Updates

I returned from a night shift at the factory. I changed and was getting ready for bed when I heard the alert. I took my daughter in my arms; she was barefoot and hadn't dressed yet. We all ran to the stairwell and went down one floor. We heard a huge explosion... I was afraid that the entire apartment had been destroyed. Mainly I thought about the children, and about what I would do with them if we had nowhere to live.

November 25

B'Tselem has written urgently to the IDF OC Central Command, the Commander of Military Forces in Judea and Samaria, and the Legal Advisor for Judea and Samaria, demanding that it be made unequivocally clear to soldiers and commanders in the West Bank that there is an absolute prohibition on shooting live ammunition at stone throwers. The letter follows the killing of two Palestinians and the wounding of dozens by live ammunition fired at stone throwers, and by the unlawful use of crowd control weapons, during clashes and demonstrations against operation "Pillar of Defense" in the past week.

November 22

"I was in shock when I discovered that a missile [sic] had fallen right next to the wall surrounding the compound and destroyed it. I saw my grandson Iyad lying dead on the ground. He had been hit by shrapnel from the shell. My other grandson, Suhaib, was lying next to him but he was moving. Also my granddaughter Sarah was lying on the ground. I called an ambulance immediately. I picked up Iyad. We stood there crying for help."

November 22

In a short piece published in the New York Times, B'Tselem's Executive Director puts the current fighting in the broader context of Israel's closure of the Gaza Strip. A ceasefire must protect both Israelis and Palestinians from rocket-fire, she writes. It must also ensure that Gazans can live a life with dignity.

November 21

According to media reports, on 10 November 2012 armed Palestinians fired an anti-tank missile at an Israeli military jeep. Four soldiers were wounded, one seriously. In response, the Israeli military fired four tank shells - in short intervals - at a populated civilian area in eastern Gaza City, about 1.5 kilometers from the Gaza Strip perimeter fence. Four Palestinian civilians, including two minors, were killed. It is doubtful if firing a tank shell at a populated area constitutes a proportional response. An investigation by B'Tselem indicates that, after the first shell was fired, civilians came to aid the injured. Under such circumstances, the military should not have fired additional shells.

November 21

"We live with this routine, and no one thinks it will happen to them. But now, it actually happened to me. It has happened to many people in my community. Mine is not the first house that's been hit. When it happens to someone else, I feel their pain. But it’s different, it’s impossible to really understand it. Suddenly there I am, saying, my goodness – it's happened to me. It unbalances you, makes you irrational. Why? What happened? What is this? What have they done to me?"

November 21

Initial B’Tselem investigations indicate that 102 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip between the launch of the Israeli military’s “Pillar of Defense” operation on the afternoon of November 14, 2012 and the night of November 19. The investigations indicate that at least 40 of those killed were civilians, among them 19 minors, and 10 women. Three Israelis were killed in the course of the operation up to the night of the 19th, as a result of rocket fire from Gaza by Palestinian militant organizations.

November 21

It has been reported in the media that, since the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense, members of Palestinian armed groups in the Gaza Strip have killed seven Palestinians suspected of collaboration with Israel. These reports state that one man was shot to death on Friday, 16 November 2012, and the other six were shot to death on Tuesday, 20 November 2012. The body of one man was tied to a motorcycle and dragged through the streets. Photographs of the bodies, some of which had been mutilated, were published in the press.

November 21

"I felt as if I was about to fly through the air, and the window shattered. I saw that the bomb had landed in our yard. I found Samaher in the yard. She had several injuries. I tried to talk to her, but she was already dead. There was nothing I could do. I am left with Mayar, a baby not even two months old. Up to now, she had been nursing."

November 21

On the morning of November 18, 2012, the Israeli Air Force struck two buildings in Gaza City in which both local and foreign news agencies maintain their offices. Seven employees of Al-Quds TV were injured, two of them seriously. The IDF Spokesman said in a statement that the attacks were directed against the communications infrastructure of Hamas, which it claims Hamas uses to communicate operational orders and disseminate propaganda. B’Tselem is not in a position to determine whether there is any basis for this claim. However, international humanitarian law holds that the media, including those outlets belonging directly to parties to the conflict, are not legitimate military targets.

November 21

Testimony gathered by B’Tselem reveals that in the early morning hours of Sunday, 18 November 2012, an Israeli aircraft fired at the ground near the Sa’ifan family home in the Tel a-Za’tar neighborhood. The strength of the explosion collapsed the room on top of the sleeping Sa’ifan family: mother, father, and two children. Their son Tammer, age 4, and daughter Jomanah, age 2, were killed. B’Tselem is continuing to investigate the circumstances of the incident that caused the death of Tammer and Jomanah Sa’ifan.

November 20

A B’Tselem inquiry shows that on the morning of 17 November 2012, an Israeli attack targeted three armed men in Rafah. Two of them were killed on the spot and a third was wounded. Shortly afterwards, while 'Awad a-Nahal, age 31, a resident of a nearby house, was trying to evacuate the injured man, a second attack killed both the armed man and the civilian trying to evacuate him.

November 20

According to testimonies gathered by B’Tselem, on Thursday, 15 Nov. 2012, an Israeli military air strike took place in an urban area in Beit Hanun in the northern Gaza Strip. B’Tselem does not know the objective of the strike. A large crater was created at the point of impact and nearby houses were extensively damaged. Two boys, a 9-year-old and a 16-year-old, who lived in two of the buildings that were damaged, were killed. They sustained fatal injuries from shrapnel as they lay asleep in their homes. The fathers of the two dead boys described the incident to B’Tselem by telephone.

November 20

From the testimony of Julia Chaitin: "Then there was another alert. We were across from the dining hall and ran inside. The dining hall is not reinforced either. People there told us to go and stand in the stairwell. We went to the stairwell. We heard many explosions very close by. Everything was shaking and I could actually feel the shock of the explosions."

November 20

On Sunday 18 November 2012, Judi Ronen, a 58-year-old resident of Sde Nitzan was on her way home from Soroka Hospital in Beersheba where she works as a midwife. On the road just outside the city of Ofakim, a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip exploded near the car in which she was a passenger. The Magen David website reports that four people were injured in the rocket attack: one seriously, one moderately and two suffered mild injuries. Ronen relayed the description of events to B'Tselem.

November 20

"The nights are long and terrible now. I stay awake all night. How could I sleep when my children are afraid? When I am hearing the bombing? All night I try to reassure the children and protect them."

November 19

"The children’s conversation is about the types of missiles and planes. It hurts me so much to hear them talking about these things, instead of games or things they are learning in kindergarten or that they did with their friends. What kind of life do they have with this situation looming over them? We try to keep them busy and distract them from the news and what is happening, but what is happening is stronger."

November 19

"There are children here who show behavioral regression. I know that some are unwilling to sleep anywhere in a house except in the secure room, even on ordinary days. Even though they are 13-14 years old and have siblings who are 5 or 6, they all sleep there and they aren’t willing to sleep alone; they are afraid to sleep alone."

November 19

"The children are frightened and are sleeping with us at night. The bombings keep them awake and when they do fall asleep, they have nightmares and wake up in a panic. It’s hard to be shut in at home and sometimes I let them play in the yard under the awning."

November 18