Updates

Gaza’s fishing sector, which provided work for 10,000 people in 2000, has drastically declined due to Israel’s harsh restrictions on marine access, selling catch in the West Bank and Israel, and raw material imports. Only about 4,000 fishermen are now registered in Gaza, with half out of work as their boats cannot be repaired. The Israeli navy shoots at fishermen, arrests them, and confiscates their boats. This unjustified harm illustrates how Israel continues to control many aspects of life in Gaza from afar, as part of its 10-year blockade.

Fishermen at Gaza's fishing port. Photo by Suhaib Salem, Reuters, 4 April 2016
January 29

In November 2016, a fire broke out near the Halamish settlement, apparently due to arson. Although the Palestinian residents of nearby Deir Nizam were accused of nothing, the military put the village under unofficial closure for 3 days and has restricted movement to and from it ever since. Soldiers patrol the village almost daily, resulting in clashes with youngsters. The disruption of daily life and violation of the residents’ rights for two months now constitute wrongful collective punishment.

Roadblock reinstalled at the western entrance to the village. Photo by Iyad Hadad, B’Tselem, 8 January 2017
January 26

On 18 Dec. 2016, at about 12:30 A.M., security forces shot and killed Ahmad Hazem ‘Ata Zidani (a-Rimawi), 17, and injured N.R., 25, during a raid in the village of Beit Rima, northwest of Ramallah. CCTV footage and B'Tselem’s investigation clearly show that they were not endangering the forces when they were shot. Israeli forces are currently entering the village once or twice a week. Such raids are commonplace in the West Bank, leading to frequent clashes and in some cases to the unjustified loss of Palestinian life.

Ahmad Zidani. Photo courtesy of the family
January 24

Mon. Jan. 23. In Khirbet ‘Ein Karzaliyah, a three-family community 5 km southwest of al-Jiftlik, the Civil Administration destroyed tents used as living quarters by two families, leaving 13, including 6 minors, homeless. Forces also destroyed two livestock pens and razed part of the access road to the isolated community. The authorities destroyed homes in the community in 2016, 2015 and 2014 as well.

Children from the community of Khirbet 'Ein Karzaliyah near the contens of the homes destroyed by the Civil Administration. Photo: 'Aref Daraghmeh, B'Tselem. 23 January 2017.
January 23

The past two weeks have seen a worsening in Gaza’s electricity crisis, with the more than 1.5 million Gazans getting power for just 3-4 hours out of every 24 due to a financial dispute between the PA and the Hamas over payment of fuel taxes imposed by Israel. Even if the present crisis is resolved, Gazans will still suffer power shortages. Israel is directly responsible for the situation: preventing restoration of the power plant it bombed in 2006; impeding infrastructure repairs and upgrades; and compelling Gaza authorities to purchase only Israeli fuel at a price residents are hard put to pay.

Palestinian women walk along unlit street in Gaza during power blackout. Photo by Mohammed Salem, Reuters, 11 Jan. 2017
January 17

On 10 Nov. 2016 soldiers shot A.Z., 15, injuring him in the hand and thigh, after he threw a stone at their fortified watchtower and threw down ground sandbags located there. The military took A.Z. to hospital in Israel without informing his parents. He was held under military guard there for four days, incl. three during which his legs were shackled. A police investigator questioned him without the presence of any adult on his behalf. Minors are entitled to special protection by law, common sense and moral values. This right was grossly violated in this case, as in countless others.

A.Z. at home after being discharged from hospital. Photo by Iyad Hadad, B’Tselem, 28 Nov. 2016
January 15

On Sunday 8 Jan. 2017 Fadi al-Qunbar, 28, of Jabal al-Mukabber, carried out a ramming attack at the Armon Hanatziv Promenade in Jerusalem, killing 4 soldiers and injuring 13. Israeli authorities have since adopted punitive measures against his extended family and other locals. Collective punishment and administrative measures against Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem are an acknowledged Jerusalem Municipality policy and the mayor boasts of it. While the policy is overt, this does nothing to detract from its being wrongful and involving widespread persecution by the authorities of thousands of Jerusalem residents.

