For 40 days, as of 11 August 2017, the military closed off the main entrance by car to Kafr a-Dik, a village west of Salfit, on the grounds that local youths had thrown suspect objects and Molotov cocktails at Route 446, which is used by settlers. For over a month, the military casually disrupted the lives of some 6,500 Palestinians who were not suspected of any wrongdoing. There can be no moral or legal justification for this cynical abuse of military power.
Najah al-Katnani was born in al-Jalazun refugee camp in the West Bank. In 1975 she married and moved to Gaza City with her husband. At the time, she and her family could travel freely between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. After the first intifada, Israel imposed restrictions on such passage. The restrictions were tightened after the second intifada, and Israel now permits passage only in “humanitarian cases.” Gaza residents are prevented from visiting their relatives in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Israel.
On Tuesday, 26 September, Nimer Mahmoud Jamal, 37, from Beit Surik carried out an attack in the settlement of Har Adar, killing a Border Police officer and two settlement security guards: Sgt. Solomon Gavryia, 20, Yusef Othman, 25 and Or Arish, 25. Border Police officers and the settlement security coordinator – who himself had been moderately hurt during the incident according to the police – shot and killed Jamal. Immediately following the attack, the military implemented punitive measures against the residents of nine villages in the area of Beit Surik, northwest of Jerusalem, totaling about 40,000 people. The military’s actions included raids on villages and homes, damaging property in some cases, scores of arrests, as well as movement restrictions.
B'Tselem Executive Director, Hagai El-Ad said, following the State's response submitted earlier today to the High Court of Justice, that the state was asking the court to authorize a war crime: "No sanctimonious language about a ‘planning, proprietary and realistic’ alternate, or ‘time to prepare’ can erase the disgrace or hide the facts: the destruction of Khan al-Ahmar means the forcible transfer of protected persons, and forcible transfer is a war crime. Those responsible for it will bear personal criminal liability – exactly as B’Tselem stated two weeks ago, in a letter addressed to the prime minister, defense minister, justice minister, chief of staff and the head of the Civil Administration."
On 23 July 2017, soldiers shot N.R., 13, after he went through an opening in the Separation Barrier near Jayus. He was hospitalized in Israel for a month and underwent three operations. For the first eight days, soldiers guarding his room prevented his parents from staying with their son and briefly tied him to the bed. His parents were not present when he was interrogated and when his detention was extended. This grave conduct of the security forces is far from unusual, reflecting both declared policy and norms that have developed.
Civil Administration signals it is prepared to move forward with the forcible transfer of the entire community, an intention unequivocally stated by Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman to reporters two weeks ago. Doing so would constitute a war crime under the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Residents of Nablus lack sufficient water all year round and especially in summer. The shortage has grown worse in recent years due to low rainfall. Israel prevents the Palestinians from digging new wells and refuses to sell them more water to ease the suffering. As a result of this policy, in summer residents must purchase water privately, at high costs, and use it for essential needs only. Israel abuses its control of all water sources between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean by subjecting Palestinians to a permanent shortage of water.
Yesterday, 10 Sept. 2017, Israeli Civil Administration personnel came with security forces to the community of Jabal al-Baba that lies near ‘Eizariyah, northeast of Jerusalem, and confiscated two trucks with building material donated by an aid organization for fixing the access path to the community. The forces slashed the community’s main water pipe, leaving residents without water, and damaged its power network. This follows the confiscation of the community’s preschool in late August.
On 8 Sept. 2017, at about 3:00 P.M., a military force came with a bulldozer to the dirt road that connects the town of Yatta with the villages of Masafer Yatta, dug it up and blocked it off with rocks. The destruction of the road, which had been renovated just a day earlier with aid funding, forces villagers to now take a long detour. Masafer Yatta, which extends southeast of Yatta in the South Hebron Hills, is home to more than 1,000 people which Israel has been trying to expel for many years, including by declaring the area Firing Zone 918.
On 13 Aug. 2017, Israeli security forces welded shut a door in the al-Muhtaseb home in central Hebron, using severe violence against a family member who tried to stop them. Their claim that this was needed to prevent “suspects” from passing through is unfounded. Even if it were true, it could not justify such harm. This is another example of Israel’s policy of segregation and restrictions on Palestinian movement in central Hebron, coupled with abuse, violence and daily harassment by security forces and settlers.
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.