Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
The Israeli authorities’ administrative detention of Muhammed al-Qiq, a Palestinian journalist is unjust and cruel, said Amnesty International after a military judge approved an order confirming his detention for three months, which can be renewed indefinitely.
Muhammed al-Qiq, who was placed in solitary confinement following his arrest, has been on hunger strike since 6 February in protest at his detention. According to his lawyer his health has deteriorated in recent weeks and he is in need of specialized medical care. Israel uses administrative detention to jail Palestinians indefinitely without charge or trial based on secret evidence.
“Today’s decision to approve the administrative detention of Muhammed al-Qiq is an affront to justice. Israel’s administrative detention which is predominately used to detain Palestinians without charge or trial is arbitrary and abusive. The Israeli authorities must end this practice, which itself can amount to cruel and inhuman treatment, once and for all,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
President Donald Trump must use his upcoming meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make clear that the US government opposes the construction of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, said Amnesty International in an open letter published today.
The Israeli authorities’ authorization of the construction of 3,000 further illegal settlement homes in the occupied West Bank today - the fourth such announcement within weeks - highlights their shocking willingness to flout international law, said Amnesty International.
In the weeks prior to this the Israeli authorities announced plans to build 3,219 more homes in the occupied West Bank including 719 homes in East Jerusalem. All the announcements have come since the inauguration of US President Donald J. Trump, a staunch ally of Israel’s current government.
“Since the start of 2017 the Israeli authorities have made clear that they plan to accelerate the construction of illegal settlement homes and seize further Palestinian territory in flagrant violation of international law,” said Magdalena Mughrabi Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
“The flurry of recent announcements signals that the Israeli government, emboldened by the Trump administration, feels no need to hide its brazen violations of the rights of the occupied Palestinian population.
The conviction of an Israeli soldier who shot dead a Palestinian man involved in a knife attack in Hebron as he lay wounded on the ground offers a small glimmer of hope amid the rampant impunity for unlawful killings in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, said Amnesty International today.
The soldier, Elor Azaria, was found guilty of the manslaughter of Abed al-Fatah al-Sharif, one of two Palestinians believed to have been involved in the stabbing of an Israeli soldier on 24 March 2016 in Hebron, after a military court ruled that his actions violated the Israeli army’s rules of engagement.
“Today’s conviction of a member of the Israeli forces is a rare occurrence in a country with a long record of using excessive and unwarranted force, and where soldiers who may have committed crimes under international law very seldom face prosecution. The verdict is a small step in the right direction and offers a glimmer of hope that soldiers who commit unlawful killings may no longer go unpunished,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
Following the United Nations Security Council’s adoption of a resolution calling on Israel to cease all settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), Sherine Tadros, Head of Amnesty International’s UN Office in New York, said:
“At the close of a shameful year for the Security Council, where divisions repeatedly blocked the adoption of key resolutions to protect the most vulnerable, today’s decision to finally pass a resolution condemning illegal Israeli settlements is a welcome step.
“This is the first time in almost four decades that such a resolution has been passed. During this time, settlements not only continued to be built, but at an accelerated pace.
“The resolution includes a crucial demand that the Israeli authorities immediately halt all settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Such activities constitute a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and, according to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, constitute a war crime.