The High Court of Justice is enabling the Civil Administration to demolish the village of Khirbet Susyiya, in effect ejecting the residents from their land, even as their petition appealing the rejection of their master plan for the village is still pending. At any moment, the Civil Administration might now demolish the village homes, leaving the residents with no shelter in harsh desert conditions. This mode of operation by the Israeli authorities allows them to take over additional lands and drive out communities from Area C. The absence of official annexation aside, the reality of the matter is that annexation and dispossession are already here in actual fact.
In the last few days, Israeli authorities completed the reopening of the road that connects Palestinian villages Beitin and others in the northeast Ramallah District with the city of Ramallah via the DCO checkpoint. Due to existing restrictions in the DCO checkpoint, the opening allowed access to Ramallah only for the use of private vehicles and in one direction only. However, this partial improvement in the freedom of movement of Palestinian area residents was short-lived: only one day after the much-publicized reopening of the road, the military blocked it off with rocks. The grounds given were that some of the Palestinian drivers did not obey a stop sign placed on the road in order to give the right of way to Israeli settlers from Beit El. The original closure of the Beitin junction to Palestinians was in order to allow Beit El settlers exclusive use of the road on their way to route 60.
On Monday, 25 May 2015, the Civil Administration ordered 4 Palestinian families from Ibziq, the Jordan Valley, to evacuate their homes for the whole of the next day, as the military would be training nearby. Earlier this month, hundreds of Palestinians in the area were ordered to temporarily evacuate on short notice for the same reason. Among them were 10 families from Ibziq, including the four ordered again to evacuate on Monday. Over the last two years, Ibziq residents have been forced to evacuate their homes more than 20 times on these grounds.
The villages of a-Sheikh Sa’ed and a-Sawahrah a-Sharqiyah were cut off from East Jerusalem by the Separation Barrier. Formerly, they were part of a contiguous bloc with East Jerusalem, and particularly Jabal al-Mukabber and a-Sawahrah al-Gharbiyah with which they had extensive ties. The Separation Barrier has cut off residents from relatives, places of work and services. Israeli authorities have also imposed arbitrary restrictions that exacerbate the isolation. Israel must remove the barrier, which severs an urban, historical, and cultural continuum and disrupts the lives of tens of thousands of people. Until it does so, Israel must permit regular passage between these villages and East Jerusalem, enabling residents of the isolated villages lead normal lives.
In early April 2015 the Abu Haya family were subjected to repeated threats and harassment by Israeli security forces in Hebron. Among other things, soldiers detaining Maher Abu Haya (14) for alleged involvement in a stone-throwing incident near his home. After the boy denied the allegations, soldiers threatened to arrest him if he is seen once more in the vicinity of a stone-throwing incident, regardless of his involvement. For a week, soldiers came time and again to the family’s home and harassed them. The family, volunteers in B’Tselem’s camera project, filmed some of the incidents.
In April 2015 the Civil Administration ordered hundreds of Palestinians in the northern Jordan Valley to leave their homes temporarily to enable military training. They suffered rough conditions and financial losses, including dead livestock and cultivated fields trampled or ruined by fire. In recent years the military has deliberately stepped up training in the Jordan Valley to harass Palestinians living in the 46% of the Jordan Valley Israel has declared “firing zones”. Israel must stop the temporary evacuation of communities for training and abandon all other steps to get Palestinians to leave the area.
Now that the Israeli prime minister has instructed the Minister of Defense to freeze the pilot plan to keep Palestinians off the buses used by settlers, the most explicit and blatant manifestation of the segregation and discrimination regime will temporarily be put on hold. However, the policy of segregation and discrimination against Palestinians has existed on the ground for a long time and it is the direct continuation of the regime of occupation and settlement. It is therefore no surprise that the lords of the land are now demanding racial segregation on buses.
A Civil Administration representative accompanied by soldiers arrived this morning at Khirbet Susiya, the South Hebron Hills and photographed and measured structures there. Based on past experience, residents fear the CA is preparing to demolish the village shortly and eject them from their land. This further to Justice Sohlberg’s decision to not issue an interim injunction on demolitions as sought by the residents in a petition that argued that the CA rejected their master plan for immaterial reasons. This harsh, unlawful move is part of Israel’s policy in Area C to facilitate the takeover of Palestinian land for settlements and the removal of Palestinian communities from Area C to Areas A and B in preparation for the annexation of lands to Israel.
At any moment, the Civil Administration might demolish all homes in Khirbet Susiya, expelling the residents from their land. This follows a decision by Israel's High Court of Justice to not issue an interim order to prevent the demolition, given in a petition filed by the residents and Rabbis for Human Rights arguing that the CA rejected their master plan for unprofessional reasons, using a double standard and discriminating against Palestinians. This harsh, illegal move is part of Israel’s policy in Area C to facilitate annexation of lands to Israel.
