Updates

According to media reports, the Israel Police notified the families of the perpetrators of the horrendous attack that it may withhold the bodies at this stage because a funeral procession and erection of a headstone "may glorify… the terrorist and make him a role model,” and that this step may “serve as a deterrent". This is another form of harm to innocents official justify as deterrence. B’Tselem calls upon the authorities to make a clear distinction between the grave actions of the deceased and any harm to their relatives, who are not suspected of any offense.

November 26

The 2014 Stockholm Human Rights Award was presented to Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem at a gala event in Stockholm, Sweden, last night (25 November 2014). Established in 2009, the Stockholm Human Rights Award is awarded annually by the International Bar Association, the International Legal Assistance Consortium and the Swedish Bar Association to an individual or an institution for outstanding contributions to the rule of law and the promotion and protection of human rights. B’Tselem was represented at last night's ceremony by B’Tselem Executive Director Mr. Hagai El-Ad, his predecessor Ms. Jessica Montell, and by Ms. Salma a-Deb'i, B’Tselem’s field researcher for the Nablus District.

November 26

East Jerusalem does not exist in a vacuum. The recent violence in East Jerusalem is happening against the backdrop of a harsh, ongoing state of occupation. There are land grabs and discrimination, as well as severe restrictions on construction and development. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that the violence is a “direct outcome of incitement by Abu Mazen”. Yet the direct, causal link Netanyahu is trying to portray ignores the overall picture, which includes Israeli authorities manipulating the declaration of national parks in East Jerusalem for political ends. 

November 25

Operation Protective Edge ended in late August 2014, but most residents of the Gaza Strip are still suffering its consequences. The video shows the apartment of the Sukar family in a-Shuja’iyeh neighborhood in Gaza City, which was heavily shelled in the operation. The parents and their seven children now live in an apartment that does not provide them shelter from the cold and rain: “This apartment had been hit by shells and parts of it were destroyed. Whenever it rains, the house is flooded. The children get sick with colds. I hope we’ll be able to go back to our apartment, with all our belongings and furniture, especially the washing machine… This war set us forty years back…"

November 24

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced yesterday (22 November 2014) that he plans to promote a bill which would revoke the residency status and social security benefits of individuals who commit terrorist attacks or other serious offenses from nationalistic motives and their families. incoming Minister of Interior, Gilad Erdan, has revoked the permanent residency status of the man who drove the perpetrator of the suicide attack at the Dolphinarium nightclub in Tel Aviv in 2001, to the site of the attack. Residency status and social security benefits are not a favor or boon granted by the authorities. It is Israel’s fundamental obligation toward all individuals living in its territory, be they citizens or permanent residents.

November 23

B’Tselem is shocked by and finds abhorrent this morning’s attack, in which Palestinians killed Jewish worshippers at the Bnei Torah Synagogue in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Nof. We extend our condolences to the families of the people killed and convey our wishes for a speedy recovery to the wounded. B’Tselem strongly condemns any and all intentional assaults against Israeli or Palestinian civilians and reiterates its call to politicians and leaders to act responsibly and avoid fanning the flames of violence.

November 18

Hagai El-Ad, B'Tselem Executive Director has been included in Foreign Policy's sixth annual “100 Leading Global Thinkers” issue, the magazine announced today in Washington DC. The list, recognizes a year of "tumult, protest, inspiration, and new beginnings" to quote the magazine's editors.

November 17

Israeli Prime Minister has ordered the demolition or sealing of the homes of the families of the Palestinians who carried out recent attacks against Israelis. This action constitutes harming the innocent. It is collective punishment that is both unlawful and immoral. The security establishment has announced its intention to demolish or seal six homes: three in East Jerusalem, one in Nablus and one in Hebron. Since 1967 Israeli security forces have demolished hundreds of homes to punish relatives of Palestinians who harmed or allegedly harmed Israelis.

November 16

The arrest of a Border Police officer suspected of killing Palestinian youths at Bitunya confirms B’Tselem’s finding that Nadim Nawarah and Muhammad Salameh were killed by live fire and not rubber-coated bullets. Officials and pundits initially attempted to divert attention from the grave outcome by smearing the credibility of security camera footage. The authorities would do well to focus on uncovering the truth, instead of creating media spins to shirk responsibility. The investigation must be speedily completed and those responsible tried.

