Updates

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.

June 23

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also demanded that the more stringent restrictions imposed on the detention conditions of Palestinian prisoners be withdrawn.

June 22

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.

June 17

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.

June 15

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."

June 12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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