Updates

Muhyi a-Din a-Tabakhi, a 10-year-old boy from a-Ram, was critically injured by a black sponge round fired by Border Police. He died shortly after. The officers were pursuing youths who were throwing stones at them. A-Tabakhi is the second Palestinian killed by this type of ammunition and the latest in a long line of those injured by it. Black sponge rounds are dangerous and it has been found repeatedly that police officers use them in breach of regulations. Therefore, this ammunition cannot be considered a “non-lethal means” and its use must be limited to cases of mortal danger.

Muhyi a-Din a-Tabakhi, 10 years old. Photo courtesy of the family.
August 3

July 2016 saw dozens of night raids by the military on homes in Dura, the hometown of the Palestinian suspected of the drive-by shooting that killed Rabbi Michael Mark and injured his family on 1 July. Soldiers woke up entire households, questioned adults, and left behind terrified children and frustrated adults who felt helpless at being unable to protect their families. Using the blanket excuse of security, the military and the ISA violated the rights of people whose only offense is being related to the suspect or living in the town that is home to his family. Such wholesale harm is inexcusable.

Main Street, Dura. Photo by Musa Abu Hashhash, B'Tselem, 31 July 2016
August 1

In September 2012, Israeli security forces put up a chain-link fence along al-Ibrahimi Street in Hebron, separating the paved road from a narrow, rough walkway. Since then, B’Tselem has twice documented security forces denying Palestinians access to the paved road, despite official claims that there is no such prohibition. On 25 July 2016, B’Tselem volunteer Raed Abu Ramileh filmed a Border Police officer seizing the bicycle of 8-year-old Anwar Burqan and throwing it in the bushes for riding it down the paved road, which is reserved for settlers.

Still from video.
August 1

Of some 100,000 Palestinians who work in Israel daily, 63,000 have permits and enter Israel via one of 11 checkpoints. In June, B’Tselem again documented the rough conditions at two checkpoints: 300 and Qalandia. Even in Ramadan, when workers fast all day, they are forced to leave for work in the dead of night, wait in long lines, and often sleep where they work and see their families only on weekends. This is not a necessary evil but a deliberate choice by the Israeli authorities. Whatever the reasons, it is unconscionable and unacceptable.

Qalandia Checkpoint, 20 June 2016, 5:00 A.M. Still from video.
July 31

At 3:00 A.M. on 13 July 2016 Border Police fired at a car in the center of a-Ram. The shooting - captured on a security camera - killed the driver, Anwar a-Salaimeh, 22, and injured a passenger. While Israeli media reported the officers feared an attempted ramming attack, B’Tselem’s inquiry raises serious concerns that the gunfire was unjustified. The car did not swerve from its course; the officers were concealed by a parked car; and the driver had way of knowing they were there or that he should slow down. This incident must be seen in the context of a public mood that justifies the killing of Palestinians.

Still from security camera footage.
July 29

In October 2015, Israel resumed its use of administrative detention against Palestinian minors, for the first time since December 2011. At the end of April 2016, the IPS was holding 13 – the highest number since August 2008. Administrative detainees are held for indefinite periods of time, without knowing the charges against them and without standing trial. The increase in the number of Palestinians held this way, and the renewed inclusion of minors, is an even greater abuse of this draconian measure than before.

‘A and his mother. Photo courtesy of the family.
July 28

B’Tselem information showing Israel demolished more homes in Palestinian communities in the West Bank in the first half of 2016 than in the entire previous year will be presented today at a Knesset conference on Israel’s Area C house demolition policy. From January to the end of June 2016, the Civil Administration demolished 168 homes, leaving 740 Palestinians homeless, 384 of them minors. Throughout 2015 the Civil Administration demolished 125 homes, leaving 496 Palestinians, including 287 minors, homeless. Over the last decade, from 2006 to 30 June 2016, Israel demolished at least 1,113 Palestinian homes in the West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem).

July 26

In Jan.-June 2016, Israeli authorities demolished 168 dwellings in Palestinian communities in the West Bank, making 740 people homeless (incl. 384 minors), more than in any one year in the past decade (except 2013). Demolitions are carried out only in Area C, which comprises about 60% of the West Bank, and which Israel views as primarily meant to serve its own needs, and in East Jerusalem. Demolitions play a key role in Israeli policy in the West Bank to displace Palestinians and take over their land. Demolitions and devastating communities do not fulfill “the rule of law”. Rather, they are a longstanding, systematic dispossession to which all Israeli authorities are party.

Click to view video
July 26

Two years after Israel’s 2014 operation in Gaza, and following a meticulous investigation, B’Tselem is publishing the casualty figures. These indicate that almost two thirds (63%) Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces in the operation, 1,394 out of 2,202, did not take part in the hostilities and 526 of them were children under 18. The Israeli government almost totally shirked its responsibility for the massive harm to civilians in the operation, casting all blame upon Hamas. However, the fact that one side violated the law of war does not permit its opponent to do the same. Additionally, the lethal results of the open-fire policy chosen were clear even on its first few days. Israeli decision-makers chose to ignore this fact and continue the same policy line, and the moral and legal responsibility for this massive harm to civilians lies with them.

July 20

On 15 Feb. 2015, the military prosecution informed B’Tselem it had denied the appeal against closing the investigation into the killing of Mustafa Tamimi, who was shot with a tear-gas canister while throwing stones at a military jeep in Dec. 2011. The prosecutor proposed a variety of scenarios, no matter how implausible, to absolve the shooter and his commanders of criminal liability. Yet again, this decision sends soldiers a message that they may act with nearly universal impunity in the Occupied Territories, and highlights the limitations of the law enforcement system which does not examine overarching issues and policy or the responsibility of senior officers.