November 12

B’Tselem extends its condolences to the family of Dalia Lemkus, who was killed by a Palestinian in a stabbing-attack near the settlement of Alon Shvut, Bethlehem District, yesterday (10 November 2014). We send our wishes for a speedy recovery to the individuals injured in the attack. B’Tselem condemns any and all intentional assaults targeting Israeli or Palestinian civilians and reiterates its call to politicians and leaders to act responsibly and avoid fanning the flames of violence.

November 11

In March 2014 soldiers shot and killed Yusef a-Shawamreh, 14, as he crossed the Separation Barrier to pick edible plants. Our investigation indicates that he was shot in broad daylight, with no advance warning, although he posed no danger. In July, the military declared the investigation closed, suspecting no criminal action or breach of regulation. The appalling, fatal outcome cannot be tolerated. The responsibility lies with the military’s bodies who issue commands to the troops and the judicial arm which closed the case.

November 6

B’Tselem extends its condolences to the family of the man killed by a Palestinian in the car attack earlier today (5 November 2014) in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarah. We send our wishes for a speedy recovery to the individuals injured in the attack. B’Tselem condemns any and all intentional assaults targeting Israeli and Palestinian civilians and reiterates its call to politicians and leaders to act responsibly and avoid fanning the flames of violence. We are therefore extremely disturbed by the statement by Israel’s Minister of Public Security that “a terrorist who harms civilians should be killed”. This provocative call by a government minister to break the law and for execution without trial deserves the strongest possible censure, all the more so for being made by the minister responsible for law enforcement.

November 5

In response to recent events in East Jerusalem, officials made statements about measures they think should be taken to ensure order in the city, and some of these have been implemented. These measures constitute selective enforcement of laws in order to pressure a population that already suffers from a severe shortage of infrastructure, housing and public services. Law enforcement authorities must act to curb violence. However, the draconian measures currently being taken against Palestinians in East Jerusalem amount to collective punishment of a population that lives under occupation and already suffers systematic discrimination.

November 5

"We think a thousand times before we build, go on vacation, study, work, trade, or grow crops. It’s not because of laziness, or inability. It’s because of concerns about the obstacles, about harassment and attacks by the Israeli military or by settlers. It’s as if we live in a big prison, with invisible walls, as a result of the restrictions imposed on us." From Lana Kan'an's testimony, taken by Iyad Hadad on 21 March 2014

November 2

B'Tselem is shocked and concerned over the attempt made yesterday by a Palestinian to assassinate Israeli right-wing activist Yehuda Glick in Jerusalem, and hopes that he will regain full health. B'Tselem urges the police, the Jerusalem Municipality and Israeli and Palestinian public leaders to act responsibly and safeguard the well-being and human rights of all residents in East Jerusalem and West Jerusalem.

October 30

The report published today concerns the village of Burqah, Ramallah District. A rather unremarkable village, Burqah has never taken center stage in the fight against the occupation, and has not been subjected to extreme punitive measures. In fact, we chose to focus on Burqah precisely because it is unexceptional, as a case in point demonstrating what life under the occupation is like for residents of Palestinian villages. Burqah is a small, picturesque village, set amidst fields. Like many other villages, it endures severe travel restrictions which isolate it from its surroundings. It is also subject to massive land-grabs and stifled planning, all of which have turned it into a derelict, crowded and backward village with half its population living at or below the poverty line.

October 28

In response to reports that Israeli Minster of Defense Moshe Ya’alon intends to yield to the settler demand to prevent Palestinian day laborers from returning home to the West Bank on Israeli public buses, Israeli human rights group B'Tselem says that Minister Ya'alon is not content with merely moving Palestinians to the back of the bus, but means to keep them off buses altogether. It is time to stop hiding behind technical arrangements such as the demand that Palestinians return to the West Bank through the same checkpoint they entered Israel, and admit this military procedure is thinly veiled pandering to the demand for racial segregation on buses.

October 26

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