Still from video filmed by Tharwah ‘Eid, B'Tselem Camera Project

On 16 Mar. settlers harassed students in a Burin school, threw stones and fired in the air. Instead of arresting or removing the settlers, soldiers who came to the scene repeated their claims that students had thrown stones. The case illustrates how the military serves the settlers, acting as their mouthpiece, and does not protect Palestinians. It also demonstrates the double standard on stone throwing: Palestinians throwing stones are considered an immediate threat justifying lethal force; whereas settlers, even if they fire, are presumed to be justified and the military stands by as an onlooker.

Security forces accompany a Kh. Ras al-Ahmar family being evacuated. Photo by ‘Aref Daraghmeh, B’Tselem, 5 April 2017

On 5 April 2017 the CA evacuated nine families from Kh. a-Ras al-Ahmar, the northern Jordan Valley, from 5:00 P.M. until 5:00 A.M. the next morning. Forty people, incl. about 15 minors, were forced to leave behind their sheep and property, to vacate their homes and spend the night out in the open. In 2016, families from the community were evacuated ten times on the same pretext. The repeated evacuations cause an intolerable disruption to daily life, are unjustified and unlawful. Israel must immediately stop the evacuations and all other measures it is taking to drive out residents of the Jordan Valley.

Pre-fab homes at Badu al-Baba. Background: town of al-‘Eizariyah. Photo by ‘Amer ‘Aruri, B’Tselem, 9 August 2015

On 19 April 2017, in the Badu al-Baba community, northeast of Jerusalem, the CA demolished a 45-sqm pre-fab donated by an aid agency that served as home to a family of seven, including two minors. Their previous home had been demolished on 26 Jan. 2017. Badu al-Baba numbers some 350, about half of them minors and is in an area Israeli authorities designated for an expansion of the settlement of Maale Adumim so as to achieve a contiguous urban bloc from there to Jerusalem. The previous demolition there was on 26 Jan. 2017, when authorities demolished three families’ residential tents and two livestock pens.

Printing machine at the Ibn Khaldun Print Shop after the search. Photo by Abdulkarim Sadi, B’Tselem, 1 March 2017

In March 2017 soldiers entered two Tulkarm print shops for allegedly serving “illegal” organizations. They damaged equipment and caused the owners heavy losses, but arrested no one. The military law imposed by Israel in the West Bank allows soldiers to enter any Palestinian home or business without a warrant. The military often abuses this authority and causes damage to businesses and homes without any justification. This conduct is one of the most pervasive and powerful indications of Israel’s control over the lives of all Palestinians in the West Bank.

In 2016, Israeli security forces killed 101 Palestinians, incl. 31 minors – 90 in the West Bank (incl. East Jerusalem), 8 in Gaza, and 3 in Israel. Ten women and one female minor were among the casualties. Seventy-five (74%) were killed in attempted, alleged or real assaults on Israelis; another 17 (17%) were killed in clashes, protests, and stone-throwing incidents. The responsibility for these deaths lies with the top levels of Israel’s military and government, which allow this open-fire policy and the subsequent lack of accountability.

Nivin Bsharat. Still from video

A selection of films produced by B’Tselem’s video department will be screened during the 2017 Solidarity Human Rights Film Festival at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque. On 9 May, the festival will host an evening to mark a decade of work by B’Tselem’s camera distribution project: “The Best of the Worst” – a selection of videos that reflect various aspects of the occupation, which will be marking its 50th year this June. On 6 May, the festival will screen the video diaries of two Palestinian women from the Jordan Valley who documented their lives and the lives of their families.

Israeli medics evacuate an injured person following the stabbing attack, April 14, 2017. Ammar Awad, Reuters

B’Tselem expresses deep sorrow at the death of Hannah Bladon, 21, a British citizen who was stabbed to death yesterday (14 April 2017) by a Palestinian on Jerusalem's light railway. Two other people were lightly injured by the sudden braking of the train and required hospital treatment. B’Tselem conveys its sincerest condolences to the Bladon family, and its best wishes for a speedy recovery to the wounded. The deliberate targeting of civilians undermines every moral, legal and human standard. B’Tselem strongly condemns any and all deliberate attacks against civilians.

Siham Nimer

On 29 Mar. 2017 Border Police officers killed Siham Nimer, 49, as she approached a police barrier brandishing scissors. Given that they were behind the barrier and in protective gear, she likely could have been overpowered without lethal gunfire. Her son, Mustafa, 26, was killed in Sept. 2016 in Shu’fat R.C., also by police who were quick to shoot. Shooting to kill is permissible only in cases of mortal danger. There is a chilling gap between this principle and the present reality in which unjustified shoot-to-kill incidents are a frequent occurrence and are encouraged by public sentiment.

Rawnad Hanani and her children in Beit Furik. Photo by Salma a-Deb’i, B’Tselem

In Jan.-Feb. 2017, large numbers of troops entered homes at night in two villages in the Nablus District, waking whole families. In Beit Furik, they made one home into a temporary interrogation facility; in Burin, they forced young men to serve as human shields. This is yet another example of how the military abuses its power to disrupt the lives of Palestinians accused of no wrongdoing, invading their privacy and intimidating them. Israel’s security forces broadly abuse their authority, citing flimsy security considerations, to justify frequent, random raids on homes.

Ahmad Shbeir's photo in his room. Photo by Muhammad Sabah, B'Tselem, 23 Jan. 2017

Ahmad Shbeir was born in Gaza in 1999 with congenital heart defects. Gaza hospitals cannot perform the procedures he needed, so he underwent many operations in Israeli hospitals. Prior to the open-heart surgery he had scheduled for Sept. 2016 in an Israeli hospital, he was called in to meet with the ISA at Erez Checkpoint. His mother says he was then asked to become a collaborator with Israel. When he refused, he was told he would not get a permit to enter Israel, and his applications were in fact denied. His condition went from bad to worse and he died on 14 Jan. 2017.

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.

Today, 13 February 2017, B’Tselem released a new interactive documentary entitled “The Invisible Walls of Occupation”. Viewers are invited on a virtual tour of the Palestinian village of Burqah, a rural suburb of the city of Ramallah that has become cut off from its urban center through various restrictions imposed by Israel. The documentary has Burqah residents leading viewers on a virtual tour of their village. The project depicts the story of the village and illustrates various aspects of Palestinians’ daily life under occupation. The project was co-produced by B’Tselem and Canadian digital studio Folklore, and is based on a B’Tselem report by the same name.

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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