B'Tselem reiterates its demand to prohibit use of 0.22 bullets to disperse demonstrators. Despite the prohibition on using this lethal weapon since 2001, two persons have been killed by it recently, one of them a 14-year-old boy.
B'Tselem demands that the army stop all use of white phosphorous in Gaza, and that its use in Operation Cast Lead be thoroughly investigated. The conclusions of a recent army inquiry into the matter are completely divorced from the effects suffered in the field.
The directive follows several warnings by B'Tselem about the threat to lives inherent in firing tear-gas canisters at people. A demonstrator in Bil'in was recently killed, and dozens of others have been injured, from this practice.
B'Tselem has again demanded the Judge Advocate General to order security forces to cease firing tear-gas grenades directly at individuals. The demand follows the death of Bassem Abu Rahma, a Palestinian demonstrator, who was killed on 17 April '09 when struck by a tear-gas grenade while demonstrating in Bil'in.
On 22 April, the results of the Israeli military's internal investigations of Operation Cast Lead were published, indicating that dozens of innocent civilians were killed due to what the army referred to as "rare mishaps." In response, B'Tselem pointed out crucial flaws in the investigations.
B'Tselem welcomes the appointment of the jurist Richard Goldstone to head the fact-finding mission, called for by the UN Human Rights Council, to investigate the recent fighting in Gaza. Particularly welcome is the delegation's mandate, which covers violations of international humanitarian law by both sides, in the Gaza Strip and in Israel.
Ghada Abu Halima, 21, a Gazan mother of two, died on 29 March. Abu Halima was wounded and 5 of her relatives, among them 4 children, were killed, when the military shelled their house with white phosphorus during "Operation Cast Lead". In her testimony of 9 January, she described the attack.
Israeli human rights organizations: The speedy closing of the investigation into soldiers' testimonies of events during "Operation Cast Lead" raises suspicions that the sole purpose of opening the investigation was to clear the military of all blame for illegal activity during the operation.
Israeli human rights organizations repeated their demand that the Attorney General hold an independent investigation of the army's conduct during operation "Cast Lead". The call followed chilling testimonies of soldiers concerning the killing of Palestinian civilians, published in the media.
B'Tselem requested the judge advocate general to immediately clarify to security forces that it is absolutely forbidden to aim tear-gas canisters directly at demonstrators. Firing of this kind has already resulted in injury, some very serious, to dozens of Palestinians and Israeli and foreign citizens.
In recent weeks, the army has once again begun using Ruger rifles to disperse demonstrators, although such use of this lethal weapon has been prohibited. As a result, many Palestinians and at last one foreign national have been injured.
On 4 Jan. '09, the entire al-Kafarneh family was injured when their house was shelled, in Beit Hanun. 3-year-old Wiam died of shrapnel wounds the next day. After the family left the house, the army demolished it.
B'Tselem issued a position paper detailing the guidelines of the necessary Israeli investigation of its conduct during the operation in Gaza. B'Tselem's initial survey of the military operation calls into question Israeli statements that the military acted according to International Humanitarian Law and that responsibility for the harm to the civilian population rests exclusively with Hamas.
B'Tselem's annual report, published today (5 Feb.), surveys a wide range of Israeli human rights violations in the OPT in 2008, until Operation Cast Lead. As house demolition and lack of law enforcement on violent settlers continued, Israel largely refrained from holding members of the security forces accountable for their actions.
On 12 Jan. '09, soldiers called residents of the Khuza'a neighborhood, in the Gaza Strip, to leave their homes. When Rawhiya a-Najar stepped out of her house waving a white flag, soldiers shot her and then a young woman who tried to help her. A-Najar remained on the ground and bled to death.
According to testimonies given to B'Tselem, on 3 January, soldiers called to 'Atiya a-Samuni to come out of his house, in a-Zeitun, Gaza City. When he approached the door, soldiers opened fire, killing him. The soldiers continued firing, wounding a number of relatives, among them an infant who died from his wounds.
Gaza: Yesterday 95 bodies were dug up from the ruins. As of today, at least 1,300 killed, of them at least 410 children and 104 women. Over 5,320 injured, of them over 350 severely injured (Palestinian Ministry of Health figures). Israel: 3 civilians and 10 soldiers killed. Over 84 civilians injured, of them 4 severely injured, not including those treated for shock, and 113 soldiers injured, of them one in critical condition and 20 Moderately or severely injured.
A farmer from the Huza'ah village was killed this morning (18 Jan.) by Israeli gunfire while working his land, some 400 meters from the Israeli border. His brother. A witness told B'Tselem that in spite of the ceasefire, the soldiers opened fire without warning.