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Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

    May 04, 2015

    By Alex Neve, Amnesty International Canada's Secretary General. Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexNeve Amnesty

    Amnesty International has reviewed the Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel  regarding Public Diplomacy Cooperation ( MOU) which was concluded between the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the two countries on 18 January, 2015.

    March 25, 2015

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT 26 March 2015

    Palestinian armed groups displayed a flagrant disregard for the lives of civilians by repeatedly launching indiscriminate rockets and mortars towards civilian areas in Israel during the conflict in July and August 2014, said Amnesty International in a new report published today.

    Unlawful and deadly: Rocket and mortar attacks by Palestinian armed groups during the 2014 Gaza/Israel conflict provides evidence that several attacks launched from inside the Gaza Strip amount to war crimes. Six civilians in Israel, including a four-year-old boy, were killed in such attacks during the 50-day conflict. In the deadliest incident believed to have been caused by a Palestinian attack, 11 children were among 13 Palestinian civilians killed when a projectile fired from within the Gaza Strip landed in the al-Shati refugee camp.

    December 10, 2014

    The death of a Palestinian minister during a protest against land confiscations in the West Bank may have resulted from arbitrary and abusive force by Israeli forces against demonstrators, said Amnesty International.

    Ziad Abu Ein, who headed a committee that opposed the West Bank wall and Israeli settlements, died after a confrontation with Israeli forces in the village of Turmus'ayya. Photographs posted online showed Israeli forces grabbing his throat.

    “This appears to be a tragedy that could have been avoided. The Israeli forces have an abysmal track record when it comes to policing protests and have frequently resorted to the unnecessary or excessive use of force against protesters in the West Bank, resulting in numerous unlawful killings. And they continue to do so with impunity,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International. 

    Shortly before his death Ziad Abu Ein told news reporters the protest had been peaceful. "We came to plant trees on Palestinian land, and they launched into an attack on us from the first moment. Nobody threw a single stone," he said. 

    December 08, 2014

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT  9 December 2014

    Air strikes on landmark buildings at the tail end of the Israeli military’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in August 2014 were a deliberate and direct attack on civilian buildings and amount to war crimes, says Amnesty International today.

    “Nothing is immune”: Israel’s destruction of landmark buildings in Gaza provides evidence that attacks on four multistorey buildings during the last four days of the conflict were in contravention of international humanitarian law and calls for them to be independently and impartially investigated.

    “All the evidence we have shows this large-scale destruction was carried out deliberately and with no military justification,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.

    “Both the facts on the ground and statements made by Israeli military spokespeople at the time indicate that the attacks were a collective punishment against the people of Gaza and were designed to destroy their already precarious livelihoods.”

    November 18, 2014

    Armed men who attacked worshippers at a synagogue in West Jerusalem killing four Israelis and injuring eight this morning have displayed an utter contempt for fundamental principles of humanity, said Amnesty International. 

    The killing is the deadliest attack on civilians to occur in Jerusalem in six years.

    “Nothing can ever justify such an abhorrent attack on worshippers in a synagogue. The deliberate killing of civilians must be utterly condemned,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Program Director at Amnesty International.

    The attack was said to be carried out by cousins living in East Jerusalem. No group has yet claimed responsibility for carrying out the attack but both Hamas and the Palestinian armed group Islamic Jihad have praised it. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has condemned the attack.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to respond “with a heavy hand” to the attack in a worrying signal that violations against Palestinians in the West Bank, including house demolitions and other collective punishment, will worsen.

    November 09, 2014

    By Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General

    Nearly three months have passed since the latest conflict came to an end, but the piles of rubble and empty shells of family homes in Gaza serve as painful reminders of the death and destruction that resulted from Israel’s latest military operation there in July and August this year.

    Mohammad Akram al-Hallaq’s three grandchildren were watching cartoons in the television room when the three missiles struck on 20 July. The walls collapsed in an avalanche of rubble, crumbling into piles of dust and rocks above and below them. None of the children survived. Eight people, all civilians, including four children from another family living in the building were also killed.

    November 04, 2014

    A Palestinian child sits above the ruins of his ruined home, and looks at thousands of homes destroyed because of the war on Gaza.© 2014 Pacific Press

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT 5 November 2014

    Israeli forces have killed scores of Palestinian civilians in attacks targeting houses full of families which in some cases have amounted to war crimes, Amnesty International has disclosed in a new report on the latest Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip.

    Families under the Rubble: Israeli attacks on inhabited homes details eight cases where residential family homes in Gaza were attacked by Israeli forces without warning during Operation Protective Edge in July and August 2014, causing the deaths of at least 104 civilians including 62 children. The report reveals a pattern of frequent Israeli attacks using large aerial bombs to level civilian homes, sometimes killing entire families.

    September 17, 2014

    By Sunjeev Bery, Advocacy Director, Middle East North Africa, Amnesty International – USA

    As the UN General Assembly began its meeting on September 16 in New York City, Amnesty International was delivering 187,563 signatures to the White House in a global call to cut off weapons fuelling abuses in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Thousands of people from the U.S. and 166 other nations are urging President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to stop arming Israel and start backing a UN arms embargo on Israel, Hamas, and other Palestinian armed groups.

