The Issues - Life for Palestinians under Israeli occupation
Human Rights Reports:
- Amnesty International: "Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories 2016/2017"
- Human Rights Watch World Report 2017: "Israel/Palestine Events of 2016"
Life for occupied Palestinians:
Israeli journalist Bradley Burston, 2/26/13: "In the name of occupation, generation after generation of Palestinians have been treated as property. They can be moved at will, shackled at will, tortured at will, have their families separated at will...” – link to original: "As Lincoln Abolished Slavery, Israel Must Abolish Occupation"
Carmi Gillan, head of the Israeli internal intelligence agency Shin Bet 1994-96, "We are making the lives of millions unbearable, into prolonged human suffering, [and] it kills me.” Avraham Shalom, Shin Bet head 1980-86: "[We’ve become] a brutal occupation force similar to the Germans in World War II.” - in The Gatekeepers, 2013 Oscar-nominated documentary.
Israeli Ambassador to South Africa 1992-94 Alon Liel, 2/21/13: “Similarities between the ‘original apartheid’ as it was practiced in South Africa and the situation in Israel and the West Bank today scream to the heavens...There can be little doubt that the suffering of Palestinians is not less intense than that of blacks during apartheid-era South Africa.”
Washington Post, 7/7/17: "This Palestinian village had solar power - until Israeli soldiers took it away"
Eyal Harel, veteran Israeli soldier, 6/19/17: "What Really Happens in the World's Most Moral Army" (paywall). "[W]e caught a Palestinian boy of no more than 12, riding a donkey between Qalqilyah and Kfar Sava. You don’t want to know that after a 'chase' of about five minutes, the Border Policeman shooed the donkey away and beat the boy up – why, I will never know. Because I didn’t ask."
B'Tselem, Israeli human rights organization, 6/12/17: "Israeli soldiers detain Baraa Kan'an, a 19-year-old Palestinian, then abuse him for 7 hours... This abuse did not take place in a vacuum. It is part of a broader context. Over the years, B’Tselem has documented many similar incidents of violence and abuse..."
Charlie Zimmerman, participant in the Center for Jewish Nonviolence delegation in Palestine, 6/10/17: "Dispatch from 'the most ****ed up place on Earth,' Hebron's H2 quarter"
Aya Kaniuk and Tamar Goldschmidt, two Israelis reporting from checkpoints and military courts, 2010: A 13-year-old Palestinian child's trial in Israeli military court. "...Children and youths arrive in groups of two, three, sometimes four, wearing brown prisoners’ garb, their feet chained, one hand shackled to the next boy’s hand ... I noticed him in particular because he had soft, round curls, and because he looked very young, and because he wept..."
Joseph Dana, journalist based in the West Bank, 2/17/11: "Israeli army targets and arrests children in order to repress Palestinian dissent in the West Bank"
UNICEF, Children in Israeli Military Detention, pp. 13-14, 2/2013: “Ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized... The pattern of ill-treatment includes the arrests of children at their homes between midnight and 5:00 am by heavily armed soldiers; the practice of blindfolding children and tying their hands with plastic ties; physical and verbal abuse during transfer to an interrogation site, including the use of painful restraints; lack of access to water, food, toilet facilities and medical care; interrogation using physical violence and threats; coerced confessions; and lack of access to lawyers or family members during interrogation."
“The [British] Foreign Office revealed last night that it would be challenging the Israelis over their treatment of Palestinian children after a report by a delegation of senior British lawyers revealed unconscionable practices, such as hooding and the use of leg irons…” (June 2012)
"More than 30 former Israeli soldiers have disclosed their experiences of the treatment of Palestinian children during military operations and arrests, pointing to a pattern of abuse. A booklet of testimonies, published by Breaking the Silence, an organisation of former Israeli soldiers dedicated to publicising the day-to-day actions of the army in the occupied territories, contains descriptions of beatings, intimidation, humiliation, verbal abuse, night-time arrests and injury. Most of the children had been suspected of stone-throwing." "The report teems with instances of teenagers, some 14 and 15, held till they foul themselves. They soil themselves because of beatings or because they are manacled and not allowed to go to a bathroom overnight." (August 2012)
Israeli soldiers gather a Palestinian family in one room after banging on their door at 2 am. They handcuff and blindfold everyone aged 16 to 29, remove them, and destroy the inside of the house. One soldier later describes it: soldiers “smashed the floors, turned over sofas, threw plants and pictures, turned over beds, smashed the closets, the tiles”. Did they find any weapons? No. Had there been terrorist attacks in the area? No. The detainees are released 12 hours later. (2009)
Hagai El-Ad, director of B'tselem, testimony to UN Security Council, 10/4/16: "Show me a plot of Palestinian land you wish taken over, and the [Israeli military command] Civil Administration will come up with the appropriately tailored legal mechanism – of course, it must all be legal! – to achieve that end: military training zones, nature reserves, archeological sites and, above all, declaring thousands of acres 'State Land' – what 'State' exactly? All these are successfully used in order to forcibly displace Palestinians and justify denying them access to running water or the power grid."
Israeli soldiers arrive at a Palestinian home in mid-January with bulldozers, and demolish it. (p.4/12) It is the home of a widow with nine children living in deeply impoverished Umm al-Kheir, next to the large and constantly expanding settlement of Carmel. The home was built without a permit, which is almost never granted to Palestinians in the 60% of the West Bank classified as “Area C” under the Oslo Accords. David Shulman, a professor at Hebrew University, describes seeing the woman two weeks later on a freezing rainy day: “she was standing barefoot, still shocked and traumatized, in a neighbor’s tent.” (June 2012)
A February 2013 report on Palestinians in the Occupied Territories by a panel of UN human rights investigators finds “testimonies confirmed that building permits are rarely if ever granted; in the last 20 years, 94 percent of permit application were denied. Building without a permit is an offense under military orders, and the execution of a demolition order is accompanied by a large fine… Many families and entire communities are at risk of displacement.” (pp. 15-16, paras. 70-71)
Israeli soldiers arrive at a Palestinian home at 7:45 a.m. with bulldozers, and demolish it and the large barn in which one hundred dairy cows had been kept. The farm supported four families. The cows are now standing outside in the heat. When the Christian Peacemakers Team called to bear witness asks for explanation, they are told, “Because we are the army.” (May 2012)
A Palestinian shepherd takes his sheep to graze, carrying a copy of the Israeli court documents which verifies his title to the land. He is accompanied by Jewish Israeli volunteers. Armed soldiers, border police and settlers confront him, and, despite knowing the law is on his side, announce he has five minutes to leave before they arrest him. (April 2012)
Settlers destroy a Palestinian village spring by pouring sand and cement into it, protected by Israeli soldiers [photo in article]. When the soldiers notice they’re being filmed, they force observers to leave, declaring the area is now a Closed Military Zone. (March 2010)
Members of “an elite Navy unit” order fishermen in Gaza to jump into the sea. Soldiers then destroy their boat. They are ordered to strip, then count to 100 repeatedly, until they drown. (told by Miko Peled, October 2012)
972mag reports, 2/24/13: "There are several reports every week on “price tag” attacks by settlers against Palestinians and their property – those usually include torching trees, cars and mosques, spray-painting threatening and insulting graffiti, and violent attacks on civilians...the settlers uprooted several olive trees and tried to torch a house... A couple of Palestinians were wounded by live ammunition, apparently fired by the settlers. As can be seen in the photos [in the article], soldiers who were present at the site didn’t try to stop the settlers, even those who threatened the Palestinians with their guns." (2/24/13)