On 13 May 2020, during a military incursion into al-Fawar Refugee Camp, a sniper shot and killed Zeid Qeysiyah (17), who was standing on a rooftop without endangering anyone, far from the clashes between camp residents and soldiers. While the IDF spokesperson stated that the MPIU has launched an investigation, years of experience show that the goal is not to uncover the truth but to serve the MAG Corps’ whitewashing mechanism. This policy allows the lethal, unlawful, immoral shooting of Palestinians to continue unchecked.
In recent weeks, Israeli soldiers have deliberately fired at water tanks in Kafr Qadum during weekly protests held against the closure of the village’s eastern exit. Since April, soldiers have punctured at least 24 tanks on rooftops. This is sheer abuse and constitutes collective punishment for protesting. This conduct is especially grave given the high level of hygiene needed to fight the coronavirus. The shooting continues unbated, indicating support by commanders in the field and conveying disregard for residents’ lives and property.
On Feb. and March 2020, three minors aged 8, 9 and 16 were injured by sponge rounds and one lost an eye. As part of a yearlong harassment campaign in al-‘Esawiyah, the police regularly creates friction with residents and then responds violently. Sponge rounds, which have injured thousands of Palestinians in East Jerusalem in recent years, can be fatal. Nevertheless, the Israel Police refuses to change its policy and avoids action against the responsible officials. As always, no one will be held accountable.
On 20 Feb. 2020, four Palestinian teens were driving when a military jeep came towards them. To avoid crashing, the driver swerved and hit a boulder. The soldiers got out, fired at the car and beat two of the boys. One was rushed to hospital and the others detained and interrogated. The military quickly declared a car-ramming attack but released the teens with no action. The fact soldiers can so easily shoot Palestinians and use false claims as justification raises questions about cases in which no witnesses are left to refute the claims.
On 23 Feb. 2020, soldiers shot two Islamic Jihad operatives near the perimeter fence in the southern Gaza Strip, killing one and wounding the other. The military claims it fired after the two tried to plant explosives near the fence. The wounded man managed to crawl away, and soldiers shot and injured two men who tried to evacuate the body, though they posed no danger to anyone. A military bulldozer then damaged the body before scooping and snatching it. This wanton, grotesque behavior defies any conceivable moral or legal principle.
On 7 Feb. 2020, during a protest by the Separation Barrier near Qaffin, Palestinian youths lit tires and threw stones and empty bottles at Israeli soldiers on the other side of the barrier. At one point, a soldier fired a live round from a jeep despite no danger to the force, striking Bader Nafleh, 19, in the neck. Experience shows that no one will be held accountable – the shooter, his commander, or those who gave the orders enabling the shooting. As long as the whitewashing policy continues, so will lethal, illegal shooting of Palestinians.
B’Tselem’s analysis finds AG’s claims, that the ICC has no jurisdiction in Palestine, rely on intentional misquotation, disregard for international law and an absurd misrepresentation of reality. Contrary to the AG’s position, the ICC has jurisdiction to carry out the necessary investigation of the situation in Palestine. This morning, B’Tselem published a position paper refuting the conclusion of Attorney General Dr. Avichai Mandelblit – the highest legal authority in Israel’s executive branch, whose legal opinion represents the government – that the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has no jurisdiction to investigate suspected war crimes by Israel.
On Jan. 24, soldiers came into the village of Deir Nizam, northwest of Ramallah, jumped a 15-year-old and put him in their jeep. When locals tried to intervene, a soldier fired in the air, and then at a passerby - injuring him. The teen was taken to a military base, interrogated and held until evening. His parents were not told where he was. For most Israelis and their political and military leaders, this seems trivially routine. For those living under our control, it is a brutal, terrifying routine that scars the body and the mind.
At least 21 March of Return protestors have lost vision in one eye in the past two years, and A 16 year old boy lost vision in both eyes. Their personal tragedies add to the alarming summary of Return Protest casualties: more than 200 killed, 8,000 wounded by live fire, 2,400 by “rubber” bullets, nearly 3,000 by tear gas canisters. Wanton use of crowd control weapons has been a feature of the illegal and immoral open-fire policy Israel has been applying in these demonstrations for nearly two years. Here are three stories of individuals who have lost vision in one eye.
Since the March of Return demonstrations began along the Gaza Strip perimeter fence in 2018, Israel has employed an unlawful open-fire policy against them, shooting unarmed protesters, with horrific results: more than 200 Palestinians killed, 8,000 wounded, including 1,500 minors and 150 women. 155 protesters lost limbs, including 30 minors. 27 demonstrators were paralyzed. Following are the testimonies of five of the wounded.
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.