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Resource: Fact-checking Israel's most stubborn illegal outpost

The state will ask the High Court to, once again, delay the demolition of Amona. Here are a few myths surrounding one of the most stubborn outposts in the West Bank.

By Yesh Din, written by Yossi Gurvitz

In recent months the residents of Amona and right-wing politicians have been waging a campaign designed to prevent the evacuation of this unauthorized outpost and to continue seizing the lands that belong to the residents of the Palestinian villages Silwad, Taybeh and Ein Yabrud. However, the High Court of Justice ordered the outpost be evacuated by the end of December 2016. It is crucial for the public to know the truth, especially in light of the vast misinformation on the subject. Here are a few of the most baseless arguments we’ve heard in the media recently (followed by our responses).

“There is no landowner who is a concrete petitioner claiming ownership of the lands of Amona.” (Chairman of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, MK Nissan Smolianski, August 3, 2016).

The land on which Amona stands on and the surrounding area is regulated private Palestinian lands, registered in the Tabu. Ten Palestinians petitioned the High Court of Justice (you can see their names listed in the petition) to demand the outpost be evacuated and to allow them to return to their land. Their names are displayed on the petition, they gave interviews to the media and the High Court ruled in their favor. Does it get any more concrete than that?

“Amona’s land was purchased from the Palestinian owners.”

Settlers first made this argument in the 1990s, but never provided evidence. The Civil Administration rejected the claim definitively in 2004 and issued demolition orders in Amona. Later on, residents of Amona presented the High Court with documents that claim they have proof of land purchase. The police determined that some of the documents were forged. The High Court determined that the illegal construction could not be authorized, even if small portions of the land were in fact purchased.

In addition to the purchase claim, the founders of the outpost tried to argue from the beginning that it was built on land that had a military seizure order on it. The High Court ruled in the past that a military seizure order could not be used to establish settlements. When Amona was first established, the Attorney General in the West Bank determined that...

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Resource: The Whitewashing Procedure

The Israeli bodies responsible for investigating the events of Operation Protective Edge are engaged primarily in creating the false impression of a functioning system that ostensibly seeks to discover the truth.

In the meantime, those actually responsible for violations are not even questioned, and the investigations have been confined to superficial inspections of a number of isolated incidents, divorced from any context.

This is the conclusion reached by the human rights organization B’Tselem in a new report. Entitled The Whitewashing Procedure: The Ostensible Investigation of the Events of Operation Protective Edge, the report summarizes a period of over two years since the end of the fighting in the Gaza Strip.

Read more on this report: With no justice on the horizon for Gaza, what comes next?

 

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.

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Resource: The myriad failings of Israeli military investigations

After 25 years of assisting Palestinian victims of Israeli military violence file complaints with the IDF’s investigative bodies, human rights group B’Tselem decides to stop cooperating with the army’s investigations. ‘The experience we have gained, on which we base the conclusions presented in this report, has brought us to the realization that there is no longer any point in pursuing justice and defending human rights by working with a system whose real function is measured by its ability to continue to successfully cover up unlawful acts and protect perpetrators.’

Read more here about how and why B’Tselem’s decided to stop referring complaints to the Israeli military law enforcement.

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.

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Resource: Displaced in their own city

A new report by Ir Amim reviews of various aspects of Israeli policy, from 1967 to the present day, that have created the current reality in which tens of thousands of Jerusalem residents have been sundered from the city since the establishment of the Separation Barrier and are virtually ignored by both the local and central governments.

The findings of the report present a stark warning. The reality it describes constitutes a disaster for the Palestinians and will cause grave damage to the stability of life in Jerusalem, the foundations of Israeli society and to any future political resolution.

Ir Amim (“City of Nations” or “City of Peoples”) is an NGO which focuses on Jerusalem within the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Ir Amim seeks to render Jerusalem a more viable and equitable city for the Israelis and Palestinians who share it.

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Resource: Faced with settler violence, the IDF stands idly by

A new report by human rights organization Yesh Din about how IDF soldiers act when offenses are committed by Israeli citizens against Palestinians in the West Bank.

The phenomenon of “standing idly by” refers to incidents when soldiers witness violence by Israeli citizens against Palestinians and their property and do nothing to prevent the harm while the action is ongoing; refrain from detaining or arresting the perpetrators after the event; fail to secure the scene to allow the collection of evidence; or fail to testify about the event to the police.

According to the provisions of international law as well as repeated rulings by the Israeli Supreme Court, the IDF is obligated to maintain law and order in the West Bank. Therefore, upon the occupation of the West Bank its forces were given policing powers. However, the report shows how over the years the army has avoided fulfilling that duty and tried to impose it on the Israel Police.

Yesh Din is a volunteer organization working to defend the human rights of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation.

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Resource: Presumed guilty from the get-go

Military courts have operated in the occupied territories since the Israeli occupation began in 1967. To date, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been brought before these courts. The following B’Tselem report focuses on one of the central aspects in the work of the military justice system: remand in custody pending end of proceedings.

With the exception of individuals tried for traffic violations, remanding Palestinian defendants in custody for the duration of the proceedings is the rule rather than the exception. One of the outcomes of this policy is that the vast majority of military court cases end in plea bargains. Defendants prefer to avoid a lengthy trial while in custody, knowing that they risk spending more time behind bars than the prison sentence they would receive in a plea bargain.

In effect, the case is decided at the time the remand is approved rather than on the basis of evidence against the defendant.

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.

