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Newsletter - 12 Feb. 2018

 

Dear friend,

Last month, a military judge approved the prosecution’s request to remand ‘Ahed and Nariman Tamimi in custody.

The key measures that Israel is using against ‘Ahed and Nariman Tamimi are familiar – to varying degrees – from thousands of other legal cases Israel has pursued against Palestinian defendants: Violent arrest in the middle of the night, slapdash indictments and prolonged detention leading to remand in custody for the duration of the proceedings. A detainee in remand is not serving a prison sentence and must be presumed innocent until proven guilty. The fact that these measures are being used against a minor magnifies the violation of human rights that is already par for the course in Israel’s treatment of hundreds of Palestinian minors: According to Israel Prison Service statistics, as of 30 November 2017, 181 Palestinian minors were being held in custody for the duration of legal proceedings in their cases.

This is standard practice in the military apparatus euphemistically known as Israel’s courts in the West Bank: On one side are the Palestinian defendants, in this case, Ahed, Noor and Nariman Tamimi, subjects of Israel’s military occupation. On the other are the prosecution and the judges, who are always military officials, i.e. part of the very system that runs the lives of all Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories. The military orders – which establish what a Palestinian can and cannot do – are all written by Israeli officers and reflect what they believe to be protection of Israeli interests, to the total exclusion of the Palestinians themselves, who are denied the ability to influence the content of the orders that dictate all aspects of their lives. This reality is what Israel’s military courts refer to as “the rule of law”.

When an entire system mobilizes to humiliate and punish a 17-year-old girl because she “has no fear”, we -  the citizens in whose name this system operates - are presented with an excellent opportunity to, once again, state the obvious: If Ahed Tamimi were Jewish, the chances of her being arrested would have been negligible; only Palestinians are tried in Israel’s military courts in the West Bank; the conviction rate in these courts is almost 100 percent. Behind this carefully staged charade, cloaked in well-reasoned legal verbiage, lies one of the occupation’s most injurious apparatuses. Its goal is not to seek justice or truth, but to maintain Israeli control over the Palestinian people.

Amit Gilutz
B’Tselem Spokesperson

 

As we do every year, at the end of 2017, we held a private donor fundraising campaign. We are proud and thrilled that the number of donors rises every year, and a significant percentage of them are Israelis. We send a heartfelt thank you to the 1,333 people who donated $183,300 to B’Tselem at the end of 2017.

 

Communities Facing Expulsion

Thousands of people living in dozens of Palestinian communities scattered throughout Area C of the West Bank are under immediate threat of expulsion by the authorities. They have suffered for decades from constant harassment by Israel, which denies them connections to infrastructure and repeatedly demolishes their homes in an attempt to expel them. In recent months, the state has notified three Palestinian communities of its intention to expel them: two are located in the Jordan Valley: Umm a-Jamal and Ein al-Hilweh and one in the Ma’ale Adumim area (Jabal al-Baba). The state has already notified recently of its plan to deport two more communities in the near future, Susiya in the South Hebron Hills and Khan al-Ahmar, close to where the settlement of Kfar Adumim was built. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has said that in the absence of objections from the US administration, the communities will be expelled by April 2018. Forcible transfer is a war crime.
  • Civil Administration Demolished Two Classrooms at the School in the Abu a-Nawar Community

  • Israeli military tightens travel restrictions on Masafer Yatta in attempt to drive Palestinians out

  • Dispossession in the northern Jordan Valley: New settlement outposts as part of the land grab process.
  • On 29 January 2018 Israeli authorities arrived at the Beit Jala neighborhood of Bir ‘Ona, which has been annexed to East Jerusalem. The forces destroyed two buildings under construction containing a total of nine housing units. 
 
  • Soldiers fire live bullets at Gazan demonstrators near fence with Israel, killing and injuring Palestinians

Following Trump’s declaration regarding Jerusalem, December 2017 saw a rise in demonstrations in the Gaza Strip near the fence with Israel, during which soldiers killed eight Palestinians with live fire and injured hundreds. B’Tselem found that none of the demonstrators killed were endangering the troops and there was no justification for the use of live fire. It is probable that the officials who authorized the use of such measures to suppress demonstrations in Gaza were aware of these predictable outcomes, and accordingly they bear responsibility for them.

