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Monday, April 16, 2018

Gaza's Great March of Return

Excerpt from Ahmad Abu Rtemah: With the Great Return March, Palestinians Are Demanding a Life of Dignity

Today, the Palestinians of Gaza are attempting to break the chains that Israel has tried so hard to force us into. We are unarmed demonstrators confronting heavily armed soldiers with peaceful protest. As a result, it is difficult for Israel to smear us and justify its brutal violence, and the world is faced with the reality that innocent civilians are being killed just for exercising their right to protest peacefully. The excuses Israel uses to justify its policies toward the Palestinians are slowly losing their effectiveness, as people around the world are increasingly realizing that the true face of Israel is that of a brutal apartheid regime.

Despite the calculated violence and targeting of unarmed protesters by Israel, with our Great Return March, Palestinians in Gaza are stating loudly and clearly that we are still here. For Israel, it is our identity that is our crime, but we are celebrating the very identity that Israel tries to criminalize. People from all walks of life are joining the march. Artists are contributing with the traditional dabke dance, intellectuals are organizing reading circles, entertainers are dressing as clowns and playing with children. What has been most striking is the young, living and playing, their laughter the greatest protest of all.

The UN warned that Gaza may be uninhabitable in just two years. Resisting the fate that Israel has planned for us, we are fighting back peacefully with our bodies and our love for life, appealing to the justice that remains in the world.

Full Article

Ali Abunimah: Will Israel Pay a Price for its Latest Gaza Massacre

Shahd Abusalama: In Gaza, Israel turned Good Friday into bloody Friday

Mariam Barghouti: On Israel, the death of a journalist, and the right to life

Haidar Eid: Contextualizing the Great March of Return

Electronic Intifada: Israel targets reporters, medics in Gaza protests

Medhi Hasan: Israel Kills Palestinians and Western Liberals Shrug. Their Humanitarianism Is a Sham

Maram Humaid: 'We want to return to our lands without bloodshed or bombs'

Yasmeen El Khoudary: Yasser Murtaja embodied the struggle of Gazans – desperate yet defiant

Eno Konrad: Rights groups - Gaza protests aren't combat, IDF must stop shooting protesters

Gideon Levy: The Israeli Massacre Forces

Michael Omer-Man: A State Sponsored Mass Shooting

Amir Rotem: Gaza's humanitarian crisis began long before Hamas

Muhammad Shehada: Marching in Gaza, My Brother Risks Death - to Feel Free

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Human Rights Organizations: Occupation Forces Violently Suppress Gaza March of Return Demonstration

Excerpt from Al Haq Report: The IOF’s use of force and lethal force against Palestinian protestors, including in the Gaza Strip on 30 March 2018, is in breach of international law and human rights standards. The IOF deliberately and systematically eases fire regulations and opens fire, including live fire, at Palestinian protestors, placing them at an imminent risk of physical injury. In fact, the IOF’s spokespersons have explicitly reiterated their readiness to counter the March protests throughout the Gaza Strip by all means necessary. This is in contradiction to Israel’s obligations as Occupying Power, and which require it to respect the right to life of the occupied population, refrain from using lethal force, and be guided by the principles of proportionality and necessity when resorting to the use of force. The Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials dictate an obligation to not resort to excessive and lethal force which should only be used “when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life.

In fact, there is no necessity or consideration of proportionality stemming from the shooting of young Palestinians and families peacefully demonstrating, and at times escaping the IOF’s heavy fire, a common practice illustrated in the case of Abd Al-Fattah Abd Al-Nabi above. Where the IOF often shoots at Palestinian civilians in the upper parts of their bodies, this proves the IOF’s intent and policy of shoot-to-kill. On Friday, Palestinian youth wounded and killed during the protests were shot in the head, stomach, neck or face, while not posing an imminent threat to the lives of the fully armed soldiers stationed behind the border fence. Furthermore, in a post published by the IOF on their official Twitter account (“IDF Spokesperson”), which appears to have been deleted shortly after, “nothing was carried out uncontrolled; everything was accurate and measured, and we know where every bullet landed,” proving knowledge and intent of the violations committed. The intentional and unjustified killings of protected persons during law enforcement operations may amount to wilful killing, a grave breach of Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Amnesty International: Israeli forces must end the use of excessive force in response to “Great March of Return” protests

B'Tselem: On the unlawful shooting of unarmed demonstrators in Gaza

Hamoked: Petition to the HCJ - revoke rules of engagement permitting live fire at non-dangerous demonstrators

Human Rights Watch - Israel: Gaza Killings Unlawful, Calculated

ICC: Statement of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court regarding the worsening situation in Gaza

PCHR: On Third Friday of March of Return, Israeli Forces Kill Palestinian Civilian and Wound 398 Others, Including 50 Children, 8 Women and 17 in Critical Condition, Without Posing Threat or Danger to Israeli Soldiers’ Life

Friday, April 13, 2018

Norman Finkelstein: Gaza - An Inquest Its Martydom

Based on scores of human rights reports, Norman G. Finkelstein's new book presents a meticulously researched inquest into Gaza’s martyrdom. He shows that although Israel has justified its assaults in the name of self-defense, in fact these actions constituted flagrant violations of international law.

Link to Program & Transcript

Extended interview with scholar Norman Finkelstein, author of the new book, “Gaza: An Inquest into Its Martyrdom.” The book has just been published as Israel is facing a possible International Criminal Court war crimes probe over its 2014 assault on Gaza, which killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, including over 500 children.

Link to Program & Transcript

Friday, June 9, 2017

Amnesty International Campaign: Israel's Occupation - 50 Years of Dispossession

For half a century, Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip has resulted in systematic human rights violations against Palestinians living there.

Since the occupation first began in June 1967, Israel’s ruthless policies of land confiscation, illegal settlement and dispossession, coupled with rampant discrimination, have inflicted immense suffering on Palestinians, depriving them of their basic rights.

