In the first half of December, Israeli security forces arrested at least 237 Palestinians, including 61 minors; raided at least 123 towns and villages and at least 104 homes; and set up at least 155 flying checkpoints. Click here for more detailed information.
For over a month the military has been curtailing the movement of the Palestinians living in Masafer Yatta (Greater Yatta) in the South Hebron Hills by putting in place physical obstacles. Local residents occasionally managed to forge side paths to get through, and each time the soldiers restored the obstacle either the same day or the next. This morning, 26 December 2017 2017, at around 10:00 A.M., soldiers arrived in the area with bulldozers. They re-blocked paths the Palestinian residents forged between Masafer Yatta and the community of Sh’ab al-Botum. This time the soldiers also piled up mounds of boulders and dug a ditch – two meters deep, by three meters wide – to keep vehicles from getting though. In addition, the troops also dug another ditch along a road which had not previously been blocked, and which runs between the communities of Khallet a-a-Dabe’ and Khribet al-Fakhit.
In 2012 the Israeli military built a fence along a-Salaimeh St. in Hebron’s Old City, designating the broad, paved section for Jews; the narrow, unpaved one for Palestinians. In 2017 the fence was extended, incl. a gate that is unlocked at the discretion of the troops at the nearby Bakery Checkpoint; on 12 Dec. 2017 settlers and soldiers celebrated Hanukkah near it. Some 40,000 Palestinians and 800 settlers live in Area H2 of Hebron where the military imposes a regime of separation, limiting Palestinian movement and upholding settler rights.
June 2017 marked a decade since Israel imposed a blockade on Gaza, ruining the Gazan economy and drastically lowering the quality of life there. The unemployment rate there is currently one of the highest in the world, at 46.6%. Women and young adults are even worse off. Four residents related to B’Tselem field researchers how they pursued higher education in the hopes of improving their financial position, but since graduating have remained unemployed, with little hope for change.
On 20 Nov. 2017, Israeli Border Police harassed Palestinian teens in Batan al-Hawa. An officer pepper-sprayed one of them, 15, in the face from very close range, for no reason. When his father tried to complain, the police arrested him for “threatening a police officer”. He was taken to a police station, interrogated and released on bail. This is not unusual conduct. Police brutality and false arrests are nothing new in Batan al-Hawa, a neighborhood where the largest expulsion in East Jerusalem in recent years is currently underway.
On 7 Nov. 2017, Israeli police writing traffic tickets in Batan al-Hawa, Silwan, detained a Palestinian, 15, cycling by. When their demand to see his ID card went unmet, as he is too young to have one, an officer assaulted him and pinned him to the ground. A cousin who tried to intervene was pepper-sprayed. Both teens were arrested and the younger fined for riding without a helmet. This incident exemplifies deliberate harassment in a neighborhood under settler takeover, and the default use of arrest against Palestinian teens in East Jerusalem.
On the night of 22 Oct. 2017, Israeli police raided homes in al-‘Esawiyah in East Jerusalem and arrested 51 Palestinians, including 26 teens. Some of the minors, held in custody for a day or two, reported being beaten and forced to kneel for hours without food or drink. They were interrogated without a parent present and made to sign statements in Hebrew. Some did not see a lawyer. This conduct is part of a policy allowing systemic abuse of the human rights of hundreds of Palestinian minors a year, for decades, under a thin veneer of legality.
On 11 Nov. 2017, settlers held a procession in Hebron’s Old City and the military shut down streets and shops along their way. The settlers tore down Palestinian flags hanging on closed shop doors, to which several Palestinian onlookers responded in protest. A soldier hit one of them, a 16-year-old, on the head with a rifle butt. This violence is part of daily life under occupation. It is not limited to beatings, but also takes the form of extreme restrictions imposed on Palestinians in the city to accommodate settlers.
On 31 Oct. 2017, a soldier fired at a passing car in the West Bank, injuring driver Muhammad Musa and his sister, Latifah. Israeli personnel did not offer first aid, stopped treatment by Palestinian paramedics and carelessly transferred the driver to an ambulance that took him to an Israeli hospital, where he died. B’Tselem’s investigation found that the shooting was unjustified. MPIU is reportedly investigating, but experience shows this will likely end in nothing. Musa is the 36th casualty of Israeli security forces in the West Bank in 2017.
Video footage which reached B’Tselem shows a large group of soldiers violently dragging a Palestinian youth. A Hebron resident began recording the incident after hearing the youth crying out in pain. The violent incident took place on Friday, 8 Dec. 2017, on Wadi al-Tufah Street in the city of Hebron. Demonstrations were held that day across the Occupied Territories, including in Hebron, to protest U.S. President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Very recently, when closing the investigation against the spokesperson of Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence, senior State Attorney officials tried to create the false impression that acts of violence by soldiers against Palestinians are an anomaly which always prompts an investigation.
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.