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Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

    December 03, 2013

    Israeli lawmakers must reject proposed amendments to the country’s Prevention of Infiltration Law, which would allow thousands of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants to be held indefinitely in a remote desert detention centre, Amnesty International urged ahead of a 4 December vote in the Internal Affairs Committee of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament.

    The Committee has announced that it will bring the bill before the full Knesset for its final readings in the coming days.

    According to government reports, the amendments will provide for detaining some 3,300 people indefinitely in a fenced-in facility operated by the Israel Prison Service in the Negev desert, which the government is calling an “open centre”. The draft legislation states that the way for them to be released from the “open” centre is by being deported to their countries of origin – mainly Eritrea and Sudan.

    November 30, 2013

    Posted on Sunday December 1, 2013 00:01 GMT

    Israel must immediately lift its blockade on the Gaza Strip, including by allowing the delivery of fuel and other essential supplies into the territory without restrictions, said Amnesty International today.

    For the last month, all of Gaza’s 1.7 million residents have been living without power for most of the time and in the shadow of a public health catastrophe, after their sole power plant was forced to shut down, causing the failure of several sewerage and water plants.

    “This latest harsh setback has exacerbated the assault on the dignity of Palestinians in Gaza and the massive denial of rights they have experienced for more than six years because of Israel’s blockade, together with restrictions imposed by Egypt,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    October 29, 2013

    The Israeli authorities must thoroughly engage with and implement the recommendations made during an examination of its human rights performance today, said Amnesty International.

    This afternoon, Israel will undergo its Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the United Nations Human Rights Council’s review process. It had previously refused to participate in a session scheduled for 29 January 2013 and threatened to boycott the October session.

    “The fact that Israel’s human rights performance is finally going to be reviewed today is positive news. However, it is not enough for Israel to simply attend the session; it must engage with the process and accept and implement accepted recommendations to improve the situation of human rights on the ground,” said Peter Splinter, the organization’s representative to the United Nations in Geneva.

    October 24, 2013

    The Israeli authorities must drop all charges against a Palestinian human rights lawyer released on bail last night, Amnesty International said.

    A military judge at Ofer Military Court ordered the release of Anas Bargouthi on bail because confessions from other detainees submitted as evidence failed to prove he is a security threat – particularly since the accusations against him relate to alleged activities from over a year ago.

    “The release of Anas Bargouthi is positive news but he should have never been detained and charged in the first place,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.

    October 02, 2013

    The Hamas de facto administration in the Gaza Strip must urgently halt the execution today of man who was under 18 at the time of one of his alleged crimes, said Amnesty International.

    “The authorities in Gaza must urgently stop the execution scheduled for today. It is deeply disappointing that the Hamas de facto administration is returning to using the gallows after a brief reprieve in the summer,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Director of Amnesty International.

    The organization has received credible information that Hani Muhammad Abu Alian, who was sentenced to death in 2012, is likely to be executed this afternoon.  There are serious concerns regarding his trial, including allegations he was tortured or otherwise ill-treated during his interrogation to extract a confession.

    "It is shocking that Hani Abu Alian is facing execution, particularly as it was a crime committed when he was a under 18, and imposed by a court which according to his lawyer relied upon a forced confession,” said Philip Luther.

    August 27, 2013

    Evidence strongly suggests that three men who were shot dead with live ammunition during an arrest raid on a Palestinian refugee camp in the occupied West Bank on Monday were unlawfully killed by Israeli forces, Amnesty International said today. 

    Another 19 people, including six children, were injured by live ammunition fired during the raid on Qalandia refugee camp, the highest number of casualties in a single Israeli operation in the West Bank this year. Five of those wounded, including three children, had injuries to the upper body.

    “The intentional lethal use of firearms – such as firing live ammunition at individuals’ upper bodies – is only permissible if strictly unavoidable to protect life,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Program Director at Amnesty International.

    “The loss of life and high number of casualties in this incident raise serious questions as to whether heavily armoured Israeli troops acted according to international standards.”

    August 08, 2013

    The Hamas authorities in Gaza must halt several executions they say they plan to carry out after this week’s Muslim religious festival of Eid al-Fitr, Amnesty International has urged.

    Hamas’ Attorney General said last week that several convicted “criminals” are set to be executed in public as a “lesson” to others.

    “This and other recent announcements by Hamas authorities that they will carry out further executions are deeply disturbing,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

    “We acknowledge the right and responsibility of governments to bring to justice those suspected of criminal offences, but the death penalty is cruel and inhuman, and there is no evidence that it deters crime more effectively than other punishments.”

    One of those at risk is a 27-year-old man known as “H.M.A.” who, while detained in relation to another case, was apparently tortured to “confess” to the rape and murder of a six-year-old boy allegedly committed when H.M.A. was under18.

    July 31, 2013

    The Israeli authorities must not use excessive force on demonstrators planning to protest against a plan to forcibly evict tens of thousands of Arab Bedouins from their homes in southern Israel, said Amnesty International.

