Updates

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

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 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 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

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 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

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