Israel’s military rule disrupts every aspect of daily life in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. It continues to affect whether, when and how Palestinians can travel to work or school, go abroad, visit their relatives, earn a living, attend a protest, access their farmland, or even access electricity or a clean water supply. It means daily humiliation, fear and oppression. People’s entire lives are effectively held hostage by Israel.

Israel has also adopted a complex web of military laws to crush dissent against its policies, and senior government officials have branded Israelis advocating for Palestinian rights as “traitors.”

Amnesty International Campaign

Amnesty International: United States Must Stop ‘Propping Up’ Illegal, Israeli Settlements

BADIL: International Community Must Act to End the Occupation

Human Rights Watch: 50 Years of Occupation Abuses

ICRC: Fifty Years of Occupation - Where do we go from here?

Jadaliyya Forum: Fifty Years of Occupation

Al Jazeera English: Palestine in Motion - Part 1

Al Jazeera English: Palestine in Motion - Part 2

Phillip Luther - Amnesty: Israel's occupation: 50 years of Palestinian oppression

Al Mezan: 69 Years of the Nakba

+972 Magazine Forum: Fifty Years Too Many

OCHA: 50 Stories of Palestinian Life Under Occupation

Sarah Leah Whitson - HRW: Chipping Away at 50 Years of Occupation

Gaza 2017 - Now is the Time to Open Gaza (Association of Int'l Development Agencies)

Link to Infographic

OCHA: Humanitarian Impact of the Internal Palestinian Divide on Gaza Strip - June 2017

Gisha Report: 50 Shades of Control

The occupation looks different in Areas A, B, and C.   This is what it looks like in Area G, Gaza.

Friday, February 3, 2017

B'Tselem: Israel destroying Gaza’s fishing sector

In 2000, Gaza had about 10,000 fishermen. Today, the Gaza Fishermen’s Association has only some 4,000 fishermen registered, who are the breadwinners for approximately 50,000 persons. This figure, however, is misleading as half the registered fishermen are actually out of work, since their boats are out of commission and cannot be repaired due to the shortage in necessary raw materials. Ninety-five percent of Gaza’s fishermen live under the poverty line, defined as a monthly income of less than 2,293 ILS (roughly 600 USD) for a family of five. These families rely on humanitarian aid, and belong to the 80% of Gaza’s overall population who rely on humanitarian aid.

The decline of Gaza’s fishing sector is a direct result of Israel’s policy, which includes severe restrictions on marine access, fishing exports, and the entry of raw materials into Gaza, as well as harassment of fishermen.

Full Report

Al Haq: Deadly Catch - Israel Systematically Attacks Gaza’s Fishermen (64 pages)

EI: Braving Israeli bullets in Gaza's sea

IMEU: Fishing to the Limit in Gaza via @JehadSaftawi

PCHR: Israeli Attacks on Fishermen in the Gaza Sea

Oxfam: The Dairy Sector in the Gaza Strip

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Gisha: Hand on the Switch - Who’s responsible for Gaza’s infrastructure crisis?

The dire state of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure is often raised by Israel and within the international community as a source of concern. The discourse on Gaza’s infrastructure problems and possible solutions for them tends to focus on the gap between the actual and the desired state of affairs, and the immense challenge involved in bridging it, whether technical or financial. There have been too few discussions about accountability for the current situation, let alone much clarity about the duties of those responsible for maintaining or improving Gaza’s civilian infrastructure, and thus providing for the critical needs of its population.

Previous Gisha reports have summarized our analysis of the legal status of Gaza, and looked at the ways in which Israel continues to control the lives of Gaza residents or yield significant influence over them. In this report, we review the impact various actors have had, actively or through omission, on the functioning of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure – particularly energy, water, sewage and communications infrastructure. Though we take into consideration the role played by each of the relevant actors – Israel, the Palestinian Authority, the de facto Hamas government in Gaza and the international community, given our position as an Israeli human rights organization, we seek to engage mainly our own government, that is, the Israeli government. By highlighting the elements of control Israel maintains over daily life in Gaza, and clarifying its tremendous influence, our goal is to assert that along with control comes responsibility to uphold human rights and ensure Gaza residents can lead normal lives.

Full Report - 34 pages

The Concrete Ceiling – Women in Gaza on the impact of the closure on women in the workforce

Monday, January 16, 2017

Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Urge ICC Prosecutor to Investigate Persecution Arising Out of Ongoing Gaza Closure

Palestinian human rights groups urged the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to examine the Israeli closure of the Gaza Strip, which has denied two million Palestinians a panoply of fundamental rights for nearly a decade, as the crime against humanity of persecution under the Rome Statute. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, Al-Haq, and Addameer submitted a 145-page file to the ICC Prosecutor setting out the factual and legal basis for the case.

Since June 2007, Israel has instituted a comprehensive closure on the Gaza Strip in which it has denied the free movement of people and goods into and out of Gaza, amounting to collective punishment. The Gaza Strip, a constituent part of the State of Palestine, is frequently described as the world’s largest open-air prison.

“The siege on Gaza is unprecedented and is a form of collective punishment. The aim of the closure and the occupation is to de-develop Gaza, to strip Palestinians of their dignity and send Gazan society back to the Middle Ages,” said Raji Sourani, Director of PCHR.  “Israel’s absolute control over Gaza’s borders and population has set back generations of Palestinians who cannot travel, access education, receive medical treatment, or engage with the outside world. The ICC must urgently proceed to investigate the crimes against the Palestinian population in Gaza.”

Issam Younis, Director Al Mezan, further stated that "efforts to ease the closure – which is cruel by design and amounts to a crisis of dignity – have been woefully unsuccessful, as evidenced by the ineffectiveness of the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism. A full lifting of the closure is required and the protection of civilians must be ensured.”

