B’Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories strives to end Israel’s occupation, recognizing that this is the only way to achieve a future that ensures human rights, democracy, liberty and equality to all people, Palestinian and Israeli alike, living on the bit of land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Various political routes can bring about this future, and while it is not B’Tselem’s role to choose among them, one thing is certain: continued occupation is not an option.
B’Tselem (literally: in the image of), the name chosen for the organization by the late Member of Knesset Yossi Sarid is an allusion to Genesis 1:27: “And God created humankind in His image. In the image of God did He create them.” The name expresses the Jewish and universal moral edict to respect and uphold the human rights of all people.
For a quarter of a century, ever since its 1989 foundation, B’Tselem devoted itself primarily to documenting Israeli violations of Palestinians’ human rights in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip. With a view to helping minimize such violations, and based on the assumption that the occupation was a temporary state of affairs, B’Tselem published statistics, testimonies and eyewitness accounts, video footage and reports.
Yet after more than half a century of occupation, during which time Israel implemented policies which cemented significant changes that indicate long-term intentions, this reality can clearly no longer be considered a temporary one. Therefore, while continuing to document and publicize human rights violations, B’Tselem – in its capacity as a human rights organization – now unequivocally demands an end to the occupation. To promote that goal, B’Tselem works to expose the injustice, violence and dispossession inherent to the regime of occupation, to deconstruct the apparatuses that enable it, and challenge its legitimacy in Israel and internationally.
B’Tselem has garnered the high regard of human rights organizations in Israel and around the world. It has been the recipient of various awards, including the Carter-Menil Award for Human Rights (1989, jointly with Al-Haq); the Danish PL Foundation Human Rights Award (2011, jointly with Al-Haq); the Stockholm Human Rights Award (2014) and the Human Rights Award of the French Republic (2018, jointly with Al-Haq). B’Tselem’s video project also received various awards, including the British One World Media Award (2009) and the Israeli Documentary Filmmakers Forum Award (2012).
B’Tselem is an independent, non-partisan organization. It is funded solely by donations, both grants from European and North American foundations that support human rights activity worldwide and generous contributions by private individuals in Israel and abroad.
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