Updates

B’Tselem documented 27 incidents in which Israeli settlers attacked Palestinians, stole olives and vandalized groves. Although the military made arrangements to protect Palestinians and their property during the olive harvest, its preparation was insufficient. In addition, it should be noted that Palestinians’ source of livelihood is harmed also by restrictions on access to groves located in or near settlements. The military must find alternative means of protecting settlements and ensure Palestinians' safe access to cultivate their lands year-round.

December 26

B’Tselem's initial inquiries indicates toddler Hala Abu Sbeikhah was killed yesterday after an Israeli tank fired three shells at her home. Hala’s aunt and two young cousins sustained injuries. Deliberate firing at a home occupied by civilians, without warning the inhabitants and ensuring they have vacated the premises, as appears to be the case in this situation, is unlawful. The military must immediately investigate the incident. Israeli military additionally closed Kerem Shalom Crossing, barring agricultural export and necessary fuel imports in a measure which constitutes collective punishment.

December 25

B’Tselem strongly condemns the killing today, 24 December, of Salah Abu Ltayef, 22, resident of the Bedouin community of Rahat,an Israeli civilian who worked as a contractor for the Construction Branch of the Ministry of Defense by Palestinian gunfire. There is absolutely no moral or legal justification for attacks that deliberately target civilians. Civilians must be kept separate from the fighting. This applies to countries, organizations and individuals.

December 24

Please take sixty seconds to watch this video, then share it with your community. Together we can bear witness and work to end human rights violations. If you haven't already done so, please consider a year-end donation to B'Tselem.

December 22

13 Nov. 2013, Burin: 11 villagers were taken from their beds and brought to the home of the high-school principal, which was converted into a makeshift interrogation center. The questioned men related that no charges were brought against them, and that the “interrogation” was meant to get them to prevent stone-throwing in the village. This severe infringement of civilians’ rights can hardly be justified. B’Tselem wrote to the relevant authorities inquiring whether the raid was part of official policy and, if so, what its legal grounds are.

December 19

The well-known public figure from Israel's pioneer generation explains why support for B'Tselem is so important: "B’Tselem does extraordinary work to protect the human rights of those living under occupation and to steer Israel to a path of justice and peace. To me, B’Tselem represents the Israeli heroism needed in this historical moment."

December 16

On 5 Dec. 2013, the MAG Corps notified B’Tselem of its decision to close the investigation into the killing of Mustafa Tamimi by a tear-gas canister fired at him in Dec. 2011. The Corps claimed that the firing was done "according to the relevant rules and regulations and did not involve any illegality." The decision, two years after the incident, conveys the military’s indifference to the lives of Palestinians in the West Bank, and sends Israeli soldiers and officers the message that they will not be held accountable for killing unarmed civilians. In the meantime, this type of firing continues, and it is only a matter of time before yet another unarmed Palestinian civilian is killed in this way. B’Tselem will demand to see all the investigation material.

December 5

On 15 Nov. 2013, the weekly Kafr Qadum protest against the closure of the road connecting the village to Nablus took place. Before it started, tires were set on fire on the road, and 4 children played with them. Soldiers detained the four, ages 6 to 9, handcuffed the 3 older ones and threatened them with arrest if caught again. The soldiers released the children a few minutes later. The age of criminal responsibility In the Occupied Territories is 12. Law enforcement officials are prohibited from detaining or arresting children under this age. B'Tselem contacted the military demanding to clarify the legal requirements to soldiers operating on the ground.

December 4

On 27 Nov. B'Tselem volunteer videographer Abu Ahmad documented clashes between Palestinian youth and soldiers in Beit Ummar. An officer fired a canister that hit him in the chest, while he filmed. Abu Ahmad was bruised and required medical treatment. The firing of tear gas canisters directly at individuals is a routine practice by security forces and has already claimed the lives of two people and injured dozens. The military continues to deny the existence of the practice and avoids addressing it systematically. B'Tselem will send the footage to the Military Advocate and demand an investigation by the Military Police Investigation Unit (MPIU) and held accountable.

December 2

The Guardian’s recently introduced interactive site “Walled World” presents walls around the world through images, first-hand accounts and videos. It shows the effect that walls have on the people around them, whether they are being left out or locked in. One section of Walled World deals with the Separation Barrier in the West Bank. It includes three videos by B’Tselem, some produced specifically for this project.

