In May 2021, Palestinians throughout the West Bank protested against the fighting in Gaza, police violence at al-Aqsa Mosque and planned evictions in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. They mainly burned tires, blocked roads and threw stones at soldiers. Israeli troops suppressing the protests killed 13 demonstrators, two of them minors. The reckless open-fire policy employed against protesters not endangering lives, illustrated in three cases below, conveys, yet again, Israel’s disregard for Palestinians’ lives and wellbeing.
On Tuesday, 18 May 2021, shortly before residents of Bil'in were about to protest near the Separation Barrier west of the village, two soldiers appeared from an ambush beyond the barrier. The soldiers fired from about 40 meters away at young men who threw stones, hitting Islam Dar Nasser (16) in the head, who died of his wounds shortly afterward. The deadly shooting was carried out unlawfully and is another expression of the Israeli military's open-fire policy in the Occupied Territories, which permits lethal live fire in response to any threat.
On 30 May 2021, soldiers entered the home of the Muqbal family in Beit Ummar, woke the inhabitants up and demanded the parents bring their son Sanad (12) in for questioning. The next day, Sanad was interrogated alone and then held overnight in a small, dark cell with a water-soaked mattress and no food or drink. In the morning, he was transferred to Megiddo Prison. He was sentenced to 31 days in prison in a plea bargain, but granted administrative release after 16 days and abandoned, alone, at Jalameh Checkpoint.
On July 7, 2021, Israel committed an attempted forcible transfer – a war crime – against residents of Humsah. In a break from the previous five demolitions in the community within less than a year, yesterday, Israeli soldiers and Civil Administration staff removed the contents of some residents’ homes and transported the items to an area located near ‘Ein Shibli, where Israel has been trying to forcibly relocate residents. Israel misrepresented these actions as being part of dialog and consent, proving, if anyone still entertained any doubts, it is intent on expelling these residents from their homes permanently.
This morning, Wednesday, July 7, 2021, Israeli military and Civil Administration personnel arrived at the tent-dwelling community of Khirbet Humsah in the Jordan Valley. According to early reports, the forces have dismantled and confiscated tents housing numerous community members along with everything inside them, loading them onto trucks well into the evening. Buses also arrived at the scene to remove residents who were left without shelter in the sweltering heat. The residents, who refuse to leave, fear they will be expelled by force during the night.
On 14 May 2021, settlers and soldiers came to the village in Nablus District. The settlers threw stones at homes and residents and fired in the air, and residents threw stones at them. The soldiers used force against the residents instead of distancing the settlers. After the party moved to a distant hilltop, a soldier shot and killed 'Asirah and injured another resident although they posed no danger. Such collaboration between soldiers and settlers is part of Israel’s unofficial policy to drive Palestinians out and take over West Bank land.
In the early morning hours of 25 May 2021, an Israeli Special Police Unit vehicle stopped in front of a car just after Ahmad ‘Abdu (25) got into it, in the Palestinian town neighborhood of Um a-Sharayet next to al-Bireh in the West Bank. Officers who got out of the vehicle immediately fired several shots at the car and surrounded it, apparently dragging ‘Abdu out. They then left without extending him first aid. A Border Police statement claimed ‘Abdu had been killed as part of an “arrest operation”, but offered no explanation for the lethal shooting. Shooting at a person sitting in his car, without even trying to arrest him, is not an “attempted arrest”. It is a targeted killing.
On Sunday, 23 May 2021, at around 6:00 P.M., about 15 settlers, escorted by about five soldiers, led a herd of some 60 cows from east to west through Wadi Qana, a fertile valley with cultivated farmland belonging to residents of Deir Istiya and other villages, which Israel is trying to take over.
Although Israel claims it ensures accountability for offenses against Palestinians, Josh Breiner revealed today in Israeli daily Ha’aretz, following complaints filed by Israeli rights group HaMoked, that appalling attacks by Israeli prison guards against bound Palestinian prisoners at Ketziot Prison were whitewashed. The investigation of this clear-cut, documented case, in which the victims knew precisely who harmed them, was shut down by law enforcement authorities after several symbolic gestures, on the grounds of “perpetrator unknown.” No one bothered to even mix the white paint, let alone cover someone in it.
In April 2021, B’Tselem documented three incidents in which settlers and soldiers tried to drive members of the a-Tamimi family, who live in the village of Deir Nizam, from their farmland near the village of a-Nabi Saleh.
Israel’s regime of apartheid and occupation is inextricably bound up in human rights violations. B’Tselem strives to end this regime, 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.