Updates

Use of firearms

Since 27 Dec., Israel has been bombing targets in Gaza that it claims are linked to Hamas. Since the assault began, the international media have reported 383 Palestinian casualties, more than 30 of whom are minors. 3 Israeli civilians have been killed by rockets fired from Gaza by Palestinian militant organizations.

December 30

In light of the recent escalation in violence around the Gaza Strip, and the firing of rockets towards Israeli communities, B'Tselem has repeated its demand that all parties to the hostilities prevent the harming of civilians. The rules of war obligate all parties to a conflict to do their utmost to defend the civilian population.

December 25

In April 2004, an indictment was filed against a soldier who shot and killed 'Omar Matar in the Qalandiya refugee camp in March 2003. In June 2008, following repeated letters from B'Tselem, the IDF Spokesperson responded that, "no verdict has been given in the case, given that the matter is still being heard and the defendant left the country and is staying abroad."

December 24

On 4 Oct. '08, Border Police officer Tomer Avraham killed Iyad Abu-Ra'iyeh, who was found in Tel Aviv without a permit, after severely beating him. Tel Aviv District Court judge Oded Mudrik sentenced Avraham to one year imprisonment for manslaughter, referring to the crime as "a hapless, lethal act incidental to military or police activity."

November 12

Despite the harsh criticism voiced earlier by the High Court justices, the judge advocate general sticks to his position that the charge of unbecoming conduct is suitable for a case in which a bound and blindfolded Palestinian was abused and shot.

November 4

On 5 Oct. '08, two fishermen sailed from Rafah in a rowboat. One of them, Muhammad Musleh, told B'Tselem that an Israeli navy boat fired at them without warning, although they were in the zone permitted for fishing by the army. Musleh was severely injured in his leg and is being treated in al-Muqassed Hospital in Jerusalem. B'Tselem knows of numerous cases, in the last two years, of soldiers shooting and abusing fishermen on the Gaza shoreline.

October 31

On 28 Sept. '08, the Israeli High Court held a hearing on the petition of Ashraf Abu Rahma and human rights organizations demanding amendment of the indictment against the battalion commander and soldier involved in the shooting of Abu Rahma in Ni'lin. The justices ordered the military Judge Advocate General's Office to reconsider the indictment and to inform the court of its decision within 40 days.

October 6

Over the past year, settlers from Yitzhar and the surrounding area have sharply stepped up violent acts in nearby Palestinian villages. On 13 Sept., after a Palestinian stabbed a Jewish boy and burnt down a caravan in a settlement near Yitzhar, dozens of settlers raided the village of 'Asira al-Qibliya, rioted and widely damaged property. Soldiers were present at the time, yet did nothing to prevent the settlers' actions, and fired at the Palestinians.

September 17

B'Tselem's data indicate that security forces have adopted a practice of reckless firing of rubber-coated steel bullets in the West Bank, killing two Palestinians and injuring many more since the beginning of the year. Since the intifada began, 21 Palestinians have been killed by rubber-coated steel bullet fire, a measure that is meant to be non-lethal.

September 1

On 1 August, after children threw stones at soldiers in the Jalazun refugee camp, a soldier fired a tear gas canister at a young bystander. Following B'Tselem's complaint, an investigation into the incident was opened. Soldiers often fire tear gas canisters directly at Palestinians, despite legal and military prohibitions.

August 21

This morning, Ashraf Abu Rahma, who was shot by IDF soldiers in Ni'lin while handcuffed and blindfolded, together with four Israeli human rights organizations filed an urgent petition to the High Court of Justice against the Judge Advocate General's decision to prosecute the battalion commander, Lt. Col. Omri Borberg, and the soldier who fired the shot, Staff Sgt. L, for "unbecoming conduct," a light offense that does not result in a criminal record.

August 19

Following a petition against the indictment for "unbecoming conduct", the Israeli High Court has obliged the JAG to justify his decision. The court also suspended military court proceedings until the petition is decided upon.

August 19

The facts of the case raise the serious suspicion that the soldiers in the tank, and those who gave them the order to open fire, failed to adhere to the duty to take all possible precautions to avoid the harming of civilians and civilian objectives.

August 14

The demand follows the decision to charge the lieutenant colonel and the soldier with the relatively light offense of "inappropriate conduct". The High Court stated in 1988: "Harming a bound and helpless person is a shameful and cruel act, and calls for an appropriately severe response".

August 7

The media report that yesterday, only after B'Tselem aired footage of a soldier shooting a bound Palestinian detainee, did the Military Police open an investigation into the incident.

July 21

B'Tselem is publishing a video clip documenting a soldier firing a rubber coated steel bullet, from extremely close range, at a cuffed and blindfolded Palestinian detainee. The shooting took place in the presence of a lieutenant colonel, who was holing the Palestinian's arm when the shot was fired.

July 20

Since the end of the Second Lebanon War, 33 civilians have been killed and hundreds wounded by cluster bombs. Israel's responsibility for these casualties and lessons from the past require Israel to play a significant role in drafting international convention

May 18

In light of the recent escalation in violence around the Gaza Strip, including a Grad rocket strike on a mall in the Israeli city of Ashkelon, the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem has repeated its demand that all parties protect civilians from the fighting.

May 15

Samira a-Daghmeh, 13, told B'Tselem that soldiers blew up the door to the family's home in the Gaza Strip while her mother and siblings were inside, killing her mother. Soldiers stayed in the home for several hours without evacuating her to a hospital, and then exited the house, leaving her body with her children.

May 13

Following a letter from B'Tselem, the Military Police has opened an investigation into an incident that took place on 14 March, in which an army officer fired a rubber-coated steel bullet at a demonstrator in the village of Bil'in, wounding him.

May 13