Updates

Attacks on Israeli civilians by Palestinians

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

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

"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

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

"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

" I was 8 years old and in third grade. We were at the children’s house playing Frisbee outside. Suddenly there was a "Code Red" Alert. Everyone hid behind trees but I ran by myself in another direction; maybe it was the stress. I looked up at the sky and saw the Qassam coming toward me. I was able to get behind one of the trees and then the rocket fell and I was injured in the leg by shrapnel."

November 18

"Once I did experience a really difficult incident with a rocket falling on the kibbutz. One day, about six months ago, I was alone at home and standing near the window and suddenly I heard a whistling and an insane boom and I could feel the shock wave there at the window. There was no Red Alert beforehand. So I just ran to the secure room and began screaming and I couldn’t stand up and the Qassam had landed next to the neighbor’s house. That was a horrifying moment, and even now I tremble a little when I talk about it."

November 18

Initial B'Tselem investigations indicate that between the launch of the Israeli military’s “Pillar of Defense” operation and the night of 17 Nov., 43 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip from Israeli fire. At least 13 of them were civilians, including seven children (five of them toddlers under the age of 4), and two women. Three Israelis have been killed as a result of rocket fire from Gaza by Palestinian militant organizations.

November 18

B'Tselem condemns the recent rocket fire by Palestinian organizations in the Gaza Strip at civilian areas in Israel. Today, the rocket fire killed three civilians and injured others, including a child and two babies.Aiming an attack at civilians is immoral and constitutes a war crime.

November 15

In light of the recent escalation in violence around the Gaza Strip, the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem has repeated its demand that all parties to the conflict take all feasible measures to protect civilians from the impact of the fighting.

March 12

B'Tselem condemns the recent rocket fire by Palestinian organizations in Gaza at civilian areas in Israel. Yesterday, the firing killed Moshe Ami, 56, a father of four from Ashkelon. The organizations firing the rockets and mortar shells into Israel openly state their aim to kill civilians. Intentionally attacking civilians is immoral and constitutes a war crime.

October 30

On Friday, 23 Sep. '11, Israeli civilian Asher Hillel Palmer and his one-year-old son Yonatan were killed when their car overturned on Route 60, near the West Bank village of Halhul. On 25 Sept., the Israel Police said that the father had been struck by a stone that was hurled at the car, smashing the windshield, and that the perpetrators were suspected to be Palestinians. Intentional violence against civilians is prohibited and constitutes a criminal offense. The police must act to bring the perpetrators to justice, in accordance with due process and protection of the suspects’ rights.

September 26

Aiming attacks at civilians is both immoral and illegal, and the intentional killing of civilians is defined a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and a war crime that cannot be justified, under any circumstance. Furthermore, the rockets and mortar shells are illegal weapons, even when aimed at military objects, as they are greatly imprecise and endanger civilians present both in the area from which they are fired and where they land, thus violating two fundamental principles of the laws of war: distinction and proportionality.

August 21