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Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

    May 15, 2019

    Danna Ingleton is Deputy Director of Amnesty Tech 

    In June last year, one of my colleagues at Amnesty International received a WhatsApp message from an unknown number. It contained details about a protest supposedly taking place at the Saudi embassy in Washington DC, and my colleague was instantly suspicious. The message came at a time when Amnesty International was campaigning for the release of six jailed activists in Saudi Arabia, and something didn’t feel right.

    An analysis of the links in the message proved these suspicions to be well-founded. Amnesty’s Tech team found that clicking the link would have secretly installed potent spyware on the phone, obtaining total access to calls, messages, photos and GPS location. A closer look enabled us to trace the attack back to a secretive Israeli company: NSO Group.

    May 14, 2019
    Nabi Saleh demonstrations, 2013

    Palestinians living in the occupied territories cannot get to work or school, or see their friends and family without feeling the disruptive effect of Israel’s military rule. It restricts the ability to farm their land, attend a protest, improve their homes, raise families, travel for medical purposes, or access essential services such as electricity and clean water.

    A Palestinian prisoner’s experience is even more dire: they must not only withstand all the above, but also arbitrary detention from Israeli and Palestinian forces, cruel and unlawful treatment, the repression of fundamental human rights, and the ongoing unlawful detention of children.

    For both, life is made all the more insufferable by Israel’s ever-expanding settlement operation.

    May 10, 2019

    Amnesty International is supporting a legal action to take the Israeli Ministry of Defence (MoD) to court, to demand that it revokes the export license of NSO Group, an Israeli company whose spyware products have been used in chilling attacks on human rights defenders around the world.

    In a petition to be filed tomorrow at the District Court of Tel Aviv, approximately 50 members and supporters of Amnesty International Israel and others from the human rights community set out how the MoD has put human rights at risk by allowing NSO to continue exporting its products. In August 2018 an Amnesty staff member was targeted by a particularly invasive piece of NSO Group software called Pegasus, also linked to attacks on activists and journalists in Saudi Arabia, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates.

    “NSO Group sells its products to governments who are known for outrageous human rights abuses, giving them the tools to track activists and critics. The attack on Amnesty International was the final straw,” said Danna Ingleton, Deputy Director of Amnesty Tech, who has provided supporting testimony.

    March 29, 2019

    In March 1976, Israel ordered the confiscation of 2,000 hectares of land that belonged to Palestinian citizens of Israel. In response, on March 30 of the same year, Palestinians held demonstrations across Galilee in the north all the way to the Negev in the South. Six Palestinians were killed and more than a hundred were injured.

    Following these horrific events, this day came to be known as Land Day or ‘Yom Al-Ard’, an annual observance in which Palestinians commemorate and demonstrate their commitment to the right and ownership of their land.

    Israel’s land grab: ongoing devastation

    Since 1967, Israel’s policy of constructing and expanding illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land has continued unabated, and is one of the main driving forces behind the mass human rights violations resulting from the occupation.

    Over the past 50 years, Israel has:

    demolished tens of thousands of Palestinian properties

    March 26, 2019

    Responding to reports that at least seven people were injured after a rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel, Saleh Higazi, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said:

    “Amnesty International condemns the rocket attack from Gaza that hit a home in central Israel wounding Israeli civilians.

    “Attacks on civilians, and indiscriminate attacks, are never justified and a serious violation of international humanitarian law. The threats from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to respond with further military action are also deeply worrying.

    “Israel has repeatedly displayed a chilling disregard for civilian life and carried out wide-scale deadly attacks in densely-populated civilian areas of Gaza in violation of international humanitarian law.

    “There must be no repeat of the unlawful attacks that killed and injured thousands of civilians in Gaza, destroyed homes and devastated infrastructure during conflicts in previous years.

    “We are calling on Hamas, Israel and all parties involved in the conflict to respect international humanitarian law.”

    March 20, 2019
    Canada must recognize the human rights implications of CIFTA


    Amnesty International has written an open letter addressed to the Prime Minister of Canada, the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, and the Minister of International Trade and Diversification, the Honourable James Gordon Carr, regarding the absence of distinction between products made on illegal Israeli settlements and other Israeli products in the amendments to the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (Bill C-85). Amnesty International is concerned about the consequences this has on the human rights situation of Palestinians living in the occupied territories.

    The three-page letter calls on the Canadian government to uphold its duties under international law by ensuring that settlement goods are barred from Canada and business is not benefiting from human rights violations caused by the ongoing occupation.

    February 25, 2019

    An investigative journalist who published a report revealing corruption within the ministry of health in Gaza is facing up to six months in jail, said Amnesty International, ahead of her appeal hearing tomorrow. 

    Hajar Harb, a Palestinian journalist from Gaza, released an investigative report on al-Araby TV  on 25 June 2016 highlighting that the ministry, which is run by the Hamas de-facto administration, was profiting by arranging illegal medical transfers out of the Gaza Strip for people who did not need treatment. She has been charged with a series of offences including defamation and the publication of false news.

    “The prosecution of Hajar Harb is an outrageous assault on media freedom. The authorities in Gaza are blatantly seeking to punish her for exposing corruption within the Hamas administration. The authorities must drop all the charges against her immediately,” said Saleh Higazi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    February 04, 2019

    Since 1967 when it captured the occupied Palestinian territories (OPT), it has been Israeli government policy to promote the creation and expansion of Israeli settlements in the OPT.  This is a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and is one of the main driving forces behind the mass human rights violations resulting from the occupation.

