In recent months, shepherds from the Palestinian communities of al-Farisiyah in the northern Jordan Valley have reported an upsurge in the frequency and severity of attacks by settlers and soldiers when they go out to graze their flocks. These incidents are part of the policy Israel has been implementing in the Jordan Valley. Its goal is to take over land by various measures, including by making life unbearable for Palestinians. It includes coordinated attacks by soldiers and settlers and a comprehensive ban on the development of Palestinian communities.
On 20 March 2019, Maysaa and ‘Alaa Ghayadah were on their home with their two daughters. Following an argument on the road, ‘Alaa pulled over near a checkpoint and got out of the car. Soldiers in a nearby watchtower shot him, hitting him in the stomach. Maysaa flagged down a passing car: three of the passengers took ‘Alaa to hospital. The fourth, Ahmad Manasrah, 22, tried to start the car to get Maysaa and her daughters away from the spot, but the soldiers at the watchtower shot and killed him. His death is one of four that B’Tselem has investigated since the beginning of March, in which the use of lethal gunfire was found to be clearly unjustified.
Waging another war in the Gaza Strip is a folly that will enhance no-one’s safety or wellbeing. It will merely exacerbate the suffering of civilians on both sides. The Israeli government must lift the stifling blockade it has imposed on the residents of the Gaza Strip; Hamas must cease firing at civilians.
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 the night of 2 April 2019, more than 10 Israeli military vehicles entered an alley in Kafr ‘Aqab in northern East Jerusalem. Young Palestinians threw stones and two IEDs at them. Soldiers flanked the young men and fired at them, injuring two. The young men fled. Muhammad Dar ‘Udwan, 24, ran in the opposite direction from the rest, past the soldiers, and they kept shooting even after he passed them. Video footage shows he was shot from behind as he fled. His death is one of four investigated by B’Tselem since the beginning of March, in which lethal gunfire was found to be clearly unjustified.
At about 6:00 A.M. on 27 March 2019, some 40-50 Israeli soldiers and Border Police entered a-Duheisheh Refugee Camp, south of Bethlehem. Clashes ensued with local residents, who threw stones at the troops. After arresting three residents, the troops went down an alley. Local young men ran after them, throwing stones. A member of the Israeli security forces fired at a young man, hitting him in the leg. Volunteer medic Sajed Muzhar, 17 – wearing a medical crew vest – ran to his aid, and was fatally shot by one of the troops. His death is one of four that B’Tselem has investigated since the beginning of March, in which lethal gunfire was found to be clearly unjustified.
On the afternoon of 12 March 2019 Israeli soldiers and Border Police arrived at the town of Salfit. Clashes ensued with some 40 Palestinians who threw stones at them from about 80 meters away. The troops threw stun grenades and fired teargas, rubber-coated metal bullets and live ammunition at the young men, mildly wounding three. Muhammad Shahin was standing about 20 meters behind the stone-throwers, watching the clashes. At about 4:30 P.M., the troops fired one live bullet at Shahin, killing him. His death is one of four that B’Tselem has investigated since the beginning of March, in which lethal gunfire was found to be clearly unjustified.
In 2019, many more Palestinian families in East Jerusalem demolished their own homes, which were built without permits. They did this to avoid the high fees the city would have charged them for carrying out the demolition itself. Through the end of March, 15 homes were demolished in this way. Israel does not see East Jerusalem residents as equal citizens and barely allows them to build legally. When, given no other choice, they build homes without permits, the municipality demolishes them – all as part of a policy to Judaize Jerusalem.
B’Tselem’s investigation into four killings since the beginning of March 2019 clearly shows the lethal fire was completely unjustified. These cases illustrate, once more, just how little value Israel’s security establishment places on the lives of Palestinians. None of the victims posed a threat to the lives of security personnel. Not one of these incidents should have ended in death. As B'Tselem has cautioned countless times in the past, these are not aberrations, or “bad apples”. These are incidents that occur as part of the routine actions of soldiers and police officers, pursuant to Israel’s dangerous, lethal open-fire policy.
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.