In a joint statement published on 5 Nov. 2021, we called on the international community to unequivocally oppose Israel’s designation of six Palestinian NGOs as ‘terrorist organizations’. As our statement says: criminalizing human rights organizations is an act of cowardice, characteristic of authoritarian regimes. The designations are intended to intimidate donors and hurt support for the organizations. We urge all donors of the six NGOs – governments, foundations and individuals – to maintain and, if possible, to increase their funding.
In so-called training, the military destroyed hundreds of dunams of crops, tilled fields and farming roads in the area of Khirbet Ibziq. Soldiers fired shells hundreds of meters from community homes, and the Civil Administration again demolished the tents of three families. The official insistence on training in the area, and that in any case it is a “closed firing zone” barred to Palestinians, relies on empty arguments masking the Israeli apartheid regime’s long-term goals: driving the residents out to further control and use area resources.
On 23 Oct. 2021, Turmusaya residents were harvesting olives on their land, near which the Adei Ad outpost was established, joined recently by a settler “farm”. Some 20 masked settlers attacked them with clubs and stones, injuring several of them. Dozens of residents came to help protect the land, and soldiers who arrived fired tear gas and “rubber” bullets at them. The settlers also torched a car and damaged several others. This incident is no exception: such settler attacks are another tool Israel uses to take over Palestinian land in the West Bank.
On 6 and 7 November, settlers came from the Manne farm outpost to a well that serves the community of Sadet a-Tha’leh in the South Hebron Hills. Residents tried to drive them away, but the settlers attacked them and even injured several of them. Israeli security forces arrived immediately and summoned a resident for questioning; in the second incident, they declared the area a closed military zone. Settlers from the farm have taken over some 1,500 dunams in which they prevent Palestinians from accessing farmland and pastureland.
On 16 Dec. 2021, Muhannad Misk (7) came across soldiers chasing neighborhood children who had thrown stones at them. Frightened, he ran into a store to hide, but a soldier came in and led the crying child out. His mother rushed to the scene and pulled him away from the soldiers, who demanded he lead them to the children they claimed had thrown stones. Muhannad clung fearfully to his mother and said he didn’t know them. The soldiers released him – only after an officer threatened his mother he would be arrested the next time.
Since the pandemic broke out, Israel has banned the 230 Gazan prisoners held in its territory from receiving family visits. As “security prisoners”, they are not even allowed phone calls. Israel’s longstanding policy cites various security pretexts to justify these blanket bans, isolating Gazan prisoners and causing great suffering to their families, who cannot meet or even talk to their loved ones for months and sometimes years.
On 21 Nov. 2021, masked policemen broke into the Abu al-Hummus family's building in al-‘Esawiyah, East Jerusalem. The officers attacked several occupants and arrested four brothers. Muhammad Abu al-Hummus was questioned for long hours, after which it turned out that he had been mistakenly arrested and he was released without charge. Two of his brothers were detained for two days, then released to house arrest. This is how security forces run the lives of Palestinians in East Jerusalem, enjoying far-reaching powers and no accountability.
During a protest at the entrance to al-Birah, Border Police officers fired a “rubber” bullet at the leg of a protester and arrested him. When volunteer paramedic Muhammad ‘Omar (28) tried to treat the wounded man, an officer hit him in the face and fired a sponge round at his chest from mere meters away, winding and bruising him. Shooting the paramedic, who was simply fulfilling his duty, was unlawful and dangerous: sponge rounds fired at the upper body at such short range can lead to much graver injury.
On 5 Nov. 2021, around midday, young Palestinians threw stones at soldiers near the village of Deir al-Hatab. According to eyewitnesses, a stone hit a soldier in the face and he opened fire, fatally hitting Muhammad Da’adas (15) in the abdomen. As such, the killing of the teen is yet another outcome of Israel’s open-fire policy in the West Bank, which views lethal fire at Palestinians as an almost routine act that does not require exceptional circumstances. The military’s investigation is likely to yet again whitewash and reinforce this policy.
In May round of fighting, Israel bombed four towers in the Gaza Strip, warning the occupants to leave but giving them no time to take anything. A resident of one tower said: “[E]veryone was standing out on the street. It looked like Judgement Day. You’re sitting safely inside your home and suddenly, it’s blasted and completely destroyed, turned into a pile of rocks and sand. All your furniture is swallowed up in the rubble, and all your beautiful memories from the happy days you spent in the house are lost in a flash, as if they never existed.”
Israel’s regime of apartheid and occupation is inextricably bound up in human rights violations. B’Tselem strives to end this regime, as that is the only way forward to a future in which human rights, democracy, liberty and equality are ensured to all people, both Palestinian and Israeli, living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.