On Thursday, 24 May 2018, three Israeli Supreme Court justices – Noam Sohlberg, Anat Baron and Yael Willner – ruled that the state may demolish the homes of the community of Khan al-Ahmar, transfer the residents from their homes and relocate them. This ruling removes the last stumbling block in Israel’s way in the matter, lifting the impediment which had thus far served to defer the transfer of the community, a war crime under international law. While it is a policy shaped by the government, the justices – here as well as in other cases – pitched in and paved the road to the commission of a war crime. Personal liability for the commission of this crime will fall not only on policy-makers. Those who paved the juridical route enabling the crime are equally liable.
The demonstrations held in Gaza today came as no surprise. Israel had plenty of time to come up with alternate approaches for dealing with the protests, apart from firing live ammunition. The fact that live gunfire is once again the sole measure that the Israeli military is using in the field evinces appalling indifference towards human life on the part of senior Israeli government and military officials. B’Tselem calls for an immediate halt to the killing of Palestinian demonstrators. If the relevant officials do not issue an order to stop the lethal fire, the soldiers in the field must refuse to comply with these manifestly unlawful open-fire orders.
Since 30 March 2018, more than 2,000 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli live fire at protests near the Gaza fence. Doctors there report unusually severe injuries and the healthcare system, already failing after a decade of Israeli blockade, cannot provide proper care. Rehabilitation options are also few and too expensive for most. Israel is responsible for this state of affairs: it ordered the unlawful shooting, brought the Gazan healthcare system to the verge of collapse and is denying the wounded rehabilitation – in or out of Gaza.
More than fifteen Israeli human rights organization respond today to the Israeli government's decision to deport Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine Director at Human Rights Watch. Israel’s decision to deport a Human Rights Watch official, and the growing list of people to whom it denies entry for criticizing of the occupation, place Israel squarely on a list of disreputable states. The governments of such states try to control people’s minds, thoughts and actions, instead of safeguarding people’s freedom of speech, and their freedom to act and protest government policies. Particularly worrying is the fact that Israeli authorities compile “personal dossiers” on foreign nationals because of things they have said or for having taken part in legitimate political activities.
On 6 March 2018, some 30 settlers coming from the direction of Yitzhar attacked two Palestinian men working on ‘Einabus village land. After the two escaped, the settlers retreated and returned with soldiers, entering into mutual stone-throwing with residents rallied on the village loudspeaker. The soldiers joined the assault with live fire, “rubber” bullets and teargas. Six residents were injured. Such attacks, which keep Palestinians away from their land, are part of the occupation routine, which Israel exploits to grab more land.
Al-Jalazun R.C., north of Ramallah, has some 14,000 residents, 5,000 of them minors. The settlement of Beit El, built nearby in 1977, has expanded toward the camp and the schools at its entrance, resulting in a constant military presence on the roads leading to the school, which, in turn, leads to recurrent clashes with the local Palestinian residents. The Israeli military’s conduct during these clashes disrupts classes and puts students in danger as they walk to and from school and even inside the school, as the teargas the soldiers so often fire penetrates the classrooms.
On 4 Feb. 2018, 20 members of the Qabaha family from the village of Tura al-Gharbiya who work in a settlement industrial zone discovered that their work permits had suddenly been revoked. For nearly three months, Israel has been denying them and their families their livelihood without offering any explanation. This is but another example that illustrates the injurious impact of Israel’s policies in the Occupied Territories, the military’s arbitrary and indiscriminate use of power, and the blanket denial of Palestinians’ rights in the West Bank.
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.