Mu'taz Ja'far Hamad (25) was arrested in May 2019, convicted of hurling a Molotov cocktail a year earlier and sentenced to 20 months. Although it later transpired he had been in prison at the time of the alleged offense, the state refused to revoke his conviction and the parties agreed upon his immediate release after 17 months in prison. The case reveals how the Israeli military justice system routinely operates: flimsy evidence, marginal judicial involvement and disregard for the truth.
On 9 Oct. 2020, settlers attacked a home in Burin. Soldiers enabled the assault and fired tear gas and stun grenades at residents who came to the family’s defense. Two settlement security coordinators entered the village in their jeeps and chased four residents. When a young man passed by in his car, one of them attacked him, handcuffed him and “turned him in” to the soldiers.
In late August 2020, dozens of Israeli soldiers again raided the home of the extended Abu Hashhash family at night, assaulting several members. They severely beat father of four Iyad Abu Hashhash (45) and carried him away on a stretcher. His relatives later learned he had contracted the coronavirus in an ISA interrogation facility and been quarantined, and then put in administrative detention for four months. Raiding Palestinian homes at night and waking entire families, including young children, is part of the violent occupation routine.
State-backed settler violence against Palestinians has become a routine part of the occupation. In two cases documented in March and April, settlers not only harmed Palestinians and their property but claimed the victims had been the ones to attack them. Settlers are backed by the military and receive nearly automatic impunity, while Palestinians are guilty until proven innocent. If a settler files a report against a Palestinian, the latter is immediately arrested and given high bail for conditional release – even when there is no evidence.
The report "This is Jerusalem: Violence and Dispossession in al-‘Esawiyah" describes life in the Palestinian neighborhood of al-‘Esawiyah 53 years after East Jerusalem was annexed to Israel. Over the past year, al-‘Esawiyah has become a flashpoint due to a police operation designed primarily to harass residents. In the report, B'Tselem analyzes Israel’s policy of dispossession, deliberate neglect, lack of planning and police violence in the neighborhood, which is an extreme example of its actions throughout East Jerusalem.
The world has ground to a halt, but the violent routine of occupation in the West Bank continues. From 1 March to 3 April 2020, Israeli forces raided 100 homes and arrested 217 Palestinians, 16 of them minors. Many of the arrests took place after 12 March, when Israel and the Palestinian Authority tightened restrictions on movement in the West Bank. Below are descriptions of violent raids in which soldiers forced their way into 12 homes, woke families up, trapped some in a room and damaged their belongings.
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.
On 30 Jan. 2020, at around 3:00 P.M., soldiers violently arrested two Palestinian boys, 12 and 14, in the village of Beit Ummar and led them away blindfolded and handcuffed. One was released in the evening and the other the next evening. No one informed their parents of their whereabouts. The only objective in holding young boys in this way for any length of time, and leaving their parents in the dark, can be humiliation and intimidation. This is a routine example of the daily violence used by the Israeli occupation against on Palestinians in the West Bank.
As of the end of December 2019, Israel was holding at least 4,544 “security prisoners” in its prisons within Israel and the West Bank. Israel imposes numerous restrictions on family visits to prison – including on the identity of the visitors and the frequency of visits. The visits are organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross. Every visit to prison involves an entire day of arduous travel and physical and emotional hardship – especially for elderly relatives and children, as seen in the testimonies presented herein.
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.