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.
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 the 1990s, Israel has implemented a segregation policy in central Hebron, prohibiting Palestinians from driving along – and in some cases even walking on – major streets in the area. In May 2017, these severe restrictions were stepped up. This collective punishment has taken a toll on tens of thousands of Palestinians, preventing them from leading normal lives and making daily routine unbearable. In applying these measures, Israel is effecting a gradual, silent transfer of Palestinians from the heart of Hebron.
On 3 Apr. 2017, the Civil Administration used bulldozers to uproot 135 olive saplings in Wadi Qana, near Qaliqiliyah, on land owned by Palestinians from Deir Istiya. In 1983, the CA declared the valley the Nahal Qana Reserve, and in recent years, Israeli authorities have been pushing to exclude Palestinian farmers from the wadi, and displace them using different practices, while giving settlers free reign. Like elsewhere in the West Bank, declaring land a nature reserve does not serve to protect nature, but to displace Palestinians in favor of Israeli interests.
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.