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Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

    October 31, 2017

    Israel’s decision to deny an Amnesty International USA staff member entry to the occupied West Bank, apparently as retaliation against the organization’s human rights work, is a dangerous indication of the Israeli authorities’ growing intolerance of critical voices, the organization said today.

    October 02, 2017

    Pictured above: Mohammad Abu Sakha

    Mohammad Abu Sakha, a 24-year-old circus performer and teacher from Palestine’s West Bank has been released after two years of being held in administrative detention, by Israeli authorities in a prison in southern Israel without charge or trial.

    Mohammad teaches circus skills at the Palestinian Circus School in Birzeit, near Ramallah, where he specialises in working with children with learning difficulties. The circus school trains Palestinian children and youth in circus arts and to ‘strengthen the social, creative and physical potential of the Palestinians, seeking to engage and empower them to become constructive actors in society.’ 

    September 07, 2017

    The decision to charge Palestinian human rights defender Issa Amro using a controversial Electronic Crimes Law marks a dramatic escalation in the Palestinian authorities’ onslaught against freedom of expression, said Amnesty International today.

    Issa Amro, coordinator of Youth Against Settlements, a peaceful group that documents violations and organizes protests against Israeli policies in Hebron, was arrested on 4 September for posting comments on Facebook critical of the Palestinian authorities. In a closed hearing today the Hebron district court extended his detention for four days and charged him with disturbing “public order” under the recently adopted Electronic Crimes Law, as well as “causing strife” and “insulting the higher authorities” under the 1960 Jordanian Penal code which is still enforced in the West Bank.

    August 25, 2017

    By Nadine Marroushi

    Did you know that Israel has been banning Palestinians from organizing any protests for 50 years? This is what daily life under Israeli occupation is for Palestinians.

    27 August marks 50 years since Israel issued Military Order 101, a law that punishes Palestinians for peaceful political expression. Anyone breaching the order faces imprisonment for up to 10 years and/or a hefty fine. 50 years on, Military Order 101, which is almost as old as Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory, continues to apply to Palestinians in the West Bank, and may be enforced at any time.

    Here are four facts that bring home the true impact of this draconian law on the daily lives of Palestinians.

    August 07, 2017
      In response to the announcement by Israel’s communications minister, Ayoub Kara, that the Israeli government has decided to close Al Jazeera’ s office in Jerusalem and take the channel off air, Amnesty International’s Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director, Magdalena Mughrabi said:   “This is a brazen attack on media freedom in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The move sends a chilling message that the Israeli authorities will not tolerate critical coverage. “By acting to suppress Al Jazeera the Israeli government joins a host of other countries in the region, including Saudi Arabia, which have demanded the channel’s closure in the wake of the dispute between Gulf countries and Qatar.   “All journalists should be free to carry out their work without facing harassment or intimidation. Instead of initiating a repressive clampdown on freedom of expression the Israeli authorities must halt any attempt to silence critical media.”  
    July 28, 2017
      Israeli forces attacked peaceful crowds of Palestinians as they gathered at al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem this afternoon for the first time since Israel lifted recent security measures imposed at the site, according to Amnesty International staff at the scene.   “Israeli forces started firing stun grenades, tear gas and sponge-tipped bullets into a peaceful crowd as they stood at the entrance of the al-Aqsa mosque compound and inside. It appeared to be an entirely unprovoked attack. Some Palestinians threw empty water bottles in return. Others, began to throw stones as well,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.   “Using unnecessary and excessive force to disperse a peaceful gathering is a flagrant violation of Israel’s obligation to uphold the rights of Palestinians to peaceful assembly. The Israeli authorities must urgently rein in their security forces to prevent the situation from spiralling out of control and to avoid further bloodshed.”   
    July 25, 2017
      Israeli soldiers and police stormed a Palestinian hospital twice over the past week terrifying staff and patients and in some cases preventing doctors from providing emergency medical care to critically injured patients, said Amnesty International today.   The raids on al-Makassed hospital in East Jerusalem took place as tensions escalated in Jerusalem and across the West Bank in recent days following an Israeli government decision to place metal detectors and search worshipers at the entrance of Al-Aqsa mosque after two Israeli policemen were killed at the site on 14 July. At least four Palestinian civilians have been killed and more than 1,090 injured by Israeli police and military forces over the past 10 days in the widespread Palestinian protests against the decision and ensuing clashes.  
    July 13, 2017
      By Rachel Borrell, Amnesty International’s research and campaigns assistant for Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories  
    July 05, 2017
      During his official visit to Israel, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi must ask Israel to immediately lift the illegal 10 year blockade of Gaza and raise the issue of 50 years of illegal Israeli settlements built on stolen Palestinian land, Amnesty International India said today. 

    This is the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister since establishment of diplomatic relations 25 years ago.

