Updates

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

Today, Hamas authorities in Gaza reportedly executed three men convicted of assassinating a senior member of its military wing in a rushed trial without legal representation or an appeals instance. Since Hamas took over Gaza, its courts have issued 90 death sentences and 25 people have been formally executed. The Hamas military wing has summarily executed at least 31 others, 15 of whom had not been sentenced to death. Executions, with or without trial, are prohibited. A regime that takes human lives as punishment or deterrent is committing an intolerable violation of human rights.

May 25

On 3 Apr. 2017, the Civil Administration used bulldozers to uproot 135 olive saplings in Wadi Qana, near Qaliqiliyah, on land owned by Palestinians from Deir Istiya. In 1983, the CA declared the valley the Nahal Qana Reserve, and in recent years, Israeli authorities have been pushing to exclude Palestinian farmers from the wadi, and displace them using different practices, while giving settlers free reign. Like elsewhere in the West Bank, declaring land a nature reserve does not serve to protect nature, but to displace Palestinians in favor of Israeli interests.

‘Abd al-‘Aziz ‘Aqel, one of the landowners, holding an uprooted seedling. Photo by Abdulkarim Sadi, B’Tselem, 3 April 2017
May 21

A short documentary by Helen Yanovsky, “The Boy from H2”, created in collaboration with B’Tselem’s field researchers and Camera Project volunteers in Hebron, and produced by B’Tselem’s video department, will be screened at the Vienna Shorts Festival on Sunday, 4 June 2017. The film is also a candidate in an international film competition taking place at the festival. The documentary follows 12-year-old Muhammad Burqan, who lives in Area H2 of Hebron, a section of the city under full Israeli control.

Muhammad Burqan. From “The Boy from H2” by Helen Yanovsky
May 17

Reportedly, a month ago (6 April 2017) Hamas authorities in Gaza executed three people convicted of collaboration with Israel. Since Hamas took control of Gaza, its courts have imposed 85 death sentences and 22 people have been executed in formal proceedings. The military wing of Hamas has summarily executed at least 31 others, including 15 against whom legal proceedings were still underway. Executions - following a real trial, a show trial or no trial at all - are prohibited. A regime that takes human lives as punishment or deterrent is committing an intolerable violation of human rights.

Photo: Reuters
May 17

Israel controls all West Bank entrance and exit points, so any departure requires Israeli approval. Palestinian West Bank residents can only travel abroad via the Allenby Bridge Border Crossing. Israel uses its control over the crossing to deny travel to many residents, keeping them confined to the West Bank for years, without any judicial review or explanation. This policy harms thousands of Palestinians denied travel for no defensible reason and many others who do not even bother making the attempt, and illustrates Israel’s full control over the lives of all West Bank residents.

Soldiers near the entrance to Allenby Bridge Crossing. Photo by Ronen Zvulun, Reuters, 10 March 2014
May 15

On 7 May 2017, Fatimah Hjeiji, 16, approached a metal barrier near Damascus Gate, East Jerusalem. Hjeiji stopped, stood, and brandished a knife at 5 police officers on the other side of the barrier, who then fatally shot her. The Police District Commander called the shooting legal and appropriate, ignoring the facts of the case which indicate Hajij posed no threat to the officers. The continued policy of fatally shooting Palestinians who do not pose a mortal danger illustrates the discrepancy between accepted norms prohibiting such use and frequent shoot-to-kill incidents which are encouraged by senior officials and public sentiment.

Fatimah Hjeiji, 16
May 10

The neighborhood of Batan al-Hawa in the heart of Silwan, East Jerusalem, is the setting for the largest expulsion in recent years in the city, a process supported by the Israeli government and courts. Click on the figures to enter the neighborhood’s story.

May 8

On 21 March 2017, two Gazan men and a minor went from Rafah towards the perimeter fence, hoping to enter Israel for work. Around midnight, before they tried to cross the border and although they posed no danger, the military fired a shell at them. They fled, but another shell killed Yusef Abu ‘Athrah (15) and injured one man. The military's statement, that the suspicion the three had been trying to plant an explosive device on the fence was investigated after the fact, attests to a ‘shoot first and ask questions later’ policy.

May 4

The hunger strike by over 1,000 Palestinian inmates begun on April 17 is a non-violent protest focused on valid, basic demands for improved conditions. Because they are held in Israel, in contravention of international law, Israel imposes severe restrictions on family visits. Instead of addressing the demands, Israel adopted unacceptable punitive measures designed to break the strikers’ spirit. The strike cannot be viewed in isolation: next month the occupation will mark its 50th anniversary. Even if conditions are improved - Israel will still be holding thousands of Palestinians who have had no fair trial, or no trial at all.

Prisoners’ relatives demonstrating in Jerusalem in support of the prisoners’ struggle. Photo by Ammar Awad, Reuters, 27 April 2017
May 3