B'Tselem in the media

26 Feb 2015

Over the years, Israel has cultivated a separate legal system there. The Palestinians are ultimately governed by Israeli military rule — while Israel’s own criminal and civilian laws apply to more than 350,000 Jewish settlers in a way they cannot apply to Israeli expats.
The Palestinians “have no way of voting and electing those people who are making decisions about their future,” said Sarit Michaeli, from the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.

26 Feb 2015

Most Israeli settlers are not violent. But plenty are — even stoning American consular officials early this year — and they mostly get away with it because settlements are an arm of an expansive Israeli policy. The larger problem is not violent settlers, but the occupation. “We planted 5,000 trees last year,” Mahmood Ahmed, a Palestinian farmer near Sinjil told me. “Settlers cut them all down with shears or uprooted them.”

Israel has enormous security challenges, but it’s hard to see the threat posed by 69-year-old Abed al-Majeed, who has sent all 12 of his children to university. He told me he used to have 300 sheep grazing on family land in Qusra but that nearby settlers often attack him when he is on his own land; he rolled up his pant leg to show a scar where he said a settler shot him in 2013. Now he is down to 100 sheep. “I can’t graze my sheep on my own land,” he said. “If I go there, settlers will beat me.”

Sarit Michaeli of B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group, accompanied me here and said that the allegations are fully credible. Sometimes Palestinians exaggerate numbers, she said, but the larger pattern is undeniable: “the expulsion of Palestinians from wide areas of their agricultural land in the West Bank.”

17 Feb 2015

Mohammed Sabah, a researcher for the Israeli group B’tselem, was a big help on the ground. He led us to El Nuseirat Refugee Camp, where a 21-year-old named Youssef Abbas was said to be constantly plotting an escape and helping others do the same. We stopped at a mini market, whose owner had Youssef’s phone number, but the younger man wasn’t answering. Then, suddenly, Youssef appeared on the street. We all headed upstairs to Costa Coffee.

He told us, with Majd translating from the Arabic, that he had been apprehended for crossing twice, in 2010 and 2008, when he roamed an hour in Israel before getting caught. He said he’d tried twice more in September. Once, he was caught on the Gaza side by Palestinian security officials, who have beefed up patrols in response to the postwar increase. The other time, “the mistake was that my mobile was open,” he said. “My fiancée was calling me. She forced me to come back.”

28 Jan 2015

Israel's leaders broke international law by backing a policy of bombing houses in last summer's Gaza conflict, resulting in mass civilian casualties, an Israeli human rights group has said.

In a report published on Wednesday, B'tselem says key Israeli political and military figures persisted with the approach even after it became obvious that it would unavoidably kill many people not involved in the hostilities.

28 Jan 2015

Out of more than 5,500 Palestinians currently held by Israel, about 150 are underage and the vast majority of them male, according to official figures provided by Israeli human rights group B'Tselem. Arrested last month, Malak is one of only a few underage Palestinian girls who have ever been arrested and sentenced by Israeli authorities.

Sarit Michaeli from B'Tselem said that under Israel's military justice system, Malak will not be afforded the same rights and protections as Israeli minors under Israel's legal system. 'An Israeli child will not be held in detention for three weeks, not even a boy, yet alone a girl, because of these protections provided to children by the Israeli youth law,' she said.

28 Jan 2015

Israelische Bürgerrechtler haben Israels Streitkräften vorgeworfen, im Gaza-Krieg 2014 bewusst den Tod von Zivilisten in Kauf genommen zu haben. "Eines der Kennzeichen des Konflikts in diesem Sommer im Gazastreifen waren die zahlreichen Luftangriffe, die auf Wohngebäude zielten, die selbst dann zerstört wurden, wenn die Bewohner noch darin waren", schrieb die Organisation B'Tselem in einem 49-seitigen Bericht.

Diese Zerstörungen seien das "Ergebnis einer von Regierungsmitgliedern und dem Militäroberkommando vorgegebenen Politik". Israels Streitkräfte wiesen diese Anschuldigungen zurück: "Die israelische Armee greift in Gaza keine Wohngebäude an, sondern militärische Ziele, die sich oft im Inneren von Wohngebäuden befinden", hieß es in einer Stellungnahme.

27 Jan 2015

An Israeli human rights group said Israel’s attacks on residential buildings in Gaza during the 50-day war against Hamas last summer appeared in at least some instances to violate the provisions of international law and raised grave legal concerns in others, according to a report to be published on Wednesday.

Hagai El-Ad, the executive director of B’Tselem, said he found it disturbing that just a few weeks before Israeli elections, scheduled for March 17, and five months after the end of combat, the Gaza war was not a major subject of debate in Israel. Briefing reporters on Tuesday, he said his group intended to try to engage Israelis and raise public awareness of the issues through social media.

27 Jan 2015

"Impossible de dire que l'armée ne savait pas ou ne pouvait pas savoir combien de civils seraient tués dans ces attaques". L'ONG israélienne de défense des droits de l'Homme B'Tselem accuse, ce mercredi, l'armée israélienne d'avoir délibérément mené des bombardements sur la bande de Gaza alors même que le commandement savait que ces raids tueraient des civils, lors de son offensive de l'été.

"L'une des marques distinctives du conflit de cet été dans la bande de Gaza ont été les nombreux raids visant des immeubles résidentiels, détruits alors même que leurs habitants étaient toujours à l'intérieur", affirme ainsi dans un rapport l'ONG B'Tselem. Et ces destructions ont été "le résultat d'une politique formulée par les responsables gouvernementaux et le haut commandement militaire".

15 Dec 2014

According to the human rights group B’Tselem, Israel’s internal security service, the Shin Bet, used physical force against at least 850 persons per year in the years following the Landau Commission, usually not in the “ticking bomb” scenarios the report had used to justify such methods. These methods include depriving prisoners of sleep, forcing them into “stress positions,” threatening them, subjecting them to extreme temperatures, and blasting them with loud music—all methods that would later become commonplace in CIA interrogations.

7 Dec 2014

Human rights groups have called for an independent inquiry into the army’s conduct of the war that would go beyond investigations of alleged violations of its rules of engagement.
“The main cause of the terrible loss of civilian life in the Gaza Strip was not the result of soldiers disobeying regulations, but a matter of policy,” said Sarit Michaeli, spokeswoman for the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. “The issue is more the orders themselves, rather than whether they were violated.”
A signature tactic of the Israeli campaign was bombing family homes of suspected militants, attacks that caused extensive civilian casualties, according to witnesses and rights groups that investigated the incidents. The army said that the homes were targeted because they were used as command centers for militant activity.

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/12/07/249259/israel-opens-8-new-criminal...