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 ‘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.
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.
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.
Representatives of the Civil Administration came this afternoon to the Palestinian community of Khan al-Ahmar in the West Bank, north of the Ma'ale Adummim settlement, and began dismantling 11 energy production solar panels. These panels provide electricity to the community and to its school, which serves children from all Bedouin communities in the area. They were assembled over the past three months, and two of them only today. B'Tselem's field researcher is currently on location documenting the dismantling and confiscation activities.
The mother of Bassem Abu Rahmeh, a resident of the West Bank village of Bil’in killed when a soldier fired a tear-gas canister at him, petitioned Israel’s High Court of Justice yesterday demanding that the Court compel the Military Advocate General (MAG) and the Attorney General to reach a decision concerning the appeal over the closing of the investigation file, and to indict the soldier who fired the canister along with any others bearing military command responsibility for the killing of her son. In the petition, filed jointly with Israeli human rights organizations B’Tselem and Yesh Din, Subhiya Abu Rahmeh demanded that the Court put an end to the foot-dragging and the avoidance of conducting even the most basic investigative acts that could shed light on the identity of the persons responsible for killing her son.
Palestinian women from Beit Hanoun found shelter with their families at an UNRWA school. They tell of the rough living conditions after losing their homes and speak of their hopes for the future. According to UN figures for Beit Hanoun, 90 homes were destroyed and 24 others damaged during Operation Protective Edge.
On 25 March 2015 Israel’s High Court of Justice (HCJ) reiterated its ruling that by mid-April 2015 the State Attorney’s Office must announce its decision in the case of the killing of Samir ‘Awad. The HCJ made this announcement in response to the State’s request for yet another extension. B’Tselem criticizes the State’s disregard of a previous HCJ ruling and foot-dragging in the case. Samir ‘Awad, 16, was killed on 15 January 2013 by gunshots fired by soldiers near the Separation Barrier in the West Bank village of Budrus, although he posed no danger. Despite the more than two years that have passed since the incident, no decision has been made in the case.
On 18 March 2015 the Civil Administration demolished the tents of 4 of the 9 families in Khallet Makhul. It had previously demolished all structures there in 2013, which were then rebuilt by the residents who petitioned the HCJ, leading the CA agreed to allow the residents to apply for building permits. Approval for the applications is pending, so there is no authority for the current demolition, even by the CA’s regulations. Demolitions are part of a long-standing Israeli policy to displace thousands of Palestinians in Area C. Israel, as the occupying force, must allow the local population to carry on with their lives, allowing them to build legally and preserve their way of life.
Late at night on 23 Feb. 2015 Israeli troops entered 10 neighboring apartments in Hebron. They demanded that the children be awakened, asked their names and photographed them. B’Tselem volunteers who live there filmed the incident. The military cannot treat civilians–and certainly not children–as potential criminals. Not only is this policy of entering Palestinian homes by night unjust and terrifying. It illustrates how casually and arbitrarily the lives of Palestinians under occupation are disrupted and their rights violated. B’Tselem calls on the military to discontinue this policy without delay.
An open letter from Hagai El-Ad, B'Tselem's Executive Director: The election results show, loud and clear, that the voting public in Israel favors the ongoing occupation. Within the excepted term of the new Knesset we will mark the 50th year of occupation. The fight against the occupation did not begin yesterday and will not end now. We, at B’Tselem, will continue to bring to light the daily aspects of occupation and to fight them undeterred. At the same time, we know that only ending occupation will end these injustices once and for all, and to that goal we are unwaveringly committed. The occupation is here to stay. With your help, we are here to end it.
This morning, Civil Administration bulldozers returned to the Jordan Valley, demolishing the homes of four families and farming structures in Khallet Makhul and a farming structure in the village of al-Hadidiyah. The Administration also confiscated two waters tanks in the 200-person village of al-Farisiyah, which is not connected to a water supply network. A more detailed report will follow B'Tselem's investigation of the incidents. Follow B'Tselem's Facing Expulsion Blog.
Op-ed by Sarit Michaeli, B'Tselem spokesperson, originally published in Ynetnews: The 20th Knesset (if it lives out its days) will usher in the 50th anniversary of Israeli occupation. Millions of Palestinians have no political representation – a right most of them would rather exercise in their own independent country, Palestine. For now, the Israeli government is holding the stick at both ends: It controls the entire area, but pays no attention to the opinions of a large part of the population living there. Until this situation changes, we’ll be left with a sad irony: Palestinians are good enough to print voter ballots, but not to actually vote.
States of combat and human rights violations have a distinctive impact on women. It is important that we hear their voices. In honor of International Women’s Day we asked Palestinian women to interview other Palestinian women about their hopes, dreams and sources of inspiration.
Mar. 4, Israeli authorities demolished all structures in Khirbet ‘Ein Karzaliyah in the northern Jordan Valley, for the second time this year. Bulldozers raked the dirt road leading to the community, preventing access by car. This cruel harassment of a particularly vulnerable population is part of Israel’s policy aimed at displacing thousands of Palestinians from communities throughout Area C. B'Tselem urges Israel to allow residents of Khirbet ‘Ein Karzaliyah to remain where they have lived and grazed their flocks for 25 years without interference.
Soldier’s video of military dog attack on a Palestinian boy published today. The media reports that the military stated it would investigate the incident and take measures to prevent its recurrence. However, the attack was part of an official military operation which was likely approved by the senior command. MAG Corps has yet to respond to B’Tselem’s demand for an end to the policy of dog attacks on Palestinian civilians.
Op-ed by Hagai El-Ad, B'Tselem's executive director: The Gaza Strip is the most silenced issue in the current election campaign. Silenced? Apart from certain politicians vying for credit for discovering the tunnel threat, Gaza is completely absent from this election – erased, along with this summer’s unpleasant war. Gaza is gone. Its residents do not exist. Our future, our suffering, isn’t interlinked with theirs. The Gazan neighbors of Sderot, Ashkelon, Nahal Oz, and Tel Aviv are invisible.
In the past two months vandals destroyed Palestinian olive groves in four locations in the South Hebron Hills, near the settlements Susiya and Mitzpe Yair. All incidents occurred only several hundred meters apart, under the nose of the police and miiltary, who appear to have not lifted a finger to stop this rampage.