On 27 Nov. 2019, three soldiers came three times to the home of the a-Tabib family in the village of ‘Izbat a-Tabib in Qalqiliya District to remove Palestinian flags the family had hung on the fence of their home. The family hung the flags up again every time. At around 6:30 P.M., the three soldiers returned while the family was sitting in the yard and took the flags down again.
In recent months, B’Tselem has documented more than 10 cases in which soldiers fired live and “rubber” bullets at the legs of Palestinians trying to enter Israel for work through gaps in the Separation Barrier. At least 17 were injured. The authorities willfully overlook the fact that thousands of Palestinians enter Israel without permits every day to work. It is not clear who suddenly decided to shoot at the legs of the workers and why. It is clear that shooting people who pose no danger is illegal.
The dispossession and violence that mark Israel’s policy in the West Bank peak during the olive harvest. This major sector of the Palestinian economy, once a celebration of farming and connection to the land, has for years been overshadowed by violence against Palestinian families, damage to trees and theft of olives. This interactive map details incidents of assault, theft, vandalism, threats and holdups involving soldiers and settlers in villages near Ramallah, Nablus, Tulkarm, Qalqiliya and Salfit documented from Sept. to Nov. 2019.
In the last round of hostilities, Israel killed 35 Palestinians, including 14 uninvolved civilians. B’Tselem investigated three of the bombings. One particular case helped shed light on Israeli bombings in Gaza as a whole, revealing sites listed in the military’s “target bank” are rarely reassessed before an attack, nor are attempts made to ensure the absence of civilians. This policy, formulated by top government and military officials and backed by military legal advisors, persists despite its horrifying results.
On 17 Nov. 2019, Palestinan children and teens threw stones at Israeli oldiers near the boys’ school at al-Jalazun RC. About half an hour later, soldiers and at least one person in civilian clothes opened fire at children hiding near the entrance to the camp, injuring two of them, aged 11 and 13. This illegal shooting is illustrative of the military’s trigger-happy policy, backed and bolstered by a military law enforcement system that ensures no accountability.
On 11 Nov. 2019, a soldier shot and killed ‘Omar al-Badawi as he was trying to put out a fire at the front of his house. B’Tselem’s investigation and video footage of the incident show al-Badawi was shot for no reason and without justification, while advancing slowly and signaling to soldiers not to fire. His death is not solely the responsibility of the soldier who shot him, but of all those responsible for the MAG Corps’ whitewashing protocol that allows these shootings to recur with no accountability.
On Dec. 5, B'Tselem marked 30 years since its founding in a special event at the Khan al-Ahmar school community. B'Tselem Executive Director Hagai El-Ad spoke about what we learned over 30 years of work, since 1989.
Residents of the souther Hebron neighborhood of al-Harika have suffered incessant soldier and military-backed settler harassment ever since the settlement of Kiryat Arba was built next door in 1972. In five months this year, we documented five such attacks. These and other cases previously documented by B'Tselem illustrate how fragile, exposed and unpredictable life is in the neighborhood. The intolerable living conditions created by Israel’s policy drive Palestinians to abandon homes and businesses in the neighborhood.
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.