Updates

On Jul. 19, military and Civil Administration forces confiscated two water tanks in Kh. Tall al-Himma in the northern Jordan Valley, along with a pump from a spring used as the community’s main source of water. Solar panels were confiscated there on Jul. 5. The forces then cut a pipe used to bring water from a natural spring to a reservoir in the community of Kh. Um al-Jmal, used for livestock and irrigation. The cruel treatment of these communities, which Israel refuses to connect to the water system, is particularly brazen in the current scorching heat of the Jordan Valley.

The confiscation in h. Tall al-Himma today. Photo: 'Aref Daraghmeh, B'Tselem.
July 19

The Palestinian village of Jub a-Dib near Bethlehem has existed since 1929, yet Israel refuses to hook it up to the power grid. In late 2016, thanks to international aid, 96 solar panels were installed providing the 160 residents with regular electricity for the first time. Israel confiscated the panels on 28 June 2017. This is another example of Israel’s systematic abuse of Area C Palestinians, denying them basic services and confiscating or destroying alternatives provided by aid organizations.

The village of Jub a-Dib and the solar panels installed by Comet-ME, before they were confiscated. Photo by Guy Butavia, Ta'ayush, 9 March 2017
July 17

In two incidents in May 2017, Israeli security forces fired tear gas at civilians and homes in the West Bank, injuring a toddler and a child. This is the direct result of sending security forces into Palestinian villages with no justification. “Non-lethal crowd control measures” put babies, children, the elderly and patients at risk. When used permissively and indiscriminately, with no need and disregarding the danger involved, they may cause severe and completely unjustifiable injuries.

Footage of the evacuation of ‘Abd a-Rahman al-Majid, filmed by Falastin TV.
July 16

Hamas is reportedly holding at least two Israeli citizens - Avera Mengistu and Hashem a-Sayed -in Gaza as bargaining chips for the release of Hamas prisoners. A third Israeli crossed into Gaza 18 months ago and might also be held by Hamas. Holding people by force to be used as bargaining chips is immoral and unlawful. Hamas must immediately and unconditionally release the Israeli civilians it is holdings. Pending such release, it must treat them humanely and allow the ICRC to visit them.

Protest for Avraham Mengistu Israel, 17 Aug. 2015. Photo by Yotam Ronen, Activestills
July 10

Tamer Tamimi, 23, was detained at two checkpoints near Ramallah on 4 June, abused and beaten to the point of hospitalization. The arbitrary fashion in which soldiers can detain Palestinians at checkpoints for no apparent reason, demand they obey their orders, humiliate them and use violence against them is part of daily life for Palestinians in the West Bank. B’Tselem has documented many similar incidents which could not have happened without the soldiers’ knowing they would be backed by the senior government and military officials, including the MAG Corps, and that they will not be held accountable for their actions.

Soldiers detaining Tamer Tamimi and forcing him to kneel on the ground at ‘Atarah checkpoint
July 5

Today, Wednesday 5 July 2017, Civil Administration officials and the military came to the Palestinian community of Khirbet Tall al-Himma (Khallet Hamad) in the northern Jordan Valley, south of the community of ‘Ein al-Beida. They confiscated two solar panels used by five families, numbering 25 people, including 15 minors. The panels had been donated by a humanitarian aid organization in March 2017, after Israeli authorities confiscated the pre-fab one of the families had been living in.

CA confiscates solar panels from Tall al-Himma, 5 July 2017. Photo: 'Aref Daraghmeh, B'Tselem
July 5

Iman Hassan, a mother of six who lives in al-Bureij Refugee Camp, shares her story: “We’ve been suffering from the power cuts for over a decade, but things have become unbearable the past few months. We have power cuts for more than 12 hours a day. Our life, our sleep, everything is shaped by whether or not there’s power. Our roof is made of metal, so it’s hot as hell inside in the summer, but we can’t use the fan because there’s no electricity. The kids and I have to keep taking cold showers, otherwise it’s too hot to fall asleep. My baby boy, Ibrahim, sometimes gets a rash because it’s so hot. He cries at night and can’t fall asleep.”

