In March 2020, Israel announced that as part of its fight against the coronavirus, it would reduce even further the number of Palestinians permitted to leave Gaza for medical care. Permit numbers also dropped as patients feared travel during the pandemic and the PA halted coordination with Israeli authorities. Israel, which is responsible for the dire state of Gaza’s healthcare system and for holding Gazans effectively imprisoned, avoided its duty to provide solutions and allow sick residents access to the care they need.
After midnight on 6 April 2021, soldiers set up a flying checkpoint on the road from Bir Nabala to al-Jib and opened fire at Osama and Sumayah Mansur, who were driving back from the doctor, killing Osama. B’Tselem’s investigation found that despite the military’s announcement of a car-ramming attack, the driver had stopped at the checkpoint and, after a brief argument, resumed driving in a lane with no soldiers. Based on years of experience, the MPIU investigation launched is likely to serve merely as a fig leaf to whitewash the killing.
On 19 March 21, residents of Beit Dajan held their weekly protest against an outpost built on their land and related settler violence. ‘Atef Hanayshi, one of several protestors who were throwing stones at soldiers dispersing the protest, came within several dozen meters of a soldier – who shot and killed him, even though he was not in mortal danger. Hanayshi is the 39th person killed in the West Bank since 2015 by Israeli security forces’ unjustified live fire at Palestinians who threw stones or were suspected of throwing stones.
B’Tselem is publishing the results of its new commissioned public opinion survey. The survey, conducted by Dr. Dahlia Scheindlin and Dr. Khalil Shikaki, took a fresh approach by examining what all people living under Israeli control – Israeli and Palestinian citizens and Palestinian subjects in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip (WBG&EJ) –think about the current situation, their lives and the future, analyzed as a single population unit, rather than two separate populations.
On 21 Feb. 2021, soldiers arrested brothers Aws (10) and Muhammad (8) Salah a-Din from Hizma, who were riding bicycles by their home, and accused them of throwing stones. They handcuffed the children and held them for hours, including inside a military base, before handing them over to the Palestinian police, and ultimately to their father, at night. Arresting children below the age of criminal responsibility, holding them in handcuffs and not informing them or their parents when they will be released, is both illegal and immoral.
Five Palestinians aged 9 to 13 were picking wild greens near the outpost of Havat Ma’on when two settlers approached and they fled. Soldiers chased and arrested them, although most are below the age of criminal responsiblity. The cavalier approach of senior officers, who overlook the imperative to avoid the traumatic arrest of children unless crucial, cannot be justified. Israel’s view of the arrest and even prosecution of Palestinian children as an acceptable routine defies the basic tenets of justice and the provisions of international law.
On 1 March 2021, Israeli police forces raided the ‘Obeid home in the neighborhood of al-‘Esawiyah, violently assaulting Marwan ‘Obeid and arresting his son, Tareq. The police also sprayed foul-smelling liquid along the streets and inside a house. ‘Obeid was taken to hospital for bruising following his interrogation, and released under house arrest after posting bail. The ongoing police violence in al-‘Esawiyah is another facet of Israel’s oppression of Palestinians in East Jerusalem, aimed at driving them out and maintaining a Jewish majority.
On Sunday, 29 November 2020, soldiers entered al-'Arrub R.C. Some youths threw stones at the soldiers who responded with tear gas canisters and stun grenades. The soldiers severely beat one of the youths, Muhammad Muqbal (16), breaking his jaw, and arrested him and others. Muqbal underwent surgery and was then returned to detention for 26 days. He was released after the prosecution’s remand request was rejected twice. Israel boasts laws and procedures ostensibly in place to safeguard minors’ rights, but in practice, arrests hundreds of Palestinian minors every year, systemically and systematically violating their rights.
On Friday, 5 Feb. 2021, three Palestinians from al-Jalazun R.C. were waiting for a taxi near the southern entrance to Silwad. When a military jeep neared, the three ran towards the town. Four soldiers got out of the jeep and opened live fire at them, injuring two. There is no way to justify the shooting at the two men, who were fleeing the soldiers and not endangering anyone. This case is no exception, but rather another expression of Israel’s open-fire policy, which will continue as long as those responsible for it pay no price.
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.