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Newsletter - 22 Jan. 2018


In our monthly newsletter, we bring you up to date on recent human rights violations by Israel in the Occupied Territories, abuses which are part and parcel of the occupation. This time, we want to share with you an issue that we have not previously addressed.

Over the years, B’Tselem has rarely dealt with environmental issues. At the same time, Israeli environmental organizations usually do not address the situation in the Occupied Territories. This division is artificial. As we make plain in our new report, Made in Israel: Exploiting Palestinian Land for Treatment of Israeli Waste, published in December 2017, the two issues are inextricably linked.

The report reveals how Israel has built at least 15 waste treatment facilities in the West Bank, six of which handle hazardous waste. These plants process a significant portion of the waste generated inside Israel’s sovereign territory, including sewage sludge, infectious medical waste, used oils and solvents, metals, used batteries and electronic industry by-products.

Israel abuses its status as the occupying power in order to divert the environmental and health hazards associated with the treatment of waste. It distances the hazards from its own citizens and transfers them to the Palestinians, who were never party to this decision and, given that they have no political rights, are entirely unable to influence it.

Israel is effectively having it both ways. On the one hand, it boasts of treating waste according to international standards and much the same way as other developed nations do – seeing as it regards waste processing in the West Bank as if it were carried out in its own territory. On the other hand, it takes advantage of the fact that the West Bank is not, in fact, part of its territory, which allows it to implement less stringent environmental regulations there than the ones imposed in Israel to protect its own citizens.

Waste treatment is simply one more facet of the painfully familiar policy Israel has practiced consistently for over fifty years now, exploiting the West Bank for its needs alone, while ignoring the millions of Palestinians living there.
Sincerely yours,

Adam Aloni
B’Tselem researcher, author of the report


We thank the 1,043 people who donated $142,000 to B’Tselem during our special End-of-year appeal. 

We are very proud and moved by each and every individual donor. 


Minor arrests

In November & December, we posted seven updates on the arrest of minors, five of them were part of a project that focuses on the arrest of teenagers in East Jerusalem, which included the publication of Unprotected: Detention of Palestinian Teenagers in East Jerusalem. Palestinian youths do not benefit from the same protections afforded to Israeli youths when they are arrested. In their case, arrest is almost always the measure of first rather than last resort, in breach of the law. Their rights are trampled under foot up until their release. Testimonies reveal that the arrested teenagers are left alone throughout their time in custody, without the protection of their parents or any other adult they can trust, far from their families, away from their normal daily routine, not knowing what would become of them. In some cases, they are subjected to abuse and humiliation.
After clashes in the city of Hebron on Friday, 13 October 2017, soldiers arrested 18 youths, most of them under the age of 18, while beating and cursing them. Minors aged 13 to 16 were brought into a room where they were blindfolded. Testimonies reveal they were interrogated while blindfolded and that some
were beaten and threatened.
On Thursday evening, 27 July 2017, scores of police officers raided al-Aqsa Mosque. They violently and unnecessarily arrested more than one hundred people, some of them minors, forced them into a painful crouching position for hours, and humiliated them
at the police station. Testimonies collected from minors reveal a serious incident of abuse and humiliation.
On the night of 22 October 2017, Hundreds of Israeli police raided al-‘Esawiyah in East Jerusalem, arresting 51 Palestinians including 26 teens.

On 7 November 2017, Israeli police assaulted and arrested two Palestinian teens, fired sponge rounds and threw stun grenades in East Jerusalem neighborhood.

Read the story of M.M: Over the past two years, the 16-year-old from al-‘Esawiyah has undergone interrogations, nighttime arrests, imprisonment and injury by Israeli security forces. He is shortly to begin serving another sentence. 

