On Mon., 4 March 2019, at around 2:30 A.M., a Palestinian car hit a military jeep. The car also hit an officer, seriously injuring him, and a Border Police officer, who sustained mild injuries. Two of the three Palestinians in the car, Yusef ‘Anqawi and Amir Dar Daraj, were fatally shot and the third was arrested. Video footage of the incident reveals that the two men were shot only four and a half minutes after the collision. This time gap, the IDF Spokesperson’s refusal to explain it, and the confiscation of footage from a nearby security camera all raise grave concerns as to the circumstances in which the two men were killed.
On 19 March 2019, after school had let out, brothers Yazan (9) and Tayyem (7) ran back to school crying. They were followed by armed soldiers, who burst into the school and tried to arrest them for allegedly throwing stones. The teachers extricated Tayyem, but the soldiers arrested Yazan and took him to a nearby checkpoint. They released him only an hour later, after his mother had arrived. This is not the first time Israeli forces have entered a school or illegally detained children below the age of criminal liability in the West Bank.
Ahead of the UN Human Rights Council meeting today (Monday, 18 March 2019) on the findings of the UN commission of inquiry into the 2018 Gaza protests, B’Tselem has issued a position paper explaining that Israel’s promise to “investigate” 11 incidents in which protesters were killed is mere propaganda. In a letter, B’Tselem’s director, Hagai El-Ad called upon the head of the commission, Santiago Canton, to reject the tapestry of lies Israel has woven while killing more unarmed protesters.
Israel permits live fire, from some distance, at non-dangerous protestors by the Gaza perimeter fence, an unlawful policy that has caused thousands of casualties. Yet the injury does not end there: Israel has rejected more than 80% of requests by wounded protestors to leave Gaza for treatment in the West Bank or in Israel. Israel is responsible for the injuries and for Gaza’s failing healthcare system after more than a decade of blockade. It follows that Israel is responsible for changing this reality.
B’Tselem’s investigation found that, contrary to official Israeli statements, Barghouti did not try to flee or run anyone over, nor could he have tried: two security vehicles blocked the taxi he was driving at either end, and he was surrounded by some 10 security personnel who shot him point-blank–an operation resembling an extrajudicial killing. Official attempts to sanction the killing in retrospect ensure no one will be held accountable.
On 14 Dec. '18, soldiers came to al-Jalazun R.C. after residents threw stones at them and began chasing uninvolved youths. They shot one - Mahmoud Nakhleh, 18 - in the back as he fled from 80 meters away, and then prevented residents from helping him and dragged him around. Only after 15 minutes did they permit his transferal to hospital, where he was pronounced dead. All the military personnel involved, whether the ground soldiers or the officials who issued a falsified statement to justify the shooting, conveyed disrespect for the injured youth's humanity and confidence that this case will be whitewashed like thousands of others.
In 2018, Israeli security forces killed 290 Palestinians, including 55 minors. Of the casualties, 254 were killed in the Gaza Strip, 34 in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and two within Israel. These incidents are a direct result of Israel’s reckless open-fire policy, authorized by the government and the top military command, and backed by the judicial system. As long as Israel adheres to this policy, despite its predictable outcomes, the casualties will continue to amass.
"The policemen took me into Abu a-Rish Checkpoint (the Pharmacy Checkpoint) and kept me shut in a room there for about an hour. I cried and the soldiers cursed me. Then they put me into a white car. I heard the other boy who was arrested with me asking a woman soldier where they were taking us, and she answered, ‘To prison.” From the testimony of Zeid Taha, 6 years old, who was detained in Hebron by Border Police.
On the night of 4 Dec. 2018, some 100 soldiers invaded Tulkarm. At 2:25 A.M., three Israeli soldiers headed towards some young Palestinians who were standing by a restaurant. At 80 meters away they stopped and opened fire, fatally hitting Muhammad Habali (22) in the head – from behind – and injuring another man. Testimonies and CCTV footage from four cameras show that, contrary to the military’s claim, the area was peaceful at the time. While the military announced it would investigate, this usually serves appearances and to silence criticism, so use of lethal force can continue unchecked.
On Friday, 26 Oct, 2018, dozens of settlers tried yet again to invade an archeological site on land belonging to the village of al-Mazra'ah al-Qibliyah, escorted by security forces, as they have done over the last few months. They soon retreated, but clashes between the forces and residents continued. Later, when the forces began to leave, several dozen young men from the village ran after them. When they got close, at least one Border Police officer fired at them, wounding nine, two of whom died afterwards. Settlers frequently invade Palestinian-owned land with security forces’ backup. Yet the lethal outcome of this incident is unusual and defies every letter of the open fire regulations.
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.