Press Release

Executive Summary - 5 pages

ICC Submission - 145 pages

Thursday, September 15, 2016

B'Tselem: Whitewash Protocol - The So-Called Investigation of Operation Protective Edge

Two years ago, in the summer of 2014, another “round of fighting” between Israel and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip took place. Israel called it Operation Protective Edge. In term of harm to Palestinians, it was the deadliest and most destructive bout of hostilities since 1967. During Operation Protective Edge, Israel killed 2,202 Palestinians, hundreds of them in their homes. Sixty-three percent, or 1,391, did not take part in the fighting, including 526 minors. It is estimated that 18,000 homes were destroyed or severely damaged and that more than 100,000 Palestinians were rendered homeless.

This extensive harm raised grave concerns that Israel had breached international humanitarian law (IHL). The only official body in Israel supposedly investigating these concerns is the Military Advocate General’s Corps (MAG Corps), which announced that it had begun its investigations before the fighting ended. However, much like investigations into previous rounds of fighting, once again, there are no investigations of the true culprits: Neither government officials nor senior military commanders, who devised the policy, were responsible for the orders and made operational decisions during the fighting – were ever investigated by any official body nor held to account for their responsibility for the devastating effects of their decisions. Two years after the fact, there has been no investigation of policy issues, including the policy of targeting inhabited homes, which resulted in the Israeli military killing hundreds of people; the policy of indiscriminate artillery fire at inhabited areas; and the policy of destroying farmland and thousands of homes.


Full Report 

Samer Badawi: With no justice on the horizon for Gaza, what comes next?

Friday, September 2, 2016

The Gaza Strip: Two Years Later

The vast majority of the 1.9 million people living in Gaza were affected by the hostilities and the large-scale damage to infrastructure. In the two years since the end of the hostilities, the UN has worked closely with the Palestinian government, local communities and the private sector – as well as with other parts of the international community, including NGOs, the World Bank and Member States - to promote reconstruction and recovery in Gaza.

This paper provides a snapshot of the progress made in the last two years as well as the main challenges in the recovery and reconstruction effort, from the perspective of the UN Country Team in the State of Palestine. The report examines the wider imperative of reversing Gaza’s current development trajectory and of responding to the residual humanitarian needs of a population that in the past decade has experienced a number of military operations and had to deal with the impact of living under an Israeli blockade, restricting the movement of people as well as goods and affecting every aspect of daily life in the Gaza Strip.

Full UN Report

Adalah: Gaza 2 Years On - Impunity over Accountability

Amnesty International: Time to Address Impunity 2 Years After the Israel/Gaza War

Gisha: Two Years - 360 degrees

Gisha: Two Years Later - Long Road to Reconstruction and Recovery

IMEU: Fishing to the Limit in Gaza

Medical Aid for Palestinians: The 2014 attacks on Gaza's Healthcare System, two years on

OCHA: Two Years since the 2014 hostilities

Shelter Cluster - Palestine: Construction Material Tracking for Gaza

Monday, July 25, 2016

Gaza In Context: A Pedagogical Project

It has been two years since Israel launched one of its most brutal attacks on the Palestinian people of Gaza. For 51 days, Israel waged a ground and aerial attack on a besieged population and killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians, including 1462 civilians, of whom 551 were children; orphaned 1,500 children; left 370,000 children in need of psychosocial treatment; completely destroyed 18,000 homes; and, at the height of the onslaught, displaced half a million Palestinians. During the onslaught, 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians were killed.

For decades, the mainstream narrative has cast Gaza as the problem, even as Israel has engaged in excessive and brutal force and collective punishment in the form of occupation, siege, and frequent military assaults. This conversation has led to the treatment of Israel’s assaults on the coastal enclave as a national security issue, exceptional and distinct from the broader question of Palestine.

Now, a new pedagogical project, Gaza in Context, aims to correct the biases and misrepresentations reproduced, again and again, in mainstream media and educational coverage. The project provides historical context, situating Gaza within the larger narrative of Israeli settler-colonialism. Its lesson: Israel does not have a Hamas problem; it does not have a Gaza problem; it has a Palestine problem.

The project’s components include a teaching guide for instructional purposes, a bibliography for research purposes, and a compendium of Jadaliyya articles featured in what we call a Jad Mag.

The 20-minute film is available in four five-minute parts, and each part is accompanied by a teaching guide that can be used in the classroom and beyond.

Full Article


Research & Resources

Film takes aim at media coverage of 2014 Gaza attacks

Gaza in Context says root of conflict is quest for Palestinian land, without Palestinians

Campaigns against Gaza are a continuation of a campaign against all Palestinians

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

B'Tselem: The Occupation's Fig Leaf - Israel's Military Law Enforcement System as a Whitewash Mechanism

The military law enforcement system is supposed to handle complaints filed against soldiers for harm caused to Palestinians in the West Bank, including cases of violence and gunfire that resulted in injury or death. Such harm is endemic to the occupation, which has been in place for nearly fifty years.

The role of the military law enforcement system has been narrowly defined to begin with: it investigates only specific incidents in which soldiers are suspected to have acted in breach of the orders or directives they were given. The system does not investigate the orders themselves nor the responsibility of those who issue them or determine the policy. As such, the system is oriented toward low ranking soldiers only, while senior military and government officials, including the Military Advocate General (MAG), are absolved in advance of any responsibility. In this state of affairs, even if the system had fulfilled its tasks, its contribution to law enforcement would still remain limited. However, an examination of the operation of the military law enforcement system indicates that it makes no attempt to fulfill even this limited mandate.

Since the second intifada began in late 2000, B’Tselem has demanded an investigation in 739 cases in which soldiers killed, injured, beat or used Palestinians as human shields, or damaged Palestinian property.  An analysis of the responses B’Tselem received as to how the military law enforcement system handled these 739 cases shows that in a quarter (182) no investigation was ever launched, in nearly half (343), the investigation was closed with no further action, and only in very rare instances (25), were charges brought against the implicated soldiers. Another thirteen cases were referred for disciplinary action. A total of 132 cases are still at various processing stages, and the MAG Corps was unable to locate 44 others.