Three of Iman Hassan Hamdan’s children. Photo by Khaled al-‘Azayzeh, B’Tselem 17 June 2017
July 4

On 16 June 2017, three Palestinians from Deir Abu Mash’al killed Israeli Border Police officer Hadas Malka and wounded four other people in East Jerusalem. They were immediately killed by Israeli security forces. Since then, the military has disrupted the daily lives of all 5,000 residents of the village, although they have been accused of no wrongdoing. This form of automatic retaliation has become a policy in which the military cynically abuses its power to mistreat civilians. This collective harm is morally and legally indefensible.

Soldiers stand beside the gate installed by the military at the main entrance to the village. Photo by 'Amer 'Aruri, B'Tselem, 19 June '17
June 29

On 6 Apr. 2017 a Silwad resident ran over and killed one soldier and injured another. He was arrested at the scene. For the next two months, Israeli security forces collectively punished the town: blocking roads, raiding homes at night, confiscating money and cars, and revoking Israeli work permits. The military disrupted the lives of more than 10,000 people who did nothing wrong and were suspected of no wrongdoing. This disruption of daily life is morally and legally indefensible, and is entirely based on a policy of violence that cynically exploits the military’s authority in order to abuse and intimidate a civilian population.

Gate installed by the military at the main entrance to Silwad. Photo by Iyad Hadad, B’Tselem, 23 May 2017
June 25

On 15 May 2017, Israeli navy soldiers shot and killed Muhammad Baker, 25, from a-Shati Refugee Camp in Gaza. B'Tselem’s investigation found the soldiers opened fire when Muhammad’s boat was 3 nautical miles off the coast within the zone in which the military permits Gazans to fish. As long as this routine continues, innocent fishermen will continue to risk arrest, injury or death to make a living. No one in Israel will be held accountable for the attacks and the usual whitewashing formalities will be applied.

Muhammad Baker, 25. photo courtesy of the family
June 22

Several events were held in Brussels, Stockholm and Copenhagen to mark the milestone of 50 years since the Israeli occupation began. B’Tselem Executive Director Hagai El-Ad delivered a talk at two of these events - at the Swedish parliament on 7 June and at the Danish parliament on 9 June - saying: “For every moment of the last fifty years, we have all lived - and too many of us have died - in violence. It permeates the air in the occupied territories – for the oppression of one people by another is, by definition, violence. It can take the form of a bureaucrat denying a permit, or a soldier squeezing a trigger. Either way, every single day, it is violence - and it must end.” For the full text of El-Ad’s speech, click here.

Hagai El-Ad at the Danish parliament, Copenhagen, 9 June 2017
June 21

Israeli forces raid two Palestinian Jordan Valley communities in past two months, uprooting and confiscating trees and ruining fields on Palestinian-owned land. Over 75% of Jordan Valley lands have been taken over by Israel, with 150,000 hectares transferred to settlement regional councils. In recent years, Israel has increased efforts to expel local Palestinian communities. Palestinians now own a minute portion of Jordan Valley lands, yet Israel harasses them even there.

A bulldozer hauling date palms uprooted by the Civil Administration. Photo by 'Aref Daraghmeh, B'Tselem, 5 April 2017
June 20

B’Tselem field researchers Manal al-Ja’bri and Musa Abu Hashhash were detained yesterday in Hebron while documenting the increase in movement restrictions imposed by the military at the Bakery Checkpoint. Al-Ja’bri was questioned and held in police custody in the settlement of Kiryat Arba until late last night. Abu Hashhash was held at the checkpoint for about 40 minutes and released.

