B’Tselem Executive Director El-Ad in an op-ed in Israeli daily Haaretz: The political and legal systems have been thrown into turmoil by Supreme Court Justice Vogelman scheduling an emergency hearing on demolition of the homes of the families of Palestinian perpetrators of attacks. Yet all party to this round of legal-administrative brutality can breathe easy: demolitions were sanctioned, are sanctioned, will be sanctioned by the court. Then, a family – which no one claims is guilty of any wrongdoing – will find its home reduced to a pile of rubble, or poured full of concrete.
On 6 Oct. 2015, soldiers assaulted Palestinian Ansar 'Asi, 25, while he was standing at the entrance to a storage room at his workplace in al-Bireh watching clashes between soldiers and Palestinian youths. The soldiers violently beat 'Asi and arrested him. The incident was captured on his employer's security cameras. 'Asi was injured and taken to Hadassah 'Ein Kerem hospital in Jerusalem. He was held in detention for two days before being interrogated. Police interrogators told him that soldiers had identified him as a stone thrower, refused to listen to his denial of the allegations, and made no attempt to check his version despite the existence of the footage. Only following a military court hearing did the police view the footage. Even then, 'Asi was held for another two days due to the weekend sabbatical.
On 11 Oct. 2015, the military bombed the Hassan family home in Gaza, destroying it and killing mother Nur, 25, who was at an advanced stage of pregnancy, and daughter Rahaf, 3. Muhammad, 5, and father Yihya, 25, were lightly injured. B’Tselem’s investigation refuted claims that the bombing targeted “weapon production sites” or that the house collapsed due to a strike on a nearby training camp. The case exemplifies the illegality of Israel’s policy of airstrikes in Gaza, which has killed hundreds of Palestinian civilians in recent years.
B’Tselem documented a five-day (6-10 Oct. 2015) campaign of violence by settlers against Palestinians in Hebron. Settlers repeatedly threw stones and bottles at Palestinian homes near the Kiryat Arba settlement fence, while Israeli security forces looked on. Settler violence intensified after two attacks by Palestinians in Hebron: a settler sustained serious injuries and a Border Police officer was slightly injured; one perpetrator fled, the other was shot to death. In another incident, a confrontation developed with settlers and Palestinians throwing stones at each other. Soldiers stood by the former and fired tear-gas at the latter. This glimpse of daily life in Hebron is an extreme example of the imbalance of power throughout the West Bank, in which Israeli forces back settler violence targeting Palestinians.
Since 14 Oct. 2015, security forces have implemented the closure policy approved by the Israeli cabinet. Thirty-five checkpoints and concrete roadblocks have been placed at entrances to villages and neighborhoods in East Jerusalem and on internal roads, severely disrupting the lives of some 300,000 Palestinian residents. This constitutes the prohibited collective punishment of a population that lives under occupation and suffers ongoing violation of its rights. The vast majority of this population is not involved in attacks against Israelis.
In 13 incidents over the past two weeks, Palestinians were shot to death for stabbing or attempting to stab Israelis , or when suspected of doing so. In two of these cases, video footage published by the media raises grave concern that the security forces shot to kill even when it was clear that the Palestinians no longer posed a threat and could be apprehended in other ways. The wave of stabbing attacks against Israelis is shocking, and security forces must protect the public by apprehending Palestinians suspected of such actions. Security forces have the authority to use the minimal amount of force necessary to achieve that end, according to the circumstances, but law enforcement officers cannot act as both judges and executioners.
On 12-13 Oct. 2015, the military forced ten Palestinian families from Kh. a-Ras al-Ahmar to vacate their homes for three hours each day so troops could train nearby. Pursuant to orders served on 8 Oct., the families were made to leave the area with their flocks for the duration of the training. These repeated short-term displacements cause unreasonable disruption to the lives of communities in the Jordan Valley. In some cases, residents have no alternative accommodation and must wait it out in the open, trying to find shelter, food and water in the harsh weather.
Since the beginning of the current wave of violence, there has been a worrying trend to use firearms to kill Palestinians who have attacked Israelis or are suspected of such attacks. Politicians and senior police officers have not only failed to act to calm the public climate of incitement, but on the contrary have openly called for the extrajudicial killing of suspects. No-one disputes the serious nature of the events, nor the need to protect the public. However, it seems that too often, instead of acting in a manner consistent with the nature of each incident, police officers and soldiers are quick to shoot to kill. The political and public support for such actions endorses the killing Palestinians in the Territories and in Israel.
The Occupation is now in its 49th year. Recent weeks have seen dozens of horrific attacks on Israelis by Palestinians. Israeli government officials have been calling explicitly to “shoot to kill”; hundreds of Palestinians have been injured and several killed in demonstrations. B’Tselem reiterates its condemnation of attacks against civilians. The government sees the current violence as an eruption of hatred that occurred in a vacuum, while rejecting any responsibility of its own for the situation. Yet recent events cannot be viewed in isolation from the ongoing oppression of 4 million people.
Subsequent to the attack in which Palestinians killed Eitam and Naama Henkin, settlers attacked Palestinians and their property in many parts of the West Bank. Footage shows that soldiers were present at the scene throughout the incidents, but did not prevent attacks or arrest perpetrators. On the contrary, the soldiers accompanied settlers on their rampage, and used crowd-control weapons against Palestinian youth from the villages who threw stones at the settlers to push them back.