Full Report - 81 pages

+972 Magazine: Leading Israeli rights group to stop cooperating with the IDF

Al Jazeera: Report slams Israel's military law enforcement system

Ma'an News Agency: 'We became subcontractors to the occupation'- B'Tselem ends work with Israeli army

Mondoweiss: Leading Israeli human rights group says ‘no longer any point’ to filing complaints against soldiers

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Gisha Report: Split apart - Civil society organizations in Gaza in their own words

Civil society organizations operate in the vast space between government and the population, providing services, advancing legislation, and holding authorities accountable for their actions. Musically gifted children, youth-at-risk, women, athletes with disabilities and brilliant computer programmers alike rely on the services and expertise of the third sector. Dozens of civil society organizations operate in the Gaza Strip and answer to the diverse and critical needs of a large segment of the population. It is hard to grasp why Israel would overlook the importance of their work and deny them travel between the parts of the occupied Palestinian territory, as well as abroad, but this is the reality of the situation.

Israel’s policy, which separates Palestinians living in Gaza and Palestinians living in the West Bank, has dire effects on everyday life. Only recently, we showed how the separation policy impacts the Palestinian economy, mostly, though not exclusively, in Gaza. We also demonstrated how it tears apart families with members living in either part of the Palestinian territory. Today we publish a new report, a unique, even ground-breaking document, which is the result of a series of meetings held in Gaza with dozens of representatives of civil society organizations, in which they were given the opportunity to speak about the situation in their own words.

The report is based on focus groups and conversations with 32 organizations from five sectors: women’s organizations, cultural organizations, human rights organizations, humanitarian organizations that offer health and mental health services, particularly to persons with special needs, and development organizations. We heard from them about the difficulties access restrictions present, the heavy toll of the factional split on Palestinian society and the unfulfilled potential of their work and of Palestinian civil society in general.


Full Report - 14 pages

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

UN OCHA: Gaza Strip - Internally Displaced Persons

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) released the findings of an unprecedented profiling exercise of Palestinian families internally displaced in the Gaza Strip as a result of the 2014 escalation of hostilities.

“After hearing from over 16,000 displaced families in the Gaza Strip, it is clear that most continue to live in desperate conditions,” said Robert Piper, UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities. “International support to end this situation is urgently needed.”

According to the survey, over 80 per cent of families borrowed money to get by in the past year, over 85 per cent purchased most of their food on credit, and over 40 per cent have decreased their consumption of food. Most IDP households (62.5 per cent) reported that they are renting living space, including from extended family members, and nearly 50 per cent fear being evicted from their accommodation. The situation of women and girls is of particular concern. Many families report living in shelter conditions that are lacking in safety, dignity and privacy, including living in tents, makeshift shelters, destroyed houses, or the open air. These needs come in the context of prolonged occupation, including the eight-year-long Israeli blockade and three outbreaks of hostilities since 2008.

Press Release

Full Report - 17 pages

UN: 75,000 Palestinians in Gaza still displaced from 2014 war

Thursday, March 24, 2016

PCHR Report: Actual Strangulation & Deceptive Facilitation in the Gaza Strip - Israeli Closure’s Impacts on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

This report covering the reporting period (15 June 2014 – 14 June 2015) documents the state of the Gaza Strip’s border crossings. Further, it presents comprehensive statistics on the border crossings showing the latest developments at the crossings and the impacts on the civilians’ rights. The report also refutes the Israeli claims on the alleged “easing” of the closure imposed on the Gaza Strip.

This report also documents the movement at the crossings used for people, mainly the cruel restrictions imposed on the movement of the Gaza Strip population through Beit Hanoun crossing, which is their sole outlet to the West Bank, occupied Jerusalem and/or Israel; and Rafah International Crossing Point, which is their main outlet to the world. The report also addresses the impact of the restrictions imposed on 1.8 million and depriving them of their right to movement to the world or West Bank to have access to hospitals, universities, holy sites and relatives.

The report reviews the humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip and deterioration of economic, social and cultural rights of the Gaza population due to the serious and long-term impacts of the closure policy. It particularly sheds light on the violations of the rights to an adequate standard of living; adequate housing; education; health and economic rights.

The report also emphasizes the violation of the Gaza population’s right to an adequate standard of living and the high rate of families suffering from food insecurity and facing difficulties in obtaining food and potable water. It also documents the suffering of population resulting from violation of their right to adequate housing and building new houses, the imposition of restrictions on the entry of construction materials in addition to the failure of the UN Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism. The report also tackles the deterioration of economic indicators and how thousands of Palestinian families lost their source of income as thousands of workers in various economic sectors in the Gaza Strip lost their workplaces and became unemployed. It also sheds light on the high rate of Palestinian families living under the poverty line and how the unemployment rates increased unprecedentedly due to the almost-total paralysis of all economic sectors.

Full Report - 44 pages (PDF)

The Gaza Strip: Long Term Impact of the 2014 Hostilities on Women & Girls

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Human Rights Watch: Occupation, Inc.: How Settlement Businesses Contribute to Israel’s Violations of Palestinian Rights

Businesses should stop operating in, financing, servicing, or trading with Israeli settlements in order to comply with their human rights responsibilities.  Those activities contribute to and benefit from an inherently unlawful and abusive system that violates the rights of Palestinians.

The 162-page report, “Occupation, Inc.: How Settlement Businesses Contribute to Israel’s Violations of Palestinian Rights,” documents how settlement businesses facilitate the growth and operations of settlements. These businesses depend on and contribute to the Israeli authorities’ unlawful confiscation of Palestinian land and other resources.  They also benefit from these violations, as well as Israel’s discriminatory policies that provide privileges to settlements at the expense of Palestinians, such as access to land and water, government subsidies, and permits for developing land.

“Settlement businesses unavoidably contribute to Israeli policies that dispossess and harshly discriminate against Palestinians, while profiting from Israel’s theft of Palestinian land and other resources,” said Arvind Ganesan, director of the business and human rights division. “The only way for businesses to comply with their own human rights responsibilities is to stop working with and in Israeli settlements.”

