Over three days during the past week, the authorities demolished 22 dwellings in the Jordan Valley, along with 41 other structures used for storage and livestock, leaving 59 people, including 28 minors without a roof over their heads.
In mid-Jan, 24 Palestinian families in the Jordan Valley were informed they would be temporarily displaced at month’s end for military training in the area. The evacuation was cancelled due to weather conditions, but the military did conduct training very close to one community, causing panic among residents, especially children, and crushing crops. Military training in the Jordan Valley is illegal. Israel must immediately stop it and all other measures employed in an attempt to force Palestinian residents of the Jordan Valley out of the area.
On 4 Feb. 2016 the High Court of Justice “suspended” the administrative detention of Muhammad al-Qiq, who has been on hunger strike for 72 days. This vague decision is essentially meaningless: The ruling states that his relatives may visit him in hospital in Israel, but does not oblige Israel to issue them entry permits. Administrative detention orders are subject to judicial review, but the courts usually approve the orders, rarely questioning the security establishment’s position. Even so, in view of al-Qiq’s condition, the HCJ’s evasive legal solution and the refusal to rescind the order are extreme.
On 4 Feb. 2016, Civil Administration (CA) officials came to the Palestinian community of al-Mkassar in the northern Jordan Valley with bulldozers and a military escort. They proceeded to demolish four tents that were home to two families – a total of 19 people, including 12 minors and eight livestock pens. These families had already lost their homes in a previous demolition in June 2015. Later that the day, CA and military forces came to the community of Khirbet Susiya in the South Hebron Hills, where they dismantled and confiscated two tents that were home to a family of 8, including 6 minors. The tents were donated to the family after their two previous tents were demolished about two weeks ago, on 20 Jan. 2016.
In December 2015, Gazan farmers reported that Israel had sprayed their land with herbicides, seriously damaging crops in areas where farmers were supposedly permitted to work. The military frequently changes the scope of the “no-go” zone by the border fence, but does not bother to mark it or inform farmers. Israel cannot treat the Gaza Strip as its part of its territory and ignore the residents. If the military believes that there is a need for a “security zone” along the border, it must establish this zone within Israeli territory.
Yesterday, 2 Feb. 2016, Israeli authorities demolished a total of 22 homes in two Palestinian communities in the South Hebron Hills, leaving 110 people, including 64 minors, homeless in mid-winter. The communities lie in an area declared by the military as Firing Zone 918. This comes immediately after the end of unsuccessful mediation between Israeli authorities and the communities, which now plan to renew their legal battle against attempts to expel them from their land.
The authorities have begun demolishing structures in the village of Khirbet Jenbah, in the 918 Firing Zone, in the Southern Hebron Hills. This is following the termination of the arbitration process between the residents and the state.
Palestinian journalist Muhammad al-Qiq, 33, has been on hunger strike for 65 days (as of 28 Jan) to protest his arrest. He has been in administrative detention for over a month. According to medical literature, his life is by now in danger. Last week, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected Al-Qiq’s petition for release and refrained from determining, as yet, whether he should be released due to his medical condition. According to recent Israel Prison Service data, 527 Palestinians are currently being held in administrative detention – the highest figure since 2009.
Since the beginning of 2016 Israel has demolished eight Palestinian homes in the area defined as E1 and two homes in the South Hebron Hills, including one in Khirbet Susiya, where residents have struggled for years against expulsion and settler takeover. These demolitions serve Israel’s policy to create immutable facts on the ground ahead of any future agreement. This longstanding policy, which creates an impossible daily reality for Palestinians in Area C, constitutes forced transfer of protected residents within the occupied territory.
It was reported this morning that Shlomit Kriegman, 23, who was stabbed yesterday by a Palestinian in the settlement of Beit Horon, died of her injuries. According to the reports, two Palestinians came to Beit Horon yesterday and stabbed two women – Shlomit Kriegman, 23, and another woman aged 60 who was moderately injured. The two attackers were shot and killed by a security guard on the settlement and another armed civilian. B'Tselem wishes to express its profound sorrow on Shlomit Kriegman’s death and extends its condolences to her family and hopes for a speedy recovery to the other woman injured in the attack. Dliberate targeting of civilians undermines every moral, legal and human standard.
