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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On the morning of Mon. 3 April 2017, the Civil Administration (CA) arrived at Kh. a-Ras al-Ahmar in the northern Jordan Valley and served nine families with evacuation orders from Wed. 5 April 2017 at 5:00 P.M. to 5:00 A.M. next morning. As a result, 40 people, incl. some 15 minors, will have to spend an entire night away from home. Last week, the CA served ten families with evacuation orders for Wed. afternoon to Thurs. morning. Yet no military training was then carried out on land near their homes and, contrary to past practice, the CA did not arrive to evacuate them. Residents remained in a state of uncertainty all night long, concerned they might be evacuated.
In Jan.-Feb. 2017, large numbers of troops entered homes at night in two villages in the Nablus District, waking whole families. In Beit Furik, they made one home into a temporary interrogation facility; in Burin, they forced young men to serve as human shields. This is yet another example of how the military abuses its power to disrupt the lives of Palestinians accused of no wrongdoing, invading their privacy and intimidating them. Israel’s security forces broadly abuse their authority, citing flimsy security considerations, to justify frequent, random raids on homes.
On 29 Mar. 2017 Border Police officers killed Siham Nimer, 49, as she approached a police barrier brandishing scissors. Given that they were behind the barrier and in protective gear, she likely could have been overpowered without lethal gunfire. Her son, Mustafa, 26, was killed in Sept. 2016 in Shu’fat R.C., also by police who were quick to shoot. Shooting to kill is permissible only in cases of mortal danger. There is a chilling gap between this principle and the present reality in which unjustified shoot-to-kill incidents are a frequent occurrence and are encouraged by public sentiment.
In early 2017, B’Tselem documented two incidents in which security forces, some masked, raided homes in Dura and Hebron at night, ordering family members to strip and wreaking havoc in their homes. The military law applicable in the West Bank allows soldiers and officers to enter any Palestinian home at any time with no warrant or justification, a power widely used on feeble security pretexts. These nighttime raids - which frighten residents, humiliate them and destroy property - are nightly occurrences and have long since become part of life under occupation.
The new “construction policy” the PM presented to the security cabinet yesterday spells out continued harm to Palestinians, settlement expansion, and breach of international law. Israel granted itself permission itself to go on stealing Palestinian land in the West Bank while barring and demolishing construction by Palestinians. This policy means that Israel will go on building as it pleases, both in and outside settlements, in complete disregard of UNSCR 2334 on the illegality of the settlement enterprise. This policy is no show of good faith; it is unbridled theft masquerading as “restrained construction.”
On 25 Dec. 2017, Baraa ‘Enayeh,13, and Ihab ‘Enayeh, 12, were heading home to ‘Azzun, having finished after-school work. They were stopped by soldiers, who checked their hands and clothes and let them go. Later, the soldiers came to Baraa's house and detained him and his father for two hours. Then they took Baraa away in a jeep and let him out about 1.5 km away, near a settlement. He had to walk home in the dark. This thuggish behavior, which is unjustifiable, reflects the unchecked power given to soldiers and the backing they receive.
This morning, Civil Administration forces arrived at the community of a-Ras al-Ahmar in the northern Jordan Valley and handed evacuation orders to ten families, starting Wednesday 29 March 2017 at 5:00 P.M. until 5:00 A.M. the next morning. The orders mean 50 people, including 20 minors would have to spend the night away from their homes. Israel must immediately cease the temporary displacement of communities as well as all other measures it takes in a bid to force Palestinians living in the Jordan Valley out of the area.
On 19 March 2017 at midday, a force of more than 15 soldiers seized 8-year-old Sufian Abu Hitah, who was out on the street barefoot, looking for a toy he had lost. Two soldiers dragged him to the al-Harika neighborhood and took him into several homes to identify children who had thrown stones and a Molotov cocktail at the Kiryat Arba settlement. More than an hour later, several women managed to extricate the boy and return him to his mother. Two area residents, including B’Tselem volunteer May D’ana, captured the incident on video.
On 20 Jan. 2017 local youths clashed with Israeli security forces in the village of Sa’ir, northeast of Hebron. Women and girls who had been watching the clashes fled when the youths did; they were pursued by Border Police who stormed into their homes and attacked three. Part of the assault was captured on video. This is but one of many cases of security forces’ violence against Palestinian children and youth documented by B’Tselem. The recurrence of this conduct, and the lack of accountability indicates it is tacitly condoned by the most senior officials of Israel’s security establishment.
Ahmad Shbeir was born in Gaza in 1999 with congenital heart defects. Gaza hospitals cannot perform the procedures he needed, so he underwent many operations in Israeli hospitals. Prior to the open-heart surgery he had scheduled for Sept. 2016 in an Israeli hospital, he was called in to meet with the ISA at Erez Checkpoint. His mother says he was then asked to become a collaborator with Israel. When he refused, he was told he would not get a permit to enter Israel, and his applications were in fact denied. His condition went from bad to worse and he died on 14 Jan. 2017.
Yesterday, Tuesday 14 March 2017, Civil Administration personnel came to the region of the Furush Beit Dajan community. The settlement of Hamra had been established near the community in the 1970s. The Civil Administration confiscated a trailer which served as home to a nine-person family, including two minors. In addition, they demolished a covered shelter owned by two of the community’s families which was being used as a fresh produce market stall, and also ruined the fruits and vegetables on sale there.
On Friday, 10 Feb. 2017, Madama residents went out to enjoy the good weather at a spot south of the village. Soldiers guarding the nearby settlement of Yitzhar came there and threw tear-gas canisters at the villagers. Ahmad Ziyadah, a B’Tselem camera project volunteer, began filming some of the soldiers and was ordered to leave. When he refused, he was violently detained. His brother arrived to help him and a soldier fired a rubber-coated metal bullet at short range at his knee. Ziyadah, who did nothing more than film the soldiers, was kept in custody for six days with the backing of a military court.
Many cancer patients cannot get the treatment they need in Gaza. WHO figures indicate that in 2016 Israel reduced the number of Gazan cancer patients allowed to receive treatment in the West Bank or Israel, denying over a third of applications. Iman Shanan, a recovering cancer patient who has to endure Israeli restrictions on access to treatment outside Gaza, founded the Aid and Hope Program for Cancer Patients Care. She discusses the particular hardships suffered by women cancer patients in Gaza and the program which offers them aid.