Updates

B'Tselem sends deep condolences to the family of 3-month-old Haya Zissel-Brown, who was killed yesterday in a run-over attack by a Palestinian driver in Jerusalem, and wishes a speedy recovery to the persons injured in the attack. We condemn any and all intentional harm to Israeli and Palestinian civilians and call upon politicians and leaders on both sides to act responsibly and avoid fanning the flames of violence.

October 23

Yesterday, soldiers briefly detained a developmentally disabled Palestinian boy, who is under the age of criminal responsibility, on suspicion that he had thrown stones. The boy, A. a-Rajbi, (full name withheld in interest of privacy) who will be 12 in a month, was detained after Palestinian children threw stones at soldiers on the main road of the Jabel Johar neighborhood in Hebron, close to the settlement of Kiryat Arba. A-Rajbi was handcuffed, blindfolded, and held on the floor of an army jeep for some 15 minutes until his father arrived and convinced the soldiers to release his son, who is mentally disabled and cannot speak.

October 20

In May 2014, B’Tselem cautioned that the number of Palestinians held by Israel in administrative detention was rising. At the end of August, after Operation Brother’s Keeper, there were some 473 administrative detainees – the highest number since April 2009. Administrative detention is detention without trial. The security establishment uses it extensively, in breach of the restrictions placed by international law. The government of Israel must release all administrative detainees or prosecute them, in accordance with due process.

October 7

On 30 Sept. 2914, Deputy Attorney General Dina Zilber overturned the decision of the director of the National Civic Service Authority to revoke B’Tselem’s status as an organization which may accept national civic volunteers. In her statement, Adv. Zilber wrote that the decision was procedurally flawed and was unreasonable, given the circumstances.

October 2

On 29 Sept. 2014 Civil Administration representatives sawed down dozens of electricity poles and cut the wires. The community is one of dozens of shepherding communities in the Jordan Valley currently under threat of expulsion. Its 113 permanent residents, including 62 children, and another 100 or so seasonal residents have lived at the site for decades. Most of their structures were built before 1967. Their power grid was demolished as part of ongoing efforts to expel dozens of Palestinian shepherding communities from Area C and take over their land.

October 2

On 10 Aug. 2014, two army vehicles accompanied a water authority vehicle into al-Fawwar R.C. Several children threw stones at them from an alley. Driving out of the camp, one army vehicle stopped at an alley and fired a single live shot, killing 10-year-old Khalil ‘Anati, although neither the soldiers nor the civilian workers faced mortal danger. A Military Police investigation was opened, for which B’Tselem sent the military all information at its disposal. The investigation must be speedily concluded and those responsible brought to justice.

September 22

The Civil Administration has published a plan to relocate thousands of Bedouins from the Jordan Valley and Ma'ale Adumim area to a new settlement. The plan ignores the residents’ needs and breaches the prohibition on forcible transfer. All plans for “permanent sites” for Bedouins, which dictate extreme changes to their lifestyle, must be cancelled. The Administration must allow Bedouins to plan their current homes lawfully, connect them to water and power grids, and provide them with health and education services.

September 17

The International Legal Assistance Consortium, the Swedish Bar Association and the International Bar Association announceed on 11 Sept. 2014 that the 2014 Stockholm Human Rights Award will be presented to B´Tselem. The Stockholm Human Rights Award was established in 2009, and is awarded annually to an individual or an institution for outstanding contributions to the rule of law and the promotion and protection of human rights.

September 14

In response to the MAG corps announcement detailing some of the investigations opened into "exceptional" cases during operation Protective Edge, B'Tselem stated that based on past experience, it isn't holding out hope that this process will lead to results other than a whitewash. B'Tselem announced this week that it will not assist the current military investigation mechanism, which currently amounts is nothing more than a masquerade and called for the establishment of an effective, transparent and impartial mechanism.

September 11

On 25 Aug. 2014, Israel declared some 380 hectares of West Bank land as state land – according to media reports, in retaliation for the abduction and killing of three Israeli youths in June. Not only is this prohibited collective punishment, but public land in the West Bank is supposed to serve Palestinians, not settlers. The location of the land suggests this move is meant to create territorial contiguity between Israel and nearby settlements, effectively erasing the Green Line. B’Tselem calls for immediate revocation of the declaration.