    Meanwhile, companies from all over the world are conducting business activities in settlements and, in doing so, are helping sustain and expand Israel’s settlements in the OPT.  

    Digital tourism companies, like Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia and TripAdvisor, are profiting from war crimes by listing properties and attractions in Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories.

    January 29, 2019

    Online booking giants Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia and TripAdvisor are fuelling human rights violations against Palestinians by listing hundreds of rooms and activities in Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land, including East Jerusalem, Amnesty International said today. In a new report, ‘Destination: Occupation’, the organization documents how online booking companies are driving tourism to illegal Israeli settlements and contributing to their existence and expansion.

    Israel’s settling of Israeli civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) violates international humanitarian law and is a war crime. Despite this, the four companies continue to operate in the settlements, and profit from this illegal situation. 

    November 28, 2018

    Amnesty International is taking legal advice in order to revoke the export licence of Israel-based NSO Group, after it was revealed the cyber firm’s spyware had been used in an attempt to spy on an Amnesty staff member.

    A recent investigation by Haaretz newspaper uncovered the firm’s sophisticated surveillance tool “Pegasus” was offered to authorities in Saudi Arabia last year.

    Two weeks ago, Amnesty International Israel submitted an urgent request to the Israeli Ministry of Defence, demanding that NSO Group's defence export licence be revoked in light of an attempted cyber attack on an Amnesty staff member via NSO's spyware.

    But this week, the Israeli Defence Ministry refused to revoke the firm’s licence, causing Amnesty International to consider seeking legal action.

    “We thoroughly reject this inadequate response. The mountain of evidence and reports on NSO Group and the sale of its spyware to human rights-violating regimes is substantial proof that NSO has gone rogue”, said Molly Malekar, Programs Director of Amnesty International Israel.

    October 19, 2018

    Fears of escalating bloodshed are rising ahead of planned protests in Gaza later today after Israeli authorities announced a “zero tolerance” policy towards demonstrations along the Israel/Gaza fence, said Amnesty International.

    The organization is calling on the Israeli government to rein in its armed forces, which have routinely used unnecessary or excessive force during Gaza’s weekly “Great March of Return” demonstrations.

    “Given Israeli forces’ horrific track record of using deadly force against Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza, as well as journalists, medics and others, the announcement of a ‘zero tolerance’ policy is deeply alarming,” said Saleh Higazi, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    The exact details of what “zero tolerance” means have not been disclosed, but there are fears it will lead to more Palestinian deaths along the Gaza/Israel border. 

    September 30, 2018

    Monday’s planned demolition of a West Bank village and forcible transfer of its residents to make way for illegal Jewish settlements is a war crime that lays bare the Israeli government’s callous disregard for the Palestinians, Amnesty International said today.

    Some 180 residents of the Bedouin community of Khan-al Ahmar, east of Jerusalem, face being forcibly evicted and transferred by the Israeli army. The Israeli authorities have offered the villagers a choice of two possible destinations: a site near the former Jerusalem municipal garbage dump, near the village of Abu Dis, or a site in the vicinity of a sewage plant close to the city of Jericho.

    “After nearly a decade of trying to fight the injustice of this demolition, the residents of Khan al-Ahmar now approach the devastating day when they will see their home of generations torn down before their eyes,” said Saleh Higazi, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    September 20, 2018

    The deaths of six Palestinians within just 24 hours is a horrific demonstration of the unnecessary or excessive force deployed by Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), Amnesty International said today.

    Between 10pm on Monday 17 September and 8pm on Tuesday 18 September, Israeli forces killed four Palestinian men in the Gaza Strip using live ammunition . Within the same period, two more died as a result of the actions of Israeli forces in the West Bank, one after being beaten during the process of arrest and another shot dead in a busy street in East Jerusalem.

    “The shocking fact that five Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli authorities and one died in their custody in just 24 hours is a chilling demonstration of the utter disregard for right to life. Several of these incidents appear to involve deliberate and wilful killing of unarmed civilians and may amount to war crimes,” said Saleh Higazi, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    July 29, 2018

    The release of a Palestinian child activist jailed by Israel’s military for shoving, slapping and kicking two heavily armed soldiers wearing protective gear is welcome news but serves as a reminder of Israel’s continued human rights violations against Palestinian children, Amnesty International said.

    Seventeen-year-old Ahed Tamimi was set free today, 21 days short of completing an eight-month prison sentence following her wrongful imprisonment by Ofer military court in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

    “This is a huge relief for Ahed Tamimi’s loved ones, but their joy will be tempered by the injustice of her imprisonment and the grim knowledge that many more Palestinian children still languish in Israeli jails, many despite not having committed any recognizable crime,” said Saleh Higazi, Head of Office in Jerusalem for Amnesty International.

    July 05, 2018

    Israel’s forcible transfer of Palestinians from their homes and settling of Israeli civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories violate the Fourth Geneva Convention and are war crimes, Amnesty International said as it continues to monitor the fast-changing situation on the ground in the Palestinian village of Khan al-Ahmar.

    This morning Israeli security forces closed off the areas surrounding the Khan al-Ahmar community in preparation for the demolition of the entire village, including schools, farmland, a mosque and the homes of all families living in the village.

    “Going ahead with the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar is not only profoundly cruel; it would also amount to forcible transfer, which is a war crime. Israel must be held to account for such grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which is a standard it has set for itself and demanded of other nations. The international community also has a responsibility to ensure respect for the Geneva Conventions. The demolition of Khan al-Ahmar must be stopped,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International

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