Updates

Use of firearms

According to B'Tselem's initial figures, 203 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 17 July at 7PM. The fatalities include: 41 minors, 21 women (under age 60), 14 senior citizens, Initial findings indicate that 48 of the people killed were involved in combat.
One Israeli civilian, Dror Khanin, was killed within Israel by mortar bomb fired by Palestinians from Gaza.

July 17

"At around 10:30 P.M., I heard two loud explosions. They were really close to my house and the whole area shook. There was no warning fire beforehand like there was in other cases. Glass in my house shattered and the whole area was covered in thick smoke... I made sure everyone in my family was okay and went outside...We continued looking for survivors and carrying bodies out all night... I can't express it in words. No one in the neighborhood ever imagined that family homes would be attacked for no reason, with no prior warning."

July 16

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

"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

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 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, 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 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

On 17 June 2014 soldiers came to a Bitunya workshop whose security cameras captured the killing of Nadim Nuwara and Muhammad Salameh. Owner Fakhr Abu Zayed said he was taken to Ofer Camp, where officers accused him of fabricating the footage, threatened him and demanded that he remove the cameras – all unlawful conduct. The law enforcement establishment would do better to focus on investigating the killings, not use scare tactics against a person who provided evidence of human rights violations or try to prevent a record of future violations.

July 8

On 10 June 2014, nearly 17 months after Lubna al-Hanash was killed and two months after her father and B'Tselem petitioned the HCJ demanding that the MAG decide whether to indict those responsible for her death, the MAG Corps decided to close the investigation without filing charges. Al-Hanash was killed by a gunshot wound to her head while walking with a relative in a park near Route 60. B'Tselem's investigation found that the two women posed no danger and that the soldier who fired did not take minimal precautions to avoid harm to bystanders.

June 29

An op-ed By Hagai El-Ad, B'Tselem's executive director, originally published in Haaretz: three families hanging between despair and hope, and if only that hope could win. But what responsibility is this, what hope is this, and what humanity is this if it is so completely blind to the Palestinian suffering? A great majority of the time, for most of the Jews here, the Palestinian suffering is completely denied. When it is not documented on video it interests almost no one, and when it is documented it is repressed as a conspiracy.

June 23

After undertaking an autopsy of the body of Nadim Nawarah, 17, on Wednesday, forensic pathologists have determined that a live bullet was the cause of his death. The Palestinian teenager was killed by Israeli forces on May 15 during clashes in the West Bank town of Beitunia. Responding to the conclusions of the autopsy, the four organizations who coordinated the attendance of the international forensic pathologists stated: "These findings underline the urgency of our demand that the criminal investigation into the Beitunia killings be conducted efficiently and concluded promptly. Rather than attempting to discredit those who called for an investigation, the Israeli military should now focus on uncovering the truth about the shootings, and holding those responsible to account."

June 12

Hassan a-Taber, 47, of Beitillu, was killed on 29 July 2012 when police and a security guard at a-Za’ayem Checkpoint fired at the van driving him and other laborers without work permits into Israel. The DIP investigated the shooting and closed the case on the grounds that it was not unlawful. B’Tselem’s appeal, arguing the investigation had been negligent, was denied. The closing of the case and the rejected appeal effectively render meaningless open-fire regulations and the procedures of ensuring accountability for severe human rights violations.

June 2

For technical reasons only segments of the footage of the gunfire incident in Bitunya–in which Nadim Siyam Nawarah, 17, and Muhammad Mahmoud Salameh, 17, were killed and 2 others injured–were broadcast. B’Tselem is currently uploading all 11 hours of footage and welcomes all to view it to verify its authenticity. Since 2012 Israeli forces have killed 45 Palestinians in the West Bank. To date, only 1 soldier has been indicted. An investigative system leading to virtually no indictments for killing Palestinians conveys disregard for human life.

May 26

On 15 May 2014, four Palestinians were shot with live bullets in their upper torsos in Bitunya. Two of them, both minors, died. B'Tselem's findings refute the army's claim that only crowd control measures were used and show that all four were shot with live ammunition, although they posed no danger to the forces. B'Tselem today received full security camera footage of the incident and will pass it on to the MPIU, demanding that the investigation examine not only the soldiers' conduct, but also the responsibility of senior commanders at the scene.

May 20

In an article for the Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance and Protection, Jessica Montell highlights the importance of accurate information to any human rights advocacy. "Monitoring, reporting and fact-finding remain the backbone of B'Tselem's work – it is the necessary first step of any strategy to make change. Given the highly-charged context of our work, and the politicized efforts to discredit the work of groups like B'Tselem, our work would not be possible without the strong base of accurate, reliable information."

April 28