Prepared by the European Union heads of mission to the Palestinian Authority, the report is a strongly-worded and very critical of Israel’s settlement activities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The draft, obtained by +972 Magazine and published here in full, is to be presented to the EU’s Political Security Committee (PSC/COPPS). Among its recommendations are preventing financial transactions that support settlements and informing EU companies of the legal and financial risks of doing business with and in Israeli settlements. The report was prepared in January 2013 and covers 2012.
In the second half of January at least five unarmed Palestinian civilians were shot and killed by IDF fire in the West Bank and Gaza. The following report shows a dramatic downward trend in the rate of indictments served against IDF soldiers for alleged offenses in 2012, a year in which only one indictment was served against a soldier accused of abusing a Palestinian.
By Yesh Din
In the wake of recent events, Yesh Din has published a new data sheet about criminal accountability of IDF soldiers in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The data indicates a clear downward trend in the rate of indictments served: in the years 2009-2011 indictments were served following 2.5% of the investigations opened into alleged offenses committed by Israeli soldiers while in 2012 not a single Military Police Criminal Investigations Division (MPCID) investigation resulted in an indictment.
The data sheet, based on information provided to Yesh Din by the IDF spokesperson, as well as the organization’s ongoing research, shows the following:
- In 2012 the MPCID received 240 complaints and various reports of suspected crimes allegedly committed by IDF soldiers against Palestinians and their property in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
- The MPCID opened criminal investigations into 78 of the 240 reports it received. Another 25 investigation files were opened that year into reports received in 2011. The MPCID opened a total of 103 criminal investigations in 2012.
- Data for the last years indicates a significant drop in the rate of indictments served. The data for the years 2009, 2010 and 2011 shows that 14 investigation files out of the 534 opened during those three years produced indictments; i.e., only 2.62%.
- Not a single investigation file opened by MPCID in 2012 yielded an indictment. Only one indictment was served in 2012 against an IDF soldier accused of hurting a Palestinian, and that followed an investigation that had opened in 2011.
- The absence of an MPCID base in the West Bank led to only six Palestinians managing to submit their complaints directly to the MPCID in 2012. The others had to seek the help of various intermediaries such as human rights organizations and the Israel Police.
B’Tselem released a new report on the crowd control weapons used by the Israeli army. The report also details the relevant orders of the military and the Israel Police which regulate the use of these weapons, and which the security forces refuse to divulge. In addition it surveys the implementation of the regulations in the field and the detrimental results of violating them. Dozens of Palestinians have been seriously injured by use of these weapons. Additionally, security forces have killed at least 46 Palestinians in the West Bank when firing live ammunition at stone-throwers.
B’TSELEM – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories was established in 1989 by a group of prominent academics, attorneys, journalists, and Knesset members. It endeavors to document and educate the Israeli public and policymakers about human rights violations in the Occupied Territories, combat the phenomenon of denial prevalent among the Israeli public, and help create a human rights culture in Israel.
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) has released its annual assessment of the state of human rights in Israel and in the occupied Palestinian Territories. The 2012 report includes chapters on house demolitions in Palestinian and Bedouin villages, the occupation of the West Bank and the regime of discrimination, the persecution of asylum seekers, the lack of affordable housing, and the privatization of the police and the judiciary.
Established in 1972, ACRI is Israel’s oldest and largest human rights organization and the only one dealing with the entire spectrum of rights and civil liberties issues in Israel and the Occupied Territories. Read more about ACRI here.
A breakdown of the myriad of settlement plans being aggressively pursued in recent weeks.
By Hagit Ofran and Lior Amihai
The past few weeks may have been confusing for those who try to keep track of Israeli settlement activity. So many plans and approvals, some of which are lethal for the two-state solution, make it clear that the Netanyahu government has decided to push forward as many plans as possible in order to determine facts on the ground before the elections in Israel, as long as there is no “threat” of any renewal of the peace process.
Following are the details of the recent developments in settlements:
1. E1 and 3,000 new tenders
2. Plans for 6,600 units in East Jerusalem
3. Givat Hamatos
4. Tenders in Efrat, Karnei Shomron and Givat Ze’ev
5. A Palestinian family is threatened with eviction in Sheikh Jarrah
1. E1 and 3,000 new tenders – Following the UN resolution on a Palestinian state, the government of Netanyahu announced the intention to promote planning in E1 and to issue 3,000 tenders in settlements in East Jerusalem. On December 5, the plans for the construction of 3,426 units in E1 were approved for depositing.
See more here: Everything you need to know about E1
2. Plans for 6,600 units in East Jerusalem – in parallel, almost all of the main pending plans for East Jerusalem were promoted. Using a fast track planning process, the planning committee in Jerusalem is approving plans in Givat Hamatos, Ramat Shlomo and Gilo.
See more details here.
3. Givat Hamatos – Givat Hamatos is a plan that, if built, could prevent territorial continuity between Bethlehem and the Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Zafafa in South Jerusalem, and could thus prevent the possibility for a two-state solution with a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem.
