On 9 August 2018, Israel’s air force dropped a guided bomb on the home of the Abu Khamash family in Deir al-Balah, killing a pregnant woman and her toddler. The bomb was dropped as part of a massive exchange of fire between Israel and armed operatives in the Gaza Strip, who fired rockets at Israeli communities injuring 23 people, one of them seriously. Firing missiles in densely-populated areas such as the Gaza Strip by definition endangers civilians. Israel has killed thousands of civilians in Gaza with airstrikes. As Israel insists that this patently illegal policy is lawful, no one has been held accountable for the horrifying outcomes.
B’Tselem expresses its deep sorrow over the killing of Ari Fuld, a 40-year-old husband and father of four who lived in the settlement of Efrat in the Bethlehem district. He was fatally stabbed today at the Gush Etzion junction by a Palestinian from the town of Yatta, and died of his wounds in Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem. B’Tselem conveys its sincerest condolences to the Fuld 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.
4 Aug. 2018 - 31 Aug. 2018
The village of ‘Urif, southwest of Nablus, has suffered from attacks by settlers from Yitzhar and its outposts. Since March, B'Tselem has documented six such attacks, some cases with the active participation of soldiers, as well as the seizure of private land, These actions seek to de facto annex the land to the settlements. As a result, Palestinians lose not only their land but also their livelihood. The consistent behavior of the security forces shows total disregard for Palestinian lives, safety, and property.
In their ruling, Justices Amit, Meltzer, and Baron described an imaginary world with an egalitarian planning system that takes into account the needs of the Palestinians, as if there had never been an occupation. The reality is diametrically opposed to this fantasy: Palestinians cannot build legally and are excluded from the decision-making mechanisms that determine how their lives will look. The planning systems are intended solely for the benefit of the settlers.This ruling shows once again that those under occupation cannot seek justice in the occupier’s courts. If the demolition of the community of Khan al-Ahmar goes ahead, the Supreme Court Justices will be among those who will bear responsibility for this war crime.
For the last 5 years, the military has raided al-Jalazun R.C. once a week, on average. Two recent raids included arrests, live fire and incursions into nine homes, with damage to property. Night raids have become a staple of the occupation regime in the West Bank, where the military has adopted sweeping arbitrary powers. Abusing civilians as a form of intimidation and pressure is unjustified and constitutes collective punishment, which is prohibited under international law. This is yet another example of daily life under occupation.
On the night of 5 July 2018, soldiers raided 7 homes in the village, waking families, overturning their homes and questioning some about ties to a former prisoner expelled to Gaza in the Shalit deal. Soldiers mistreated an ill man and severely beat another. Nocturnal raids on Palestinian homes, by now a West Bank routine, are clearly designed to intimidate and have no justification. Abusing civilians to pressure them is collective punishment that is prohibited by international law. This is yet another example of daily life under the occupation.
On 1 Aug. 2018, the court ordered the state to detail its proposed alternative for the community. On 7 Aug., the state responded in bad faith, suggesting a site to be prepared sometime in the future that does not meet the residents’ needs, lies close to a sewage treatment plant and requires expropriation of Palestinian land. It also demanded that the residents first move to the site near the Abu Dis garbage dump, cynically tying the alternative to their persuading 3 other communities to move, too. The immediate threat to Khan al-Ahmar must be stopped now. Its fulfillment will heighten the danger facing ~200 other Palestinian communities in the West Bank.
On 30 June 2018, Israel was holding ~5,300 Palestinians from the West Bank on security grounds, in facilities all – barring Ofer Prison – within Israel. Imprisoning residents of the Occupied Territories in Israel contravenes international humanitarian law and violates the rights of families to visit loved ones. Palestinians undergo a bureaucratic ordeal to secure permits to visit, and lengthy journeys to and from prisons. These difficulties are another example of the exhausting routine of occupation that Palestinians face daily.
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.