More than a half million Israeli settlers live in 237 settlements throughout the Israeli-occupied West Bank, including in East Jerusalem. Successive Israeli governments have facilitated this process, but businesses also play a critical role in establishing and expanding settlements, and enabling them to function.


Full Report - 162 pp. 

Detailed Q & A Press Release

EI: End all business in Israeli settlements, says Human Rights Watch

HRW Dispatches: Corporations that Perpetuate Injustices in the Settlements

Al Jazeera: How settlement businesses sustain Israeli occupation

MSNBC: Group wants businesses out of West Bank,p6,d1

The Nation: Human Rights Watch Calls on Businesses to Withdraw From Israeli Settlements

Salon: Human Rights Watch calls on businesses to cease Israeli settlement-related activities

Al Shabaka: How Israeli Settlements Stifle Palestine’s Economy

TIME: Why Human Rights Watch Is Urging Companies to Pull Out of Israeli Settlements

Monday, January 18, 2016

EWASH: 2014 War on Gaza Strip - Participatory Environmental Impact Assessment

This report and its findings are based on participatory research in which more than ten experts and almost a thousand Palestinians from the Gaza Strip participated. The research aims to identify potential environmental impacts of the 2014 war on Gaza (Operation Protective Edge).  The assessment was conducted by a team of eight researchers, mostly new environmental science and environmental engineering graduates led by an environmental scientist.

As part of this study, 12 experts representing different governmental, educational, and non-governmental organizations interested in the issue of environment were interviewed. Additionally, 93 focus group sessions were conducted in 25 localities around the Gaza Strip in which 982 people participated.  In addition, air samples were gathered from ten locations around the Gaza Strip to investigate potential air pollution with particulate matters and lead.  Some municipalities’ staff members were brought in to investigate increased water pollution claims, and field trips were conducted to some communities to investigate claims of changes in the terrestrial ecosystems around the Strip.

In the following sections, we will discuss both the immediate and delayed potential environmental impacts of the 2014 war “Operation Protective Edge” on the Gaza Strip.  We will describe the assessment methodology in details. Then we will list and discuss the results of the outcomes of this assessment.  We will later recommend further investigations and assessment work in addition to some interventions to assist those who suffered the most from the environmental impacts of the war as identified by this assessment.

Full Report - 80 pp.

+972: IDF admits spraying herbicides inside the Gaza Strip

Gisha: Gaza farmers - Israel sprayed herbicides in the Gaza Strip again

B'Tselem: Israel sprays Gazan farmland close to border fence, destroying crops and causing heavy losses

Al Jazeera: Israel spraying toxins over Palestinian crops in Gaza

Electronic Intifada: UN database for Gaza aid may give Israel targets to attack — secret memo

The UN was warned that its database of potential aid recipients in Gaza could provide Israel with targets for future attacks, a document obtained by The Electronic Intifada reveals. Diplomats and UN officials were also warned that plans for rebuilding Gaza after it was attacked by Israel in 2014 violated international law.

The UN-backed Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism (GRM) is illegal and violates the very “right to life” of the Palestinian people, according to a confidential legal opinion by a law professor who analyzed the mechanism for a major aid agency that works closely with the UN.

The Electronic Intifada is publishing the full text of the GRM for the first time, along with the legal opinion. Both documents are below. Recall that in 2014, The Electronic Intifada revealed that the GRM, the UN-brokered agreement that was supposedly going to facilitate reconstruction, would effectively reinforce Israel’s control over Gaza.

But the UN, the Palestinian Authority and Israel have kept the actual text of the GRM secret, despite demands for transparency from Palestinians whose ability to rebuild their lives has remained hostage to its suffocating restrictions.

The expert who wrote the legal opinion, the University of Nottingham’s Professor Nigel White, warned that the UN was becoming an active participant in Israel’s crimes, including enforcing the blockade Israel has imposed on Gaza since 2007.

White, co-director of the Nottingham International Law and Security Centre, is considered one of the world’s leading experts on United Nations law.

Full Article

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

B'Tselem: No Recourse - Patients cannot get proper treatment in Gaza or elsewhere

The health care system in the Gaza Strip is severely lacking and cannot fully provide for the needs of the local population.  Approximately a year and a half ago, we reported on the difficulties of patients in Gaza who go untreated.  Little has changed since.  The flaws in the system are due, in part, to neglect over the nearly four decades of Israel’s direct occupation of the Gaza Strip, and to the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip imposed after Hamas came into power in June 2007 - a siege with which Egypt has been cooperating for its own reasons.  As part of the siege, Israel limits the import of medical equipment into Gaza. It also imposes restrictions on doctors traveling outside the Gaza Strip to pursue further medical training and specialization.

One outcome of this situation is a harsh reality in which many patients need medical treatment that can only be provided outside the Gaza Strip - in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), Jordan, or Israel.  As a rule, Israeli authorities permit patients to enter Israel for medical care only in life-and-death cases.  Although permits are sometimes issued for people suffering from severe but non-life threatening conditions, even then the treatment is sometimes cut short because authorities refuse to issue additional permits.  The criteria for issuing permits for what Israel calls “quality of life” medical care are unknown.  This leaves patients in a constant state of uncertainty.  Many have no choice but to go without care, including people suffering from severe orthopedic problems, hearing and visual impairment and other grave illnesses.

Full Report

Monday, December 7, 2015

Al Haq: Annexing Energy - Exploiting & Preventing the Development of Oil & Gas in Gaza & the OPT

Israel has forced a naval closure of the Gaza Strip as part of its energy security policy. The El-Arish pipeline and Mari-B gas platform are key Israeli strategic assets for its entire gas distribution network requiring stringent security measures. The Mari-B platform is located only 13 nautical miles from Gaza’s coast and the El-Arish pipeline runs across the entire Palestinian coast at 13 nautical miles connecting Ashkelon in Israel to El-Arish in Egypt. Since 2000, the year that Mari-B was first discovered, Israel has forced the closure of the Gaza Maritime Zone preventing Palestinian fishing and recreational use beyond distances of 6 nautical miles.

