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.
“Since the Israeli navy confiscated my hasake (boat) I’ve been out of work and can’t support my family. Things in the Gaza Strip are very bad because of the blockade, and there are no other jobs available. I used to make about 20 shekels a day fishing. That enabled me to buy food and drink for my family. Now our lives are very hard.” Tamer Zayed, Beit Lahiya, 27 August 2018
As of 5 Dec. 2018, for more than a month, the military closed off a road that links Ramallah with villages northwest of the city and the entire area with the Ni’lin checkpoint, which thousands of laborers and businesspeople cross daily into Israel. This forced tens of thousands of Palestinians to use a treacherous alternate road. Israel’s arbitrary closure of roads has a particularly disruptive impact on daily life. The closure was unlawful and constituted deliberate collective punishment of residents whose only “crime” was living there.
The olive harvest was once a joyful time for Palestinian families. Yet for many years now, it has been taking place under the shadow of landgrab, restrictions on access to land, attacks on harvesters and vandalization of trees. This reality, which forces farmers to abandon their lands, is no accident. It is the outcome of Israeli policy, facilitating the takeover of land to expand settlements or advance other Israeli interests. This year, B’Tselem recorded 2 physical assaults on harvesters and 9 cases of vandalization or crop theft in the Nablus and Ramallah Districts.
Since 7 Dec. 2017, soldiers have patrolled daily near the main gate to the al-‘Arrub campus of the Palestinian Technical University and detained students. Therefore, students – including those from the nearby al-‘Arrub R.C. – now take detours to enter the campus via other gates and so avoid the soldiers. This harassment infringes upon students’ rights to move freely, study and maintain ordinary social ties. For the hundreds of students on campus, basic rights are subject to the whims of the military, which views them as privileges that can be revoked at random, with no accountability.
Since 30 March 2018, at protests near the Gaza fence, over 3,600 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli live gunfire, and dozens – incl. at least 12 minors – have been killed. Gaza’s healthcare system, already failing after a decade under Israeli blockade, cannot provide them the care they need. Rehabilitation options are also few and too expensive for most. Israel is responsible for this situation: it ordered the unlawful shooting, brought the Gazan healthcare system to the verge of collapse and is denying rehabilitation, in or out of Gaza. These are the stories of three boys who were injured. Two have lost a leg. Their lives will never be the same.
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.