B’Tselem in Brief – Jan. 2017 monthly newsletter

B’Tselem in Brief – Jan. 2017 monthly newsletter

By Eyal Sagiv, Data Coordinator, B’Tselem

Last month, the Jerusalem Municipality notified some 40 families from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukabber that it had begun proceedings to demolish their homes, on the grounds that they were built without permits. Since then, dozens of families have received similar notices. This vindictive action – in response to an attack committed by a resident of the neighborhood who killed four soldiers and injured 13 others – forms part of the municipality’s broader policy toward residents of East Jerusalem, a policy of constant harassment in place of fairness and basic municipal services. Obtaining a permit to build a home in the Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem is a near impossible task.

In the Batan al-Hawa neighborhood of Silwan, also in East Jerusalem, Palestinian suffering is doubled. In addition to longstanding neglect by the municipality, the area is currently the site of the largest expropriation campaign in East Jerusalem. With the help of government ministries and the municipality, the Ateret Cohanim association has filed eviction suits against 81 Palestinian families who have lived in the neighborhood for decades. Settlers have already seized control of 27 housing units, most of which had been home to Palestinian families. Last month we published regular updates on the unbearable reality of life that residents of the neighborhood have been subjected to due to the presence of settlers, who are accompanied by police and Border Police forces, as well as state-funded private guards.

These are just two examples of what is happening now in occupied, annexed East Jerusalem. In these and other cases, Israel is working to impose its control and to harass and expel Palestinian residents of the city. These efforts are relentless. All arms of the state – the Jerusalem Municipality, the police, the State Attorney’s Office, and the courts – are complicit in this shameful process of expropriation. All of us share the obligation to change this reality.

Eyal Sagiv joined B’Tselem in August 2016. As data coordinator, he is in charge of investigations into incidents of killing, detainees and prisoners, and East Jerusalem. He holds a B.A in Film and Television Studies from Tel Aviv University.

Israel destroying Gaza’s fishing sector

Fishing in Gaza has drastically declined due to Israel’s harsh restrictions on access to sea, exporting catch, and importing raw materials. Of only 4,000 registered fishermen, half are out of work as their boats cannot be repaired. Those that work risk being fired at and arrested by the Israeli navy, and having their boats confiscated.

Deir Nizam: 2 months of collective punishment after fire in nearby settlement

In late November, a fire broke out near the Halamish settlement, apparently due to arson. Since then, the military has collectively punished nearby Palestinian village Deir Nizam, although its residents were accused of no wrongdoing. The village was placed under a 3-day unofficial closure and movement in and out of it is restricted with roadblocks and patrols.

Israeli security forces shoot and kill 17-year-old fleeing from them

In December, Israeli security forces killed Ahmad Hazem ‘Ata Zidani (a-Rimawi), 17, and injured N.R., 25, during a raid in the village of Beit Rima near Ramallah. CCTV footage and B’Tselem’s investigation indicate that while the two had thrown stones, they were not endangering the forces when shot and the firing was unjustified.

Not only Umm al-Hiran: Israel continues to demolish homes in Jordan Valley shepherd communities

Last year saw a massive spate of demolitions in dozens of the poorest, most underprivileged Palestinian communities in the West Bank. Israel appears to be continuing this policy unabated in 2017:

23 Jan.: 13 people, incl. six minors, left homeless in ‘Ein Karzaliyah.
3 Jan.: 29 people, incl. 15 minors, left homeless in Khirbet Tana.
2 Jan.: 78 people, incl. 58 minors, left homeless in Wadi Esneisel and Bir al-Maskub, north of the Ma’ale Adumim settlement.

The aim of these actions is to expel Palestinians from areas that Israel wishes to control, facilitating their annexation in future. Read more on B’Tselem’s special blog, Facing Expulsion.

Israel cannot shirk responsibility for Gaza electricity crisis

In January, a financial dispute between the PA and Hamas heightened Gaza’s electricity crisis, and more than 1.5 million residents had power for just 3-4 hours a day. The issue was temporarily resolved, but Gazans continue to suffer severe power shortages for which Israel is directly responsible.

Military shoots non-dangerous teen, fails to inform parents of his whereabouts, shackles him in hospital

On 10 November, soldiers shot A.Z., 15, after he threw a stone at their fortified watchtower and began removing sandbags placed there. The military took him to hospital in Israel without informing his parents, where he was held under military guard for four days.

B’Tselem in the media

The Washington Post: Israeli settlements grew on Obama’s watch. They may be poised for a boom on Trump’s.

Ynet: B’Tselem ensuring that we don’t lose our humanity

+972: It didn’t have to be this way in East Jerusalem’s Silwan