Roadblock on al-Madares Street. Photo by Hussam ‘Abed, B’Tselem, 9 Jan. 2017
January 11

A short documentary by Helen Yanovsky, “The Boy from H2” - created in collaboration with B’Tselem’s field researchers and Camera Project volunteers in Hebron, and produced by B’Tselem’s video department - will premiere at the 67th Berlinale as part of the Berlinale Shorts competition. The documentary follows 12-year-old Muhammad Burqan, who lives in Area H2 of Hebron, a section of the city under full Israeli control.

Muhammad Burqan. From “The Boy from H2” by Helen Yanovsky
January 10

On 2 Jan. 2017, Civil Administration forces demolished ten homes and a livestock pen in Wadi Esneisel and Bir al-Maskub, north of the Ma’ale Adumim settlement, leaving 78 people homeless, including 52 minors. The next day, the forces continued, demolishing six homes and 16 livestock pens in the community of Khirbet Tana, located close to Beit Furik in the Nablus district, leaving 29 people homeless, including 15 minors. This followed the demolition of 79 structures in the community in 2016.

Members of the Hanani family among the ruins of the entrance to their cave, demolished this week in Khirbet Tana. Photo by Salma a-Deb’i, B’Tselem, 3 Jan. 2017
January 5

On 23 Dec. 2016, masked soldiers captured Palestinian boy Muhammad Shteiwi, 7, during the weekly protest at Kafr Qadum. They detained him for some 10 minutes, while firing at protestors. The incident, captured on video by B’Tselem volunteer Abdallah Qadumi, is yet another example of the inevitable daily injustices resulting from the occupation.

Soldiers capture 7-year-old Muhammad Shteiwi. Video stills by Abdallah Qadumi, B'Tselem, 23 Dec. 2016
December 29

The neighborhood of Batan al-Hawa, East Jerusalem, is the site of the vastest dispossession effort being planned in the city. The neighborhood’s children and teenagers are hardest hit by the friction with settlers, police and security guards. Testimonies gathered by B’Tselem paint a grim picture of minors being held or detained, often with security forces employing violence and acting in a demeaning manner.

Border Police entering a Palestinian home in Silwan. Photo by Activestills, 30 Sept. 2014
December 28

B’Tselem mapped the processes underway in Batan al-Hawa, which is facing the most extensive dispossession in East Jerusalem in recent years. Israeli authorities have already transferred 9 of its roughly 50 parcels to the Ateret Cohanim association, and settlers have moved in to 5. Eviction claims are pending against 81 Palestinian families who have lived in the neighborhood for decades. Residents are also subjected to other types of pressure. Settler presence brings with it the police, the Border Police and private security guards; they regularly use violence against local residents, including live fire and crowd control measures, threats, arresting minors and disrupting the fabric of life.

Residents and police in the neighborhood of Batan al-Hawa. Photo by Hussam ‘Abed, B’Tselem, 29 Nov. 2016
December 21

On 18 Nov. 2016, at the weekly protest at the Gaza perimeter fence, soldiers shot and killed Muhammad Abu Sa’ed, 25, of a-Nuseirat R.C., from a distance of 15 meters. B’Tselem’s inquiry shows that he was probably shot by way of revenge for having just thrown a clod of earth that hit a soldier. At no time were the soldiers in any real danger from any of the protesters, including Abu Sa’ed and another protester who was hit by their gunfire. B’Tselem will not refer the matter to the military enforcement system, having concluded that it serves only as a whitewash mechanism that does not strive to uncover the truth or ensure justice.

Palestinian protesters flee Israeli gunfire during protest near the Gaza Strip perimeter fence east of Gaza City. Photo by Mohammed Salem, Reuters, 20 Nov. 2015
December 21

Since Sept. some 220 Palestinians (incl. about 100 minors) have been forced to leave their homes in the Jordan Valley on multiple occasions to make way for military training. Families from Ibziq, Khirbet Humsah and Khirbet a-Ras al-Ahmar have had to spend hours on end, or even all night, far from home and exposed to the elements. The frequency of these displacements completely disrupts residents’ lives and jeopardizes the very existence of these communities. As an occupying power, Israel cannot use the land for routine military purposes, harm the livelihood of protected persons on this pretext, or attempt to expel the residents.