Judge finds that authorities failed to produce sufficient evidence that Nawaj’ah endangered a land dealer. Ofer Military Court yesterday (Jan. 24, 2016) ordered the release of B'Tselem field researcher Nasser Nawaj’ah, who was arrested on the night between Tuesday and Wednesday (Jan. 20, 2016) but delayed the execution of his decision for 24 hours in order to allow the police to appeal. The police announced this afternoon it will not pursue an appeal, which clears the way for his release in the coming hours.
Contempt of Court motion rejected today (22 Jan. 2016). Habeas corpus motion was now filed to the Israeli supreme court following the state violation of court's order to release B'Tselem's field worker unconditionally. Despite the order, he was transferred to a military court in the West Bank.
Since early October 2015, the military has imposed broad restrictions on Palestinian movement in central Hebron, preventing residents from maintaining a reasonable routine. The military has blocked the entrances to some streets in the Old City, closed the Tel Rumeidah neighborhood to non-residents, introduced stricter inspections at 16 existing checkpoints, and established new checkpoints. Passersby are subjected to repeated and lengthy inspections and residents report that they feel imprisoned, leaving home only for work and studies.
Today, Jerusalem District Court Judge, Moshe Yoed Hacohen, ordered the unconditional immediate release of B'Tselem field researcher Nasser Nawaj'ah, who was arrested by the police on the night between Tuesday and Wednesday. However, the Israeli police violated the court order and told his counsel that he had been taken to the military court at Ofer Camp, which remanded him to custody until Sunday.
From 12 to 14 Jan.2016, B'Tselem documented Civil Administration harassment of five Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley, in continuation of efforts to force Palestinians out of Area C. In Kh. ‘Ein Karzaliyah, structures were photographed, apparently ahead of repeat demolitions; in Kh. ‘Einun, forces destroyed agricultural structures and a water reservoir; and in Yarza and Kh. a-Ras al-Ahmar, families were informed that they would again be displaced for military training.
According to media reports, a Palestinian stabbed Israeli civilian Dafna Meir to death yesterday evening on the threshold of her home and fled. Meir, 39, was a mother of six from the settlement of Otniel in the South Hebron Hills. Three of her children were at home at the time. B’Tselem expresses deep sorrow over the attack and conveys its sincerest condolences to the family of the deceased. Deliberate targeting of civilians undermines every moral, legal and human standard. B’Tselem strongly condemns any and all deliberate attacks against Israeli or Palestinian civilians and calls once again on politicians and leaders on all sides to act responsibly and avoid fanning the flames of violence.
Since the start of 2016, Israel has demolished three homes as collective punishment for attacks against Israeli civilians committed by family members. This left 18 persons homeless, including seven minors. Security forces have also surveyed dozens of homes slated for future demolition. Despite the extreme nature of this act and the clear position of jurists that it is illegal, the HCJ repeatedly approves the demolitions. Demolishing or sealing homes is a draconian, vindictive action targeting entire families not suspected of any offense.
In the early hours of 13 January 2016, representatives of the Civil Administration and the military came to the Palestinian community of Khirbet a-Rahwa, which lies south of the town of a-Dahariya and close to the settlement Tene. The force demolished a tent that was home to a family of nine, including seven minors, and a livestock pen that belongs to the family. The force also confiscated a solar panel donated to the family by humanitarian aid organizations. The family’s tent had already been demolished a year ago and re-erected since.
The Gazan health care system is unable to provide adequate care to the residents of Gaza, in part due to neglect during Israel’s direct rule there and also to the present day siege. Yet Israel does not allow most patients who need non-lifesaving medical care to enter Israel or pass through it en route to the West Bank or Jordan. An entry permit for medical care is not an act of charity: since Israel still controls Palestinian movement in and out of Gaza, it must let patients leave Gaza to allow them to get proper care.
A fire broke out at our office in Jerusalem this evening. None of our staff were in the building, but people working on other floors had to be evacuated by the fire brigade. Following the announcement by the fire brigade that the cause of the fire in our office is probably an electrical fault, we are extremely relieved and eager to begin the cleanup as soon as possible. Over the past few hours we experienced an outpouring of support and solidarity from friends and supporters in Israel, in the Occupied Territories and abroad. We thank you all for your kindness, and promise to get back to work, and carry on until the end of the occupation.