Every day, Israel determines what the lives of Palestinians in the West Bank will look like – while they, themselves, are barred from taking part in decisions that shape their present and their future. Israel uses its power in a violent, arbitrary fashion, with blatant disregard for the safety, wellbeing and quality of life of the Palestinians who live under its control.
On 1 June 2018, during a protest held north of Khuza’ah in the Gaza Strip, Israeli security forces deliberately fired at Palestinian paramedics who were clearly identified as medical crew and were 25 meters from the fence: Rozan a-Najar, a 20-year-old paramedic from Khza’ah was killed; two others were wounded. Since the Gaza protests began in late March, security forces have killed 127 protesters, including at least 18 minors, and wounded some 4,100 people with live fire. The military persists in this lethal policy despite its predictable outcome from the very outset.
On 6 June 2018 Israeli soldiers entered the Palestinian village of a-Nabi Saleh. Two young men threw stones at a soldier, and one stone apparently struck his helmet. The young men fled, but one of them, ‘Iz a-Din Tamimi, was hit in the back and died soon after. This lethal shooting was unlawful and unjustified, but no one will be held to account. The media reported that the Military Police has opened an investigation, but experience shows that this is intended solely to deflect criticism of the military and will almost certainly end without any results.
On 2 June 2018, after settlers assaulted a shepherd aged 71 just outside the village of ‘Urif, clashes erupted with local residents. Soldiers who arrived on the scene joined the settlers, throwing stun and teargas grenades, firing “rubber” bullets, and beating several Palestinians with their rifle butts. This incident is not exceptional: such attacks take place routinely, with the full support of senior officers and government ministers, and no effort is made to stop or prevent them.
Early on the morning of 7 May 2018, soldiers came with attack dogs to Jenin R.C. and entered two homes. The soldiers used the dogs to assault four of the occupants, including a teenaged boy and a man over 70. Military night raids on homes have long since become part of the violent routine of occupation. In this case, the soldiers even used attack dogs, and then exhibited marked indifference to those injured. This conduct is not a local initiative. It is part of the Israeli military’s policy in the West Bank. Therefore, as in other cases, no one will be called to account.
On 17 June, a new military order removing any option for Palestinians to challenge demolition orders against their homes will go into effect. This is a new phase in Israel’s planning and building policy in the West Bank, which is aimed at denying Palestinian development and taking over land for Israeli needs. Removing the façade of judicial review over demolitions indicates Israel’s plan to accelerate dispossession and a conviction that it will not be called to task over this either internationally or locally.
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.