During this time American and Israeli gas companies have illegally exploited Palestine’s contiguous gas resources. Under customary international law joint cooperation is required for the development of joint geological resources. However, in 2012 United States corporation Noble Energy and Israeli corporation Delek Drilling, with approval from the State of Israel, rapidly exploited the Noa field from the Israeli side violating customary international law. The accelerated rate of gas production from the Noa well means that the entire resource is more than likely damaged beyond use.


Link to Report Page

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Dr. Cornel West: 2015 Edward Said Memorial Lecture in Washington, DC

Edward Said, an internationally venerated intellectual and an illustrious figure in Palestinian history, culture, and politics, was a distinguished professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University. He was an acclaimed literary and music critic and theorist whose seminal work, "Orientalism," influenced generations of academics and scholars on the Middle East and other non-western societies.

A few days after Dr. Edward Said’s untimely death in 2003, Dr. Cornel West described him as follows: “Edward Said was the last great humanist. He was a literary genius. He was an intellectual giant. He was part of the tradition that goes from Erasmus to Vico, from Swift to Cesare, from Auerbach to Lionel Trilling.”

As the Palestine Center’s Edward Said Memorial Lecturer this year, Dr. West discusses the profound legacy of Edward Said in social and political thought. He explores Dr. Said’s role as an “engaged intellectual” whose voice provoked introspection, deep questioning, dialogue, and enduring change.

Link to Video

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Gisha Report: The Gaza Strip - 10 Years After Disengagement

In mid-August 2005, Israel began implementing its plan to disengage from Gaza. Within less than a month, on September 11, 2005, its last troops exited the territory. The rhetoric that ensued was that 38 years of occupation had come to an end, but in fact, Israel has maintained control over the movement of both people and goods into and out of the Gaza Strip. It prohibits travel and trade by sea and air, and prevents passage between the two parts of the Palestinian territory. It also controls access to areas of land inside the Strip and fishing access in Gaza’s own territorial waters. In this way and others, Israel continues to impact almost every aspect of life of all of Gaza’s 1.8 million residents.

On paper, in statements, and in action, Israel acknowledges the duty to prevent a humanitarian disaster in Gaza, but it does not regard itself as committed to doing anything above the minimum required to keep such a disaster at bay. Since Hamas took over internal control in the Gaza Strip in 2007, Israel has enforced a tight closure, including further restricting movement of people and goods. The closure has prevented development and impacted innocent civilians in Gaza, and beyond that, by unraveling Gaza’s economy, has stunted growth in the Palestinian territory as a whole.

Full Report

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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

UNCTAD Report: Developments in the Economy of the Occupied Palestinian Territory

UNCTAD’s report on assistance to the Palestinian people states that Gaza could become uninhabitable by 2020 if current economic trends persist. In addition to eight years of economic blockade, in the past six years, Gaza has endured three military operations that have shattered its ability to export and produce for the domestic market, ravaged its already debilitated infrastructure, left no time for reconstruction and economic recovery, and accelerated the de-development of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, a process by which development is not merely hindered but reversed. 

The report highlights the severe crises in Gaza related to water and electricity, as well as the destruction of vital infrastructure during the military operations in July and August 2014. For example, Gaza’s 1.8 million inhabitants rely on coastal aquifers as their main source of freshwater, yet 95 per cent of this water is not safe to drink.

The report also estimates the direct losses (excluding people killed) of the three military operations that took place from 2008 to 2014 to be close to three times the size of Gaza’s local gross domestic product. However, the total cost may be substantially higher once indirect economic losses are included and lost future income streams from destroyed productive capacities are added.

Press Release

Full Report - 18 pages

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

International Crisis Group: No Exit? Gaza & Israel Between Wars

In the year since the 2014 Gaza war, little has been done to alter the conditions that precipitated it. The so-called Palestinian government of national consensus, formed in June 2o14 and seated in the West Bank, has been reconstituted without Hamas’s consent. Viewing Gaza as a trap, it refuses responsibility for governing it. Though it lacks the ability and desire to exercise authority there, it continues to collect tax revenues on all Gaza imports as the internationally recognised power. The Hamas government relied on taxes from goods smuggled through Gaza-Egypt tunnels, but those, together with the sole border crossing with Egypt, were shut after President Abdelfattah el-Sisi took power in Cairo in July 2013. To forestall another conflict, Israel has loosened the closure regime somewhat. But this does not address Gaza’s needs: the acting government lacks funds; its economy is a shambles; and most Gazans have no access to the outside world. More must be done on these, or the next war is probably just a matter of time.

A solution to Gaza’s problems is unlikely to be found in Cairo or Ramallah. Both view Hamas, or its parent organisation, the Muslim Brotherhood, as an existential threat. They do not want to rescue Hamas or help Israel in its years-long policy of severing ties between Gaza and the West Bank. Instead both are content to ignore Gaza and watch Hamas drown in its mounting financial problems. If a new war erupts, they calculate, it will be Israel and Hamas that pay the price.

Executive Summary

Full Report

Friday, August 21, 2015

Dr. Norman Finkelstein: A Forensic Analysis of Amnesty International's Reports on Gaza Following Operation Protective Edge

Amnesty International is among the premier human rights organizations in the world. Its pronouncements shape public opinion, while councils of state feel obliged if not to heed them at any rate to respond. A movement for justice aspiring to reach a broad public and inflect state policy can ill afford to ignore Amnesty if and when it goes astray. It is the contention of this monograph that Amnesty has indeed lost its way, and it is the intention of this monograph to document this proposition, in the hope that Amnesty will perform—or its grassroots membership will compel it to perform—a midcourse correction.