A shepherdess and armored personnel carriers in the pastureland of Jordan Valley residents. Photo by Keren Manor, Activestills, 8 Dec. 2016
December 20

On 24-25 Nov. 2016, the military took over two Palestinian homes in Hebron, using the families’ belongings, bathrooms, kitchens, and in one home also a bedroom. For fear of the soldiers, some of the children went to stay with relatives. According to the IDF Spokesperson, this was ordered by the area commander as part of preparations for a mass settler celebration to be held nearby. The military’s conduct again illustrates what routine life looks like in central Hebron, with occupation authorities subjugating the lives of Palestinians to the whims of settlers.

Sitll from video filmed by Warud Da’na, 17
December 18

The Batan al-Hawa neighborhood in East Jerusalem is densely built; its streets are narrow alleys, often only 2-3 meters wide. Local Palestinians told B’Tselem that they have found it hard to maintain a normal routine ever since settlers moved in in 2004. A shuttle service used by settlers and security guards blocks the street several times a day, for 15 minutes to an hour at a time, even though settlers have use of an adjacent parking they seized. The conduct of the settlers and private security guards, backed by official Israeli security personnel, makes it difficult for residents to get to work and school on time, and for businesses to get supplies.

Settlers’ shuttle van blocking alley. Photo by Jadallah a-Rajabi, Batan al-Hawa
December 15

Batan al-Hawa, Silwan, is the setting for the largest expulsion in recent years in E. J’alem. Supported by Israeli authorities, the Ateret Cohanim assoc., that already has 6 buildings in the neighborhood, plans to evict 81 Palestinian families. On top of facing discrimination in funding and services throughout E. J’alem, Batan al-Hawa residents must also fight for the right to live in their homes, due to efforts by the authorities and settler associations to cement Jewish presence in and around Jerusalem’s Old City. There are already 2,800 settlers living in these Palestinian neighborhoods, leading to increased presence of official and private security forces, who also use violence against local residents, and disrupt life in an area that is home to 100,000 Palestinians.

Residents and police in the neighborhood of Batan al-Hawa. Photo by Hussam ‘Abed, B’Tselem, 29 Nov. 2016
December 11

According to WHO figures for Jan.-Oct. 2016, cancer patients filed 7,267 applications for entry permits; 2,042 applications have either been denied or have yet to be answered. Israel retains significant control over Gaza, so that the development of Gaza health services or even obtaining treatment outside Gaza still depend on Israel. Yet Israel both imposes restrictions that hinder development of the local system and limits the number of patients it allows to exit Gaza for treatment in Israel or the West Bank. Although many patients cannot obtain satisfactory treatment in Gaza, Israel severely limits the number of entry permits it issues, a number it has further reduced since Operation Protective Edge.

Erez Crossing. Photo by Amir Cohen, Reuters, 5 Oct. 2014
December 10

On the night of 3 Nov. 2016, soldiers raided two homes of the Salem family in al-Am’ari R.C., Ramallah District, woke the children, and arrested 8 family members. The mother was released in the evening; 6 others, including a 15-year-old boy, were released a week later; one person remains in custody. The case illustrates how Israeli troops citing flimsy security arguments abuse their authority and disrupt the already precarious routine of West Bank Palestinians. Night raids on Palestinian homes - which intimidate residents, violate their dignity, damage property - have long since become an intrinsic part of life under occupation.

One of the homes of the Salem family in al-Am’ari R.C., Ramallah District, after the violent night raid. Photo by Iyad Hadad, B’Tselem, 3 Nov. 2016
December 6

The report B’Tselem published today shows how Israel has been taking over Palestinian rural space, fragmenting it, dispossessing its residents of land and water, and handing over these areas to settlers. The process is illustrated through a case study of three villages in the Nablus District - ‘Azmut, Deir al-Hatab and Salem - telling what these communities have undergone since Israel established the Elon Moreh settlement nearby. Through this case study, the report illustrates a broader policy Israel has been implementing throughout the West Bank for decades, and in which the settlers play a key role.

December 5