Updates

On 9 June 2014, a bill to force feed prisoners passed first reading in the Israeli Knesset. The bill was initiated by the Ministry of Public Security in response to a hunger strike by Palestinian inmates. Force feeding hunger strikers is a violation of their dignity, right to autonomy over their body and right to protest by whatever means they choose. It also violates medical ethics. Instead of punishing people protesting their unlawful detention, Israel should change its administrative detention policy, which defies international law.

June 11

On 13 May 2011 Border Police violently dispersed a demonstration at a-Nabi Saleh. Of the five complaints filed, the DIP investigated only one and adopted no further measures. The DIP’s handling of the complaints was faulty and its decision not to investigate is unjustifiable. Of equal concern is the State Attorney's Office’s support of the DIP’s actions, essentially conveying the message that police officers who overstep their authority and harm civilians will not be brought to justice. This is in direct violation of the state’s obligation to safeguard civilians.

June 2

"Israel in the West Bank: A 47-year-long temporary occupation": At times, the occupation seems to be a thing of the past, but it is still going strong. A third, and even fourth, generation of Palestinians and Israelis has been born into this reality, and they know no other. Israel has created a reality in which the Palestinians live under a harsh military regime, which serves first and foremost Israeli and settler interests. This reality of dispossession, oppression and violation of human rights in the West Bank has lasted almost fifty years, and indicates far-reaching intentions for the future. While this state of affairs is progressively entrenched, the illusion that it can continue indefinitely grows stronger. The inevitable result is daily violation of the human rights of Palestinians living under occupation. Only ending the occupation will alter this reality.

June 2

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

B’Tselem field-researcher ‘Atef Abu a-Rub and B’Tselem camera volunteer Yusef Bani ‘Odeh, documented the demolition of nearly half the homes in the Jordan Valley community of Id’eis, by the Civil Administration. The captions are quotes taken from the testimony of Ne’meh Id’eis, a resident of Id’eis.

June 1

Gaza’s health services cannot fully meet the residents’ needs. Israel allows most mortally ill patients into the West Bank or Israel for treatment. Yet others, whose lives are not at risk but cannot get the care they need in Gaza, have no way of getting proper care ever since Egypt imposed severe restrictions on travel via Rafah. So long as Israel prevents leaving Gaza by sea and air and controls one of Gaza’s two land crossings, it must allow Gaza residents to exit, subject to individual security checks, especially patients.

June 1

On 21 May 2014, the Civil Administration and the military demolished approximately half the homes and livestock pens in the community of Id’eis, the Jordan Valley, rendering 53 persons homeless. This is part of other extensive efforts by Israeli authorities to expel thousands of Palestinians from their homes throughout Area C, despite the prohibition on forced transfer in international law. B’Tselem calls on authorities to allow the Id’eis community continue its agricultural lifestyle undisturbed, as it has done for the last thirty years.

May 29

Thousands of Palestinians in Area C face imminent expulsion by Israeli authorities on a variety of pretexts. Minutes of a Knesset committee meeting printed by Israeli daily HaAretz (21 May 2014) show that catchphrases like “firing zone” or “planning and construction” mask expulsion plans. If realized, so Israel can make exclusive use of the cleared lands, hardly any Palestinians would be left in most of the West Bank; nearly 2.5 million individuals would end up living in crowded ‘islands’ with no development options. Follow our new blog and its map of the communities for regular updates.

May 29

Police fails to protect the girls from settler violence but finds the resources to vigorously enforce the law on children for minor suspicions. On Tues. May 27, the police detained four Palestinian girls after a Ma’on settler accused them of picking cherries from his grove. The police took them to the station without adult accompaniment, interrogated two of them and, after four hours, handed them over to the Palestinian Police. They were released only in the evening.

May 28

Hagai El-Ad joined B’Tselem as its new director earlier this week. Commenting on his new position, El-Ad said, “As the occupation enters its 48th year, the fight against it is more crucial than ever – a fight in which B’Tselem plays a major strategic role. There is no doubt in my mind that human rights cannot be upheld under an oppressive regime of ongoing occupation and dispossession. ‘Human rights under occupation’ is a contradiction in terms. I was born in Israel when the occupation was two years old. It is still here more than four decades later. I plan to battle this reality to the best of my ability.”

May 28

In March 2014 Hagihon water company stopped regular water supply to north-east Jerusalem neighborhoods isolated from the rest of the city by the Separation Barrier. Consequently, 60,000-80,000 Palestinians –mostly permanent residents of Israel– have no regular water. After unsuccessful requests by residents to Hagihon and the municipality, ACRI petitioned the HCJ to have the water supply restored without delay. On 2 April 2014 the Court instructed the State to respond to ACRI’s petition within 60 days, setting the deadline for the first week of June. . Meanwhile, the residents have no regular running water.

May 27

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

Kh. Jenbah is in Firing Zone 918 whose residents Israel wants to expel. After prolonged court proceedings, the villagers’ fate is currently being decided in mediation. Pending its outcome, an interim injunction prohibits expulsion of the villagers or harm to their property. In violation of the court order, the military last week trained in Jenbah’s fields, thereby damaging the crops. ACRI conveyed to the military GPS readings by B’Tselem as evidence of the training and it was discontinued. Photos by B’Tselem field researcher Nasser Nawaj'ah.

May 20

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

On 13 May 2014 the HCJ rejected a petition by settlements in the Ma’ale Adumim area to implement demolition orders for a school and homes in Khan al-Ahmar, a Bedouin community. The rejection was grounded in the State’s announced plan to relocate the community to a site north of Jericho and its declared intention of preventing harm to minors. The relocation plan has yet to be shown to the residents, who object to the idea and demand a planning solution at their current location. International law prohibits forced transfer of protected civilians.

May 14

In July 2012, after a close to five year ban on all family visits to inmates from Gaza, Israel reinstated visits for adult relatives. As of 2013, children under 10 may also visit their imprisoned fathers. The arbitrary age limit means 260 Gazan children are unable to visit their fathers in Israeli prisons. The right to family life, including prison visits, is enshrined in both international and Israeli law. B’Tselem renews its call to allow prison visits to Gazan inmates by all first-degree relatives, and especially by their children.

May 13

On 24 April 2014, Palestinian administrative detainees held in Israel announced a hunger strike to protest Israel’s of administrative detention. According to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, some 130 are now on strike. Israel is currently holding 191 Palestinians in administrative detention, i.e. without trial, in breach of international law, which allows such imprisonment only in exceptional cases as a last resort to prevent danger. The government must release all administrative detainees or prosecute them, in accordance with due process.

May 11

The Bedouins of Wadi al-Qatif, currently 68 persons, have lived in that location since 1982. In April 2014, following an application to the HCJ against demolition orders served for all homes there, the state advised of its plans to relocate the community to permanent sites. Yet 4 days later some residents were served 48-hour eviction orders. The HCJ then issued an interim injunction on the eviction. International law prohibits forced relocation. B’Tselem calls on the authorities to allow the community to remain in Wadi al-Qatif.

May 5

Palestinian workers do not have much to celebrate this Int’l Workers’ Day. As the occupying power in the West Bank, Israel has not promoted an independent Palestinian economy, forcing tens of thousands to rely on work in Israel and in settlements. Many are not granted work permits and must work illegally in harsh conditions. Israel must enable the development of the Palestinian economy and, until such time, must issue permits to Palestinians wishing to work in Israel – based on appropriate security checks – and uphold their rights as workers.

April 30

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