Updates

Since 2000, Israel has maintained a “buffer zone” along the Gaza border, within Gaza, restricting Palestinians’ access to their farmland and killing or injuring hundreds of civilians who posed no danger. Since 2014, the military has also sprayed herbicides to maintain the “buffer zone”, damaging land it authorizes owners to cultivate. In January, spraying without prior notice caused farmers serious damage. If Israel believes a “sterile” is crucial to its security, it must establish the zone in its own territory.

Still from video.
March 8

Over the past twenty years, Israel has taken measures to guarantee a nearly blanket exemption from its obligation under international law to pay compensation to Palestinians harmed by its security forces. In a new report released today (Wed., 8 March), B’Tselem traces the development of this practice and illustrates how it has led to a major drop in the number of claims for damages Palestinians filed in recent years. Israel’s policy reflects how little value it places on the lives, bodies and property of Palestinians living under its control.

March 8

On 16 January 2017, a Border Police officer fatally shot Qusai Hassan Muhammad al-‘Amur, 17, of Tuqu’ in Bethlehem District, firing four 0.22-inch caliber bullets at him. B’Tselem’s inquiry found that the gunfire came after clashes between youths and the security forces had died down, and the security forces were in no danger. Six Palestinians (including al-‘Amur) have been killed and hundreds injured over the past two years by the military’s use of 0.22 inch caliber bullets as a crowd control measure. Video footage published in the media shows soldiers brutally dragging the injured al-‘Amur along the ground, indicating their profound disregard for his life.

Qusai al-‘Amur. Photo courtesy of the family
March 7

In Jan. and Feb. 2017 Israeli authorities demolished water supply infrastructure in two West Bank areas. In the southern West Bank: 8 cisterns used by farmers and shepherds. In the Jordan Valley: authorities twice demolished a pipe supplying water to three small farming and shepherding communities. Since occupying the West Bank 50 years ago, Israel has controlled most of its water resources and ignored the severe shortages suffered by local Palestinian communities. It promotes only infrastructure that serves settlers, and demolishes facilities developed by Palestinians in Area C, in order to force them out of the area.

A Civil Administration bulldozer demolishing a water cistern in the community of Khashm a-Daraj-Khashm al-Karem in the South Hebron Hills on 27 Feb. 2017. Still from video.
February 28

Israel has restricted Palestinian movement between the West Bank and Gaza since the 1990s, more severely so since blockading Gaza in 2007. Visits are permitted only to immediate family under narrow criteria deemed “humanitarian”; even then, only some 25% of requests are approved. Israel has shirked responsibility for the extreme implications of its decade-long blockade on Gazans. It must respect the right of all West Bank and Gaza residents to family life and freedom of movement between the two areas, which are a single territorial unit.

Women wait on Palestinian side of Erez Checkpoint to be allowed into Israel. Photo by Muhammad Sabah, B'Tselem, 28 Feb. 2017
February 28

In Jan. and Feb. 2017 Israeli authorities demolished water supply infrastructure in two West Bank areas. In the southern West Bank: 8 cisterns used by farmers and shepherds. In the Jordan Valley: authorities twice demolished a pipe supplying water to three small farming and shepherding communities. Since occupying the West Bank 50 years, Israel has controlled most of its water resources and ignored the severe shortages suffered by local Palestinian communities. It promotes only infrastructure that serves settlers, and demolishes facilities developed by Palestinians in Area C, in order to force them out of the area.

A Civil Administration bulldozer demolishing a water cistern in the community of Khashm a-Daraj-Khashm al-Karem in the South Hebron Hills on 27 Feb. 2017. Still from video.
February 28

We, human rights organizations from Israel, consider Israel’s refusal to allow Omar Shakir of Human Rights Watch (HRW) to enter the country a cause of grave concern. Israel seeks to portray itself as a card-carrying member of the club of democratic countries. A state that defines itself as democratic cannot turn its border control into a thought police. Such measures will not deter us from continuing to report human rights violations in the territories controlled by Israel. Attempts to silence the messenger will not suppress our message.

February 24

For 2.5 weeks, beginning in late Jan. 2017, the military blocked all vehicular access to and from the Palestinian village of ‘Azzun, as collective punishment for incidents of stone throwing, Molotov-cocktail hurling, and live fire at a major road nearby. The justifications given by the military are unfounded: blocking all traffic is not a relevant security measure - it is designed to pressure residents into taking action within the community to stop these incidents - nor is it an exception to the military’s longstanding policy and actions in the West Bank.

Taxi waiting for passengers outside the closed gate at the main entrance to ‘Azzun. Photo by Abdulkarim Sadi, B’Tselem, 2 Feb. 2017
February 22

This morning, 20 Feb. 2017, the Civil Administration demolished the home of an elderly woman – a trailer donated by a humanitarian aid organization – in the Palestinian community of al-Mehtiwish, which lies near Khan al-Ahmar on land Israel earmarked for expanding the Maale Adumim settlement. The CA also demolished a water pipe in the Jordan Valley which residents of Khirbet al-Hadidiyah and Khirbet Humsah had laid with the help of humanitarian organization, as Israel refuses to hook up these communities to the water grid. The pipe had been restored by residents after being demolished by the CA on 10 Jan. 2017.

