It is simply an official policy of punishing innocent people for the actions of others," Sarit Michaeli, the spokesperson for the Israeli human rights organization B'tselem, said. "This is completely immoral and its also unacceptable legally because our legal system is based on people being punishable for their own actions."

This system isn't only unlawfull and immoral, but it is also [racist] because it sees an inherent difference between Israelis and Palestinians.

16 Nov 2015

The testimonies and photos are buttressed by an autopsy conducted in Qalqilya, whose results were passed on to Local Call by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. The autopsy showed that Awad was indeed shot in the back, and that the bullet hit two aortas, a kidney and his pancreas. His feet and knees were also bruised. According to the pathologist, the findings show that Awad was shot at a range of up to 10 meters — not at point-blank range during a struggle.

The physical findings are consistent with the Palestinian version. It is possible that while Awad was being attacked he may have touched the soldier’s weapon, which means that the IDF’s version is not entirely a lie. It does not, however, explain why Awad was shot. We can assume that Awad’s back did not constitute a threat to the troops.

6 Nov 2015

The highway runs through the center of the West Bank along its entire length, and this Haramiya checkpoint used to slice it in two. It was unmanned for some years, but now the army is back at the checkpoint, which lies on the main road between Ramallah and Nablus, between the settlements of Ofra and Shiloh. The car approached slowly. The soldiers cocked their weapons. The driver was afraid; the soldiers too, it seemed.

Abed Al-Karim a-Saadi is the northern West Bank field researcher for B’Tselem: The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. A 52-year-old father of four, Saadi still lives in the same village – Atil, north of Tul Karm – where he was born. He holds a degree in psychology from An-Najah National University in Nablus, and is perceptive and sociable. His professional career is marked by interaction with both Israelis and Palestinians: He worked on behalf of the Palestinian Authority in the District Coordination Office as a liaison with Israel, at Allenby Bridge, in Palestinian and international human rights organizations, and for the past decade has been with B’Tselem.

6 Nov 2015

Despite the decision to indict the shooter and at least one other soldier, B’Tselem called the charges “a new low,” upset at the expected charges of negligence, as opposed to the more serious charges of murder or manslaughter. The NGO said Awad was unarmed when he was shot in the back while fleeing.

The state explained in its letter to the High Court that although there was a basis for manslaughter or murder charges, the likelihood of conviction on those charges was too low, as Awad’s family never turned over his body. Thus, the state was unable to determine beyond a reasonable doubt that his being shot was the cause of death.

B’Tselem criticized the state’s explanation, saying that even if it were true, the state has created structural problems and trust issues in its past handling of autopsies of Palestinians.

3 Nov 2015

Palestinians and Israeli human rights groups contend the images, many captured by amateur smartphone users, buttress long-standing allegations of excessive force — particularly amid a wave of Palestinian stabbing attacks in which top Israeli politicians and security commanders have encouraged forces to shoot to kill suspected assailants.

"There is a very clear message sent by those politicians and military commanders that this is how law enforcement should behave," said Sarit Michaeli of the Israeli group B'Tselem, which documents rights abuses.

29 Oct 2015

All the actors party to the current round of legal-administrative brutality can breathe easy: Both the particulars of the ritual and its results are a foregone conclusion. Demolitions were sanctioned, are sanctioned, will be sanctioned by the court. Then, a family – which no one claims is guilty of any wrongdoing – will find its home reduced to nothing more than a dusty pile of rubble, or perhaps poured full of concrete. Mission accomplished: People innocent of any crime will no longer be able to inhabit their home.
An op-ed by B'Tselem Executive Director Hagai El-Ad.