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b'tselem

  • In Israel's military court, one's fate is sealed long before trial

    For the vast majority of Palestinians in Israel’s military courts, keeping defendants in prison until the end of legal proceedings is the rule, not the exception. By Yael Stein A visit to Israel’s military court at Ofer Prison can be confusing. A sense of injustice pervades the place, but it is sometimes hard to put the finger on it precisely. This is because, for all intents and purposes, the Israeli military court appears to be a court like any other. There are prosecutors and defense attorneys. There are rules of procedure, laws and regulations. There are judges who hand down…

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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.…

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  • IDF soldiers killed Palestinian teen who posed no danger, report finds

    Israeli soldiers ambushed three Palestinian teenagers with live ammunition, killing one, despite the fact that they posed no immediate threat. Neither the soldiers nor their commanders will face any charges. An IDF commander ordered soldiers to fire live ammunition directly at Palestinian teenagers who broke through part of the separation fence, resulting in the killing of 14-year-old Yousef a-Shawamreh last year. This, despite the fact they they posed no immediate danger, according to a B'Tselem report released Wednesday criticizing the military's decision to close the investigation without indictment. [tmwinpost] On March 19, 2014, three Palestinians – an 18-year-old and two minors, one of…

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  • BDS is being used to stifle dissent in Israel

    Israeli members of Knesset, along with journalists, commentators and others are taking advantage of the boycott movement in order to delegitimize Israeli human rights groups at home. As all eyes in Israel obsessively turned their attention to BDS, a subplot emerged that has gone by the wayside — one that I believe is the real story regarding the boycott movement's current role within Israeli society. [tmwinpost] Last week Israel's Foreign Ministry called on Switzerland to pull its funding from an event put on by Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence, in an effort to force the organization to cancel its upcoming exhibit featuring soldiers'…

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  • When an entire IDF platoon takes over your roof — for a photo

    A two-minute video manages to perfectly capture the day-to-day banality of living under a military regime.  I was able to count 37 soldiers. At least 37. One after another, each with his own weapon and combat vest, they climb up to roof the Abu Haya family's home — located in the section of Hebron under direct Israeli military control. [tmwinpost] Why? It's unclear. They don't speak with the members of the family. Or rather, they don't explain. They simply utter things such as "close the door," and "turn off the camera," all while some of the soldiers are clearly enjoying…

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  • Playing with fire: IDF to use new weapon on West Bank protests

    A new type of sponge-tipped bullet introduced in East Jerusalem last summer has broken arms, fractured faces, destroyed eyesight and killed a teenager. Now a similar projectile is slated for use against Palestinians in the West Bank. Following the introduction last summer of a new type of sponge-tipped bullet into the Israel Police’s arsenal, the Israeli army is now set to begin using a similar projectile in order to disperse demonstrations in the West Bank, according to Ynet [Heb]. The new bullets will be phased in during the coming weeks as a pilot, following which they will be distributed among…

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  • Israeli army encloses 7,000 Palestinians in West Bank village

    IDF openly tells the 7,000 residents of Hizma that they are being collectively punished for the stone-throwing of a few Palestinians. The Israeli army and Border Police closed off both entrances to the Palestinian village of Hizma in the West Bank on Monday afternoon, in response to what the military claimed were incidents of stone-throwing in the area. Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem reported that Hizma's 7,000 residents were also prevented from leaving the village. A sign in Arabic was posted next to one of the barriers, reading: "To residents of the area: Several of you are responsible for carrying…

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  • When shooting a Palestinian in the back is merely 'reckless'

    Why trust the military to investigate itself when soldiers who kill unarmed Palestinians are let off the hook time and time again? By Alma Biblash In January 2013, an Israeli soldier shot a 16-year-old Palestinian who posed absolutely no threat in his back. Samir Awad, from the village Budrus, didn't survive the valiant military operation, and was killed. Last December, the High Court of Justice harshly criticized the Military Advocate General's (MAG) handling of the case calling on it to finish its investigation. On Tuesday, the State announced that it would charge the soldier reckless and negligent use of a…

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  • How the Israeli army obfuscates its use of live fire against Palestinians

    Recent statements by unnamed military sources attempt to confuse the issue of lower-powered but completely lethal ammunition used against Palestinians. Text and photo by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org Let’s be clear: the Israeli military uses many kinds of weapons to kill and maim Palestinians in the West Bank. Many of them are “less-lethal” weapons intended to disperse crowds at demonstrations. Sometimes the people shot are among those throwing stones or Molotov cocktails. Sometimes they’re not. Every once in a while they’re journalists or human rights observers. Often these weapons are employed in routine violation of the regulations that are supposed to…

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  • WATCH: IDF brings segregated streets back to Hebron

    IDF re-segregates main road leading to Cave of the Patriarchs, two years after it ostensibly put an end to the policy.   Israeli human rights group B'Tselem announced Thursday that the Israeli military has renewed segregation between Jews and Palestinians on the main street leading to the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron since January. The military does not allow Palestinians to use the main part of the street and forces Palestinians to use a narrow, unpaved and rough pedestrian passageway. According to B'Tselem, this policy had been previously implemented between September 2012 to March 2013. It was was temporarily stopped…

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  • WATCH: Soldiers taunt, set dogs on Palestinian teen

    Israeli army decries video showing soldiers taunting and setting dogs on Palestinian, despite it being IDF policy. A leaked video showing a 16-year old Palestinian being attacked by two canines, while being held by two IDF soldiers, was posted on Facebook on Monday by former Knesset member and far-rightist Michael Ben-Ari (who later removed it). It quickly spread around the web and made headlines in Israel. WARNING: Footage may be disturbing to some The incident itself took place last December 23 in between the Karmei Tzur settlement and Beit Ummar, a Palestinian village in the southern West Bank. The video…

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  • Bombing homes in Gaza: 'It was supposed to be their shelter'

    Human rights group B'Tselem exposes — and protests to the Israeli government — home demolitions, Gaza style. They fled when the flyers fell from the sky, Israeli military orders dropped like confetti on the masses. Evacuate, they said, or else. Seek shelter now. One week of sorties, and Ibrahim made the call: We leave now — my wife and I, our seven children, our children's children. But the Abu Shuqah family never found shelter. The closest they came was a cardboard factory -- somewhere between Bureij and Nusseirat, two refugee camps along Gaza's coastal flats. "We stayed in the storeroom…

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  • The importance of being earnest about human rights

    In an open letter, one of Israel's foremost refugee rights lawyers calls on the deputy attorney general to follow her conscience. By Asaf Weitzen Dear Deputy Attorney General Dina Silber: I am familiar with a bit of your academic work, including two books you authored and speeches that you give from time to time. You have demonstrated a deep commitment to basic rights and an understanding that the any government must be checked if and when it seeks to infringe upon basic rights. What I find incomprehensible is the disparity between those views and your intensive involvement in legislating the amendment…

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