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Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

    July 07, 2016

    “I cannot understand how a crime that took place in view of cameras, where the whole world saw how boys playing on the beach were massacred mercilessly, can pass like that without any criminals held to account.” Sobhi Bakr, relative of four boys killed in an Israeli air strike on 16 July 2014.

    Tomorrow, 8 July 2016, marks the second anniversary of the start of a 50-day Israeli military offensive which brought unprecedented death and destruction to the Gaza Strip.

    In a new briefing issued today, Amnesty International asks why no genuine criminal investigations have been launched, and why no one has yet been held to account for atrocities in spite of war crimes being committed by both sides.

    “During 50 days of attacks, Israeli forces wreaked massive death and destruction on the Gaza Strip, killing close to 1,500 civilians, more than 500 of whom were children,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme Director.

    June 13, 2016

    The Israeli military today renewed for six months the detention of Palestinian circus performer Mohammad Faisal Abu Sakha, who has been held without charge since his arrest in December 2015, in a case that exemplifies the authorities’ arbitrary and repressive use of administrative detention, said Amnesty International.

    Mohammad Abu Sakha performs as a clown and teaches at the Palestinian Circus School in Birzeit, near Ramallah, where he specializes in working with children with learning difficulties.

    “The arbitrary detention of Mohammad Abu Sakha is yet another shameful example of the Israeli authorities’ abusive use of administrative detention. He has already spent more than six months behind bars without being charged or allowed to stand trial - he has been denied even the slightest semblance of justice,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

    “The Israeli authorities must either charge Mohammad Abu Sakha with a genuine criminal offence or order his release. For decades, Israel has relied upon administrative detention, in many cases as an alternative to bringing

    June 09, 2016

    The deadly attack on civilians at a Tel Aviv shopping and restaurant complex last night displayed a stark contempt for human life, Amnesty International said.

    Two Palestinian gunmen opened fire at the Sarona market in Tel Aviv on Wednesday evening, killing four civilians and injuring others. Several of those wounded were still hospitalized on Thursday morning. Israeli forces apprehended the attackers, wounding one of them.

    “This heinous attack flouted fundamental principles of humanity,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

    “There can be never be any justification for deliberately attacking civilians.”

    No group has claimed responsibility for the killings, but the Hamas movement welcomed the attack and warned of more “surprises” for Israel.

    “Celebration and coded threats are a reprehensible response to the deaths of civilians,” said Philip Luther.

    May 10, 2016

    The Israeli authorities should drop the charges handed down two days ago to nuclear whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu, as well as lifting all of the restrictions still imposed on him, Amnesty International said today. This latest development is illustrative of the pattern of persecution he has faced since he was released from prison 12 years ago after serving an 18-year sentence for disclosing information on Israel’s secret nuclear capacity in 1986.

    On 8 May 2016, the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court charged Mordechai Vanunu with breaching the ongoing severe and arbitrary restrictions against his rights to freedoms of movement and expression. The charges apparently relate to a meeting he had with two US nationals three years ago; an interview he gave to Israeli broadcaster Channel 2 in September 2015, for which he was already punished that same month; and moving his residence within the same building without informing the police.

    May 06, 2016

    By Alex Neve and Beatrice Vaugrante

    On February 22 of this year, the House of Commons passed a motion condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement initiated in 2005 by Palestinian civil society. The BDS movement is a non-violent, global campaign which encourages organizations, activists and citizens to apply economic pressure on Israel “until Palestinian rights are recognised in full compliance with international law.”

    Amnesty International does not take a position vis-a-vis the BDS movement.  We do, however, unequivocally support the right of individuals to engage in the debate associated with the movement and associated campaign, including the right to advance the objectives of the BDS movement and promote the view that boycotts, divestment and sanctions should be applied.

    March 24, 2016

    An Israeli soldier has been filmed shooting dead a Palestinian man in Hebron as he lay wounded on the ground following his alleged role in a knife attack earlier today.  The man, Abed al-Fatah al-Sharif, was one of two Palestinians believed to have been involved in the stabbing of an Israeli soldier.  Footage of the shooting was released by the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem.

    “The shooting of a wounded and incapacitated person, even if they have been involved in an attack, has absolutely no justification and must be prosecuted as a potential war crime,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.

    “Israeli forces have a long history of carrying out unlawful killings – including extrajudicial executions – in the Occupied Palestinian Territories with impunity. Amnesty International has documented a number of similar cases during the upsurge in violence that began in October.

    November 20, 2015

    There can be no justification for a spate of deliberate deadly attacks by Palestinians on civilians over the past week in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories which displayed a clear contempt for human life, said Amnesty International.

    In the latest attacks on Thursday, Palestinians from the occupied West Bank killed five civilians: three Israelis, a US national and a Palestinian, in two separate incidents.

    “As tensions continue to skyrocket we have seen a string of reprehensible attacks by Palestinians on Israeli civilians over the past week in which the assailants appear to have sought to kill individuals they presumed to be Israeli Jews,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

    November 12, 2015

    The killing of a 28-year-old Palestinian man by Israeli forces during a raid on al-Ahli hospital in Hebron in the early hours of Thursday morning may amount to an extrajudicial execution, Amnesty International said today.

