According to B'Tselem's data, 13 Palestinian minors are being held in prolonged administrative detention in Israel, in breach of law. As of June '08, 730 Palestinians are currently being held in administrative detention in Israel.
In a case first reported by B'Tselem, the District Court in Jerusalem today convicted Shahar Butbika and Dennis Alhazov for the killing of 'Imran Abu Hamdiya. Two other border policemen, Yaniv Lazleh and Assam Wahabi, were previously convicted in the case. In December 2002, the four policemen grabbed Hamdiya, a seventeen-year-old youth, beat him severely, and threw him from a moving jeep.
B'Tselem's data indicate that security forces have adopted a practice of reckless firing of rubber-coated steel bullets in the West Bank, killing two Palestinians and injuring many more since the beginning of the year. Since the intifada began, 21 Palestinians have been killed by rubber-coated steel bullet fire, a measure that is meant to be non-lethal.
On 1 August, after children threw stones at soldiers in the Jalazun refugee camp, a soldier fired a tear gas canister at a young bystander. Following B'Tselem's complaint, an investigation into the incident was opened. Soldiers often fire tear gas canisters directly at Palestinians, despite legal and military prohibitions.
Two Palestinians were recently sentenced to death in the PA after being convicted of treason and conspiracy for "collaboration" with Israel. Although there is a clear international trend toward eliminating the death penalty, the PA has yet to do so.
This morning, Ashraf Abu Rahma, who was shot by IDF soldiers in Ni'lin while handcuffed and blindfolded, together with four Israeli human rights organizations filed an urgent petition to the High Court of Justice against the Judge Advocate General's decision to prosecute the battalion commander, Lt. Col. Omri Borberg, and the soldier who fired the shot, Staff Sgt. L, for "unbecoming conduct," a light offense that does not result in a criminal record.
Following a petition against the indictment for "unbecoming conduct", the Israeli High Court has obliged the JAG to justify his decision. The court also suspended military court proceedings until the petition is decided upon.
The facts of the case raise the serious suspicion that the soldiers in the tank, and those who gave them the order to open fire, failed to adhere to the duty to take all possible precautions to avoid the harming of civilians and civilian objectives.
The approvals are an exception to Israel's freeze on handling family unification requests. Although B'Tselem welcomes the action, it emphasizes that Israel is required at all times to respect the fundamental right to a family life and must immediately lift the freeze.
The demand follows the decision to charge the lieutenant colonel and the soldier with the relatively light offense of "inappropriate conduct". The High Court stated in 1988: "Harming a bound and helpless person is a shameful and cruel act, and calls for an appropriately severe response".
B'Tselem is investigating twelve cases of settler attacks on Palestinian between 29 July and 4 August. These cases reflect a sharp increase in reports of such violence, and represent a peak to an escalation that has been underway over the past few weeks.
Last weekend, B'Tselem filmed several settler assaults in Hebron, including minors throwing stones at Palestinian homes. The footage also shows soldiers standing by while a settler attacks a B'Tselem worker, breaking his camera.
The demolition of houses as punishment is a grave breach of international humanitarian law. It is a clear case of collective punishment, which violates the principle that a person is not to be punished for the acts of another.
The Civil Administration has issued orders to demolish most of the houses in the village of al-'Aqabah, which lies in the northern Jordan Valley, and many houses in other villages in the area. Israel's planning policy in the West Bank centers on preventing Palestinian construction and promoting expansion of settlements.
Since Israel tightened the siege on Gaza, hundreds of Palestinians have been unable to attend their studies outside it. This denies individuals' right to education and impedes the development of Palestinian society as a whole.
Last month, policemen arrested Tareq Abu Laban while he was out with friends in Tel Aviv. They assaulted him, put him in their car and drove around the city while beating him, and then released him. Abu Laban required medical attention.
B'Tselem is publishing a video clip documenting a soldier firing a rubber coated steel bullet, from extremely close range, at a cuffed and blindfolded Palestinian detainee. The shooting took place in the presence of a lieutenant colonel, who was holing the Palestinian's arm when the shot was fired.