On 13 May 2011, Milad ‘Ayash, 17, was hit by a live bullet fired at him from the Beit Yehonatan settlement in Silwan, East Jerusalem. ‘Ayash died of his wounds the next day. Both the DIP and the Israel Police investigated the shooting; both closed their case files citing “perpetrator unknown.” B'Tselem appealed to the State Attorney’s Office against the decision to close the investigations, noting grave investigative failings. The negligence with which the investigations were conducted and the closing of the files evince disregard by Israeli authorities for Palestinian lives.
On 1 May think of the workers in Israel who are the most invisible of all: the Palestinians. Give a thought to the tens of thousands who have a work permit, yet must stand for endless, humiliating hours at a crowded checkpoint, people for whom every moment of their daily routine is a struggle for survival, for whom getting safely home is not a given. Under such conditions, a struggle for fair pay, reasonable working hours and a pension is no more than a pipedream. This reality is a direct outcome of Israeli policy that prevents the development of an independent Palestinian economy that would provide employment to West Bank residents. Work in Israel – with or without a permit – is the only option available to many. Click here, to read testimonies by workers.
Today, 23 April, the annual settlers’ walk will be held in Wadi Qana. During the walk, established 2006, the military prohibits Palestinian farmers, owners of wadi land, and the Palestinian general public from entering the wadi. The event symbolizes the systematic displacement of the farmers of Wadi Qana from their land and the seizure of the area by the settlers, with the assistance of the Nature and Parks Authority and the Civil Administration.
At around 2:30 A.M on Sunday, 18 January 2015, the military arrived at the Ya’qub family home in the village of Beit Rima, northwest of Ramallah. Entering the house, soldiers arrested ‘Ali Talji Ya’qub, 21, beating him and three of his relatives. The soldiers dragged ‘Ali’s brother, Ya’qub Talji Ya’qub, 31, out into the street and left him lying there, unconscious.
Today Israel’s State Attorney’s Office notified the High Court of Justice that in the case of Palestinian youth Samir ‘Awad it had decided to file an indictment for the minor offense of committing “a reckless and negligent act using a firearm”. This is a new low in Israeli authorities’ disregard for the lives of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and a clear message to the security forces in the Occupied Territories: if you kill an unarmed Palestinian who poses no threat, we will do everything to cover it up and ensure impunity. Killing a wounded, fleeing youth who posed no threat by shooting him in the back is not a “reckless and negligent act”. The disparity between the grave action and the minor offense is incomprehensible and outrageous.
The Palestinian village of Hizma in the West Bank is home to some 7,000 people. It lies northeast of Jerusalem, largely on land declared Area C. Israel appropriated much of Hizma’s land for building settlements and the Separation Barrier. In the last two days, in response to stone-throwing on nearby Route 437, the military has prevented vehicles from entering and exiting the village. Restricting the freedom of movement of all villagers, most of whom have nothing to do with the stone-throwing, constitutes prohibited collective punishment.
The severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinians in the vicinity of the settlements in Hebron encourage the arbitrary and regular harassment of the residents. B'Tselem volunteer Raed Abu a-Rmeileh filmed a video showing what happened to an ice cream delivery intended for a grocery store owned by Anwar Maswdeh.
On 10 March 2015, soldiers entered the home of ‘Imad and Fayzeh Abu Shamsiyeh, B'Tselem camera volunteers in Hebron. The soldiers woke the children, photographed them, viewed footage the Shamsiyehs filmed of life in Hebron and of Israeli security forces, and confiscated a hard disk and a memory card with images. Photographing and recording, even of soldiers, are permitted in the West Bank. B'Tselem urges the military to immediately return the confiscated property with its contents intact, and refrain from harassing B’Tselem volunteers or hampering the work of photographers.
On 10 March ‘15, soldiers entered the home of ‘Imad and Fayzeh Abu Shamsiyeh, B'Tselem volunteers in Hebron. They awoke the children, photographed them, viewed footage filmed by the couple of life in Hebron and of Israeli security forces, and confiscated a hard disk and a memory card with data. Photographing and documentation are permitted in the West Bank, including of soldiers. B'Tselem urges the army to immediately return the confiscated property unharmed, and refrain from harassing its volunteers or hampering the work of photographers.
The military resumed its segregation on the main street of a-Salaimeh neighborhood, in force from Sep. 2012 to Mar. 2013 when it was abandoned following to the airing of footage by B'Tselem. The military again bans Palestinians from the main part of the street, directing them to a narrow side road. This is part of the military’s overall policy of severe restrictions on Palestinian movement in downtown Hebron, implemented ever since the 1994 massacre of Muslim worshippers at the Tomb of the Patriarchs perpetrated by settler Baruch Goldstein.
On 1 Apr. 2015, Civil Administration officials confiscated 12 solar panels, the sole source of electricity in the community of Khan al-Ahmar, near the settlement of Ma’ale Adumim. In a bid to force out residents and seize the area, Israel denies the community access to the power grid and prevents any possibility for legal construction. B'Tselem urges the Civil Administration to return the panels and allow residents to build legally in their community. Israel must meet its obligations under IHL to act for the benefit and well-being of the residents of the occupied territory.