Updates

In January 2013, Israeli soldiers fatally shot four Palestinians in the West Bank and at least one in the Gaza Strip. According to B’Tselem’s preliminary inquiries into the five cases in which the Israeli military has accepted responsibility for the firing, the people killed were unarmed and posed no danger to the soldiers.
B’Tselem is monitoring the MPIU investigations and would emphasize that, in addition to investigating the circumstances of each incident, the investigators must also examine the written and oral directives conveyed to the soldiers involved.

January 30

A new B’Tselem report reveals the full inventory of crowd control weapons used by Israeli security forces in the West Bank. These weapons are meant to be non-lethal, enabling authorities to enforce the law without endangering human life. In fact, however, some of these weapons are dangerous and may be lethal if used improperly. Crowd control weapons have killed and injured demonstrators and people throwing stones.

January 28

On 30 Dec. 2012, the Office of the Jerusalem District Attorney filed an indictment against a resident of the Nokdim settlement, charging him with the aggravated assault of 13-year-old Haitham Abu Mfareh. The incident occurred in 2007, when Palestinian children were throwing stones at Israeli vehicles travelling on Route 356. One of the cars stopped, the driver got out, chased the children and fired at them, injuring Abu Mfraeh in his head. It is extremely rare for a police investigation of settler-perpetrated violence against a Palestinian to lead to an indictment.

January 23

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel filed a new petition this morning (January 16, 2013) at the High Court of Justice against the State’s plans to expel some 1,000 Palestinians living in eight rural villages in Firing Zone 918 in the South Hebron Hills. Following the petition, the High Court of Justice issued an interim injunction prohibiting the forceful eviction of the residents, pending a final decision.

January 16

A B’Tselem investigation indicates that on Monday, 19 November 2012, students from the Tuqu’ boys’ high school were protesting the Pillar of Defense campaign in the Gaza Strip. The school is located near Route 356, which links Bethlehem and Hebron, and some of the students were throwing stones at the road. Consequently, an Israeli military force arrived on the scene. In a video filmed by a Ma’an News Agency photographer, one of the soldiers is seen firing live ammunition at the students, even though none of the soldiers was in danger. A bullet hit one student in the abdomen. B’Tselem contacted the Military Advocate General Corps, demanding an investigation of the incident.

January 6

Gaza. Qassam rockets, Hamas, Gilad Shalit, besieged, Cast Lead – all of that is what goes through our minds when we think of Gaza. But what about the people who live there? How do the people who live in Deir al-Balah, or in the refugee camps, feel about the economic situation in Gaza? About security? The political situation? What does an average morning in the Gaza Strip look like? Khaled ‘Azayzeh, a B’Tselem field researcher in the Gaza Strip, shows us his personal Gaza. Episode one, originally published by the Israeli news portal Mako.

December 25

Following a petition to the High Court of Justice contesting the inflated and discriminatory periods of detention applicable to Palestinian minors in the West Bank, the military has amended the relevant military legislation. The change, slated to take effect in April 2013, requires that minors under the age of 14 be brought before a judge within 24 hours of detention and minors aged 14-18 within 48 hours. Currently, military law in the West Bank does not distinguish between minors and adults with respect to duration of detention. The change is welcome news, although the maximum periods of detention are still too long - twice what is permissible inside Israel.

December 23

In 2012, the Israeli military removed several of the many restrictions that had been imposed on Palestinians’ movement in various areas of the West Bank since the beginning of the second Intifada. In recent years, Israel has scaled back these restrictions, and Palestinians can now travel relatively freely within the West Bank. However, the military continues to treat Palestinians’ freedom of movement as a privilege rather than as a right.

December 20

B’Tselem wrote to OC Central Command Major General Nitzan Alon requesting that he issue an immediate notice to Israeli security forces in Hebron, reminding them that B’Tselem employers and volunteers as well as any other photographers must be permitted to document events in the city. B’Tselem’s letter was written in light of an incident in which Israeli soldiers attacked Reuters’ photographers in Hebron, and "accused” them of working for B’Tselem.

