Yesterday, Israeli High Court justices Barak-Erez, Baron and Elron rejected an appeal filed by 104 residents of Silwan to overturn a September 2002 decision by the Custodian of Absentee Property to "free" the land on which they have lived for decades. The land was "freed" by three people - all closely affiliated with Ateret Cohanim, a settler association that works to Judaize East Jerusalem. In the judgment, written by Justice Barak-Erez, the Court's role is narrowed down to examining several questions relating to administrative law. In choosing this avenue, the Court sent the residents back to fight, against all odds, the civil proceedings that Ateret Cohanim has undertaken in order to evict them from their homes.
At about 10:00 o’clock on the morning of Wednesday, 7 February 2018, Jerusalem Municipality inspectors arrived at the neighborhood of Wadi Yasul in Silwan with a bulldozer and a Border Police escort. They demolished the home of a Palestinian family of six, including four minors.
Ten Palestinians were killed and hundreds injured when Israeli troops used live gunfire during protests sparked by President Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem. Live gunfire is permitted only in case of immediate mortal danger that cannot be otherwise averted. The great number of Palestinian casualties will probably be addressed no differently from thousands of past cases of excessive and unlawful use of live gunfire. With the MAG Corps at the helm, those responsible for these deaths will be afforded protection instead of being held to account.
On 8 Sept. 2017, during a demonstration in the a-Sheikh Jarah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, police officers arrested ‘A.H., 15, assaulted his mother, and released him an hour later. They also arrested his brother M.H., 13, interrogated him, and obtained his signature on a statement written in Hebrew. He was released on bail at about 10:30 PM and spent five days under house arrest. This conduct is consistent with Israel’s policy on the detention of minors in East Jerusalem, which entails the systematic violation of their rights.
A new report published today by human rights NGOs HaMoked and B’Tselem reveals broad, systemic abuse by Israeli authorities of the human rights of hundreds of Palestinian teenagers arrested every year in East Jerusalem. Affidavits were collected from 60 such boys: they described being pulled out of bed in the middle of the night, handcuffed, interrogated in violation of their rights, then kept in custody under harsh conditions, sometimes for extended periods of time. These practices are part of Israeli policy, which considers the Palestinians living in East Jerusalem unwanted residents.
On Fri. July 21, scores of Israeli police raided al-Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem to arrest a critically wounded Palestinian. B’Tselem found that armed officers spread out through the wards seeking him, and tried to seize his bed when doctors attempted to get him to the OR. They also hit medical staff and others who tried to protect the man, who succumbed to his wounds during the raid. The police’s actions are unjustifiable, choosing a violent, life-threatening course instead of one that avoids harming medical staff, patients and the basic tenet that medical personnel and facilities are protected entities.
On 13 June 2017, Border Police knocked on a door in Silwan, East Jerusalem. When no one answered, they demanded the brother, who lives next door, provide them with keys. An argument ensued; Border Police then assaulted the man and his son, broke the man’s arm, and arrested both father and son. This is another staggering example of how unbearably easy it is for police to abuse East Jerusalem residents: arresting a father and young son, keeping the man for several hours and the son overnight, finally releasing him to a five-day house arrest on a NIS 1,000 bail – all without cause in the first place.
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.
On 7 May 2017, Fatimah Hjeiji, 16, approached a metal barrier near Damascus Gate, East Jerusalem. Hjeiji stopped, stood, and brandished a knife at 5 police officers on the other side of the barrier, who then fatally shot her. The Police District Commander called the shooting legal and appropriate, ignoring the facts of the case which indicate Hajij posed no threat to the officers. The continued policy of fatally shooting Palestinians who do not pose a mortal danger illustrates the discrepancy between accepted norms prohibiting such use and frequent shoot-to-kill incidents which are encouraged by senior officials and public sentiment.
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.