B'Tselem in the Media

26 May 2015

I went to the 1:45 A.M. lecture about West Bank settlements, given by Hagai El-Ad, executive director of B’Tselem (“In the image of”), a Jerusalem-based organization that monitors human rights violations. Because of the title — “Intractable Impermanence: 47 Years of ‘Temporary’ Occupation” — I worried that this session would also feel virulently political. Far from it. El-Ad gave a complex, undogmatic primer on the varying levels of Israeli control in the West Bank and the ramifications.
I asked him if he thought anti-settlement sentiment now translates to anti-Israel sentiment as a result of the charged political climate. “There are three separate issues: anti-Israel feeling, anti-Semitism and anti-occupation,” he answered. “They get lumped together, but they’re different. We at B’Tselem are anti-occupation.”

20 May 2015

Israeli civil rights groups lauded Netanyahu's reversal but criticized the government for even considering the plan. Sarit Michaeli, spokeswoman for B'Tselem, a human rights group, said the proposal drew attention to broader policies of separation and discrimination in the West Bank.
Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank are subject to two sets of laws, different rules for land development and in some cases, even travel on separate roads, she said. Israeli settlers are permitted to vote in Israeli elections, while Palestinians are not. "Even though this specific issue was put on hold, actually separation, segregation and discrimination have been around for a long time," she said.

17 May 2015

The news agency quoted the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem as saying that Israeli security forces do not always deploy in advance to protect Palestinians from settler violence, even when such violence can be anticipated.
"In some cases, rather than restricting violent settlers, Israeli security forces impose restrictions on the Palestinians," the news report quoted the human rights group as saying.

27 Mar 2015

“Recent months have seen a dramatic rise in Israeli security forces’ use of live 0.22 inch calibre bullets. The firing of this ammunition is an almost weekly occurrence in the West Bank in sites of protests and clashes,” reported Israeli rights group B’tselem in January. “Most of those injured have been young Palestinians, including minors. Yet, in the last two months, one Palestinian woman, at least three photographers, and a foreign national who was taking part in a demonstration were also hit by these bullets,” said B’tselem. The humanitarian organisation has also said it witnessed cases of Israeli soldiers provoking clashes in order to fire live ammunition at protesters.

17 Mar 2015

The state on Monday asked for an additional three months to investigate the shooting death of an unarmed Palestinian youth, Samir Awad, 16, in January 2013, despite being ordered by the High Court of Justice last December 1 to expedite the case. The court upbraided the IDF legal division for dragging out the investigation for two years, such that the soldiers accused of his death had meanwhile become demobilized.
B’Tselem on Monday opposed the state’s request for a further threemonth extension as “arbitrary” and characteristic of how the case had been handled to date.

14 Mar 2015

The videos highlight Israeli efforts to track down young Palestinian rock throwers in the occupied West Bank, according to an Israeli rights group. "We are getting reports of nightly searches by soldiers demanding that Palestinian kids be woken up," Sarit Michaeli, an activist working for B'Tselem human rights group, told NBC News. "The Palestinians in the West Bank live under Israeli military law so currently the army doesn't need a warrant or permit to enter Palestinian homes."
Since 2007, B'Tselem has handed out about 200 video cameras to Palestinians living in the West Bank so they could document their treatment at the hands of Israeli soldiers. The surge of documented night operations targeting children, however, is more recent.

12 Mar 2015

On 15 August last year, five weeks into the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, Hagai El-Ad, the director of B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights organisation, appeared on a morning radio show to discuss the conflict. Throughout the fighting, B’Tselem did what it has done for 25 years since it was founded during the first Palestinian intifada: document human rights violations by Israel in the West Bank and Gaza. It compiled film and testimony gathered by volunteer field researchers on the ground, tallied daily casualty figures that were used by the local and international press, and released names of individual Palestinians killed by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF).

26 Feb 2015

Most Israeli settlers are not violent. But plenty are — even stoning American consular officials early this year — and they mostly get away with it because settlements are an arm of an expansive Israeli policy. The larger problem is not violent settlers, but the occupation. “We planted 5,000 trees last year,” Mahmood Ahmed, a Palestinian farmer near Sinjil told me. “Settlers cut them all down with shears or uprooted them.”

Israel has enormous security challenges, but it’s hard to see the threat posed by 69-year-old Abed al-Majeed, who has sent all 12 of his children to university. He told me he used to have 300 sheep grazing on family land in Qusra but that nearby settlers often attack him when he is on his own land; he rolled up his pant leg to show a scar where he said a settler shot him in 2013. Now he is down to 100 sheep. “I can’t graze my sheep on my own land,” he said. “If I go there, settlers will beat me.”

Sarit Michaeli of B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group, accompanied me here and said that the allegations are fully credible. Sometimes Palestinians exaggerate numbers, she said, but the larger pattern is undeniable: “the expulsion of Palestinians from wide areas of their agricultural land in the West Bank.”

26 Feb 2015

Over the years, Israel has cultivated a separate legal system there. The Palestinians are ultimately governed by Israeli military rule — while Israel’s own criminal and civilian laws apply to more than 350,000 Jewish settlers in a way they cannot apply to Israeli expats.
The Palestinians “have no way of voting and electing those people who are making decisions about their future,” said Sarit Michaeli, from the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.

17 Feb 2015

Mohammed Sabah, a researcher for the Israeli group B’tselem, was a big help on the ground. He led us to El Nuseirat Refugee Camp, where a 21-year-old named Youssef Abbas was said to be constantly plotting an escape and helping others do the same. We stopped at a mini market, whose owner had Youssef’s phone number, but the younger man wasn’t answering. Then, suddenly, Youssef appeared on the street. We all headed upstairs to Costa Coffee.

He told us, with Majd translating from the Arabic, that he had been apprehended for crossing twice, in 2010 and 2008, when he roamed an hour in Israel before getting caught. He said he’d tried twice more in September. Once, he was caught on the Gaza side by Palestinian security officials, who have beefed up patrols in response to the postwar increase. The other time, “the mistake was that my mobile was open,” he said. “My fiancée was calling me. She forced me to come back.”