Updates

Attacks on Israeli civilians by Palestinians

According to B'Tselem's initial figures, at least 505 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip and Israel in the time between early Tuesday, 8 July 2014, when Operation Protective Edge airstrikes on Gaza began until the 21 July at 9PM. The fatalities include: 140 minors (one minor participated in the hostilities), 56 women (under age 60), 28 senior citizens (aged 60 and over), Initial findings indicate that 102 of the people killed participated in the hostilities.

Two Israeli civilians were killed within Israel during this time, and 27 soldiers were killed in the Gaza Strip and Israel.

July 22

"When I go to work, I drive a friend of mine, because she's too scared to drive. I'm a bit braver but we're always on our toes: should we leave now or later. We decide to take our chances and leave and I drive as fast as I can, always thinking about where I can stop if it catches me on the way. We're really scared to go outside. The city is a ghost town and we only shop for essentials. The rest of the time, I'm at home."

July 20

"There’s no bomb alert in our village, but we can hear the alerts from Omer. Even though the village was recognized by the state a few years ago, there is nothing here to protect us. There are no security rooms and no bomb shelter. More than 2,000 people live here. Our roofs are made of tin sheets, so when we hear the alert, we go outside and lie flat on the ground. It’s safer outside than inside. If a rocket hits the house, it’ll collapse completely and that’s very dangerous."

July 20

"during the operation, I stay at home with my four kids, day and night. When the siren goes off, we leave our apartment and gather in the staircase. We hear and see rockets being diverted [by Israel's "Iron Dome" defense system] or hitting targets very close to us. Every explosion makes the whole building shake. The children are afraid to sleep in their rooms and insist on staying in the living room with me all night. Even if they do manage to fall asleep, they take turns staying awake "on guard".

July 16

Millions of Israeli citizens, many of whom are children, have been living under the threat of rocket fire for almost a week. For hundreds of thousands of Israelis living in the south of the country, this terrible situation is part of an ongoing routine. The unrelenting attacks have disrupted their lives, denied their right to live in security and hurt their ability to make a living. Every venture outside – to work, school, or a recreational activity – is attended by a sense of danger. Some residents have even decided to relocate for fear they or their loved ones would get hurt.

July 14

"On 3 July 2014, at about 8:30 in the morning, a rocket hit my neighbor’s house. The house was being used as a small child day care center, as part of a rotation system... we heard the blast and my wife and I ran outside. We went into the house next door, into the security room, where the children were, to get them out. My wife and I both took one child in each hand and got out. The fifth child was with the care giver. The rocket hit the wall of the house and lodged there, but luckily, it didn’t explode, so the damage was relatively minor. I’ve learned from past experience not to let the kids see the damage the rockets cause, because it can be traumatic, so I waited inside the house with the kids until the bomb squad removed the rocket lodged in the wall, before we went out."

July 14

Yesterday (8 July 2014), the Israeli military launched Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip. According to the IDF Spokesperson, the military has attacked some 100 targets, including homes of senior Hamas activists. According to media reports, Palestinian armed groups in Gaza have fired some 50 rockets and mortar shells at south Israel until around lunchtime. B’Tselem has found that some 10 people, including minors, were killed in Gaza today. B'Tselem reiterates its demand that all parties to the hostilities prevent harm to civilians.

July 8

B'Tselem strongly condemns the abduction and killing of the three Yeshiva students, Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar, and Eyal Yifrah, and offers its condolences to the families. Deliberate targeting of civilians undermines all moral, legal and human principles. The deliberate killing of civilians is defined as a grave breach of international humanitarian law, and cannot be justified, regardless of the circumstances.

June 30

B’Tselem shares the great concern and worry over the fate of the three abducted yeshiva students, two of them minors, and the hope that they will be returned safe and sound to their homes. Deliberate attacks against civilians are absolutely prohibited. Those holding the teens must release them without delay. Along with the efforts to locate the abducted youths and bring them safely home, the authorities must adopt every possible measure at their disposal to uphold human rights. Israeli authorities must refrain from meting out collective punishment and they must take whatever steps necessary to prevent violence directed at Palestinians.

June 15

Media reports state that Palestinians firing live ammunition killed an Israeli civilian, and injured his wife. A nine year old boy riding in another car was injured. Civilians must be shielded from all hostilities and never targeted for attack. This obligation applies to all states, armed groups and individuals. Contrary to certain Palestinian claims, attacks against civilians within Israel’s borders are no different from attacks against settlers living in the West Bank. In both cases, the targets are civilians who must not be attacked and who must be protected from attacks.

April 15

In light of the recent escalation in violence on the Gaza-Israel border, B’Tselem reiterates that directing rocket and missile fire at civilians is prohibited and constitutes a war crime.Attacks aimed at civilians are immoral and illegal. The Hamas government in Gaza must take all legal measures at its disposal to stop the rocket fire. B’Tselem demands that all sides involved in the hostilities take all possible steps to protect civilians from the consequences. The laws of war obligate all sides to do all that is in their power to prevent harm to civilians.

March 13

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

After several months of field research and crosschecking data, human rights organization B’Tselem published a report today (Thursday, 9 May 2013) reviewing harm to civilians in Operation Pillar of Defense. The report provides statistics on the numbers of Palestinians and Israelis killed over the course of the operation, which lasted from 14 to 21 November 2012. The report challenges the common perception in the Israeli public and media that the operation was “surgical” and caused practically no fatalities among uninvolved Palestinian civilians. Furthermore, the report finds that there was a significant difference between the first and the final days of the operation: of the uninvolved Palestinian fatalities, 80% were killed in the last four days of the operation.

May 8

B’Tselem strongly condemns the stabbing attack at Tapuah Junction on Tuesday, 30 April, in which a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli civilian to death. The casualty is Evyatar Borovsky, approximately 30 years old, father of five children and resident of the settlement of Yizhar near Nablus.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.

April 30

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

"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

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