November 25

After twelve years as Executive Director, I have decided to step down. I first joined B'Tselem 18 years ago as Development Director. This was basically my first job in Israel, after immigrating from the United States. Six years later, I was appointed Executive Director, a position I have filled until today. These were very challenging years, replete with periods of severe violations of human rights in the Occupied Territories and in Israel. They were also exciting and meaningful years. It was not easy to decide to leave this organization, which is so important and central to my life. Click to read full letter

November 12

On 31 October 2013, Ahmad Tazaz’ah, 20, was killed in a market near Qabatiya, in the northern West Bank. According to B’Tselem’s inquiry, Tazaz’ah was killed by live ammunition fired by Israeli soldiers, and not in intra-Palestinian violence. According to the investigation, Palestinian youths threw stones at Israeli troops returning from an arrest operation in Qabatiya. The troops stopped near the market and responded with crowd control weapons and live fire. Tazaz’ah was hit by a live round in the chest. B’Tselem’s inquiry shows the soldiers were not in any real danger, raising a grave suspicion they breached open-fire regulations. B'Tselem conveyed its findings to the MAG Corps, which announced the opening of a "limited investigation," in light of the suspicions regarding the involvement of Israeli soldiers in the incident.

November 11

On 26 October 2013, the Na’asan family of the village of al-Mughayir, Ramallah District, went to harvest their olives. Several masked settlers arrived at the grove and began attacking the family with stones. The family responded by throwing stones back. The settlers then assaulted 75-year-old Ghatib Na’asan and his nephew, Yasser Na’asan, who tried to protect him. The latter, a volunteer in B'Tselem's camera distribution project, was hit with an iron bar and broken glass. Other family members called for the Israeli security forces, who arrived while the settlers were retreating but made no attempt to apprehend or detain them until police arrived.

October 30

After Operation Pillar of Defense (Nov. 2012), an understanding was reached whereby Israel would ease restrictions on Palestinian access to farmland near the border. Previously, access to those areas–a third of Gaza Strip farmland–was strictly restricted, including by the use of live fire. B'Tselem has found that the military still limits access and does so with live fire. Israel must lift these restrictions, enabling farmers to work their land. As long as the restrictions remain, the military must refrain from using live fire to enforce them.

October 29

Khaled al-‘Azayzeh, a B’Tselem field researcher in the Gaza Strip, continues to bring us his personal Gaza: Last episode, I turned the camera inwards and looked at my home, my family, my local coffee shop. This time, we’ll go outside for a bit and visit my nephew Muamen. He and his friends are recent university graduates, but instead of finding jobs and joining the workforce, they’ve joined the most frustrated class of people in Gaza, the unemployed. Unemployment in Gaza among people under 30 is as high as 45%. Or as Muamen calls them, the “bummer generation”.

October 27

The Jabers live about 300 meters south of the entrance to the settlement of Kiryat Arba. The family make a living from growing vegetables near their home. In July 2013, one of the family’s daughters, a volunteer in B'Tselem's camera distribution project, filmed two incidents in which settlers uprooted the family's crops and planted others in their place. The footage shows security forces standing by and taking no action to stop the vandalism. B'Tselem wrote to the military demanding an examination of the soldiers' conduct in both incidents.

October 22

In June 2013 B'Tselem filmed long lines and overcrowding at Tarqumya and Eyal Checkpoints. B'Tselem reported its findings to the Land Crossings Authority, the Ministry of Defense, which rejected the claims. In Sept., B'Tselem visited Tarqumya and Sh’ar Efrayim Checkpoints: laborers must still arrive in the middle of the night to cross by morning and report harsh conditions. The Ministry of Defense must urgently modify conditions to accommodate the number of work entry permits issued and ensure that workers can enter Israel with dignity.

October 21

Israel plans to expel 1,000 residents of the South Hebron Hills, arguing they are living in a military training firing zone. International law prohibits use of occupied lands for routine military training, and obviously prohibits expulsion of residents to that end. Last month, further to High Court petitions by the villagers, filed by ACRI and Att. Shlomo Lecker, the justices proposed a meditation process to achieve a joint compromise. The villagers’ agreed to the proposed mediation immediately. The State announced its agreement today.

October 21

Since the Disengagement, Israel has retained control over all access points to and from Gaza, with the exception of Rafah Crossing. Israel prohibits air or sea travel to and from Gaza, and prohibits Palestinian travel from Israeli airports. The disruption of the right of movement of Gazans has worsened since July due to restrictions imposed by Egypt at Rafah. Israel’s control over most access to Gaza means it is responsible for enabling Gazans to fulfill their right to freedom of movement, subject to individualized security inspections.

October 15

On 16 Sept. 2013 the Civil Admin. demolished all structures of Khallet Makhul, a Bedouin community. For over a week, the military kept the residents from erecting any shelter. On 24 Sept. Adv. Tawfiq Jabareen applied on behalf of the residents to the HCJ, which issued an interim injunction on expulsion or demolition of homes, pending a ruling. The residents have since erected tents, some which the military has demolished–contrary to the injunction, leading Adv. Jabareen to apply to the State Attorney’s Office. On 6 Oct., 11 tents were on-site.

October 7