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Resource: The systematic abuse of Palestinian teens in East Jerusalem

Affidavits collected from 60 Palestinian teenagers reveal how they are pulled out of bed in the middle of the night, handcuffed, interrogated in violation of their rights, and kept in custody under harsh conditions, sometimes for extended periods of time by Israeli authorities. A new report by Israeli human rights groups HaMoked and B’Tselem reveals the broad, systemic human rights abuses against hundreds of Palestinian teens arrested every year in East Jerusalem.

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Everything you need to know about tensions at Jerusalem's holiest site

Over the last week a series of escalating events on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif has threatened peace and security at the holy site and for Jerusalem as a whole. Ir Amim have created the following primer to help make sense of these rapidly spiraling events and to raise the call for a swift, agreed resolution of the current conflict.

By Ir Amim

The catalyst

The current escalation of events at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif compound (also known as Al Aqsa compound, the Noble Sanctuary, the Esplanade, the compound) began last Friday with a heinous attack that claimed the lives of two Israeli police officers. The three perpetrators, who descended from the compound, fled back to the Mount, where they were shot and killed by security forces. The government then issued orders to close the compound entirely for two consecutive days.

Security concerns

The fact that events took place in and around the most sensitive and highly contested site in Jerusalem – itself a core issue of the conflict – clearly heightens security concerns and creates a situation meriting special consideration. “Appropriate measures” is naturally a relative concept and Israelis and Palestinians clearly diverge on how they perceive the situation. Of central concern is the degree to which security measures may or may not disturb the fragile status quo at the site. The anomalous closure of Al-Aqsa for two consecutive days may largely be interpreted as a security measure for Israelis. For Palestinians, it is a severe abridgment of their religious rights and an upending of the status quo.

The status quo

The status quo in place since 1967 concerns management and security arrangements on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif that were recognized in the peace treaty between Israel and Jordan in 1994. Three critical considerations are: 1) the primacy of Muslim prayer rights, e.g. over the right of Jews to visit the site; 2) the division of management authority, which stipulates the Muslim Waqf (religious trust) will manage the inside of the compound and its holy sites while Israel maintains authority for security around the perimeter; and 3) entry arrangements. Determining when the status quo has been breached is tricky, particularly given that it is not written down and in light of the delicacy of how to develop an appropriate security response at times such as these. What is important to underscore is that perception matters and all events that happen on the...

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Resource: The impact of the siege on women in Gaza

A report by Gisha addresses the effects of Israel’s policy toward Gaza’s workforce from a gender perspective. It focuses on women who managed to break through the glass ceiling only to be met by the concrete ceiling of the Israeli-imposed closure.
                                                                                                                                                                                
The report examines the specific ways in which the closure on Gaza affects women from different professional fields: consultancy, banking, hi-tech management, civil society organizations, education, and entrepreneurship. Each one of the women interviewed has overcome social obstacles and limitations but is still faced with the severe Israeli restrictions on movement in and out of Gaza. These restrictions affect both their personal and professional advancement, and the possibility of contributing to the development of Gaza’s economy.

Gisha is an Israeli non-profit organization founded in 2005 whose goal is to protect the freedom of movement of Palestinians, especially Gaza residents.



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Resource: Israel's refusal to compensate Palestinians

Over the past 20 years, Israel has taken measures to guarantee a nearly blanket exemption from its obligation under international law to pay compensation to Palestinians harmed by its security forces. In this report, B’Tselem traces the development of this practice and illustrates how it has led to a major drop in the number of claims for damages Palestinians filed in recent years. Israel’s policy reflects how little value it places on the lives, bodies and property of Palestinians living under its control. 

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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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