Updates

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

For over twenty years, Israel has been enacting a policy of separation based on discriminatory practices, implemented primarily through many permanent checkpoints in the city. Since Oct. 2015 the military has enhanced infrastructure and beefed up security checks at existing checkpoints, and placed age restrictions on entry to certain neighborhoods. This added a dimension of severe collective punishment to Israel’s separation by discrimination policy in central Hebron. This conduct makes it almost impossible for Palestinians to lead normal lives in the area, forcing them to leave and advancing the ongoing silent transfer of Palestinians from Hebron’s city center.

Pharmacy Checkpoint, al-Sahleh Street. Photo by Eliana Mahamid, B’Tselem, 5 October 2016.
December 1

Today, 20 Nov. 2016, Civil Administration officials handed evacuation orders to 14 families in Ibziq, north of Tubas. The families, 78 people, including 42 minors are to evacuate from Monday early afternoon to Tuesday morning, and for the same time Tuesday to Wednesday. They will have to spend two nights outside, away from home. The military has been training extensively throughout the Jordan Valley in recent weeks, turning out scores of residents in Palestinian communities in these areas, which Israel defines as firing zones.

Civil Administration officials arrived at the community of Ibziq to deliver temporary evacuation order. Photo by ‘Aref Daraghmeh, B’Tselem, 15 Nov. 2016
November 20

On 25 Oct. 2016, a military inquiry stated security forces “could have acted differently in recent incidents involving the shooting of Palestinians – and in some cases could [have] even avoided opening fire”. B'Tselem’s investigation shows that security forces killed two Palestinians, one aged 15, and injured another Palestinian aged 15 without justification. The security establishment’s response to the incidents does not lead to real change on the ground or steps against those responsible, nor will it prevent similar incidents in the future.

Left to right: Rahiq Yusef, 19, shot to death; Fares Bayed, 15; seriously injured, Khaled Bahar, 15, shot to death. Photos courtesy of the families
November 16

In July 2016 Israel demolished 13 homes in Qalandia al-Balad, close to the Separation Barrier. Since Qalandia and other neighborhoods were cut off by the Barrier, the Jerusalem Municipality has virtually halted the supply of municipal services and rarely enforces building laws. As a result, Palestinians from East Jerusalem have been attracted to the area. In a rare exception to its usual policy, the Jerusalem Municipality has decided to provide a service in the area: house demolitions.

The ruins of the family home of Sharif ‘Awadallah. Photo by Iyad Hadad, B’Tselem 27 July 2016.
November 14

In recent weeks, the military has held several maneuvers in residential areas or grazing land belonging to Palestinian communities. Israel claims that the areas are “firing zones,” despite the fact that these communities have lived and worked on the land for many years. The repeated displacement threatens the ability of residents to continue living in the communities. As an occupying power, Israel may not use land for general military purposes, and certainly must not displace the residents or damage their livelihood on these grounds.

Target-practice image placed by soldiers in residential area of an al-Fajam area community, near ‘Aqraba. Photo by ‘Aref Daraghmeh, B’Tselem, 17 Oct. 2016
November 13

On Thurs. Nov. 11, Civil Administration forces arrived at the community of Khirbet Tall al-Himma, located in the northern Jordan Valley, south of ‘Ein al-Beida. The forces dismantled six tents and confiscated them together with two tents that had not been pitched yet. Three of the tents had been used as dwellings by members of the community, and the rest were used as livestock pens. These structures were donated to the community this week by a humanitarian aid agency, after the Civil Administration demolished these families’ homes on 27 September 2016, leaving 25 people, 10 of them minors, homeless.

The confiscation in Khirbet Tall al-Himma this week. Photo by ‘Aref Daraghmeh, B’Tselem, 7 Nov. 2016
November 9

On 2 November 2016, soldiers entered the village of Zabubah, in the northern West Bank, in pursuit of children who had thrown rocks at the separation fence. The soldiers entered the center of the village and ran toward a group of children who had gathered there. The children dispersed, but one of them, an 11-year-old, froze. Video footage from a security camera shows an officer pushing the child forcefully and knocking him to the ground.

Still from video.
November 8

Three communities targeted today as part of Israel’s confiscation and demolition campaign. Jordan Valley: In Kh. a-Deir, forces demolished the homes of 14 people, 4 are minors. In a-Ras al-Ahmar, forces confiscated tractors used for hauling water and feed for livestock. In Wadi al-Qatif, in the Ma'ale Adumim area, forces confiscated water tanks and portable toilets. In the campaign, launched in 2016 in a bid to expel Palestinian communities, Israel has so far demolished 255 homes, and left 1,076 people homeless, including 557 minors.

Demolition of dwellings, Khirbet a-Deir, the Jordan Valley, 30 October 2016. Still from video filmed by 'Aref Daraghmeh, B'Tselem.
October 31

In September, the military blocked the entrances to dozens of Palestinian communities in the southern Nablus District for 15 days, disrupting the lives of 54,000 residents. The Israeli authorities claimed that the closures followed the throwing of stones and a Molotov cocktail at Israeli vehicles. Such collective punishment disproves Israel’s claim that large areas of the West Bank are under the Palestinian Authority’s control. Israel disrupts the routine of tens of thousands of Palestinians at will, and the PA is helpless to do anything about it.

Roadblock placed by the military at the entrance to Beita. Photo: Salma a-Deb’i, B'Tselem, 4 September 2016
October 30

"For the past 49 years – and counting – the injustice known as the occupation of Palestine, and Israeli control of Palestinian lives in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem, has become part of the international order. The first half-century of this reality will soon be over. On behalf of B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, I implore you today to take action. Anything short of decisive international action will achieve nothing but ushering in the second half of the first century of the occupation..."

October 16

El-Ad will stress that after almost half a century of Israeli military control over millions of people, the occupation is only deepening, while the settlements – one of the main reasons for daily violations of Palestinians’ human rights – continue to expand. Under these circumstances, it would be unreasonable to consider the occupation temporary or to believe that Israel intends to change this reality in the foreseeable future. The responsibility for ending the occupation and the human rights violations that it entails lies first and foremost with Israel, yet this reality will not change as long as the international community stands idly by. View the recorded discussion. Read full address

Hagai El-Ad addressing the United Nations Security Council today. Photo by Chelsey Berlin, B'Tselem USA.
October 13