Updates

Yesterday, 27 May 2017, “The Invisible Walls of Occupation” was announced as winner of the Best Interactive Experience Award at the T.O. WebFest 2017, a Toronto festival dedicated to web-based content. Viewers of the interactive documentary, which illustrates various aspects of Palestinians’ daily life under occupation, are invited on a virtual tour of the Palestinian village of Burqah. The project was co-produced by B’Tselem and Canadian digital studio Folklore, and is based on a B’Tselem report by the same name.

May 28

Some 150 Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike have reportedly been taken to hospital as their medical condition worsened. As long as Israel continues to ignore its obligations to the prisoners and violates their rights, their condition will deteriorate, raising fear of force-feeding, which the international medical community widely regards as prohibited. Holding so many Palestinians in prisons inside Israel, most without a fair trial, some with no trial at all, and the draconian restrictions they face are an integral part of the occupation regime.

Palestinian women demonstrating in East Jerusalem in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners' strike. Photo by Amar Awad, Reuters, 29 April 2017.
May 25

Today, Hamas authorities in Gaza reportedly executed three men convicted of assassinating a senior member of its military wing in a rushed trial without legal representation or an appeals instance. Since Hamas took over Gaza, its courts have issued 90 death sentences and 25 people have been formally executed. The Hamas military wing has summarily executed at least 31 others, 15 of whom had not been sentenced to death. Executions, with or without trial, are prohibited. A regime that takes human lives as punishment or deterrent is committing an intolerable violation of human rights.

May 25

Job Description: Writing fundraising material: grant proposals, activity reports and cultivating and maintaining relationships with private and institutional donors.

May 21

On 3 Apr. 2017, the Civil Administration used bulldozers to uproot 135 olive saplings in Wadi Qana, near Qaliqiliyah, on land owned by Palestinians from Deir Istiya. In 1983, the CA declared the valley the Nahal Qana Reserve, and in recent years, Israeli authorities have been pushing to exclude Palestinian farmers from the wadi, and displace them using different practices, while giving settlers free reign. Like elsewhere in the West Bank, declaring land a nature reserve does not serve to protect nature, but to displace Palestinians in favor of Israeli interests.

‘Abd al-‘Aziz ‘Aqel, one of the landowners, holding an uprooted seedling. Photo by Abdulkarim Sadi, B’Tselem, 3 April 2017
May 21

A short documentary by Helen Yanovsky, “The Boy from H2”, created in collaboration with B’Tselem’s field researchers and Camera Project volunteers in Hebron, and produced by B’Tselem’s video department, will be screened at the Vienna Shorts Festival on Sunday, 4 June 2017. The film is also a candidate in an international film competition taking place at the festival. The documentary follows 12-year-old Muhammad Burqan, who lives in Area H2 of Hebron, a section of the city under full Israeli control.

Muhammad Burqan. From “The Boy from H2” by Helen Yanovsky
May 17

Reportedly, a month ago (6 April 2017) Hamas authorities in Gaza executed three people convicted of collaboration with Israel. Since Hamas took control of Gaza, its courts have imposed 85 death sentences and 22 people have been executed in formal proceedings. The military wing of Hamas has summarily executed at least 31 others, including 15 against whom legal proceedings were still underway. Executions - following a real trial, a show trial or no trial at all - are prohibited. A regime that takes human lives as punishment or deterrent is committing an intolerable violation of human rights.

Photo: Reuters
May 17

Israel controls all West Bank entrance and exit points, so any departure requires Israeli approval. Palestinian West Bank residents can only travel abroad via the Allenby Bridge Border Crossing. Israel uses its control over the crossing to deny travel to many residents, keeping them confined to the West Bank for years, without any judicial review or explanation. This policy harms thousands of Palestinians denied travel for no defensible reason and many others who do not even bother making the attempt, and illustrates Israel’s full control over the lives of all West Bank residents.

Soldiers near the entrance to Allenby Bridge Crossing. Photo by Ronen Zvulun, Reuters, 10 March 2014
May 15

On 7 May 2017, Fatimah Hjeiji, 16, approached a metal barrier near Damascus Gate, East Jerusalem. Hjeiji stopped, stood, and brandished a knife at 5 police officers on the other side of the barrier, who then fatally shot her. The Police District Commander called the shooting legal and appropriate, ignoring the facts of the case which indicate Hajij posed no threat to the officers. The continued policy of fatally shooting Palestinians who do not pose a mortal danger illustrates the discrepancy between accepted norms prohibiting such use and frequent shoot-to-kill incidents which are encouraged by senior officials and public sentiment.

Fatimah Hjeiji, 16
May 10

The neighborhood of Batan al-Hawa in the heart of Silwan, East Jerusalem, is the setting for the largest expulsion in recent years in the city, a process supported by the Israeli government and courts. Click on the figures to enter the neighborhood’s story.

May 8

On 21 March 2017, two Gazan men and a minor went from Rafah towards the perimeter fence, hoping to enter Israel for work. Around midnight, before they tried to cross the border and although they posed no danger, the military fired a shell at them. They fled, but another shell killed Yusef Abu ‘Athrah (15) and injured one man. The military's statement, that the suspicion the three had been trying to plant an explosive device on the fence was investigated after the fact, attests to a ‘shoot first and ask questions later’ policy.