The plan in Givat Hamatos is divided into four plans (A, B, C and D). The largest and the most lethal of them is Givat Hamatos A, for 2,610 units, which was approved by the local planning committee this past week. The regional planning committee surprisingly rejected plan C. However, the rejection unfortunately does not prevent the damage from the other plans.
4. Tenders in Efrat,...Read More
Who are the leading Arab candidates in the upcoming Knesset elections? Who is trying to ban them from running, and how? How did such attempts end in previous elections? How many Palestinian citizens can vote in the Knesset elections, and how many are expected to vote? A Q&A by the human rights organization Adalah answers those questions, and more.
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Adalah (“Justice” in Arabic) is an independent human rights organization and legal center. Established in November 1996, it works to promote and defend the rights of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel, 1.2 million people, or 20 percent of the population, as well as Palestinians living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).
Twenty-five years ago this past weekend, a large-scale popular uprising by Palestinians began against Israel’s then 20-year-old military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza. Sparked by an incident in which four Palestinians were hit and killed by an Israeli driving in Gaza on December 8, 1987, Palestinian frustration at living under repressive Israeli military rule and Israel’s growing colonial settlement enterprise erupted, grabbing international headlines and drawing attention to the plight of Palestinians living in the occupied territories. On this 25th anniversary, the IMEU offers the following fact sheet on the First Intifada.
By The Institute for Middle East Understanding
Facts and figures
During the First Intifada, Palestinians employ tactics such as unarmed demonstrations, including rock throwing against soldiers, commercial strikes, a refusal to pay taxes to Israeli authorities, and other acts of civil disobedience and nonviolent resistance. They are coordinated largely by grassroots ad hoc committees of Palestinians in the occupied territories rather than the PLO leadership abroad.
In response, Israeli soldiers use brutal force to repress the mostly unarmed popular rebellion. Then Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin implements the infamous “broken bones” policy, ordering security forces to break the limbs [WARNING: Graphic video] of rock-throwing Palestinians and other demonstrators.
More than 1000 Palestinians are killed by Israeli forces during the First Intifada, including 237 children under the age of 17. Many tens of thousands more are injured.
According to an estimate by the Swedish branch of Save the Children, as many as 29,900 children require medical treatment for injuries caused by beatings from Israeli soldiers during the first two years of the Intifada alone. Nearly a third of them are aged ten or under. Save the Children also estimates that between 6500-8500 Palestinian minors are wounded by Israeli gunfire in the first two years of...Read More
In response to the Palestinian statehood bid, the Israeli government has decided to promote zoning plans for the area known as E1, northeast of Jerusalem. The project is intended to link annexed East Jerusalem with the mega-settlement of Ma’aleh Adumin, thus finally making the creation of a contiguous Palestinian State impossible.
By Ir Amim
E1 (derived from “East 1”) is a term applied by the Ministry of Housing to an area located just east of the Jerusalem municipal boundary, on the hills between Ma’aleh Adummim and Jerusalem. It lies north of the Jerusalem-Ma’aleh Adummim road and edges the Palestinian towns of Anata, Abu Dis, Azariya and A-Zayim. E1, which covers some 12,000 dunams (12 sq. kilometers), is part of the planning area of Ma’aleh Adummim. The main artery between the northern and southern West Bank runs through E1.
In recent years, Israel has begun building and settling the area. The development plan for E1 includes the transfer of the West Bank (Judea & Samaria) Police Headquarters from its present location, and the construction of at least 3,500 residential units, a large commercial center, and more. Plans for the E1 area make no reference whatsoever to the local Palestinian population.
Construction in the E1 area commenced in 2004 under the direction of Housing Minister Efi Eitam. The work was illegal because no building permit had been issued. As a result of international pressure, construction was halted a short time after it began.
At the beginning of 2005, the Ma’aleh Adummim municipality approved two detailed urban plans for the development of the area, as mentioned above: one for approximately 3,500 housing units (apartment buildings and villas), and the second for the transfer of the police headquarters. The plan generated harsh criticism from the American government and the European Union. Both demanded that the plan be frozen, on the grounds that it violated Israel’s commitments according to the ‘Road Map.’ Instead, they maintained that the future of this territory be decided upon by a final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Following this pressure, the Israeli government froze the project in 2004. However, building of the police headquarters was continued on the grounds that, like army bases, the police station would not be seen as creating...Read More
How is this Palestinian Authority UN statehood bid different from last year’s? What’s an observer state? What does it mean for Oslo, or for the settlements? The Association for Civil Rights in Israel has the answers.
The Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, recently announced that on 29 November [today] he intends to turn to the United Nations General Assembly, requesting to upgrade the Palestinian Authority’s status in the UN from an “observer entity” to a “non-member observer state.” This initiative follows the Palestinian bid to the UN Security Council in September 2011, asking to admit Palestine to the UN as a state – a request that was not yet discussed by the Council.
