For three weeks, four soldiers abused the residents of Silwad, a town northwest of Ramallah, on a daily basis. They set up checkpoints, searched cars coming and going, swore at residents and assaulted them. The soldiers roamed the town firing stun grenades and tear gas canisters and damaging vehicles. In one case, they shot and wounded a teenager. Their commanders did not intervene to stop the abuse. Years of experience show no one will be held accountable for this conduct, which serves the occupation regime and allows it to continue.
The entire area Israel controls between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea is governed by a single regime working to advance and perpetuate the supremacy of one group over another. By geographically, demographically and physically engineering space, the regime enables Jews to live in a contiguous area with full rights, including self-determination, while Palestinians live in separate units and enjoy fewer rights. This qualifies as an apartheid regime, although Israel is commonly viewed as a democracy upholding a temporary occupation.
15 Israeli, Palestinian and international health and human rights organizations: Israel must provide necessary vaccines to Palestinian health care systems
As the Israeli healthcare system begins the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines to the Israeli public, we, the undersigned organizations, urge the Israeli authorities to live up to their legal obligations and ensure that quality vaccines be provided to Palestinians living under Israeli occupation and control in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as well.
In 2020, Israeli security forces killed 27 Palestinians, seven of them minors. In at least 11 cases, the forces fired unlawfully at Palestinians who posed no risk. Despite the pandemic, Israel ramped up demolitions in the West Bank, leaving 1,006 Palestinians, including 519 minors, homeless. This year, we documented 248 cases of settlers harming Palestinians or their property –with full state backing. This year, too, Palestinians were subjected to a daily, violent occupation routine of incursions, night raids, movement restrictions, and arrests.
On 4 Dec. 2020, during clashes in which Palestinians threw stones at soldiers on the outskirts of al-Mughayir, a sniper fired a two-two bullet – live fire, to all intents and purposes – that hit ‘Ali Abu ‘Alia (15), who was watching from afar and not endangering anyone. The teen was hit in the abdomen from 150 meters away and taken to hospital, where he died of his wounds several hours later. This killing reflects Israel’s open-fire policy in the West Bank, which permits opening live fire even in circumstances where it cannot be justified.
This olive harvest, in October and November, B’Tselem documented 39 incidents in which settlers attacked Palestinian harvesters, barred them from reaching their groves, stole crops, and damaged trees and equipment throughout the West Bank. This could not take place without systemic state support, including soldiers escorting the assailants and sometimes even participating in the attacks, and lack of accountability. This reality will persist as long as it serves Israel’s policy of dispossessing Palestinians to take over West Bank land.
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.