In recent years, Amnesty International has issued meticulously documented, legally unflinching human rights reports on the Israel-Palestine conflict, for example, Operation “Cast Lead”: 22 days of death and destruction, a searing indictment of Israel’s 2008-9 assault on Gaza. But this has not always been the case. For many decades, this venerable human rights organization effectively gave Israel a free pass on its pervasive torture practices in the occupied Palestinian territories. Judging by the reports it issued after Israel’s summer 2014 assault on Gaza, Operation Protective Edge, Amnesty is regressing to its earlier apologetics.

Part 1 - Has Amnesty International Lost Its Way?

Part 2 - Ominous Arsenal

Part 3 - Evidentiary Bias

Part 4 - Targeting of Hospitals, Schools, Mosques, Power Plant

Part 5 - Why Israel Targeted Civilian Homes in Gaza

Part 6 - The whole point of OPE was to leave 'families under the rubble'

Part 7 - Hamas War Crimes and Violations of International Law

Part 8 - Indiscriminate and Deliberate Targeting of Civilians and Civilian Objects

Part 9 - We entered Gaza with an insane amount of firepower

Part 10 - Why didn't Hamas fighters line up like ducks?

Conclusion - Amnesty's Betrayal of a Forsaken People

Paul de Rooij: Amnesty International - Whitewashing Another Massacre in Gaza

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Gisha Report: Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism - Where is the Housing Boom?

On June 24, 2015, Palestinian Housing Minster, Mufid Al-Husayneh, announced the beginning of a new phase in Gaza’s reconstruction – the rebuilding of homes destroyed during Operation Protective Edge. Ten months after the fighting ended, despite massive destruction and international mobilization, Gaza took its first step toward rebuilding the first out of thousands of homes that were completely destroyed. What took so long?

Prior to Operation Protective Edge, Israel imposed severe restrictions on the sale of construction materials to Gaza, arguing that these were “dual use” materials, meaning that they could be used for both civilian and military purposes (see box on chronology of restrictions). The main argument was that Hamas might use construction materials purchased in Israel to build bunkers and since late 2013, that materials could be used to build tunnels for the purpose of launching attacks on Israeli territory.

Gisha has and continues to object to the definition of a basic civilian commodity such as construction materials as “dual use”, thus paving the way for blanket bans, especially when considering the fact that the ban has not proven effective in preventing tunnel building.

Full Report

Why has there been almost no reconstruction in Gaza?

Distant Relatives: A look at the lives of three families, split between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Amnesty International Report: Carnage in Rafah, Gaza Strip on 'Black Friday' August 2014

New evidence showing that Israeli forces carried out war crimes in retaliation for the capture of an Israeli soldier has been released today in a joint report by Amnesty International and Forensic Architecture. The evidence, which includes detailed analysis of vast quantities of multimedia materials, suggests that the systematic and apparently deliberate nature of the air and ground attack on Rafah which killed at least 135 civilians, may also amount to crimes against humanity.

The online report, ‘Black Friday’: Carnage in Rafah during 2014 Israel/Gaza conflict, features cutting edge investigative techniques and analysis pioneered by Forensic Architecture, a research team based at Goldsmiths, University of London.

“There is strong evidence that Israeli forces committed war crimes in their relentless and massive bombardment of residential areas of Rafah in order to foil the capture of Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, displaying a shocking disregard for civilian lives. They carried out a series of disproportionate or otherwise indiscriminate attacks, which they have completely failed to investigate independently,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

Press Release


Full Report

Specific Cases Examined

'Strong evidence' of Israeli war crimes in Gaza 

Amnesty International accuses Israel of war crimes during 'Black Friday' of Gaza war 

Amnesty: Israel committed war crimes in retaliation for capture of Israeli soldier

'Strong Evidence' of Israeli War Crimes in Gaza, Says New Amnesty Report

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Gaza Strip: Commentary, Reflections & Analysis - One Year On

Link to Video

Follow three Gazan families as they try to rebuild their lives among the rubble after last year's war

Amnesty: Launch of innovative digital tool to help expose patterns of Israeli violations in Gaza

Gaza Testimonies: A B'Tselem Project

Aerial Footage: Gaza one year on - scarred by war

Has the World Abandoned Gaza? Region Remains in Ruins a Year After Deadly Israeli Assault

EI: One year later, Gaza rebuilding blocked

Transcript: An Interview with Max Blumenthal on the one year anniversary of Israel's attack on Gaza 

Palestinians in Gaza Struggle to Rebuild One Year After Israel's Attacks

Unsilencing Gaza: One year since ‘Operation Protective Edge’

Erakat: Israel Will Invade Gaza Again—the Only Question Is How Soon

OCHA: Humanitartian Impact of the Blockade

OCHA: Humanitarian Impact of Gaza's Electricity and Fuel Crisis

Oxfam: Gaza - One Year On

Shelter Cluster: Housing Needs in Gaza & the West Bank

Crabapple: Gaza Is Still in Ruins a Year Later

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

UN Gaza Commission of Inquiry Report

The United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict has gathered substantial information pointing to the possible commission of war crimes by both Israel and Palestinian armed groups.

“The extent of the devastation and human suffering in Gaza was unprecedented and will impact generations to come,” the chair of the commission, Justice Mary McGowan Davis told a press briefing today, adding that, “there is also on-going fear in Israel among communities who come under regular threat”.

The 2014 hostilities saw a huge increase in firepower used in Gaza, with more than 6,000 airstrikes by Israel and approximately 50,000 tank and artillery shells fired. In the 51 day operation, 1,462 Palestinian civilians were killed, a third of them children. Palestinian armed groups fired 4,881 rockets and 1,753 mortars towards Israel in July and August 2014, killing 6 civilians and injuring at least 1,600.

Hundreds of Palestinian civilians were killed in their own homes, especially women and children. Survivors gave graphic testimony describing air strikes that reduced buildings to piles of dust and rubble in seconds. “I woke up…in the hospital, and I later learned that my sister, mother and my children had all died,” said a member of the Al Najjar family after an attack in Khan Younis on 26 July that killed 19 of his relatives, “We all died that day even those who survived”.