Local resident near the ruins of the trailer home the Civil Administration demolished. Photo by Hussam ‘Abed, B’Tselem, 20 Feb. 2017
February 20

Yesterday, 19 February 2017, large numbers of Civil Administration personnel and police arrived at the Khan al-Ahmar community, which is located near the settlement of Maale Adumim. They served 39 stop-work orders (a preamble step preceding demolition orders) , which apply to all of the community’s buildings, including its school. The school was built in 2009 and also serves children from other nearby communities. Khan al-Ahmar is situated in an area Israel earmarked for the future expansion of Maale Adumim. In 2016, Israeli authorities demolished 12 dwellings in the community, rendering 60 people homeless, including 35 minors.

Civil Administration worker posting a stop-work order on a Khan al-Ahmar structure. Still from footage by B’Tselem field researcher Hussam ‘Abed, 19 Feb. 2017
February 20

Gazans have suffered severe power shortages ever since Israel bombed Gaza’s power plant in 2006. Since then, Israel has prevented restoration of the plant and impeded infrastructure repairs and upgrades. As a result, supply is rotated, with residents getting power only 4-8 hours at a time. In 2017, and especially in the cold of mid-winter, it is hard to imagine that in Gaza - not many miles away from Tel Aviv - families must lead their lives without a regular power supply. In accounts given to B’Tselem’s field researchers, local women described the hardships the situation entails.

Yara ‘Ashur, a medical student in Gaza, studies by the light of a battery-powered lamp. Photo by Khaled al-‘Azayzeh, B’Tselem, 23 Jan. 2017
February 20

Today, 13 February 2017, B’Tselem released a new interactive documentary entitled “The Invisible Walls of Occupation”. Viewers are invited on a virtual tour of the Palestinian village of Burqah, a rural suburb of the city of Ramallah that has become cut off from its urban center through various restrictions imposed by Israel. The documentary has Burqah residents leading viewers on a virtual tour of their village. The project depicts the story of the village and illustrates various aspects of Palestinians’ daily life under occupation. The project was co-produced by B’Tselem and Canadian digital studio Folklore, and is based on a B’Tselem report by the same name.

February 16

In Jan. B’Tselem documented two nighttime incidents of soldiers entering homes in Kafr Qadum, a village west of Nablus: They threatened residents and warned them not to attend the weekly village protests which have been held since 2011 when the road linking the village to Nablus was transferred to the exclusive use of settlers. B’Tselem found that the soldiers acted violently and aggressively, threatened children, and shoved an elderly woman. Such threats violate the right of expression, protest, and demonstration. They are unlawful and must be halted immediately.

Shafiqa Jum’ah, 80, who was shoved by a soldier, fell and lost consciousness. Photo by Abdulkarim Sadi, B’Tselem, 10 Jan. 2017
February 15

In 2016 B’Tselem documented a record number of home demolitions by Israeli authorities in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, citing illegal construction as a pretext. Israel demolished 88 homes in East Jerusalem and 274 in the rest of the West Bank, while denying Palestinians any possibility of building legally in these areas. This policy, upheld by all state authorities, severely violates the most fundamental human rights of Palestinians and offers decisive evidence as to Israel’s long-term plans: continued control of the area, while oppressing and dispossessing its residents.

February 14

This morning, Civil Administration (CA) personnel arrived at the community of a-Ras al-Ahmar in the Jordan Valley. They demolished eight structures - including two residential tents - belonging to one of the families in the community. The family of seven, including five minors, was left without a roof over their heads. The CA also demolished six livestock pens that belonged to the family. The community of a-Ras al-Ahmar suffers constant harassment at the hands of the Israeli authorities. Israeli authorities also demolished a livestock pen and two agricultural storehouse in the village of Kardalah.

A child near the ruins of his home in Khirbet a-Ras al-Ahmar. Photo by 'Aref Daraghmeh, B’Tselem, 7 February 2017.
February 7

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".

Reuters, 6 Feb. 2017
February 6

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.

Ahmad Kharubi. Photo courtesy of the family
February 5

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.

Video: Civil Administration forces uproot olive trees on ‘Azzun village land. Filmed by Abdulkarim Sadi, B'Tselem
February 1

On Thursday 26 January 2017. Large Civil Administration and Border Police forces arrived at the community of Badu 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 Badu al-Baba community numbers 350, about half of them minors.

The demolition in Badu al-Baba community, 26 January 2017. Photo by Hussam Abed, B’Tselem
January 30

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.

Fishermen at Gaza's fishing port. Photo by Suhaib Salem, Reuters, 4 April 2016
January 29