The law passed by the Knesset today proves yet again that Israel has no intention of ending its control over the Palestinians or its theft of their land. Lending a semblance of legality to this ongoing act of plunder is a disgrace for the state and its legislature. Passing the bill mere weeks after UN Security Council Resolution 2334 is a slap in the face of the international community. While enshrining the dispossession in law is a new development, in practice it is another facet of the massive land grab carried out openly for decades by declaring "state land".
After midnight on 22 Dec. 2016, Israeli security forces entered Kafr ‘Aqab in order to seal the home of a person who had committed an attack. They shot and killed Ahmad Kharubi, 19, a resident of al-Birah, who had come with his friends to protest against the sealing. B'Tselem’s investigation shows that, contrary to the military’s claim, Kharubi and his friends could not have posed any danger to the forces. The shooting at Kharubi and his friends was executed unlawfully and without justification – as was the sealing of the home itself.
On 15 Jan. 2017, the Civil Administration began uprooting olive trees and levelling land near the Palestinian villages of ‘Azzun and a-Nabi Elyas in Qalqilya District, as part of a plan to build a bypass road to replace a section of Route 55 that runs through the villages. To that end, the authorities have expropriated 10.4 hectares of land from ‘Azzun and uprooted some 1,000 olive trees. Declarations that this will serve “the public interest” are belied by Israel’s policy of using Area C for its citizens only, illustrated by similar cases.
On Thursday 26 January 2017. Large Civil Administration and Border Police forces arrived at the community of Jabal al-Baba, located near al-'Eizariyah, northeast of Jerusalem. The forces destroyed tents that were the homes of three families, and two livestock pens, leaving 17 people, including 9 minors, homeless. The forces did not allow the families to remove all of their belongings from the tents and pens before the demolition, resulting in extensive property damage. The Jabal al-Baba community numbers 350, about half of them minors.
Gaza’s fishing sector, which provided work for 10,000 people in 2000, has drastically declined due to Israel’s harsh restrictions on marine access, selling catch in the West Bank and Israel, and raw material imports. Only about 4,000 fishermen are now registered in Gaza, with half out of work as their boats cannot be repaired. The Israeli navy shoots at fishermen, arrests them, and confiscates their boats. This unjustified harm illustrates how Israel continues to control many aspects of life in Gaza from afar, as part of its 10-year blockade.
In November 2016, a fire broke out near the Halamish settlement, apparently due to arson. Although the Palestinian residents of nearby Deir Nizam were accused of nothing, the military put the village under unofficial closure for 3 days and has restricted movement to and from it ever since. Soldiers patrol the village almost daily, resulting in clashes with youngsters. The disruption of daily life and violation of the residents’ rights for two months now constitute wrongful collective punishment.
On 18 Dec. 2016, at about 12:30 A.M., security forces shot and killed Ahmad Hazem ‘Ata Zidani (a-Rimawi), 17, and injured N.R., 25, during a raid in the village of Beit Rima, northwest of Ramallah. CCTV footage and B'Tselem’s investigation clearly show that they were not endangering the forces when they were shot. Israeli forces are currently entering the village once or twice a week. Such raids are commonplace in the West Bank, leading to frequent clashes and in some cases to the unjustified loss of Palestinian life.
Mon. Jan. 23. In Khirbet ‘Ein Karzaliyah, a three-family community 5 km southwest of al-Jiftlik, the Civil Administration destroyed tents used as living quarters by two families, leaving 13, including 6 minors, homeless. Forces also destroyed two livestock pens and razed part of the access road to the isolated community. The authorities destroyed homes in the community in 2016, 2015 and 2014 as well.
The past two weeks have seen a worsening in Gaza’s electricity crisis, with the more than 1.5 million Gazans getting power for just 3-4 hours out of every 24 due to a financial dispute between the PA and the Hamas over payment of fuel taxes imposed by Israel. Even if the present crisis is resolved, Gazans will still suffer power shortages. Israel is directly responsible for the situation: preventing restoration of the power plant it bombed in 2006; impeding infrastructure repairs and upgrades; and compelling Gaza authorities to purchase only Israeli fuel at a price residents are hard put to pay.
On 10 Nov. 2016 soldiers shot A.Z., 15, injuring him in the hand and thigh, after he threw a stone at their fortified watchtower and threw down ground sandbags located there. The military took A.Z. to hospital in Israel without informing his parents. He was held under military guard there for four days, incl. three during which his legs were shackled. A police investigator questioned him without the presence of any adult on his behalf. Minors are entitled to special protection by law, common sense and moral values. This right was grossly violated in this case, as in countless others.
Israel’s regime of occupation is inextricably bound up in human rights violations. B’Tselem strives to end the occupation, as that is the only way forward to a future in which human rights, democracy, liberty and equality are ensured to all people, both Palestinian and Israeli, living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.