"I heard a loud explosion. I grabbed Kinan and went out into the street with him. It was full of smoke and dust. I walked on bits of glass. I left Kinan with people in the street and went back into the yard to check on the rest of the family. I found bodies lying on the ground covered in blood, with their clothes torn. Everything was full of shrapnel and blood. Some neighbors came with flashlights. When they lit up the yard, I was shocked – I saw the bodies of my three sons, 'Abd al-Hafez, Mahdi and Ibrahim, my wife, my granddaughter Dina, and my daughter-in-law Suha. The two other little ones, Rakan and Nur, were lightly injured."
Since the Israeli military launched Operation Protective Edge in the early hours of 8 July 2014, the IDF Spokesperson and media sources have reported deliberate attacks against the homes of senior activists in armed Palestinian groups. The IDF Spokesperson reported that 11 such homes were attacked. Even if uninvolved civilians are not injured, these houses are not legitimate military targets, and attacking them is a violation of international humanitarian law. The gravity of the violation is compounded when uninvolved civilians are injured. Until now, B’Tselem has documented one case in which civilians were in a house bombed after a prior warning missile was fired:
On 17 June 2014 soldiers came to a Bitunya workshop whose security cameras captured the killing of Nadim Nuwara and Muhammad Salameh. Owner Fakhr Abu Zayed said he was taken to Ofer Camp, where officers accused him of fabricating the footage, threatened him and demanded that he remove the cameras – all unlawful conduct. The law enforcement establishment would do better to focus on investigating the killings, not use scare tactics against a person who provided evidence of human rights violations or try to prevent a record of future violations.
Yesterday (8 July 2014), the Israeli military launched Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip. According to the IDF Spokesperson, the military has attacked some 100 targets, including homes of senior Hamas activists. According to media reports, Palestinian armed groups in Gaza have fired some 50 rockets and mortar shells at south Israel until around lunchtime. B’Tselem has found that some 10 people, including minors, were killed in Gaza today. B'Tselem reiterates its demand that all parties to the hostilities prevent harm to civilians.
B’Tselem strongly condemns the abduction and killing of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, 16, of Shu’fat, who was burned alive by his captors. B’Tselem also wishes to express its sincerest condolences to Abu Khdeir’s family. This act of violence undermines all moral, legal and human norms. The intentional killing of civilians is categorically prohibited under international humanitarian law, which defines it as a grave breach, and states that such an action has no justification, regardless of the circumstances. In view of the present situation, it is essential that the investigation of this case be transparent and include swift and complete disclosure of its findings, first to Abu Khdeir’s family and immediately thereafter to the public.
It is unsurprising that the HCJ rejected HaMoked’s petition against demolition of the home of the 2 Palestinians charged with killing Baruch Mizrahi as it has rejected most such petitions against punitive home demolitions, refusing to recognize their unlawfulness. Since 1967 the military has rendered homeless thousands of people not themselves accused of wrongdoing. The military gave up this policy in 2005, yet the state considers it justified now in view of the circumstances. This unreasonable position is meant to sanction draconian measures of collective punishment in response to the charged public atmosphere in the wake of the abduction and killing of 3 yeshiva students.
B'Tselem renews its call to the Israeli government to refrain from acts of vengeance for the abduction and killing of the three Israeli teens. B'Tselem cautions the security forces to avoid harming the innocent Palestinian population, or abusing the public atmosphere in Israel with the discovery of the bodies, to impose collective punishment, as was done in the past two weeks as part of the searches. The deliberate harming of an entire civilian population as punishment for the actions of individuals is both illegal and immoral. Additionally, the security forces must prepare for possible acts of revenge by settlers.
B'Tselem strongly condemns the abduction and killing of the three Yeshiva students, Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar, and Eyal Yifrah, and offers its condolences to the families. Deliberate targeting of civilians undermines all moral, legal and human principles. The deliberate killing of civilians is defined as a grave breach of international humanitarian law, and cannot be justified, regardless of the circumstances.
On 10 June 2014, nearly 17 months after Lubna al-Hanash was killed and two months after her father and B'Tselem petitioned the HCJ demanding that the MAG decide whether to indict those responsible for her death, the MAG Corps decided to close the investigation without filing charges. Al-Hanash was killed by a gunshot wound to her head while walking with a relative in a park near Route 60. B'Tselem's investigation found that the two women posed no danger and that the soldier who fired did not take minimal precautions to avoid harm to bystanders.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered that the family home of the two Palestinians indicted for the attack that killed Baruch Mizrahi be demolished. Two families numbering 13 individuals, including 8 children, live in that home. Demolition of the home would equal adoption of an official policy that harms the innocent. "We have nowhere else to go. If the house is demolished, we'll put a tent on top of the ruins and live there" said Hanan ‘Awawdeh to B'Tselem field researcher Manal al-Ja'abri, who visited her last week and took the photos. Following an urgent objection filed by Israeli human rights organization HaMoked, the military announced its intention to demolish only the section of the house. The military is set to carry out the demolition tomorrow, Monday, at 12:00 midday.
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.