The military has been blocking car traffic at the main entrance to al-Fawwar R.C. since Mon. evening (19 Feb), denying access to Road 60. Soldiers said only that the gate was closed as punishment for the theft of a security camera. This closure affects not only al-Fawwar but also tens of thousands of people living in nearby villages and in western Yatta. In early January 2018, the military closed the gate for 5 days, and has since closed it several times for short durations. in July 2016, the military closed the gate for the month.
Between January 13 and January 26, Israeli security forces arrested at least 153 Palestinians, including 13 minors; made at least 116 raids on towns and villages, and raided at least 83 homes; and set up at least 219 flying checkpoints.
Since Nov. 2017, the military has imposed harsh travel restrictions on the residents of Masafer Yatta in the South Hebron Hills. After residents removed roadblocks, ditches were dug to almost entirely prevent travel in and out of the area. Residents now have to walk long distances on foot, sometimes in rough weather, or suffer damage to private cars that cannot, in any case, transport bulk goods. This is another aspect of the Israeli authorities’ harassment of these Palestinians for decades, to pressure them to leave the area.
Israel keeps thousands of Palestinians imprisoned in Israel, in breach of international law, forcing relatives to request permits to visit. Over the years it has imposed immense obstacles to visits from Gaza. Currently, only spouses and children under 16 are allowed, and only once every two months; grandparents and siblings are barred. Israel must stop this violation of the rights of prisoners and their families and allow them visits without imposing arbitrary restrictions as maintaining family ties is a fundamental human right, and prisoners are no exception.
For 40 days, as of 11 August 2017, the military closed off the main entrance by car to Kafr a-Dik, a village west of Salfit, on the grounds that local youths had thrown suspect objects and Molotov cocktails at Route 446, which is used by settlers. For over a month, the military casually disrupted the lives of some 6,500 Palestinians who were not suspected of any wrongdoing. There can be no moral or legal justification for this cynical abuse of military power.
On Tuesday, 26 September, Nimer Mahmoud Jamal, 37, from Beit Surik carried out an attack in the settlement of Har Adar, killing a Border Police officer and two settlement security guards: Sgt. Solomon Gavryia, 20, Yusef Othman, 25 and Or Arish, 25. Border Police officers and the settlement security coordinator – who himself had been moderately hurt during the incident according to the police – shot and killed Jamal. Immediately following the attack, the military implemented punitive measures against the residents of nine villages in the area of Beit Surik, northwest of Jerusalem, totaling about 40,000 people. The military’s actions included raids on villages and homes, damaging property in some cases, scores of arrests, as well as movement restrictions.
On 23 July 2017, soldiers shot N.R., 13, after he went through an opening in the Separation Barrier near Jayus. He was hospitalized in Israel for a month and underwent three operations. For the first eight days, soldiers guarding his room prevented his parents from staying with their son and briefly tied him to the bed. His parents were not present when he was interrogated and when his detention was extended. This grave conduct of the security forces is far from unusual, reflecting both declared policy and norms that have developed.
On 8 Sept. 2017, at about 3:00 P.M., a military force came with a bulldozer to the dirt road that connects the town of Yatta with the villages of Masafer Yatta, dug it up and blocked it off with rocks. The destruction of the road, which had been renovated just a day earlier with aid funding, forces villagers to now take a long detour. Masafer Yatta, which extends southeast of Yatta in the South Hebron Hills, is home to more than 1,000 people which Israel has been trying to expel for many years, including by declaring the area Firing Zone 918.
On 13 Aug. 2017, Israeli security forces welded shut a door in the al-Muhtaseb home in central Hebron, using severe violence against a family member who tried to stop them. Their claim that this was needed to prevent “suspects” from passing through is unfounded. Even if it were true, it could not justify such harm. This is another example of Israel’s policy of segregation and restrictions on Palestinian movement in central Hebron, coupled with abuse, violence and daily harassment by security forces and settlers.
Israel’s regime of occupation is inextricably bound up in human rights violations. B’Tselem strives to end the occupation, 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.