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.
Since the 1990s, Israel has implemented a segregation policy in central Hebron, prohibiting Palestinians from driving along – and in some cases even walking on – major streets in the area. In May 2017, these severe restrictions were stepped up. This collective punishment has taken a toll on tens of thousands of Palestinians, preventing them from leading normal lives and making daily routine unbearable. In applying these measures, Israel is effecting a gradual, silent transfer of Palestinians from the heart of Hebron.
On 16 June 2017, three Palestinians from Deir Abu Mash’al killed Israeli Border Police officer Hadas Malka and wounded four other people in East Jerusalem. They were immediately killed by Israeli security forces. Since then, the military has disrupted the daily lives of all 5,000 residents of the village, although they have been accused of no wrongdoing. This form of automatic retaliation has become a policy in which the military cynically abuses its power to mistreat civilians. This collective harm is morally and legally indefensible.
On 6 Apr. 2017 a Silwad resident ran over and killed one soldier and injured another. He was arrested at the scene. For the next two months, Israeli security forces collectively punished the town: blocking roads, raiding homes at night, confiscating money and cars, and revoking Israeli work permits. The military disrupted the lives of more than 10,000 people who did nothing wrong and were suspected of no wrongdoing. This disruption of daily life is morally and legally indefensible, and is entirely based on a policy of violence that cynically exploits the military’s authority in order to abuse and intimidate a civilian population.
On 15 May 2017, Israeli navy soldiers shot and killed Muhammad Baker, 25, from a-Shati Refugee Camp in Gaza. B'Tselem’s investigation found the soldiers opened fire when Muhammad’s boat was 3 nautical miles off the coast within the zone in which the military permits Gazans to fish. As long as this routine continues, innocent fishermen will continue to risk arrest, injury or death to make a living. No one in Israel will be held accountable for the attacks and the usual whitewashing formalities will be applied.
B’Tselem field researchers Manal al-Ja’bri and Musa Abu Hashhash were detained yesterday in Hebron while documenting the increase in movement restrictions imposed by the military at the Bakery Checkpoint. Al-Ja’bri was questioned and held in police custody in the settlement of Kiryat Arba until late last night. Abu Hashhash was held at the checkpoint for about 40 minutes and released.
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.