Communities facing expulsion

Thousands of people living in scores of Palestinian communities scattered throughout Area C of the West Bank are in immanent danger of expulsion by the authorities. They have been subject to decades of incessant harassment from the Israeli authorities, which deny them connections to infrastructure and repeatedly demolish their homes in attempted expulsion. Last month, the state told three Palestinian communities it was going to expel them from their homes: two are located in the Jordan Valley – Umm a-Jamal and Ein al-Hilweh, and one in the area of Ma’ale Adumim (Jabal al-Baba). The state has recently announced its plan to expel two other communities as well, Susiya, in the South Hebron Hills and Khan al-Ahmar, near Ma’ale Adumim. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has said that in the absence of opposition from the American administration, the communities
will be expelled by April 2018. Forced transfer is a war crime.

A Routine Founded on Violence in Hebron

In December we reported three incidents of violence and harassment in Hebron. These are not isolated or exceptional incidents, but an integral part of life in Hebron, where Israel has established several small settlement clusters within the heart of the Palestinian population. Israel imposes an overt policy of segregation in the city. These restrictions, together with the constant harassment of Palestinian residents by security forces and settlers, deny residents the chance to maintain a routine and make their lives intolerable.

On 11 November 2017, an Israeli soldier injured a Palestinian, 16, in the head during settler march in Hebron. 
 On Friday, 8 December 2017, Israeli soldiers beat Palestinian young man in Hebron. Watch video footage.
In October and November 2017, B'Tselem documented four instances in which Israeli soldiers harassed Palestinian students and teachers.

Video: Israeli settlers and soldiers loudly celebrate Hanukkah in front of Palestinians locked behind fence.
  • Dead end: Unemployment among college and university graduates in Gaza

They went to universities, they got professional diplomas, but the unemployment rate in Gaza is among the highest in the world. Young educated Gazans told us what happens when less than 50% of residents with post-secondary education are employed.

  • Road 60: Settlers attack family with rocks, injuring a five-year-old in the head

On 5 October 2017, members of the Jabber family from al-Baq’ah near Hebron were driving home, when they encountered a group of settlers, one of whom threw a rock at their car. Yafa Jabber, 5, was injured in the head, and required hospital care. This incident is just one of many cases of settler violence along Route 60 and in other parts of the West Bank. The increase in such attacks is partly due to the fact that the Israeli authorities make no attempt to bring those responsible to justice, thus allowing such incidents to continue undisturbed.

  • Occupation 365 – no let up
Beginning November 2017, we will routinely provide ongoing statistics that illustrate the daily impact of Israel’s military control on the lives of Palestinians in the West Bank. From November 4 to 17, in 2 weeks alone Israeli security forces arrested at least 111 Palestinians, including 7 minors, raided at least 30 homes, patrolled 100 villages and set up 105 flying checkpoints. The information is based on the Palestinian DCO and B’Tselem field-researchers.
In the first half of December, Israeli security forces arrested at least 237 Palestinians, including 61 minors; raided at least 123 towns and villages and at least 104 homes; and set up at least 155 flying checkpoints. Click here for more detailed information
  • Israeli soldier fires without cause at Palestinian car passing by post, killing the driver and injuring his sister

On 31 Oct. 2017, a soldier fired at a passing car in the West Bank, injuring driver Muhammad Musa and his sister, Latifah. Israeli personnel did not offer first aid, stopped treatment by Palestinian paramedics and carelessly transferred the driver to an ambulance that took him to an Israeli hospital, where he died. B’Tselem’s investigation found that the shooting was unjustified. 

  • Army regularly accompanies hundreds of Jewish worshippers to “Joseph’s Tomb,” imposing draconian restrictions on the residents
From August to October 2017, B'Tselem documented several visits to Joseph’s Tomb compound, on the outskirts of Nablus, each involving hundreds of worshippers with military escort. On each of these visits, the military imposes sweeping restrictions on Palestinian movement in the area of Balata Refugee Camp, who are turned into prisoners in their own homes, uses tear gas against youths who clash with the soldiers, and sometimes gunfire. For years, Israel has preferred the interests of Jewish worshippers.
B'Tselem in the media:
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