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Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

    July 28, 2014

    Interview with a human rights fieldworker in Gaza

    This morning as I brushed my teeth I could hear the familiar buzzing of a drone circling above our building. I ignored the sound. Drones circle overhead all the time; you never know whether it’s just for surveillance or an impending missile launch. The uncertainty makes you feel helpless. What can anyone do?

    Five minutes later, a missile fired from what sounded like an F-16 fighter jet struck nearby. The loud boom sent the children running to me. They crowded in the bathroom, for comfort and safety. They looked so frightened and pale; their eyes red from lack of sleep. I am known for keeping a cool head, people say I have nerves of steel, so, typically, I just smiled at them – still clutching my toothbrush. The relief of seeing me smile made them break down in giggles; it’s one of those absurd reactions you have under extreme stress.

    January 21, 2014
    Stephen Harper and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu on Jan 19 (PMO photo)

    Op-ed by Alex Neve (Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada), Béatrice Vaugrante (Directrice Générale, Amnistie internationale Canada francophone) and Yonatan Gher (Executive Director, Amnesty International Israel)

    Many eyes were watching closely during this visit. There would have been no better time to show that Canada is a principled human rights champion. But that was not to be.

    There was considerable fanfare and red carpet during Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s trip to Israel this week.

    After nearly eight years in office, the prime minister visited the country with which he has forged closer links than almost any other. The spectacle was breathtaking, with a delegation of over 200 people, including six cabinet ministers and other government MPs. With that sort of political heft, the opportunity to press important issues was considerable. 

    How disappointing, though not surprising, that Israel’s numerous human rights shortcomings did not make that list.

    April 09, 2013

    By Lamri Chirouf, Amnesty International’s delegate in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

    Last month we drove northwest from Ramallah to visit the small village of Budrus, which gained international attention a decade ago when residents started protesting against the fence/wall erected by Israel.

    Regular protests there against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank continue, and clashes between village youths and members of the Israeli army have become a weekly, if not daily, occurrence.

    The main reason behind the protests is still the wall, described by the Israeli government as a security fence and by Budrus residents, and Palestinians throughout the West Bank, as an ‘apartheid wall’ and a way for the Israeli government to annex more Palestinian lands.

    November 27, 2012

    By Ann Harrison, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme

    Damage to an apartment building in Rishon LeZion, outside Tel Aviv, from rockets fired from Gaza © Amnesty International.

     

    It was dawn when we arrived in Israel to begin our investigation into rocket attacks from Gaza which by the end of the latest flare in violence had left six Israelis, including four civilians, dead, at least 40 injured and 300 more treated for shock.

    Up in the sky oddly shaped vapour trails made us wonder if these were the remnants of the “Iron Dome” missiles – used to intercept the rockets fired by Palestinian armed groups which this time reached as far north as Tel Aviv.

    A child is digging in the rubble of the destroyed al-Dalu family house in Gaza City © Amnesty International

    The following is a firsthand account by Donatella Rovera, Senior Crisis Response Adviser, reporting from Gaza. The ceasefire came into effect at 9pm on November 21 November.

    The children are playing outside again, despite the torrential rain. They were stuck indoors during eight days of relentless Israeli bombardments.

    By the time that ended in excess of 160 people were dead - including more than 30 children and scores of other unarmed civilians.

    For the duration of the onslaught they were stuck indoors - at home, seeking refuge with relatives or in schools which the UN refugee agency turned into temporary shelters for thousands of families forced from their houses by the bombings.

    By Lamri Chirouf, Amnesty International’s delegate in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

    Last month we drove northwest from Ramallah to visit the small village of Budrus, which gained international attention a decade ago when residents started protesting against the fence/wall erected by Israel.

    Regular protests there against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank continue, and clashes between village youths and members of the Israeli army have become a weekly, if not daily, occurrence.

    The main reason behind the protests is still the wall, described by the Israeli government as a security fence and by Budrus residents, and Palestinians throughout the West Bank, as an ‘apartheid wall’ and a way for the Israeli government to annex more Palestinian lands.

    The majority of the wall is located inside the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). In Budrus, it consists of rolls of barbed wire, multiple fences and sensors, and a road on the other side patrolled by Israeli military jeeps, all of which work to separate villagers from their farming lands.

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