As in the previous bid, this, too, is a political move intended to increase and enhance international recognition of a Palestinian state within the 1967 ceasefire borders. This move raises many questions regarding its potential implications, in general, and on the state of human rights in the region, in particular. As a human rights organization, ACRI does not take a position on peace-process policy questions. However, since the political changes in the region may have significant implications with regards to specific human rights questions, we tried to outline some of the expected impacts on human rights issues in this context. To read a similar briefing published by ACRI ahead of the previous Palestinian UN bid in September 2011, click here.
1. How is the current initiative different from the previous one?
In September 2011, the Palestinian Authority requested the UN Security Council to admit Palestine to the UN as a state. Turning from an entity into a “state” is not a result of a UN membership nor is it conditioned upon it. However, being admitted to the UN means gaining wide international acknowledgement of the existence of a Palestinian state. According to Article 4(2) of the UN Charter, in order to be admitted as a UN Member State, the request must be supported by the Security Council, where each of the permanent members has veto rights, as well as to win a two-thirds majority in the General Assembly vote. As noted above, this request...Read More
The different legal systems under which Israelis and Palestinians are tried apply to children as well. As +972 has consistently documented, Palestinian children arrested by the army are treated by the military court system as “potential terrorists.” The visual below demonstrates what would happen should two 12-year-old boys, one Israeli and one Palestinian, get arrested for fighting. One would swiftly be brought before a judge, given access to a lawyer, tried and spared jail time. The other could face two years in jail without trial. This illustration is the eighth in a series of infographics on Palestinian civilian life under occupation.
By Michal Vexler, with the cooperation of Caabu – The Council for Arab-British Understanding
This graphic has been updated in accordance with amendments on detention practices recently instituted by the Israeli army.
Michal Vexler is a designer and an activist. This work – part of a series of infographics on the effects of the occupation on Palestinian civilians – is presented here with her permission. See the series, Visualizing Occupation, in full here.
Report by British jurists details horrors of Israeli child detention
Testimonies by Israeli soldiers detail abuse of Palestinian children
Hope ends here: The children’s court at Ofer Military Prison
When a Palestinian child becomes an enemy
The high rate of unemployment in the Palestinian territories and the gap in wages and quality of life between the Israeli and Palestinian economies have led to a constant supply of Palestinian workers seeking work with Israeli employers, since the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip began in 1967. The number of workers has changed over the years in correlation with restrictions Israel has placed on entry into its territories. This Kav Laoved report details the obstacles and forms of exploitation faced by Palestinians on their road to earning a living in Israel and while employed in the country.
Kav LaOved is a nonprofit non governmental organization committed to protecting the rights of disadvantaged workers employed in Israel and by Israelis in the Occupied Territories, including Palestinians, migrant workers, subcontracted workers and new immigrants. Noga Kadman researched and wrote this report, and Hanna Zohar, Att. Taghrid Shabita, Abed Dari, Att. Khaled Dukhi, and Hedva Isachar assisted with research.
A new Human Rights Watch report details severe human rights violations in the criminal justice system of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, including arbitrary detention and torture. Several cases detail executions based on confessions obtained through torture. Prisoners are often refused access to a lawyer, abusive security officials are said to enjoy impunity, and families of prisoners often don’t know of their relatives’ whereabouts.
The 43-page report includes testimonies from victims, families, representative of the criminal justice system, and Palestinian human rights organizations.
Human Rights Watch is dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world. The organization stands with victims and activists to prevent discrimination, to uphold political freedom, to protect people from inhumane conduct in wartime, and to bring offenders to justice. HRW investigates and exposes human rights violations and holds abusers accountable.
‘There is no denying that we are a part of Israel’s economy. If Israel raises the price of cigarettes, our cigarette prices go up. If the price of gas goes up, so does ours. If things are expensive in Israel, they are expensive here too.’
In April 1994, Israeli and Palestinian negotiation teams met in Paris to sign one of the most important annexes to the Oslo Accords – the Paris Protocol, the agreement which regulates the economic relationship between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Today, 18 years after the protocol was signed, demonstrations against the agreement have spread across the West Bank. A Palestinian from the Gaza Strip set himself on fire and two Palestinians in the West Bank tried to do the same in protest against the economic situation. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad was reported to be considering resignation and Palestinian Authority Minister of Civilian Affairs Hussein a-Sheikh submitted an official request to Israel to review the Paris Protocol. In view of the heated debate, here we provide some general background on the agreement and its implications.
The Paris Protocol?
The protocol defines the economic relationship between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. It was signed for an interim period of five years and was to be implemented gradually. A senior official in the Israeli Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor told Gisha that the fact that the agreement was due to remain in effect for only five years helped encourage Palestinian negotiators to sign it: “They understood that in order to make progress, they had to agree to some very practical things. It was a five-year agreement so they said ‘let’s take the first step.’”
According to the same official: “At that point in time, it was the optimal agreement and the Palestinians entered it wholeheartedly. By the way, there are still people today who think it’s a good agreement. Albeit with limitations… as long as people are thinking about what is and isn’t good, you know you have some kind of balance.”
How is the protocol connected to the protests in the West Bank?