Hagai El-Ad speaking before the Danish parliament in Copenhagen, 9 June 2017

Several events were held in Brussels, Stockholm and Copenhagen to mark the milestone of 50 years since the Israeli occupation began. B’Tselem Executive Director Hagai El-Ad delivered a talk at two of these events - at the Swedish parliament on 7 June and at the Danish parliament on 9 June - saying: “For every moment of the last fifty years, we have all lived - and too many of us have died - in violence. It permeates the air in the occupied territories – for the oppression of one people by another is, by definition, violence. It can take the form of a bureaucrat denying a permit, or a soldier squeezing a trigger. Either way, every single day, it is violence - and it must end.” For the full text of El-Ad’s speech, click here.

A bulldozer hauling date palms uprooted by the Civil Administration. Photo by 'Aref Daraghmeh, B'Tselem, 5 April 2017

Israeli forces raid two Palestinian Jordan Valley communities in past two months, uprooting and confiscating trees and ruining fields on Palestinian-owned land. Over 75% of Jordan Valley lands have been taken over by Israel, with 150,000 hectares transferred to settlement regional councils. In recent years, Israel has increased efforts to expel local Palestinian communities. Palestinians now own a minute portion of Jordan Valley lands, yet Israel harasses them even there.

The Bakery Checkpoint in Hebron, late May 2017. Photo by Siham al-Fakhuri, B’Tselem volunteer

B’Tselem field researchers Manal al-Ja’bri and Musa Abu Hashhash were detained yesterday in Hebron while documenting the increase in movement restrictions imposed by the military at the Bakery Checkpoint. Al-Ja’bri was questioned and held in police custody in the settlement of Kiryat Arba until late last night. Abu Hashhash was held at the checkpoint for about 40 minutes and released.

Beit Lahiya, the Gaza Strip, 11 Jan. 2017. Photo: Mohammed Salem, Reuters

The Gaza Strip is in the throes of a humanitarian disaster. Without a regular power supply, all aspects of life are harmed. This reality is part of an Israeli policy, of the blockade Israel has imposed on Gaza for the past ten years. Despite this intolerable reality, the Israeli cabinet has decided to accept the Palestinian Authority’s cruel plan to further reduce the power supply to Gaza. This is not some sort of natural disaster. The reality in Gaza is the result of Israel’s handiwork. Israel can, and must, change this reality.

Sabaa ‘Obeid being evacuated. Photo by Miki Kratsman, Activestills, 12 May 2017

On 12 May 2017, during a protest against settlers’ takeover of a-Nabi Saleh village land, a sniper fired live ammunition at Sabaa ‘Obeid, 22, killing him. ‘Obeid - who had been throwing stones at soldiers from 80 meters away and posed no real threat - was shot as he was moving away. Regulations and officials both state that lethal gunfire is not to be used under such circumstances and is limited to cases of mortal danger and as a last resort. In practice, soldiers operate under other orders, using lethal measures in a variety of circumstances, resulting in injuries and fatalities.

Baraa Kan’an at home after he was discharged from hospital. Photo by Iyad Hadad, B’Tselem, 14 May 2015

On 12 May 2017, in a-Nabi Saleh, soldiers stopped an ambulance and removed Baraa Kan’an, 19, who was accompanying an injured person. The soldiers blindfolded Kan’an and took him to an unknown location where they abused him for hours, beating him, making death threats and covering him in earth, eventually leaving him out alone on a road. This abuse did not take place in a vacuum. Over the years, B’Tselem has documented many such violent incidents, which would not have taken place had the abusers not known they would have the full support of senior officials, and would not be held accountable.

Badi'a 'Odeh, 68, in hospital after being attacked by settlers. Photo by Salma a-Deb'i, B'Tselem, 22 April '17

On 22 April ‘17, settlers from Yitzhar and its outposts threw stones at cars and homes in the village of ‘Urif. Later that day, settlers attacked people and homes in the town of Huwarah. Security personnel who arrived at the scene made no arrests and allowed the attackers to simply walk away. Experience shows the police will likely not take any follow-up measures and the violence will continue. These attacks are allowed to continue as they are a privatized use of force, serving Israel’s agenda of taking over more land in the West Bank.

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The neighborhood of Batan al-Hawa in the heart of Silwan, East Jerusalem, is the setting for the largest expulsion in recent years in the city, a process supported by the Israeli government and courts. Click on the figures to enter the neighborhood’s story.

Over the past twenty years, Israel has taken measures to guarantee a nearly blanket exemption from its obligation under international law to pay compensation to Palestinians harmed by its security forces. In a new report released today (Wed., 8 March), B’Tselem traces the development of this practice and illustrates how it has led to a major drop in the number of claims for damages Palestinians filed in recent years. Israel’s policy reflects how little value it places on the lives, bodies and property of Palestinians living under its control.

Reality check: Almost fifty years of occupation

The occupation is 49 years old. That’s 17,898 days. International law defines occupation as a temporary situation, but after nearly 50 years the reality in the West Bank and Gaza can no longer be considered temporary. It is unreasonable to keep hoping that Israel end this situation of its own volition. As the occupation enters its 50th year, B’Tselem presents the current situation in the West Bank and Gaza. The facts are well-known. Equally well-known is that standing idly by means perpetuating the current situation. Determined action is needed now to clearly demonstrate the termination of local and international cooperation with the occupation.

B'Tselem has championed human rights in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for over two decades, promoting a future where all Israelis and Palestinians will live in freedom and dignity.

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