B'Tselem renews its call to the Israeli government to refrain from acts of vengeance for the abduction and killing of the three Israeli teens. B'Tselem cautions the security forces to avoid harming the innocent Palestinian population, or abusing the public atmosphere in Israel with the discovery of the bodies, to impose collective punishment, as was done in the past two weeks as part of the searches. The deliberate harming of an entire civilian population as punishment for the actions of individuals is both illegal and immoral. Additionally, the security forces must prepare for possible acts of revenge by settlers.
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.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered that the family home of the two Palestinians indicted for the attack that killed Baruch Mizrahi be demolished. Two families numbering 13 individuals, including 8 children, live in that home. Demolition of the home would equal adoption of an official policy that harms the innocent. "We have nowhere else to go. If the house is demolished, we'll put a tent on top of the ruins and live there" said Hanan ‘Awawdeh to B'Tselem field researcher Manal al-Ja'abri, who visited her last week and took the photos. Following an urgent objection filed by Israeli human rights organization HaMoked, the military announced its intention to demolish only the section of the house. The military is set to carry out the demolition tomorrow, Monday, at 12:00 midday.
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.
The intention to demolish the family home of the two Palestinians charged with the killing of Baruch Mizrahi means adopting an official policy of harming the innocent. The two suspects will be tried for the attack, and are expected to be sentenced to long periods of detention. Their family members, who are not suspected of any offence, are the ones who will suffer the loss of their home: 13 people are currently living in the house, including 8 children. Years ago, the army concluded that punitive home demolitions are not an effective measure to deter attacks against Israelis. It seems therefore that the motives are reaping revenge and politically capitalizing on the current public mood in Israel, in light of the abduction.
This morning, 22 June 2014, human rights organizations active in the Occupied Territories sent an urgent letter to the heads of the Israeli security establishment and military commanders in the West Bank, demanding that they refrain from collectively punishing the civilian Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as part of Operation Brother’s Keeper. The letter also demanded that the more stringent restrictions imposed on the detention conditions of Palestinian prisoners be withdrawn.
As part of efforts to locate the 3 abducted students stringent travel restrictions were imposed on Hebron District residents on Sat., 14 June. Some restrictions constitute unlawful collective punishment: barring entrance to Israel by Hebron residents with permits; prohibiting 16 to 50-year-old male Hebron residents travel to Jordan. Other collective punishment: a ban on family visits to Palestinian prisoners in Israel. Politicians’ statements raise grave concerns that Israel will adopt measures designed to harm and pressure local Palestinians.
B’Tselem shares the great concern and worry over the fate of the three abducted yeshiva students, two of them minors, and the hope that they will be returned safe and sound to their homes. Deliberate attacks against civilians are absolutely prohibited. Those holding the teens must release them without delay. Along with the efforts to locate the abducted youths and bring them safely home, the authorities must adopt every possible measure at their disposal to uphold human rights. Israeli authorities must refrain from meting out collective punishment and they must take whatever steps necessary to prevent violence directed at Palestinians.
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."
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.