On 15 Dec. 2017, at a protest sparked by President Trump’s declaration, a soldier near the Gaza perimeter fence fatally shot Ibrahim Abu Thuraya (a double amputee) in the head. In Dec., another 7 protesters were fatally shot by soldiers on the other side of the fence; none of them posed mortal danger to the soldiers. This is a direct outcome of the military’s open-fire policy near the perimeter fence, which includes gunfire – also by snipers – at stone-throwers who pose no danger. The media reported that a military investigation was launched, yet experience shows it is highly unlikely to yield any action.
In January 2018, soldiers killed 5 Palestinians – 4 of them teenagers – in the West Bank and Gaza. All five were shot during clashes involving stone-throwing at soldiers, though none had posed a mortal threat. Israel’s defense establishment, including the military law enforcement system, is largely indifferent to such incidents and usually ignores them. This renders the open-fire regulations, designed to limit use of lethal fire, meaningless and conveys Israel’s deep disregard for Palestinians’ lives and bodily integrity.
Following Trump’s declaration regarding Jerusalem, December 2017 saw a rise in Gazan demonstrations near the fence with Israel, during which soldiers killed eight Palestinians with live fire and injured hundreds. B’Tselem found that none of the demonstrators killed were endangering the troops and there was no justification to use live fire at them. The officials who authorized the policy of suppressing demonstrations in Gaza with these measures likely took the predictable dire outcomes into account and bear responsibility for them.
In August 2014, Muhammad Abu Hadaf, then 6, was wounded by an Israeli missile fired near his home in al-Qararah. For more than three years, his family and doctors fought for his life, moving him paralyzed, blind and unable to speak from one hospital to another. On 6 December 2017, at age 9, he died of his injuries. Targeting homes with occupants inside was a horrifying aspect of Israel’s actions in Operation Protective Edge, resulting in the killing of more than 1,000 people who took no part in the fighting, including hundreds of children.
On 9 Aug. 2017 soldiers shot Raed Salhi, 21, as he attempted to flee during a detention operation in Duheisheh Refugee Camp. The soldiers later shot at his brother when he came to help Raed, who was only evacuated to hospital in Israel after 40 minutes. The medical team prevented Raed’s parents from visiting him and failed to update them on his condition and treatment. His brother was detained without trial and his mother was prohibited from entering Israel. Once again, no-one will be held responsible for the lethal and illegal shooting.
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 10 March 2017 Palestinians and Israeli security forces clashed in Silwad. A Border Police officer fired a sponge round, injuring D.T., 17. The officer then hit him in the head with a gun. D.T., who lost consciousness, was taken to Hadassah Hospital, Jerusalem, where he underwent surgery for a cranial fracture and subdural hematoma. During his 12 days in Hadassah Hospital, his parents were not allowed to approach him, and he was kept in restraints. While shocking, this case is not at all unusual, nor is the fact that no one will be held accountable, guaranteeing these injustices will continue as long as the occupation does.
During recent events, Israel has repeatedly demonstrated sweeping disregard for the lives and security of Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, and for their right to maintain a normal routine. The Israel Police treated Palestinian residents as if they were enemy soldiers, rather than as a civilian population for whose wellbeing and security it is responsible. This conduct is part of the way Israel controls East Jerusalem. Nothing but comprehensive and substantive change to this regime of control, and to the reality in Jerusalem, will ensure the human rights of all the people living in the city.
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.