    “Prime Minister Modi must tell his Israeli counterparts that the illegal settlements are a violation of international humanitarian law and cause of mass violations of human rights. He must also press them to lift the 10 year blockade of Gaza that has unlawfully deprived Palestinians in Gaza of their most basic rights and necessities,” said Aakar Patel, Executive Director at Amnesty International India.           

    “Merely condemning Israel’s settlement expansion cannot suffice. India should ban products from these illegal settlements as helping them flourish economically blatantly undermines its own international obligations.”

    June 14, 2017

    The Israeli authorities’ latest decision to slash the electricity supply to the Gaza Strip could have catastrophic humanitarian consequences for residents who have already endured a decade of suffering under Israel’s brutal blockade, Amnesty International has warned.

    The latest round of power cuts announced by Israel on 11 June restricting the electricity supply to between two and three hours a day, will have a disastrous impact on Gaza’s battered infrastructure and cause a public health disaster. The move will also endanger thousands of lives including those of hospital patients with chronic conditions or in intensive care, including babies on life support.

    “For 10 years the siege has unlawfully deprived Palestinians in Gaza of their most basic rights and necessities. Under the burden of the illegal blockade and three armed conflicts, the economy has sharply declined and humanitarian conditions have deteriorated severely. The latest power cuts risk turning an already dire situation into a full-blown humanitarian catastrophe,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    June 07, 2017

    The international community must ban the import of all goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements and put an end to the multimillion dollar profits that have fuelled mass human rights violations against Palestinians, said Amnesty International today.

    To mark the 50th anniversary of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, the organization is launching a new campaign calling on states across the world to prohibit settlement goods from their markets and to prevent their companies from operating in settlements or trading in settlement goods.

    “For decades, the world has stood by as Israel has destroyed Palestinians’ homes and plundered their land and natural resources for profit. While the Palestinian economy has been stunted by 50 years of abusive policies, a thriving multimillion dollar settlement enterprise has been built out of the systematic oppression of the Palestinian population,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

    May 24, 2017

    The Israeli authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Ahmed Qatamesh, a 67-year-old Palestinian academic, writer and political analyst who has been arbitrarily detained under a three month administrative detention order, said Amnesty International.

    Ahmed Qatamesh was seized during a pre-dawn raid on his home on 14 May 2017. Three days later a military commander signed an administrative order to detain him for three months despite the fact that he has not been charged with a criminal offence. An Israeli military court is due to confirm the detention soon. Under Israel’s administrative detention policies, Palestinians are routinely detained indefinitely on security grounds, without charge or trial, using renewable detention orders of up to six months.

    May 24, 2017

    Responding to reports that Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip will tomorrow execute three men accused of killing senior Hamas commander Mazen Faqha on 24 March, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Magdalena Mughrabi said:

    “The three men scheduled to be hanged or shot in Gaza tomorrow were tried in a court that utterly disregarded international fair trial standards. If carried out, these cruel executions will constitute an appalling breach of international human rights law.

    “It is not too late to save these men’s lives. We are urging the Hamas authorities to immediately halt these executions and ensure that the men are given a fair retrial. The death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment which should never be used in any circumstances.”

    Background

    Mazen Faqha, a commander in Hamas' military wing, was shot in the head and chest at the entrance of his Gaza City home on 24 March.

    April 13, 2017

    Israel’s decades-long policy of detaining Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and Gaza in prisons inside Israel and depriving them of regular family visits is not only cruel but also a blatant violation of international law, said Amnesty International, ahead of a mass prisoner’s hunger strike beginning next week to mark Palestinian Prisoner’s Day on 17 April.

    Testimonies gathered by the organization from family members and Palestinian prisoners detained in the Israeli prison system shed light on the suffering endured by families who in some cases have been deprived from seeing their detained relatives for many years.

    “Israel’s ruthless policy of holding Palestinian prisoners arrested in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in prisons inside Israel is a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. It is unlawful and cruel and the consequences for the imprisoned person and their loved ones, who are often deprived from seeing them for months, and at times for years on end, can be devastating,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    March 13, 2017

    Photographic evidence and witness testimony gathered by Amnesty International at the scene suggest that Palestinian security forces used excessive force to violently suppress a peaceful protest outside of the Ramallah District Court in the West Bank on 12 March 2017.

    Ten minutes after the protest against the prosecution of six Palestinian men, including slain activist Basil al-Araj, began outside the courthouse in al-Bireh area, Amnesty International researchers witnessed heavily armed security forces arriving, carrying batons and shields. They immediately began to charge towards the protesters, violently striking them with the wooden batons, using pepper spray and firing tear gas into the crowd. At least 21 people (13 men and eight women) were injured, including four journalists covering the event. Seventeen were hospitalized.

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