As the whole world battles an unprecedented and paralyzing healthcare crisis, Israel’s military is devoting time and resources to harassing the most vulnerable Palestinian communities in the West Bank, that Israel has attempted to drive out of the area for decades. Shutting down a first-aid community initiative during a health crisis is an especially cruel example of the regular abuse inflicted on these communities, and it goes against basic human and humanitarian principles during an emergency. Unlike Israel’s policies, this pandemic does not discriminate based on nationality, ethnicity or religion. It is high time the government and military acknowledged that now, of all times, Israel is responsible for the health and wellbeing of the five million Palestinians who live under its control in the Occupied Territories.
On 23 Feb. 2020, soldiers shot two Islamic Jihad operatives near the perimeter fence in the southern Gaza Strip, killing one and wounding the other. The military claims it fired after the two tried to plant explosives near the fence. The wounded man managed to crawl away, and soldiers shot and injured two men who tried to evacuate the body, though they posed no danger to anyone. A military bulldozer then damaged the body before scooping and snatching it. This wanton, grotesque behavior defies any conceivable moral or legal principle.
The spread of COVID-19 in the Gaza Strip will be a massive disaster, resulting entirely from the unique conditions created by more than a decade of Israeli blockade: a failing healthcare system, extreme poverty, dependence on humanitarian aid, dysfunctional infrastructure and harsh living conditions that compromise public health – even before exposure to the new virus – combine with overcrowding to form a nightmare scenario.
On 7 Feb. 2020, during a protest by the Separation Barrier near Qaffin, Palestinian youths lit tires and threw stones and empty bottles at Israeli soldiers on the other side of the barrier. At one point, a soldier fired a live round from a jeep despite no danger to the force, striking Bader Nafleh, 19, in the neck. Experience shows that no one will be held accountable – the shooter, his commander, or those who gave the orders enabling the shooting. As long as the whitewashing policy continues, so will lethal, illegal shooting of Palestinians.
Israel Police continues to abuse Palestinians in al-’Esawiyah, including false arrests of minors, in operation ongoing since April 2019
B’Tselem’s analysis finds AG’s claims, that the ICC has no jurisdiction in Palestine, rely on intentional misquotation, disregard for international law and an absurd misrepresentation of reality. Contrary to the AG’s position, the ICC has jurisdiction to carry out the necessary investigation of the situation in Palestine. This morning, B’Tselem published a position paper refuting the conclusion of Attorney General Dr. Avichai Mandelblit – the highest legal authority in Israel’s executive branch, whose legal opinion represents the government – that the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has no jurisdiction to investigate suspected war crimes by Israel.
On Jan. 24, soldiers came into the village of Deir Nidham, northwest of Ramallah, jumped a 15-year-old and put him in their jeep. When locals tried to intervene, a soldier fired in the air, and then at a passerby - injuring him. The teen was taken to a military base, interrogated and held until evening. His parents were not told where he was. For most Israelis and their political and military leaders, this seems trivially routine. For those living under our control, it is a brutal, terrifying routine that scars the body and the mind.
Blocking roads, throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at cars and homes, raiding villages by night, torching houses and fields, uprooting trees, damaging property, physically assaulting and shooting: settler violence against Palestinians has long since become routine, meant to drive Palestinians out of their land and make it clear who is in charge – fully backed by the state. To convey the frequency and severity of these incidents, we decided to start a new blog on B’Tselem’s website, with monthly updates giving voice to people exposed to these acts of violence.
At this very moment, hundreds of thousands of women and girls are dealing with stifling unemployment and unbearable living conditions. To mark International Women’s Day, B’Tselem has chosen to share the voices of five women and their stories of coping with an impossible reality forced upon them.
Photo of Samar al-Bu’, Beekeeper
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.