Updates

Muhammad got there before me. He told me afterwards that he went into his apartment and found my son 'Abd a-Rahman in his bedroom. He was lying on the bedroom floor. His legs were chopped off at the knees and he had shrapnel wounds all over his body and face. When I got to Muhammad's apartment, I saw him standing in the doorway. He was holding a severely wounded child. I took the child from him without knowing it was my son. I starting carrying the child downstairs, and only then I looked at his face and realized it was 'Abd a-Rahman, my five-year-old. He was dead. I was stunned. I shouted: "My son is dead!" One of my brothers called an ambulance, which came a few minutes later. We took 'Abd a-Rahman to Shuhadaa al-Aqsa Hospital.

July 16

I'm really worried about my husband. I talked to him a short while ago, and he told me things are worse. I asked him to leave the house, but he said it's very dangerous and that if he goes outside, he won't make it alive. I don't know what will happen to him. Our home was already bombed once, in the 2009 war. We left the house then too and sheltered in a school. When we got back, we found a pile of rubble. There was nothing left that was usable. We just finished rebuilding one story of our house a year ago. When we moved in, I couldn't believe I had a house with walls, windows, doors, a kitchen, a toilet and a shower. But the happiness didn't last long, because now we've been evacuated again. We had to escape and go back to sitting on school chairs. To me, these chairs symbolize being uprooted again. These chairs mean pain and suffering.

July 16

"during the operation, I stay at home with my four kids, day and night. When the siren goes off, we leave our apartment and gather in the staircase. We hear and see rockets being diverted [by Israel's "Iron Dome" defense system] or hitting targets very close to us. Every explosion makes the whole building shake. The children are afraid to sleep in their rooms and insist on staying in the living room with me all night. Even if they do manage to fall asleep, they take turns staying awake "on guard".

July 16

According to B’Tselem’s initial inquiries, by yesterday evening (14 July 2014) at least 172 Palestinians had been killed in Israel’s airstrikes on the Gaza Strip. This number includes 34 minors (eight younger than 6 years old), 20 women (under 60) and 10 senior citizens. Our field researchers in Gaza have been working ceaselessly, night and day, to document events. Our field researchers in the West Bank have been lending a hand by collecting testimonies over the phone. Our office staff has been processing and verifying information, and trying to convey the incomprehensible scope of the infringement on human rights. The following seven photos were taken by our field workers in Gaza.

July 15

"We watched the first half of the match together. We drank tea and coffee and there was a relaxed mood. We didn't hear any airplanes nearby. Suddenly, there was a loud explosion. By the time I realized what was happening, I found myself buried under a pile of sand and dirt. I choked on the sand and could hardly breathe. I manage to get my head out of the sand. The rest of my body was stuck and I started calling for help. It was dark, but I could see that most of the caf? had been destroyed. It had simply disappeared, replaced by a huge hole in the ground. The people who had been inside were buried under the sand."

July 15

According to B'Tselem's initial figures, 172 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip in the time between early Tuesday, 8 July 2014, when Operation Protective Edge airstrikes on Gaza began until the evening of 14 July. The fatalities include: 34 minors, 20 women (under age 60), 10 senior citizens. Initial findings indicate that 43 of the people killed were involved in combat.

July 15

Millions of Israeli citizens, many of whom are children, have been living under the threat of rocket fire for almost a week. For hundreds of thousands of Israelis living in the south of the country, this terrible situation is part of an ongoing routine. The unrelenting attacks have disrupted their lives, denied their right to live in security and hurt their ability to make a living. Every venture outside – to work, school, or a recreational activity – is attended by a sense of danger. Some residents have even decided to relocate for fear they or their loved ones would get hurt.

July 14

"On 3 July 2014, at about 8:30 in the morning, a rocket hit my neighbor’s house. The house was being used as a small child day care center, as part of a rotation system... we heard the blast and my wife and I ran outside. We went into the house next door, into the security room, where the children were, to get them out. My wife and I both took one child in each hand and got out. The fifth child was with the care giver. The rocket hit the wall of the house and lodged there, but luckily, it didn’t explode, so the damage was relatively minor. I’ve learned from past experience not to let the kids see the damage the rockets cause, because it can be traumatic, so I waited inside the house with the kids until the bomb squad removed the rocket lodged in the wall, before we went out."

July 14

We reached the house that had been bombed. "I know it well. There was hardly anything left. It was totally destroyed. Bits of bodies were scattered on the road. The house next door to them belonged to the Shakshak family. It was also destroyed, but wasn't directly hit. The family was covered with debris, but they managed to get out alive. We started looking for survivors in the al-Haj family home. It was a terrible sight. I didn't think we could rescue anyone from under the debris. All we got out was body parts."

July 14

According to B'Tselem's initial figures, 114 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip in the time between early Tuesday, 8 July 2014, when Operation Protective Edge airstrikes on Gaza began until 12 July at noon. The fatalities include: 26 minors, 13 women (under age 60), 5 senior citizens, Initial findings indicate that 27 of the people killed were involved in combat.

