B’Tselem is publishing the results of its new commissioned public opinion survey. The survey, conducted by Dr. Dahlia Scheindlin and Dr. Khalil Shikaki, took a fresh approach by examining what all people living under Israeli control – Israeli and Palestinian citizens and Palestinian subjects in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip (WBG&EJ) –think about the current situation, their lives and the future, analyzed as a single population unit, rather than two separate populations.
On 21 Feb. 2021, soldiers arrested brothers Aws (10) and Muhammad (8) Salah a-Din from Hizma, who were riding bicycles by their home, and accused them of throwing stones. They handcuffed the children and held them for hours, including inside a military base, before handing them over to the Palestinian police, and ultimately to their father, at night. Arresting children below the age of criminal responsibility, holding them in handcuffs and not informing them or their parents when they will be released, is both illegal and immoral.
On 1 March 2021, Israeli police forces raided the ‘Obeid home in the neighborhood of al-‘Esawiyah, violently assaulting Marwan ‘Obeid and arresting his son, Tareq. The police also sprayed foul-smelling liquid along the streets and inside a house. ‘Obeid was taken to hospital for bruising following his interrogation, and released under house arrest after posting bail. The ongoing police violence in al-‘Esawiyah is another facet of Israel’s oppression of Palestinians in East Jerusalem, aimed at driving them out and maintaining a Jewish majority.
Five Palestinians aged 9 to 13 were picking wild greens near the outpost of Havat Ma’on when two settlers approached and they fled. Soldiers chased and arrested them, although most are below the age of criminal responsiblity. The cavalier approach of senior officers, who overlook the imperative to avoid the traumatic arrest of children unless crucial, cannot be justified. Israel’s view of the arrest and even prosecution of Palestinian children as an acceptable routine defies the basic tenets of justice and the provisions of international law.
On Sunday, 29 November 2020, soldiers entered al-'Arrub R.C. Some youths threw stones at the soldiers who responded with tear gas canisters and stun grenades. The soldiers severely beat one of the youths, Muhammad Muqbal (16), breaking his jaw, and arrested him and others. Muqbal underwent surgery and was then returned to detention for 26 days. He was released after the prosecution’s remand request was rejected twice. Israel boasts laws and procedures ostensibly in place to safeguard minors’ rights, but in practice, arrests hundreds of Palestinian minors every year, systemically and systematically violating their rights.
On Friday, 5 Feb. 2021, three Palestinians from al-Jalazun R.C. were waiting for a taxi near the southern entrance to Silwad. When a military jeep neared, the three ran towards the town. Four soldiers got out of the jeep and opened live fire at them, injuring two. There is no way to justify the shooting at the two men, who were fleeing the soldiers and not endangering anyone. This case is no exception, but rather another expression of Israel’s open-fire policy, which will continue as long as those responsible for it pay no price.
Every day and every night, soldiers may enter Palestinian homes. Such invasions of private space have long been an integral part of security forces’ operations in the West Bank. Palestinians know that soldiers may enter their homes at will, invade their bedrooms, wake their children and rummage through their belongings. For most of us, the home is a safe space. This is not so for Palestinians. Control, humiliation, and oppression penetrate their homes. In recent weeks, we published descriptions of incursions into homes in Ramallah, Qalqiliyah, and Tulkarm Districts. Below are descriptions of several raids on homes in Hebron District during these months.
Every day and every night, soldiers may enter Palestinian homes. Such invasions of private space have long been an integral part of security forces’ operations in the West Bank. Palestinians know that soldiers may enter their homes at will, invade their bedrooms, wake their children and rummage through their belongings. For most of us, the home is a safe space. This is not so for Palestinians. Control, humiliation, and oppression penetrate their homes. Throughout October and November 2020, Israeli security forces entered 493 homes in the West Bank. Read descriptions of two such incursions, one in Tulkarm District and the other in Qalqiliyah District.
Tens of thousands of West Bank Palestinians enter Israel every day for work without a permit. The state is well aware of this reality, as it serves its interests by guaranteeing cheap, disempowered labor. The military occasionally deploys soldiers who lay in wait and fire at workers trying to enter Israel through gaps in the Separation Barrier. On three occasions in January and February. 2021, soldiers fired at workers passing through gaps in the barrier in the Far’on and Barta’ah a-Sharqiyah area, injuring 12, including a 16-year-old.
As part of the apartheid regime it implements between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, Israel imposes extreme restrictions on the movement of Palestinians between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. This prevents thousands of families in which one spouse is a resident of Gaza and the other a resident of the West Bank from maintaining a family life. They face an impossible choice: live together in Gaza and be cut off from the rest of the family in the West Bank, or live apart. Raising a family, living with one’s partner and children and maintaining contact with close relatives are the most elementary and fundamental human relationships, yet they become unattainable for Palestinians.
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.