September 10

B’Tselem and Yesh Din, the two leading Israeli human rights organizations in monitoring the investigations of offenses committed by security forces against Palestinians, find that the military law enforcement system is a complete failure. After examining the results of hundreds of investigations, the organizations assert that the existing investigation mechanism precludes serious investigations and is marred by severe structural flaws that render it incapable of conducting professional investigations.

September 4

During Operation Protective Edge, Israel violated international humanitarian law in some cases, and many other cases are highly suspect. However, B’Tselem does not intend to demand that these suspicions be investigated by Israel’s current investigation mechanisms. This is due to the experience that B’Tselem gained following past military offensives in the Gaza Strip, which shows that there is currently no official body in Israel capable of conducting independent investigations of suspected violations of international humanitarian law.

September 4

B'Tselem, Anar Mammadli from Azerbaijan, and the Jesuit Refugee Service from Malta were announced today in Prague as the shortlisted candidates for the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize. The prize is awarded by the Council of Europe to organizations and individuals doing outstanding civil society work in defense of human rights in Europe and throughout the world. It is awarded annually during the plenary session of the Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), in partnership with the Václav Havel Library and the Charta 77 Foundation.

August 28

According to media reports, armed Hamas operatives killed over twenty Palestinians in the Gaza Strip for allegedly collaborating with Israel. Images of the executions were published in the media. According to media reports, since Thursday 21 August 2014, some 25 Palestinians were executed, including seven persons in a central square in Gaza City.

August 25

B'Tselem's board and staff send their sincere condolences to our colleague Issam Younis, director of al-Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza, for the death of his father and his father's wife in an Israeli airstrike on Rafah, in the morning of 21 August 2014.

August 22

During the fighting in Gaza, dozens of residences were bombed while residents were at home. The following infographic lists members of families killed in their homes in 72 incidents of bombing or shelling. In these incidents, 547 people were killed, including 125 women under the age of 60, 250 minors, and 29 people over the age of 60. Mouse over the houses for more details. The figures B’Tselem collected regarding the number of Palestinians killed in the course of the fighting in the Gaza Strip are very preliminary, and are still being cross-referenced and checked.

August 21

On 16 Aug. settlers and Palestinians began throwing stones at each other behind the Beit Hadassah settlement in the city of Hebron. The settlers were throwing stones from a spot near a military guard post, yet the soldiers stationed there did nothing to stop them. Nonetheless, the soldiers used crowd control measures against the Palestinians who were throwing stones, and even detained two, one of them a boy. The military is duty-bound to take action to enforce the law on both parties. Refraining from action against violent settlers conveys a message that settlers may attack Palestinians and their property and get military protection to do so.

August 20

Last night (18 Aug.) the military demolished the homes of two of the suspects in the abduction and killing of the three yeshiva students, Gilad Shaar, Naftali Fraenkel and Eyal Yifrah, near Gush Etzion two months ago. The home of a third suspect was sealed. The homes were demolished after the HCJ denied three petitions filed by HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual, leaving 23 innocent people, including 13 minors, without a roof over their heads. The HCJ's ruling is not surprising: for decades, the HCJ has denied the vast majority of the petitions filed against punitive house demolitions and refused to recognize the unlawfulness of this practice.

August 18

In a letter to B’Tselem and ACRI, Deputy Attorney General, Dina Zilber, has informed the organizations that the decision of the director of the National Civic Service Authority to stop allowing national civic volunteers to work with B’Tselem has been put on hold. Zilber said that the director would soon be summoned to the Justice Ministry to explain his decision and the circumstances under which it was made and that B’Tselem and ACRI would subsequently be informed of the final decision on this matter.

August 17

Airstrikes on homes were central to Israel's military policy from the start of its latest operation in Gaza. Holding Hamas responsible for the heavy toll this policy took on civilians in Gaza is a faulty premise, both legally and morally. Hamas does indeed fire at Israeli civilians, operate from within the civilian population and conceal weapons at civilian sites. Hamas must be held accountable these violations of the law. Yet this responsibility does not absolve the Israeli government and senior military officers of responsibility for the consequences of Israel's own policy and actions.

August 12