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Resource: 'Mock' law enforcement in the West Bank

Only 7.4 percent of West Bank Israeli police investigations following complaints from Palestinian victims of offenses committed against them or their property by Israeli civilians result in indictments. The remaining investigations are closed, in most cases (some 85 percent), due to investigative failure, largely because investigators were unable to find suspects or collect enough evidence for an indictment.

A new report by Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din discusses the reasons for the failure to enforce the law on Israeli civilians in the West Bank. An analysis closed case files reveals substandard investigations characterized by failures and deficiencies at every stage.

Read also:
Perpetrator unknown: The systemic failure to investigate settler violence

Yesh Din is a volunteer organization working to defend the human rights of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation.


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Infographic: East Jerusalem by the numbers, 2015

Ahead of Jerusalem Day 2015, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) released a factsheet detailing the disparities between the city’s Jewish and Palestinian residents and the systemic discrimination in East Jerusalem. The following infographic accompanies the report. Read more here.

ACRI infographic on Jerusalem, 2015

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Testimonies: 'This is How We Fought in Gaza'

Breaking the Silence, an organization of Israeli combat veterans who want to expose the Israeli public to the realities of the occupation, publishes a report compiling over 60 testimonies of soldiers and officers who served in 2014’s Gaza war, Operation Protective Edge.

The testimonies in this collection close the yawning gaps between what the IDF and government spokespersons told the public about the combat that took place in Gaza, and the reality described by the soldiers who took part in the operation.

The testimonies reveal the guiding military principle of “minimum risk to our forces, even at the cost of harming innocent civilians,” which alongside efforts to deter and intimidate the Palestinians, led to massive and unprecedented harm to the population and the civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip.

Read more: Redefining civilians and legitimate targets: Israeli soldiers testify on Gaza

Breaking the Silence is an organization of veteran combatants who have served in the Israeli military since the start of the Second Intifada and have taken it upon themselves to expose the Israeli public to the reality of everyday life in the Occupied Territories. We endeavor to stimulate public debate about the price paid for a reality in which young soldiers face a civilian population on a daily basis, and are engaged in the control of that population’s everyday life.

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Resource: Fact-finding mission investigates 'Protective Edge'

A new report by Physicians for Human Rights, authored by a team of international medical experts, documents shocking testimonies of victims and presents new evidence from Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.

In the course of the armed conflict during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza during the summer of 2014, allegations were made regarding the use of disproportionate force by the Israeli army, indiscriminate attacks on civilian targets, and a lack or failure of precautionary measures. Up until now, external independent experts were not allowed to enter Gaza for purposes of fact-finding and documentation of evidence, either during the fighting or after the ceasefire.

In July 2014, while the attacks were ongoing, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel made a decision to commission a fact-finding mission to Gaza. The aim was to collect and document, wherever possible, information regarding patterns of injury and attack from witnesses and victims. To this end, PHR-Israel recruited 8 independent international medical experts, who were not affiliated with either Israeli or Palestinian parties involved in the conflict. They visited Gaza three times — once during the fighting and twice after.

Read more about the report here.

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Resource: Two legal systems — discrimination under military occupation

One of the most prominent and disturbing characteristics of Israeli military rule in the West Bank is the creation and development of an official and institutionalized legal regime of two separate legal systems, on an ethnic-national basis.

The long-standing residence of citizens of the State of Israel, the occupying power, in settlements at the heart of the occupied territory – which contravenes international law in and of itself – has led to systematic discrimination that is anchored in legislation and rulings that affect every aspect in the lives of Palestinian residents of the West Bank.

This dual system of law is the focal point of a new report by the Association of Civil Rights in Israel, “One Rule, Two Legal Systems: Israel’s Regime of Laws in the West Bank.”

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

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Resource: Coercing African asylum seekers to go home

Israeli authorities have unlawfully coerced almost 7,000 Eritrean and Sudanese nationals into returning to their home countries where they risk serious abuse, Human Rights Watch said in a report released in September 2014. Some returning Sudanese have faced torture, arbitrary detention, and treason charges in Sudan for setting foot in Israel, while returning Eritreans also face a serious risk of abuse.

The 83-page report, “‘Make Their Lives Miserable’: Israel’s Coercion of Eritrean and Sudanese Asylum Seekers to Leave Israel,” documents how Israel’s convoluted legal rules thwart Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers’ attempts to secure protection under Israeli and international law. Israeli authorities have labeled Eritreans and Sudanese a “threat,” branded them “infiltrators,” denied them access to fair and efficient asylum procedures, and used the resulting insecure legal status as a pretext to unlawfully detain or threaten to detain them indefinitely, coercing thousands into leaving.

Read +972’s full coverage of the refugee issue

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Resource: Privatizating law enforcement in, around settlements

‘The Lawless Zone’ is a report by Yesh Din on the transfer of policing and security powers to the Civilian Security Coordinators (CSC) in Israel’s West Bank settlements and outposts. The report presents an analysis of the institution of the CSCs as an inherent aspect of the biased and chaotic state of Israeli law enforcement in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The report demonstrates how the regime of civilian security coordinators undermines the rule of law in the West Bank to the point of stripping it of all meaning. It constitutes another layer in Israel’s dereliction of its duty to protect the Palestinian residents of the West Bank, Yesh Din writes.

Read more about the report here. Watch a video explaining the civilian security system here.

Related:
Settler violence: It comes with the territory
Sheriffs of the land: Meet the settlers with military authority

Yesh Din is a volunteer organization working to defend the human rights of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation.



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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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