The moment of firing at a-Tamimi, 9 Dec. 2011. Photo: Haim Scwarczenberg.
July 7

After Palestinians killed two Israelis, 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel and Rabbi Michael Mark, near Hebron last week, Israel imposed severe restrictions on Palestinian movement throughout the Hebron District. Imposed during Ramadan, just before ‘Eid al-Fitr celebrations, the restrictions grossly disrupted the lives of some 900,000 people and harmed the local economy. Most roadblocks are still in place. This massive collective punishment is an act of vengeance that serves narrow political interests at the expense of almost 1 million people.

Roadblock at the entrance to al-Fawwar Refugee Camp: Residents return home with groceries. Photo by Nasser Nawaj'ah, B'Tselem.
July 6

On 1 July 2016, a Border Police officer shot and killed Sarah Hajuj, a 27-year-old Palestinian woman from Bani Nai’m, at a checkpoint at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron. The Israel Police said the woman had tried to stab a policewoman. B’Tselem’s investigation and video footage indicate that the shooting was unjustified, as Hajuj - whose face had been pepper-sprayed - was alone in a room with armed policemen at the door. The shooting is part of a broadly-backed policy that permits lethal fire not only as a last resort, and grants the shooters immunity.

The small room at Tomb of the Patriarchs compound. Still from video of incident, 1 July 2016
July 5

B’Tselem expresses deep sorrow over the killing of Rabbi Michael Mark, 48, and the injury of his wife and two of their children in a shooting attack by Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills on Friday. B’Tselem conveys its sincerest condolences and best wishes for a speedy recovery to the Mark family. The deliberate targeting of civilians undermines every moral, legal and human standard. B’Tselem strongly condemns any and all deliberate attacks against civilians and calls once again on politicians and leaders to act responsibly and avoid fanning the flames of violence.

Scene of the attack in the South Hebron Hills, 1 July 2016. Photo by Mussa Qawasma, Reuters
July 3

B’Tselem expresses deep sorrow over the stabbing to death of Hallel Yaffa Ariel, 13, by a Palestinian who entered her home in Kiryat Arba this this morning, and over the injury of a member of the settlement's security detail. B'Tselem conveys its sincerest condolences to the family and its best wishes for a speedy recovery to the injured guard. The deliberate targeting of civilians undermines every moral, legal and human standard. B’Tselem strongly condemns any and all deliberate attacks against civilians and calls once again on politicians and leaders to act responsibly and avoid fanning the flames of violence.

Victim of this morning's stabbing attack being taken to hospital. Photo: Ammar Awad, Reuters
June 30

On Tues. night, June 21, soldiers shot and killed Mahmoud Badran, 15, from Beit Ur a-Tahta and wounded four of his friends. B’Tselem research shows that, contrary to the military’s version, the soldiers used massive fire at the car without justification. The shooting is in line with military policy which enables, despite an official prohibition, to use deadly fire even without threat to life and even when soldiers have non-lethal means available. The policy is backed by the senior ranking military and government officials who do nothing to change it, despite the lethal results.

The boys at the swimming pool shortly before to the incident. First on the right: Mahmoud Badran.
June 22

On 14 June 2016, despite the 104°F heat in the Jordan Valley, Israeli authorities seized a tractor on which Palestinians depend to carry water to their flocks and delivered demolition orders for spring water reservoirs that are vital to another Palestinian community. This conduct clearly illustrates Israel’s routine abuse of its power against Palestinians in the Jordan Valley, exacerbating the existing water shortage caused by the fact Israel does not allow them to connect to the water supply.

Shepherd ‘Abd a-Rahman Khalil with his flock last year. Photo by 'Aref Daraghmeh, B'Tselem, 28 Oct. 2015
June 22

Today, Sunday, 19 June 2016, Civil Administration and military forces came to the Palestinian community of Wadi Ejheish, which is known as “south Susiya” as it lies some five kilometers south of the village of Khirbet Susiya. The forces demolished the homes of two families that number 21 people in total, including four women and 14 minors. The forces also demolished two livestock pens. One of the demolished homes had been donated by a humanitarian aid agency.

Residents of Wadi Ejheish watch their homes being demolished. Photo by Nasser Nawaj'ah, B'Tselem, 19 June 2016
June 19

Yesterday evening, two Palestinians went on a shooting spree at Sarona Market in Tel Aviv, killing four Israeli civilians: Ido Ben Ari, 42, Ilana Naveh, 39, Michael Feige, 58; and Mila Mishaev, 32, from Rishon LeZion; and injuring 8 other persons. B’Tselem expresses deep sorrow over the killing and conveys its sincerest condolences to the families of the victims. The deliberate targeting of civilians undermines every moral, legal and human standard. B’Tselem strongly condemns any and all deliberate attacks against civilians and calls once again on politicians and leaders to act responsibly and avoid fanning the flames of violence.

Site of shooting attack at Sarona. Photo by Ammar Awad, Reuters.
June 9

On 31 May 2016 Hamas authorities executed 3 Gazans it convicted of murder: Ahmad Shurab, 43; Yusef Abu Shamleh, 38; and Muhammad ‘Othman 28. Since Hamas seized control of Gaza, 67 people have been condemned by its courts, and 33 people executed (this figure does not include people executed during Operation Protective Edge), some of whom were sentenced before the Hamas takeover. B’Tselem condemns the use of capital punishment, which is both immoral and a grave violation of human rights. A state may not take a person’s life and violate the right to life as a punitive measure, even if ostensibly for the purpose of law enforcement.

June 7