At least 142 families lost three or more members in an attack on a residential building during the summer of 2014, resulting in 742 deaths. The fact that Israel did not revise its practice of air-strikes, even after their dire effects on civilians became apparent, raises the question of whether this was part of a broader policy which was at least tacitly approved at the highest level of government.

The commission is concerned about Israel’s extensive use of weapons with a wide kill and injury radius; though not illegal, their use in densely populated areas is highly likely to kill combatants and civilians indiscriminately. There appears also to be a pattern whereby the IDF issued warnings to people to leave a neighbourhood and then automatically considered anyone remaining to be a fighter. This practice makes attacks on civilians highly likely. During the Israeli ground incursion into Gaza that began in mid-July 2014, hundreds of people were killed and thousands of homes destroyed or damaged.

Press Release

Q & A, Summary & Full UN Report

B'Tselem: UN report is a reminder - Over 1.5 million people live in the Gaza Strip. It is not a battlefield

B'Tselem: Israel not capable of investigating itself in Gaza

Lessons from the UN Gaza report: Next stop, ICC?

“Balance” in UN Gaza report can’t hide massive Israeli war crimes

UN accuses Israel and Hamas of possible war crimes during 2014 Gaza conflict

UN Gaza report: Five Palestinians' harrowing stories from the horror of the IDF bombardment of 2014

UN report on Gaza war includes stories of civilian executions, attacks on ambulances and targeting of humanitarian facilities

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Gisha: Legal Analysis of Access Restrictions between Gaza and the West Bank

A new convoy or flotilla of ships sailing to Gaza, the fifth since the Israeli navy intercepted the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara in 2010, is causing a bit of stir among local politicians and media. Since 2010, some elements of the closure Israel imposes on the Gaza Strip have changed. Israel now allows many civilian goods to enter Gaza, including limited, controlled amounts of construction materials. However, blanket restrictions on movement between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip remain. The separation between the two parts of the Palestinian territory and the forced split between residents living in the two areas because of that separation have serious implications that a flotilla cannot resolve.

Even after Israel began allowing some limited sale of Gaza-made and -produced goods in the West Bank and lifted some of the restrictions on travel between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the general rule guiding its actions is still separation between the two parts of the territory. Movement is the exception, not the rule. Though Israel clearly faces challenges in terms of security, there is no justification for such sweeping restrictions. It is not clear, for example, why during the holy month of Ramadan, Israel decided to allow limited family visits between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, while prior to Ramadan, a Gaza resident who wanted to visit relatives had to wait for a first-degree relative’s wedding, funeral, or serious illness. In the same vein, it is not clear why a person can travel to the West Bank for a short-term training program, but cannot go there to study at a university. 


Full Report

Saturday, June 20, 2015

B'Tselem: Presumed Guilty - Remand in Custody by Israeli Military Courts in the West Bank

To 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 rulings and verdicts couched in reasoned legal language. Nonetheless, this facade of propriety masks one of the most injurious apparatuses of the occupation.

Every year, thousands of Palestinians are brought before military courts on various charges, including entering Israel without a permit, stone-throwing, membership in an “illegal association”, violence, firearms-related offenses and traffic violations. The military court has jurisdiction over residents of the entire West Bank, including areas over which partial control was transferred to the Palestinian Authority, and even if the offense was committed outside the West Bank. In theory, these courts have the authority to try settlers. In practice, settlers are tried only in civilian courts inside Israel.

Remand proceedings expose the injustice that takes place in Israeli military courts. In this context, remand is the detention for the duration of all legal proceedings in the case of a person whose questioning and investigation has been completed and who has been formally charged. Individuals on remand are not serving a prison sentence. They have not been sentenced, not been found guilty. They are being held in custody when they should be presumed innocent.

Press Release

Full Report

Yesh Din: Standing Idly By - IOF Soldiers' Inaction in the Face of Israeli Offenses Against Palestinians in the West Bank

PHR-Israel: Denied - Harassment of Palestinian Patients Applying for Exit Permits

Friday, June 12, 2015

Israel exonerates itself over Gaza beach killings of four Bakr children last year

Israel announced on Thursday that no criminal charges will brought against members of its army responsible for the deadly attack last summer on a Gaza beach that killed four boys from the same family.

Ahed Atef Bakr, 10, Zakariya Ahed Bakr, 10, Mohammad Ramiz Bakr, 11, and Ismail Mahmoud Bakr, 9, were killed on 16 July when Israeli forces shelled a beachfront in the Gaza Strip.

It was one of the defining moments of the 50-day Israeli assault on Gaza, which saw some 2,220 Palestinians killed, mostly civilians, as well as 72 Israelis, who were mostly soldiers.

The boys were killed in full view of a hotel filled with foreign correspondents reporting on the conflict, which led to harrowing first-hand accounts of the attack, one of the most poignant of which came from the Guardian’s Peter Beaumont.  

Full Article

Human Rights Watch: Unlawful Israeli Attacks Hit Hospital, Kill Children, Other Civilians (2014)

No indictment in killing of four Palestinian kids on Gaza beach

Israeli military exonerates itself in slaughter of children on Gaza beach

Globe reporter Patrick Martin recalls air force strike on Gaza beach that killed four boys

Israel exonerates itself over Gaza beach killings of four children last year

Gaza beach killings: no justice in Israeli exoneration, says victim's father

Peter Beaumont: Witness to a shelling - first-hand account of deadly strike on Gaza port (2014)

Gideon Levy: Israel washed itself clean of Gaza's dead beach children

Family furious as Israel probe clears military in Gaza beach deaths

‘NY Times’ helps Israel whitewash the killings of four boys playing soccer on Gaza beach

Israel failed to interview eyewitnesses to soccer boys’ slaughter

NGOs reject Israel’s closure of investigation into Gaza beach killings

Tyler Hicks: Through Lens, 4 Boys Dead by Gaza Shore (2014)

Israel rules out charges in deaths of four children in Gaza missile strike

William Booth: Israeli strike kills four children on a Gaza beach (2014)