    September 05, 2014

    by Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada

    This summer’s conflict in Gaza and southern Israel was wrenching. Day after day it did not let up. Rockets launched from Gaza. Relentless aerial bombardment by Israeli forces in Gaza. More rockets from Gaza. Missiles and ground assaults by Israeli forces. All of that in a wider context of serious and longstanding human rights violations, including the collective punishment of the Gaza blockade; and very legitimate security concerns. Against this loud and angry backdrop the toll on civilians, overwhelmingly Palestinian civilians, was heartbreaking. In a corner of the world that has been enmeshed in decades of repression, terrorism, reprisal, defence and revenge the summer of 2014 will long be remembered for the scale and ferocity of the violence.

    September 01, 2014

    The Israeli authorities’ outrageous plan to expropriate nearly 1,000 acres of land in the West Bank is illegal and must be rescinded immediately, said Amnesty International.

    “Israel’s strategy of illegally confiscating land for settlements in the West Bank must stop once and for all. Not only it is illegal under international law but it is leading to a wide range of violations of Palestinians’ human rights on a mass scale,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    “Reports that that the Israeli cabinet justified this land grab as a reaction to the deplorable murder in June of three Israeli teenagers suggests this is an act of collective punishment and that Israel is moving further and further away from its obligations under international law.”

    The plans, announced on Sunday by the Israeli military-run Civil Administration, would directly affect at least five Palestinian villages in the Bethlehem area.

    This appears to be the largest land grab in the Occupied Palestinian Territories since the 1980s.

    August 20, 2014

    “The Israeli authorities appear to have been playing bureaucratic games with us over access to Gaza, conditioning it on entirely unreasonable criteria even as the death toll mounts” said Anne FitzGerald, Amnesty International’s Director of Research and Crisis Response.

    Israel should immediately allow access to Gaza for Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other international human rights organizations so they can investigate allegations of serious violations of international humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today,

    “The victims' and the public's right to know about what happened during the hostilities requires the Israeli authorities to ensure full transparency about their actions and to refrain from hindering independent and impartial research into all alleged violations.”

    August 19, 2014

    The resumption of Israeli air strikes and rocket fire from Gaza underscores the imperative need to grant human rights groups immediate access to monitor the situation, said Amnesty International today.

    Since the beginning of Israel’s military operation on 8 July 2014 in Gaza, Israeli authorities have denied repeated requests by Amnesty International to enter Gaza via the Israeli-controlled Erez crossing. The organization also requested access from Egyptian authorities, who so far have not granted it.

    “The apparent resumption of Israeli airstrikes and rocket fire today is another reminder that our access to the Gaza Strip cannot wait. Valuable time has already been lost and it is essential that human rights organizations are now able to begin the vital job of examining allegations of war crimes,” said Anne FitzGerald, Amnesty International’s Director of Research and Crisis Response.

    “The Israeli authorities appear to have been playing bureaucratic games with us over access to Gaza, conditioning it on entirely unreasonable criteria even as the death toll in the region has risen.”

    August 07, 2014
    There has been mounting evidence that the Israel Defense Forces launched apparently deliberate attacks against hospitals and health professionals in Gaza.© EPA/OLIVER WEIKEN

    An immediate investigation is needed into mounting evidence that the Israel Defense Forces launched apparently deliberate attacks against hospitals and health professionals in Gaza, which have left six medics dead, said Amnesty International as it released disturbing testimonies from doctors, nurses, and ambulance personnel working in the area.

    “The harrowing descriptions by ambulance drivers and other medics of the utterly impossible situation in which they have to work, with bombs and bullets killing or injuring their colleagues as they try to save lives, paint a grim reality of life in Gaza,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.  

    August 06, 2014
    Rockets launched from the Gaza Strip toward Israeli cities, 13 July 2014. © EPA

    By Yonatan Gher, Executive Director, Amnesty International Israel

    My brother and I are experiencing the current Israel-Gaza conflict quite differently. He is 20, serving out his military service and has been fighting in Gaza. I, on the other hand, am the Executive Director of Amnesty International Israel, an organization that is now heavily involved in documenting and campaigning on apparent crimes perpetrated by both sides of this conflict. I am also a conscientious objector.

    My position does not diminish from the fact that I spend my days worried sick about him and other family members in similar situations. When you have such complexity in a family situation, humour is often the best approach, and so we joke sometimes that if the rest of the world heeds Amnesty International’s call for an arms embargo, I’ll be coming for his gun first.

    August 04, 2014

    Amnesty International is appealing to the US government to immediately halt the transfer of a US fuel shipment currently on its way to Israel for use by the Israeli military. The organization has repeatedly called for a comprehensive arms embargo on all parties to the conflict, amidst mounting evidence that war crimes are being committed by both sides in the past four weeks in Gaza.

    The US government has continued to supply hundreds of thousands of tons of fuel, including fuel for fighter jets and military vehicles, to Israel’s armed forces despite a soaring civilian death toll from aerial and other military attacks. The last US jet fuel delivery arrived in Israel on 14 July, a week after the conflict began. Nine previous shipments were made from the US to Israel during 2013 and 2014. A fuel tanker with the latest US fuel shipment is now sailing past the Azores and is due to arrive in Israel on 12 August.

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