On 14 March 2018, the military reopened the main entrance to Hizma, a village between Jerusalem and Ramallah, after blocking it for almost 2 months and intermittently closing the southern entrances, on the grounds that stones had been thrown at nearby roads. On 28 February, it also closed the dirt roads residents had been using as a fallback. Entirely disrupting the lives of the 7,000 or so residents of the village constitutes prohibited collective punishment – yet another example of life under occupation, at the whim of military power.
Since 5 March 2018, Israeli troops including infantry, tanks and other armored vehicles have been training at all hours in the area of Khirbet al-Malih and the village of al-Farisiyah in the northern Jordan Valley. Today, 13 March, forces including at least 20 tanks and dozens of military vehicles have been training throughout the northern Jordan Valley, including just one km from al-Farisiyah. The incessant military training in the Jordan Valley is part of a longstanding policy to drive Palestinian communities to leave, as though freely will.
Imagine visiting relatives in another country and ending up stranded, away from your partner or children for months and years. For hundreds of women stranded in Gaza, not knowing if and when they’ll be able to go home, this is reality. The Palestinian and Egyptian authorities are responsible for Rafah Crossing remaining shut through most of the year, but the fact that this is the only way out of Gaza is the result of Israeli policy which denies exit any other way. Israel must respect the rights of all Gazans to freedom of movement and the rights of these women to family life by ending their suffering and letting them go home.
Israel has intensified military training in the Jordan Valley since Nov. 2017, reducing available pastureland, destroying crops and hurting the livelihoods of local Palestinians. This is part of an effort to drive Palestinians out of area using a callous policy that also includes denied access to development and infrastructure and house demolitions. If residents do leave because of this policy, Israel will have committed a war crime and those responsible, including the minister of defense and the prime minister, would be personally liable.
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.