July 13

According to B'Tselem's initial findings, from the start of Operation Protective Edge there were ten incidents in which Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were killed when the Israeli military bombed homes. 52 people were killed in these incidents, of them 19 minors and 12 women. Official spokespeople state that it is enough for a person to be involved in military activity to render his home legitimate military targets, without having to prove any connection between his activity and the house in which he and his family live. This interpretation is unfounded and illegal. Euphemisms such as "surgical strikes" or "operational infrastructure" cannot hide the facts: illegal attacks of homes, which constitute punitive home demolition from the air, come at a dreadful cost in human life.

July 13

According to B'Tselem's initial findings, from the start of Operation Protective Edge there were ten incidents in which Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were killed when the Israeli military bombed homes. 52 people were killed in these incidents, of them 19 minors and 12 women. Official spokespeople state that it is enough for a person to be involved in military activity to render his home legitimate military targets, without having to prove any connection between his activity and the house in which he and his family live. This interpretation is unfounded and illegal. Euphemisms such as "surgical strikes" or "operational infrastructure" cannot hide the facts: illegal attacks of homes, which constitute punitive home demolition from the air, come at a dreadful cost in human life.

July 13

According to B'Tselem's initial figures, 83 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip from the early hours of 8 July 2014, when the Israeli military launched Operation Protective Edge, to the evening of 10 July. Our initial findings indicate there were at least 38 civilian fatalities, including 23 minors, 15 women and four persons over the age of 60. B'Tselem will continue to investigate these incidents of civilian fatalities as well as handle new reports being received of civilian casualties.

July 11

"I heard a loud explosion. I grabbed Kinan and went out into the street with him. It was full of smoke and dust. I walked on bits of glass. I left Kinan with people in the street and went back into the yard to check on the rest of the family. I found bodies lying on the ground covered in blood, with their clothes torn. Everything was full of shrapnel and blood. Some neighbors came with flashlights. When they lit up the yard, I was shocked – I saw the bodies of my three sons, 'Abd al-Hafez, Mahdi and Ibrahim, my wife, my granddaughter Dina, and my daughter-in-law Suha. The two other little ones, Rakan and Nur, were lightly injured."

July 10

Since the Israeli military launched Operation Protective Edge in the early hours of 8 July 2014, the IDF Spokesperson and media sources have reported deliberate attacks against the homes of senior activists in armed Palestinian groups. The IDF Spokesperson reported that 11 such homes were attacked. Even if uninvolved civilians are not injured, these houses are not legitimate military targets, and attacking them is a violation of international humanitarian law. The gravity of the violation is compounded when uninvolved civilians are injured. Until now, B’Tselem has documented one case in which civilians were in a house bombed after a prior warning missile was fired:

July 9

Yesterday (8 July 2014), the Israeli military launched Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip. According to the IDF Spokesperson, the military has attacked some 100 targets, including homes of senior Hamas activists. According to media reports, Palestinian armed groups in Gaza have fired some 50 rockets and mortar shells at south Israel until around lunchtime. B’Tselem has found that some 10 people, including minors, were killed in Gaza today. B'Tselem reiterates its demand that all parties to the hostilities prevent harm to civilians.

July 8

B’Tselem strongly condemns the abduction and killing of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, 16, of Shu’fat, who was burned alive by his captors. B’Tselem also wishes to express its sincerest condolences to Abu Khdeir’s family. This act of violence undermines all moral, legal and human norms. The intentional killing of civilians is categorically prohibited under international humanitarian law, which defines it as a grave breach, and states that such an action has no justification, regardless of the circumstances. In view of the present situation, it is essential that the investigation of this case be transparent and include swift and complete disclosure of its findings, first to Abu Khdeir’s family and immediately thereafter to the public.

July 6

It is unsurprising that the HCJ rejected HaMoked’s petition against demolition of the home of the 2 Palestinians charged with killing Baruch Mizrahi as it has rejected most such petitions against punitive home demolitions, refusing to recognize their unlawfulness. Since 1967 the military has rendered homeless thousands of people not themselves accused of wrongdoing. The military gave up this policy in 2005, yet the state considers it justified now in view of the circumstances. This unreasonable position is meant to sanction draconian measures of collective punishment in response to the charged public atmosphere in the wake of the abduction and killing of 3 yeshiva students.

July 1

B'Tselem renews its call to the Israeli government to refrain from acts of vengeance for the abduction and killing of the three Israeli teens. B'Tselem cautions the security forces to avoid harming the innocent Palestinian population, or abusing the public atmosphere in Israel with the discovery of the bodies, to impose collective punishment, as was done in the past two weeks as part of the searches. The deliberate harming of an entire civilian population as punishment for the actions of individuals is both illegal and immoral. Additionally, the security forces must prepare for possible acts of revenge by settlers.

June 30

B'Tselem renews its call to the Israeli government to refrain from acts of vengeance for the abduction and killing of the three Israeli teens. B'Tselem cautions the security forces to avoid harming the innocent Palestinian population, or abusing the public atmosphere in Israel with the discovery of the bodies, to impose collective punishment, as was done in the past two weeks as part of the searches. The deliberate harming of an entire civilian population as punishment for the actions of individuals is both illegal and immoral. Additionally, the security forces must prepare for possible acts of revenge by settlers.

June 30