The military has been blocking car traffic at the main entrance to al-Fawwar R.C. since Mon. evening (19 Feb), denying access to Road 60. Soldiers said only that the gate was closed as punishment for the theft of a security camera. This closure affects not only al-Fawwar but also tens of thousands of people living in nearby villages and in western Yatta. In early January 2018, the military closed the gate for 5 days, and has since closed it several times for short durations. in July 2016, the military closed the gate for the month.
At about 10:00 o’clock on the morning of Wednesday, 7 February 2018, Jerusalem Municipality inspectors arrived at the neighborhood of Wadi Yasul in Silwan with a bulldozer and a Border Police escort. They demolished the home of a Palestinian family of six, including four minors.
On 31 January 2018, Israeli soldiers arrested two brothers, 12 and 13 years old, in Hebron’s al-Hareqa neighborhood, near which the settlement of Kiryat Arba was built. The soldiers claimed that the boys had thrown stones at the settlement’s fence. The soldiers took the two boys to a nearby military base, where they kept them for about two hours. When they released the boys, the soldiers threatened the boys’ family that should stones be thrown again at the settlement’s fence, they would return to raid their home and arrest the boys.
Between January 13 and January 26, Israeli security forces arrested at least 153 Palestinians, including 13 minors; made at least 116 raids on towns and villages, and raided at least 83 homes; and set up at least 219 flying checkpoints.
On 15 Dec. 2017, at a protest sparked by President Trump’s declaration, a soldier near the Gaza perimeter fence fatally shot Ibrahim Abu Thuraya (a double amputee) in the head. In Dec., another 7 protesters were fatally shot by soldiers on the other side of the fence; none of them posed mortal danger to the soldiers. This is a direct outcome of the military’s open-fire policy near the perimeter fence, which includes gunfire – also by snipers – at stone-throwers who pose no danger. The media reported that a military investigation was launched, yet experience shows it is highly unlikely to yield any action.
In January 2018, soldiers killed 5 Palestinians – 4 of them teenagers – in the West Bank and Gaza. All five were shot during clashes involving stone-throwing at soldiers, though none had posed a mortal threat. Israel’s defense establishment, including the military law enforcement system, is largely indifferent to such incidents and usually ignores them. This renders the open-fire regulations, designed to limit use of lethal fire, meaningless and conveys Israel’s deep disregard for Palestinians’ lives and bodily integrity.
For years, Israel has been leading a policy aimed against Palestinian communities throughout the West Bank, with the intention of making the residents leave their homes and thus transfer the communities within the area. The policy is implemented tactically, so as to avoid blatant images of soldiers forcing Palestinians onto trucks. Instead, Israel invests efforts in making the lives of these residents unbearable, in order to get them to leave their homes as though of their own free will. The policy is not applied uniformly to all the communities, and ranges from harassment and preventing development to an explicit intention to expel entire communities. In any case, Israel’s goal is to minimize Palestinian presence in order to use the territory for its own uses, including expanding settlements. Following is a review of the situation of several communities that Israel explicitly declared its intention to expel.
On 4 Feb. 2018, at about 5:00 AM, Civil Administration officials and security forces arrived in the Abu a-Nawar community and demolished two buildings at the community’s school. The classrooms were used by some 25 children in the 3rd and 4th grades. The buildings were constructed with funding from the European Union and the Palestinian Authority at the end of September 2017. On 7 Oct. 2017 Civil Administration officials arrived in the community, accompanied by security forces, and confiscated the doors of these two classroom. A demolition order was placed in one of these buildings on 13 Dec. 2017, and the legal proceeding in their case is still pending. The demolition of educational buildings is one of the means Israel uses in its attempt to expel Palestinian communities from their homes, so that it can concentrate the residents in enclaves and use the territory for its own needs.
On Monday morning, 5 Feb. 2018, Civil Administration personnel and a Border Police force dismantled and confiscated a water pipeline that had served to irrigate the watermelon patch in Khirbet a-Sakut in the northern Jordan Valley. At around 4:00 P.M. that day, the troops went to the community of Khirbet Um al-Jamal and confiscated four tents that served as the homes of nine people, including six minors. The confiscated tents were funded by a humanitarian aid organization after the Civil Administration demolished tents in the community in 2014.
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.