    Citizens across Israel are organizing demonstrations for a “Day of Rage” on Thursday 1 August, to oppose the Prawer-Begin plan. The plan enables the forced eviction of more than 30,000 residents in the Negev desert. Peaceful protests against the proposal on 15 July were met with excessive force by Israeli riot police and border police forces. Amnesty International is calling on the government of Israel to scrap the proposal.

    “The Prawer-Begin plan is a blatant example of Israel’s discriminatory policies towards its Palestinian minority. It must be dropped immediately,” said Philip Luther, Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.

    July 18, 2013

    Israel must immediately halt all demolitions of Arab Bedouin homes in communities in the Negev/Naqab desert which the government has refused to officially recognize, Amnesty International said, following news that the village of al-'Araqib was once again razed by land authorities.

    “The Israeli authorities must halt demolitions in these communities and change course completely to guarantee all citizens’ right to adequate housing,” said Philip Luther, Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.

    “The Israeli government’s Prawer-Begin plan would lead to the forced eviction of tens of thousands of Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel. The plan is inherently discriminatory, flies in the face of Israel’s international obligations and cannot be accepted in any circumstances.”

    Bulldozers from the Israel Land Administration, accompanied by a large and heavily-armed police force in more than 60 vehicles, arrived in al-‘Araqib early on Tuesday morning and began to destroy 15 shacks, effectively flattening the village and displacing 22 families.

    July 04, 2013

    Amnesty International has accused the Israeli authorities of bullying and judicial harassment of Nariman Tamimi, a Palestinian rights activist who was placed under partial house arrest today to prevent her taking part in peaceful protests while she awaits trial next week. 

    “This is an unrelenting campaign of harassment, the latest in a litany of human rights violations against Nariman Tamimi, her family, and her fellow villagers. These arbitrary restrictions should be lifted immediately and the charges should be dropped,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program Director. 

    Tamimi was arrested along with another activist Rana Hamadi on Friday 28 June, when villagers of Nabi Saleh walk towards a nearby spring in protest against the loss of their land.  In 2009 Israeli settlers occupied the Al-Qaws spring near Nabi Saleh village where Tamimi lives. The illegal settlement now enjoys the protection of the military.

    May 02, 2013

    The Israeli authorities must immediately remove a new outpost set up yesterday by Israeli settlers in the Nablus district of the occupied West Bank, Amnesty International said today.

    The new outpost was set up following the killing of Evyatar Borovsky, a resident of the illegal Israeli settlement of Yitzhar, on Tuesday.

    Borovsky, a civilian who was carrying a gun at the time of the attack, was stabbed and killed by a Palestinian man who was wounded and later arrested by Israeli forces.

    Following the killing, settlers unleashed a wave of violence against Palestinian civilians and their property in the northern West Bank, stoning vehicles and burning hundreds of trees.

    “We deplore all deliberate attacks on civilians, including settlers. But this killing must not be used as an excuse for further violations of the human rights of Palestinians,” said Ann Harrison, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.

    “The authorities in Israel must urgently remove the new settler outpost and prosecute all those responsible for the violence in the West Bank.”

    April 20, 2013

    Israel’s new government must drop a proposed law that would lead to mass forced evictions of Bedouin people and instead pursue legislation to protect Bedouin housing rights, Amnesty International said, as the Ministerial Committee on Legislation is due to consider the proposal on Sunday.

    The draft “Law for Regularizing Bedouin Habitation in the Negev - 2012”, approved by the previous government, threatens at least 30,000 Bedouin in the country’s southern Negev/Naqab desert with forced eviction from their communities, which have never been officially recognized by the Israeli government.

    “Forcibly evicting tens of thousands of Bedouin from communities where they have lived for generations cannot be justified in the name of economic development or any other reason – Israel’s new leaders must have the courage to venture where previous governments have ignored human rights standards,” said Ann Harrison, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

    April 17, 2013

    The decision by Israel's military not to launch criminal investigations into some 65 cases of  "alleged misconduct" by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) during Operation "Pillar of Defense", last year's eight-day armed conflict in the Gaza Strip, is another step which strengthens impunity, said Amnesty International, as some of the cases closed could amount to serious violations of international humanitarian law and potentially war crimes.

    In its update of 11 April, Israel's Military Advocate General Corps said it had decided to close inquiries into about 65 of the incidents it had examined from the conflict, which lasted from 14 to 21 November. At least 15 further incidents are still being examined. The update did not give details on most of the cases closed, making it impossible to fully assess the implications of these decisions.

    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.

    April 04, 2013

    Israel’s military response to protests in the West Bank is failing to respect the human rights of Palestinians, Amnesty International said today as the number of Palestinian civilians killed by Israeli fire in the area since the beginning of 2013 reached eight.

    Ongoing Palestinian protests against the Israeli occupation have further escalated this week following renewed anger over detention conditions of Palestinian political detainees and prisoners, including the death in custody of Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh, a Palestinian prisoner with cancer held by Israel since 2002.

    The protests look set to continue following the deaths of two Palestinian teenagers who were killed by Israeli forces at a military post near the settlement of Enav in the northern West Bank on Wednesday.

    “For years we and other human rights organizations have documented how the Israeli army has used excessive force against protesters in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, often resulting in unlawful killings and injuries,” said Ann Harrison, Amnesty |nternational’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

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