Authorities Oct. 6 demolition of two flats and sealing of another in East Jerusalem as collective punishment for attacks by occupant’s relatives left 13, including 7 children, homeless. Most did not live in the units slated for demolition. A policy of demolition attackers’ family homes is collective punishment - prohibited under IHL. Despite widely held legal experts’ opinion that this radical measure is unlawful, the HCJ repeatedly approves it. Demolishing or sealing a home is a draconian measure targeting entire families who have done nothing and are suspected of nothing.
Following the Israeli military’s probe into the killing of ‘Abd a-Rahman ‘Obeid Allah, 13, in ‘Aydah R.C. by a 0.22 bullet, B’Tselem calls on Israel’s security forces to immediately cease use of this ammunition as a means of crowd control and to refrain from using live ammunition in non-life-threatening circumstances. Since January, 4 Palestinians have been killed and dozens injured by 0.22 bullets. B’Tselem has found ever increasing use of this weapon and that contrary to official statements it is neither regulated nor restricted. It is lethal and the plan to use it in East Jerusalem will have lethal consequences.
According to media reports, yesterday, 3 Oct. 2015, a Palestinian youth stabbed and killed Israeli civilian Nehemia Lavi and soldier Aharon Bennett in the Old City in East Jerusalem. He also severely wounded Bennett's wife, Adele, and lightly injured their infant son, Natan. B’Tselem expresses shock at the killing, conveys its sincerest condolences to the families of the victims, and wishes the wounded mother and son a speedy recovery. B’Tselem strongly condemns any and all intentional assaults against Israeli or Palestinian civilians. Israeli security forces must take measures [enabling them] to prevent acts of retaliation.
According to media reports, on Thursday, 1 Oct. 2015, Palestinians fired at an Israeli car in the Northern West Bank, killing Eitam and Naama Henkin, who were in the car with their four children. The children, who witnessed their parents' killing, were unhurt. B’Tselem expresses shock at the killing and conveys its sincerest condolences to the Henkin family. B’Tselem strongly condemns any and all intentional assaults against Israeli or Palestinian civilians. Following the attack, settlers assaulted with stones Palestinian cars, an ambulance and Palestinian homes in the village of Burin. Israeli security forces are obligated to deploy to prevent additional revenge attacks by settlers against the Palestinian population.
On Tues. Sep. 22, soldiers shot and fatally wounded Hadil al-Hashlamun, 18, at a Hebron checkpoint. B’Tselem’s investigation indicates she had concealed a knife in her cloths and did not obey the soldiers’ orders, but that she did not try to stab them. After she was shot in both legs, there was no justification to aim at her torso. The military’s knee-jerk defense of the soldiers sends a message that there are few limits on the use of force against Palestinians, including lethal force.
Israeli PM is reportedly seeking clearance to use live fire against stone-throwers in East Jerusalem after an incident in which a Jerusalem resident was killed following suspected stone-throwing. The move would allow police to use potentially lethal Two-Two bullets. A police plan to use assault dogs and collective punishment against East Jerusalem residents was reportedly approved. The authorities must keep the peace and protect residents, but their approach unlawfully and immorally ignores deep-seated discrimination and human rights abuses in East Jerusalem, while using increasingly violent measures against residents there.
Today (16 Sept.) media reports stated that upon being discharged from hospital, Muhammad ‘Alan – whose administrative detention order was suspended after he staged a two-month hunger strike demanding he be released – was re-detained under a new order. The authorities continue to harass ‘Alan, who had reached a life-threatening condition because of the hunger strike he held to protest the arbitrary denial of his liberty without the benefit of due process. B’Tselem once more urges Israeli authorities to release ‘Alan immediately from administrative detention.
B’Tselem has been nominated for this year’s Human Rights Tulip! This good news was announced earlier today. The Tulip, awarded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is more than a just a great honor. It comes with a €100,000 prize, which will help us continue exposing the injustices of the occupation and battling its associated human rights violations. The winning nomination is selected from a shortlist of six finalists: three wildcards and three public favorites. And this is where you come in: we need your help. Vote for B’Tselem and make us a public favorite to ensure we get shortlisted. Voting starts today and is only open until September 16th. Vote NOW at http://www.humanrightstulip.nl/candidates-and-voting
On 3 Sept. 2015 the Civil Administration demolished structures belonging to 3 families of the Ka’abneh tribe in a Bedouin community east of the village a-Taybah, Ramallah District. Two families (10 people, incl. 6 minors) lost two residential structures and one livestock pen. CA and military personnel also demolished 4 livestock structures belonging to a third family. This action comes on the heels of an unusually large-scale demolition campaign in August, in which Israeli authorities demolished the homes of 228 individuals, including 124 minors. Demolitions are part of efforts by the CA and the military to force Palestinian communities out of Area C. This government policy constitutes the forcible transfer of protected Palestinians in an occupied territory.
The data we released regarding the demolition that took place on 31.8.2015 at the Al-Khdeirat Bedouin community contained numerous essential errors. Following is the correct data : The Civil Administration and the military demolished 15 structures, ten of them were residential, and five were used for livestock, not twenty five, as we originally said. Click to view full data.