    Eyewitnesses report that a large group of Israeli soldiers and police entered the hospital at 2.43am disguised as Palestinian civilians, with some wearing keffiyehs and fake beards and another being pushed in a wheelchair dressed as a pregnant woman. According to two witnesses Amnesty International spoke to, they entered a room on the third floor of the hospital where 20-year-old Azzam Azmi Shalaldah was a patient, to arrest him on suspicion of stabbing an Israeli civilian on 25 October.

    When they entered the room where the patient was in bed, they immediately shot his cousin, Abdullah Azzam Shalaldah, at least three times, including in the head and upper body.

    October 30, 2015

    The Israeli military must immediately take steps to protect Palestinian civilians from attacks by Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank and ensure effective investigation of all attacks, including the killing of a Palestinian teenager in Hebron by an Israeli civilian on 17 October, Amnesty International said today.

    Since 1 October, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of attempted, alleged and actual stabbing attacks by individual Palestinians on Israeli civilians, soldiers, and police. Eight Israeli civilians have been killed in stabbing or shooting attacks by Palestinians. In the same period, Israeli forces have shot and killed more than 35 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Israel, including at least 14 in Hebron, either after stabbings were carried out or when the Israeli authorities alleged stabbing attacks were intended.

    October 27, 2015

    Israeli forces have carried out a series of unlawful killings of Palestinians using intentional lethal force without justification, said Amnesty International today, based on the findings of an ongoing research trip to the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

    The organization has documented in depth at least four incidents in which Palestinians were deliberately shot dead by Israeli forces when they posed no imminent threat to life, in what appear to have been extrajudicial executions. In some cases, the person shot was left bleeding to death on the ground and was not given prompt medical assistance, in violation of the prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment. Since 1 October, Israeli forces have killed more than 30 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Israel either after stabbings were carried out or the Israeli authorities allege stabbing attacks were intended.

    October 13, 2015

     An upsurge of violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and in Israel since 1 October has seen at least 27 Palestinians and seven Israelis killed in recent days. Palestinians have carried out a number of attacks on Israelis in Israel and the OPT, killing six civilians and one off-duty soldier and injuring others. Israeli forces have used excessive, sometimes lethal, force against Palestinian demonstrators, injuring hundreds with live ammunition and rubber-coated metal bullets, and have failed to protect Palestinian civilians from a wave of settler attacks.

    A delegation of Amnesty International researchers is on the ground in the West Bank and available for interviews about the ongoing violence.

    September 11, 2015

    Today’s court decision to keep Israeli nuclear whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu under house arrest for giving a media interview is vindictive and heavy-handed, Amnesty International said.

    The Jerusalem district court turned down his appeal against a week of house arrest imposed yesterday in connection with an interview he gave to Israeli broadcaster Channel 2 on 4 September. The sentence also prohibits him from using the internet or speaking to any journalists.

    “The restrictions on Mordechai Vanunu are punitive and vindictive,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    “The latest attacks on Vanunu’s freedom are just one more example of the Israeli authorities’ determination to continue to exact retribution and make an example of him for what he did in 1986 and for which he paid the high price of 18 years in prison.

    “Punishing him further now does nothing to protect Israel’s national security – any information he disclosed almost three decades ago is by now way past its sell-by date.”

    August 21, 2015

    Thirty-one aid, faith, human rights, and development organizations are calling on world leaders to take urgent action to halt ongoing demolitions and hold the government of Israel accountable for the wanton destruction of Palestinian property and of projects funded by international aid in the occupied West Bank.

    During a surge in demolitions this week, the Israeli army demolished at least 63 homes and basic structures across 10 Palestinian communities in Area C, the 60 percent of the West Bank where Israel has maintained full military and civil control. Among the demolished structures were 12 basic humanitarian necessities, including a solar panel, a portable latrine, animal pens, and tents financed by the European Union. 

    July 29, 2015
    Reconstruction of Israeli attacks in Rafah between 1 and 4 August 2014 Strong evidence of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity revealed requiring urgent investigation Israeli forces killed at least 135 Palestinian civilians, including 75 children, following the capture of an Israeli soldier Hundreds of videos, photos and satellite images analyzed by experts, cross-referenced with eyewitness testimony Advanced techniques used to analyze evidence, including studying shadows and smoke plumes in multiple videos to determine time and location of an attack
    July 08, 2015
    On 8 July 2014, Israel launched a military offensive against the Gaza Strip for the third time in less than six years. "WE COULDN’T HEAR THE KIDS, THEIR VOICES HAD COMPLETELY GONE. THAT’S WHEN I REALIZED THEY WERE ALL DEAD." - Khalil Abed Hassan Ammar, who lost three of his four children in an Israeli attack on their Gaza City home on 20 July 2014.

    Over 50 days, both Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups committed war crimes and other serious breaches of international law. To date, neither side has held anyone to account.

    During the war, Israeli forces fired tens of thousands of artillery and tank shells into densely populated residential areas, and launched air strikes on homes across the Gaza Strip, killing families inside in many cases. They struck schools sheltering civilians and attacked hospitals and medical workers, including ambulance staff trying to evacuate the dead and wounded.

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