December 18

Miriam Leedor, director of public outreach at B'Tselem , in an Op-ed originally published by Ynetnews website: According to int'l law, 'state-owned' lands in West Bank can be used only for the benefit of the local Palestinian population.

December 18

Nine Israeli organizations issued a joint press release today to protest yesterday's aggressive treatment of three Palestinian civil society organizations by the Israeli military and to demand that all property seized be restored and that the work of civil society organizations—and especially those comprised of human rights defenders – be protected and respected.

December 12

"On ordinary days, when I go to work, I leave Rama with my parents who live seven, eight kilometers away from us, in the a-Sheikh Radwan neighborhood. Rama is very attached to them. Now she cries a lot and asks to go to her grandpa and grandma, and repeats the names of her uncles and aunts. She goes to her closet, takes out her clothes and her little bag and walks to the door. I don’t know what to say to her, how to explain that we cannot go to grandpa and grandma".

December 6

We in Israel are facing a real crisis. Israel's occupation of the West Bank appears unending while the Gaza Strip grows more isolated and impoverished. The recent fighting in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel, with millions of civilians on both sides paying such a heavy price, only emphasized how far we are from negotiations to resolve this situation. B'Tselem's work is a real source of pride and I hope you will join me in supporting their efforts to ensure the dignity of all human beings.

December 5

B'Tselem sent a letter to the MAG Corps stating that a year is unreasonably long for this kind of investigation. The longer the process is drawn out, the greater the damage to the prospects for an effective criminal proceeding. B'Tselem added that it intends to seek legal remedy if no progress is made in the handling of the case.

December 5

Yael Stein, Research Director, B’Tselem, in an op-ed originally published 3 December 2012 in the Hebrew Haaretz: Israeli legal experts pronounced lawful all actions taken in Operation Pillar of Defense. That said, they seem to treat international humanitarian law as a combat manual designed to help them identify targets, rather than as guidelines designed to protect civilians from the dire consequences of warfare and to minimize, insofar as possible, harm to civilians.

December 4

According to testimonies collected by B’Tselem, plainclothes police detained Amir Darwish, at midday on Friday, 12 October 2012, two days before his tenth birthday. The policemen took Amir to a police station, using force against the boy and his mother, who tried to prevent the arrest. Amir was questioned in his mother’s presence for allegedly throwing stones, and was released following the investigation. The minimum age of criminal responsibility in Israel is 12. The arrest or even temporary detention of a minor under the age of 12 is absolutely prohibited.

December 4

The B’Tselem Camera Distribution Project Saturday, 1.12.2012, won first prize in the Freeform Documentary category of the 2012 documentary film competition of Israel’s Documentary Filmmakers Forum. B’Tselem Video Department Director Yoav Gross accepted the prize on behalf of more than 200 project volunteers and organization staff in a ceremony in Tel Aviv.

December 3

Israel has reportedly decided to advance construction in the E-1 area of Ma'ale Adumim, connecting the settlement to Jerusalem. Such a move would have severe implications for human rights in the West Bank, cutting the West Bank in two, exacerbating the isolation of East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank and posing a particular threat to Bedouin communities living in the area.

December 2

In response to the planned segregation, B’Tselem executive director Jessica Montell said, “The attempt at bus segregation is appalling, and the current arguments about ‘security needs’ and ‘overcrowding’ must not be allowed to camouflage the blatant racism of the demand to remove Palestinians from buses.”

November 27

Media reports state that in the ceasefire negotiations to end Operation Pillar of Defense, Israel and Hamas reached understandings that include the easing of restrictions on the movement of farmers and fishermen in the Gaza Strip. Among other things, it was agreed that the Israeli military would permit Gaza farmers to cultivate plots located up to 100 meters from the Israel-Gaza perimeter fence. This is a change from the official Israeli prohibition of recent years which forbade any approach closer than 300 meters from the fence. In addition, Gaza fishermen may now fish up to six nautical miles (approximately 11 km) from the Gaza coast, compared with the 3-mile limit imposed prior to Operation Pillar of Defense.

November 27