On 14 May 2021, settlers and soldiers invaded two villages, ‘Urif and Iskaka, in two incidents. The settlers, some armed, threw stones at homes and residents, who came out to defend themselves by throwing stones. In both villages, settlers and soldiers fired live rounds, injuring of 12 residents and killing two: ‘Awad Harb in Iskaka and Nidal Safadi in ‘Urif. Collusion between soldiers and settlers in the attacks on Palestinians has long been part of the routine in the West Bank that endangers the lives, property, and wellbeing of the villagers.
On 15 May 2021, violent clashes took place between soldiers and dozens of Palestinians at the northern entrance to al-Birah. Fadi Washahah (34) came to join a protest march that was about to reach the area, and headed with two other people towards a group of protesters hurling stones at soldiers. Before he reached them, soldiers unlawfully shot him, although he posed no risk, injuring him in the head from 70-100 meters away. He died two weeks later. Based on experience, the MPIU investigation launched will likely serve to whitewash the killing.
On 5 July 2021, sisters Rima and Iman a-Talhami were driving home within Hebron in the former’s car, which has Israeli license plates. Border Police officers at Checkpoint 160 inexplicably refused to let them through. In the ensuing argument, settlers joined in and one knocked Iman over. The officers beat her son Muhammad, arrested him and demanded the family not file a complaint in exchange for releasing him. Palestinians depend on the whims of security forces in Hebron and throughout the West Bank, and are familiar with this violent routine.
On 14 June 2021, a fire broke out on pastureland that lies on a ridge south of Beit Furik and Khirbet Tana. The settlement of Itamar was established on the ridge in 1984 on land belonging to Palestinian villages, and later joined by several outposts. The following day, settlers attacked Palestinian farmers, accused them of setting the fire, threatened them and damaged their property. State-backed settler violence has become a routine part of the occupation, leading to the increasing dispossession of Palestinians throughout the West Bank.
On 11 May 2021, dozens of settlers attacked residents of the Gheith neighborhood in central Hebron and threw stones at them. The latter threw stones back. Soldiers ignored the settlers and hurled tear gas and stun grenades at the residents. At one point, settlers stoned neighborhood resident Nael Fakhuri, a B’Tselem volunteer who was passing by with his son and a neighbor. Six Border Police officers then arrested him. He was transferred between police stations, beaten by soldiers and released two days later after paying NIS 4,000.
On Saturday, 26 June 2021, some 20 settlers invaded the village of a-Tuwani, stoned residents and beat some with sticks, injuring one. Soldiers then escorted the settlers to other communities. A settler fired at Palestinians and several others torched an agricultural structure of an a-Tuwani resident and damaged his olive grove. After the settlers retreated, other soldiers arrived and fired live fire and tear gas at the Palestinians and their homes. This is life for Masafer Yatta residents, whom Israel works to expel from their land.
On Wednesday, 12 May 2021, soldiers raided al-Fawwar R.C. to arrest three residents in their homes. After one arrest, soldiers remained on the home’s roof, firing live and "two-two" bullets at residents on nearby rooftops, balconies and streets. They injured four residents and killed Hussein' Atiyyah Titi, who was hit in the chest while on his roof. As they left, the soldiers fired at a Red Crescent ambulance, puncturing its tires. The unjustifiable shooting is another expression of the military's disregard for Palestinians’ lives.
On 14 May 2021, some 15 Palestinians from Salem went to a road by the village and threw stones at a car coming from the settlement of Elon Moreh. The driver got out and fired several shots at them. Soldiers who arrived fired tear gas, “rubber” bullets and live shots at them. The youths fled to the village while throwing stones at the soldiers. A sniper then shot one in the chest with a 0.22-inch-caliber bullet as he was turning to face the soldiers several dozen meters away – although regulations allow lethal fire only to counter mortal danger.
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.
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.