The Bakery Checkpoint in Hebron, late May 2017. Photo by Siham al-Fakhuri, B’Tselem volunteer
June 18

The Gaza Strip is in the throes of a humanitarian disaster. Without a regular power supply, all aspects of life are harmed. This reality is part of an Israeli policy, of the blockade Israel has imposed on Gaza for the past ten years. Despite this intolerable reality, the Israeli cabinet has decided to accept the Palestinian Authority’s cruel plan to further reduce the power supply to Gaza. This is not some sort of natural disaster. The reality in Gaza is the result of Israel’s handiwork. Israel can, and must, change this reality.

Beit Lahiya, the Gaza Strip, 11 Jan. 2017. Photo: Mohammed Salem, Reuters
June 13

On 12 May 2017, in a-Nabi Saleh, soldiers stopped an ambulance and removed Baraa Kan’an, 19, who was accompanying an injured person. The soldiers blindfolded Kan’an and took him to an unknown location where they abused him for hours, beating him, making death threats and covering him in earth, eventually leaving him out alone on a road. This abuse did not take place in a vacuum. Over the years, B’Tselem has documented many such violent incidents, which would not have taken place had the abusers not known they would have the full support of senior officials, and would not be held accountable.

Baraa Kan’an at home after he was discharged from hospital. Photo by Iyad Hadad, B’Tselem, 14 May 2015
June 12

On 12 May 2017, during a protest against settlers’ takeover of a-Nabi Saleh village land, a sniper fired live ammunition at Sabaa ‘Obeid, 22, killing him. ‘Obeid - who had been throwing stones at soldiers from 80 meters away and posed no real threat - was shot as he was moving away. Regulations and officials both state that lethal gunfire is not to be used under such circumstances and is limited to cases of mortal danger and as a last resort. In practice, soldiers operate under other orders, using lethal measures in a variety of circumstances, resulting in injuries and fatalities.

Sabaa ‘Obeid being evacuated. Photo by Miki Kratsman, Activestills, 12 May 2017
June 12

On 22 April ‘17, settlers from Yitzhar and its outposts threw stones at cars and homes in the village of ‘Urif. Later that day, settlers attacked people and homes in the town of Huwarah. Security personnel who arrived at the scene made no arrests and allowed the attackers to simply walk away. Experience shows the police will likely not take any follow-up measures and the violence will continue. These attacks are allowed to continue as they are a privatized use of force, serving Israel’s agenda of taking over more land in the West Bank.

Badi'a 'Odeh, 68, in hospital after being attacked by settlers. Photo by Salma a-Deb'i, B'Tselem, 22 April '17
June 8

This morning (Thursday) Hagai El-Ad met with Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen; tomorrow he meets with the ambassadors of the 28 EU states in Brussels. Early this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared he would not meet with leaders who meet with organizations that work toward ending the occupation. This is yet another step taken by the Israeli government in its efforts to silence those who oppose its policies: the media, activists, academics, artists and human rights organizations. El-Ad says he will use his meetings to clarify that ending the occupation is pro-Israel, pro-Palestinian, and pro-justice.

June 1

Yesterday, 27 May 2017, “The Invisible Walls of Occupation” was announced as winner of the Best Interactive Experience Award at the T.O. WebFest 2017, a Toronto festival dedicated to web-based content. Viewers of the interactive documentary, which illustrates various aspects of Palestinians’ daily life under occupation, are invited on a virtual tour of the Palestinian village of Burqah. The project was co-produced by B’Tselem and Canadian digital studio Folklore, and is based on a B’Tselem report by the same name.

May 28

Some 150 Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike have reportedly been taken to hospital as their medical condition worsened. As long as Israel continues to ignore its obligations to the prisoners and violates their rights, their condition will deteriorate, raising fear of force-feeding, which the international medical community widely regards as prohibited. Holding so many Palestinians in prisons inside Israel, most without a fair trial, some with no trial at all, and the draconian restrictions they face are an integral part of the occupation regime.

Palestinian women demonstrating in East Jerusalem in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners' strike. Photo by Amar Awad, Reuters, 29 April 2017.
May 25