 
  • Voices from Gaza: This date-processing plant employs women who are out of work or come from low-income families. Yet even this constructive venture faces the obstacles of the Israeli blockade on Gaza.
 
  • In August 2014, Muhammad Abu Hadaf, then 6, was wounded by an Israeli missile fired near his home For more than three years, his family and doctors fought for his life, moving him paralyzed, blind, and unable to speak from one hospital to another. On 6 December 2017, at age 9, he died of his injuries. Targeting homes with occupants inside was a horrifying aspect of Israel’s actions in Operation Protective Edge, resulting in the killing of more than 1,000 people who took no part in the fighting, including hundreds of children.
 
  • Over 7,000 people collectively punished: Israel imposes harsh restrictions on access to village of Hizma
For more than a week, since 16 Jan. the Israeli military has been severely restricting access into and out of the Palestinian village of Hizma in the West Bank, using both physical blocks and soldiers posted at the village entrances, apparently in response to stone-throwing along a nearby road. Curtailing the freedom of movement of some 7,000 people is collective punishment that is prohibited under international law.
 
 
  • #Occupation365 - Updates from the West Bank routine
In the first half of January 2018 (30 Dec. 2017 – 12 Jan. 2018), Israeli security forces arrested at least 139 Palestinians, including 18 minors; raided towns and villages at least 137 times, and at least 68 homes; and set up at least 173 flying checkpoints.
 
  • Distant relatives: Severe restrictions imposed on prison visits by immediate family to Gazans held in Israel
Israel holds thousands of Palestinian detainees and prisoners (inmates) from the Gaza Strip in its prison facilities, in breach of international law, and forces their family members to apply for a permit in order to visit them. Over the years, Israel has imposed overwhelming obstacles on the families of inmates from Gaza. It currently allows visits only once every two months, and only by the inmates’ spouses and children younger than 16. Grandparents and siblings are not permitted to visit. In so doing, Israel severely violates the inmates’ right to receive visits from family members and the family members’ right to visit them without arbitrary restrictions.
 
  • Night in Beit ‘Einun: Israeli soldiers throw stun grenades and raid homes
On the night of 11 December 2017, military forces entered the village of Beit ‘Einun, northeast of Hebron. They went through the streets throwing stun grenades, including at houses. The soldiers entered dozens of homes, pounding on doors and in some cases breaking them down, intimidating the inhabitants – and especially children. The soldiers then forced the inhabitants to recite the contents of a leaflet in Arabic in which the military accused the village residents of terrorist activity and threatened that soldiers would harass them every night. West Bank Palestinians are exposed to the occupation regime’s arbitrary violence wherever they are, and at any time of day or night. 
 
 
  • Israeli settlers from Havat Gilad settlement outpost pelt Palestinian homes in village of Far’ata with stones. No arrests were made

Following an attack in which Palestinians killed Raziel Shevach near Havat Gilad on 9 Jan., settlers threw stones at cars and homes in the area. The military then barred Palestinian traffic along a section of Route 60 for 3 weeks. The day after the attack, Havat Gilad settlers threw stones at homes in Far’ata, breaking windows. No one was arrested. These repeated settler attacks undermine the sense of personal security of local residents, who are constantly at risk of attack. The complete lack of accountability teaches settlers they may attack Palestinians with impunity.

 
  • Collective punishment in Qusrah: Israeli forces raid village homes
“We feel exposed to violence everywhere. We don’t feel safe anywhere, not even in our homes” After a settlers' hike on the Palestinian village of Qusrah resulted in the killing of a villager, Israeli forces fired lived rounds at residents and raided homes in the village.
 
B'Tselem in the media:
With Trump in power, emboldened Israelis try redrawing Jerusalem’s boundaries
Why B'Tselem Stopped Cooperating With Israeli Military Investigations
British MPs urge end to use of West Bank for treatment of Israeli waste
The Tamimis and the so-called ‘rule of law’
Not just Ahed: Israel holding 300 Palestinian minors in prison
Demolishing Palestinian schools 'a quiet population transfer'
Demolition practice under scrutiny
The Alarming Reason Israeli and Palestinian Activists Are Growing Closer
Detained, Arrested and Harassed: The Life of Palestinian Teens in East Jerusalem
Boy blinded and paralyzed in Gaza war dies aged nine
 
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