May 4

The hunger strike by over 1,000 Palestinian inmates begun on April 17 is a non-violent protest focused on valid, basic demands for improved conditions. Because they are held in Israel, in contravention of international law, Israel imposes severe restrictions on family visits. Instead of addressing the demands, Israel adopted unacceptable punitive measures designed to break the strikers’ spirit. The strike cannot be viewed in isolation: next month the occupation will mark its 50th anniversary. Even if conditions are improved - Israel will still be holding thousands of Palestinians who have had no fair trial, or no trial at all.

Prisoners’ relatives demonstrating in Jerusalem in support of the prisoners’ struggle. Photo by Ammar Awad, Reuters, 27 April 2017
May 3

Artist and activist Ai Weiwei reveals today a limited edition of his work Study of Perspective: The White House, in response to first 100 days of Donald Trump’s presidency, and in collaboration with The Skateroom. The artist chose B’Tselem as well as the Turkish “Bridging the People” to receive sales proceeds.

Ai Weiwei with B’Tselem field researcher Khaled al-'Azayzeh, during his visit to Gaza last year.
May 1

On 19 April 2017, in the Badu al-Baba community, northeast of Jerusalem, the CA demolished a 45-sqm pre-fab donated by an aid agency that served as home to a family of seven, including two minors. Their previous home had been demolished on 26 Jan. 2017. Badu al-Baba numbers some 350, about half of them minors and is in an area Israeli authorities designated for an expansion of the settlement of Maale Adumim so as to achieve a contiguous urban bloc from there to Jerusalem. The previous demolition there was on 26 Jan. 2017, when authorities demolished three families’ residential tents and two livestock pens.

Pre-fab homes at Badu al-Baba. Background: town of al-‘Eizariyah. Photo by ‘Amer ‘Aruri, B’Tselem, 9 August 2015
April 25

On 16 Mar. settlers harassed students in a Burin school, threw stones and fired in the air. Instead of arresting or removing the settlers, soldiers who came to the scene repeated their claims that students had thrown stones. The case illustrates how the military serves the settlers, acting as their mouthpiece, and does not protect Palestinians. It also demonstrates the double standard on stone throwing: Palestinians throwing stones are considered an immediate threat justifying lethal force; whereas settlers, even if they fire, are presumed to be justified and the military stands by as an onlooker.

Still from video filmed by Tharwah ‘Eid, B'Tselem Camera Project
April 25

In March 2017 soldiers entered two Tulkarm print shops for allegedly serving “illegal” organizations. They damaged equipment and caused the owners heavy losses, but arrested no one. The military law imposed by Israel in the West Bank allows soldiers to enter any Palestinian home or business without a warrant. The military often abuses this authority and causes damage to businesses and homes without any justification. This conduct is one of the most pervasive and powerful indications of Israel’s control over the lives of all Palestinians in the West Bank.

Printing machine at the Ibn Khaldun Print Shop after the search. Photo by Abdulkarim Sadi, B’Tselem, 1 March 2017
April 24

On 5 April 2017 the CA evacuated nine families from Kh. a-Ras al-Ahmar, the northern Jordan Valley, from 5:00 P.M. until 5:00 A.M. the next morning. Forty people, incl. about 15 minors, were forced to leave behind their sheep and property, to vacate their homes and spend the night out in the open. In 2016, families from the community were evacuated ten times on the same pretext. The repeated evacuations cause an intolerable disruption to daily life, are unjustified and unlawful. Israel must immediately stop the evacuations and all other measures it is taking to drive out residents of the Jordan Valley.

Security forces accompany a Kh. Ras al-Ahmar family being evacuated. Photo by ‘Aref Daraghmeh, B’Tselem, 5 April 2017
April 23

A selection of films produced by B’Tselem’s video department will be screened during the 2017 Solidarity Human Rights Film Festival at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque. On 9 May, the festival will host an evening to mark a decade of work by B’Tselem’s camera distribution project: “The Best of the Worst” – a selection of videos that reflect various aspects of the occupation, which will be marking its 50th year this June. On 6 May, the festival will screen the video diaries of two Palestinian women from the Jordan Valley who documented their lives and the lives of their families.

Nivin Bsharat. Still from video
April 20

In 2016, Israeli security forces killed 101 Palestinians, incl. 31 minors – 90 in the West Bank (incl. East Jerusalem), 8 in Gaza, and 3 in Israel. Ten women and one female minor were among the casualties. Seventy-five (74%) were killed in attempted, alleged or real assaults on Israelis; another 17 (17%) were killed in clashes, protests, and stone-throwing incidents. The responsibility for these deaths lies with the top levels of Israel’s military and government, which allow this open-fire policy and the subsequent lack of accountability.

April 20

B’Tselem expresses deep sorrow at the death of Hannah Bladon, 21, a British citizen who was stabbed to death yesterday (14 April 2017) by a Palestinian on Jerusalem's light railway. Two other people were lightly injured by the sudden braking of the train and required hospital treatment. B’Tselem conveys its sincerest condolences to the Bladon family, and its best wishes for a speedy recovery to the wounded. The deliberate targeting of civilians undermines every moral, legal and human standard. B’Tselem strongly condemns any and all deliberate attacks against civilians.

Israeli medics evacuate an injured person following the stabbing attack, April 14, 2017. Ammar Awad, Reuters
April 15