On the last Friday of Ramadan, in two separate incidents, Border Police opened fire at two Palestinian youths trying to cross the Separation Barrier near Beit Sahur to attend prayers at al-Aqsa Mosque. One (15 years old) was killed and the other injured. B’Tselem found that neither had – nor could have – posed mortal danger, being in broad daylight, on a buffer path between two fences, facing armed and ready officers in protective gear. The fact that the predictable and deadly outcome of this egregious conduct is met by public indifference and that the conduct receives the full backing of all official bodies demonstrates just how little worth is accorded Palestinian lives.
B’Tselem today published its investigation of the recent bout of hostilities in Gaza. During this latest round, the Palestinian military branches killed 4 Israeli civilians. Targeting the civilian population in Israel is unlawful and immoral. During the same time period, Israel killed 25 Palestinians, including 13 who were uninvolved in the hostilities, 2 of them minors. Israel’s actions were undertaken as part of the unlawful and immoral policy of attacking homes which it has been implementing in Gaza for years and which has already caused the deaths of thousands of civilians, hundreds of them minors.
On 20 March 2019, Maysaa and ‘Alaa Ghayadah were on their home with their two daughters. Following an argument on the road, ‘Alaa pulled over near a checkpoint and got out of the car. Soldiers in a nearby watchtower shot him, hitting him in the stomach. Maysaa flagged down a passing car: three of the passengers took ‘Alaa to hospital. The fourth, Ahmad Manasrah, 22, tried to start the car to get Maysaa and her daughters away from the spot, but the soldiers at the watchtower shot and killed him. His death is one of four that B’Tselem has investigated since the beginning of March, in which the use of lethal gunfire was found to be clearly unjustified.
Waging another war in the Gaza Strip is a folly that will enhance no-one’s safety or wellbeing. It will merely exacerbate the suffering of civilians on both sides. The Israeli government must lift the stifling blockade it has imposed on the residents of the Gaza Strip; Hamas must cease firing at civilians.
On the night of 2 April 2019, more than 10 Israeli military vehicles entered an alley in Kafr ‘Aqab in northern East Jerusalem. Young Palestinians threw stones and two IEDs at them. Soldiers flanked the young men and fired at them, injuring two. The young men fled. Muhammad Dar ‘Udwan, 24, ran in the opposite direction from the rest, past the soldiers, and they kept shooting even after he passed them. Video footage shows he was shot from behind as he fled. His death is one of four investigated by B’Tselem since the beginning of March, in which lethal gunfire was found to be clearly unjustified.
At about 6:00 A.M. on 27 March 2019, some 40-50 Israeli soldiers and Border Police entered a-Duheisheh Refugee Camp, south of Bethlehem. Clashes ensued with local residents, who threw stones at the troops. After arresting three residents, the troops went down an alley. Local young men ran after them, throwing stones. A member of the Israeli security forces fired at a young man, hitting him in the leg. Volunteer medic Sajed Muzhar, 17 – wearing a medical crew vest – ran to his aid, and was fatally shot by one of the troops. His death is one of four that B’Tselem has investigated since the beginning of March, in which lethal gunfire was found to be clearly unjustified.
On the afternoon of 12 March 2019 Israeli soldiers and Border Police arrived at the town of Salfit. Clashes ensued with some 40 Palestinians who threw stones at them from about 80 meters away. The troops threw stun grenades and fired teargas, rubber-coated metal bullets and live ammunition at the young men, mildly wounding three. Muhammad Shahin was standing about 20 meters behind the stone-throwers, watching the clashes. At about 4:30 P.M., the troops fired one live bullet at Shahin, killing him. His death is one of four that B’Tselem has investigated since the beginning of March, in which lethal gunfire was found to be clearly unjustified.
B’Tselem’s investigation into four killings since the beginning of March 2019 clearly shows the lethal fire was completely unjustified. These cases illustrate, once more, just how little value Israel’s security establishment places on the lives of Palestinians. None of the victims posed a threat to the lives of security personnel. Not one of these incidents should have ended in death. As B'Tselem has cautioned countless times in the past, these are not aberrations, or “bad apples”. These are incidents that occur as part of the routine actions of soldiers and police officers, pursuant to Israel’s dangerous, lethal open-fire policy.
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.
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’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.