Officials from the U.S. State Department, UN Secretary General’s office, and UNRWA have all made statements this week uncritically repeating NGO claims that Israeli police and security personnel have used “excessive force” in responding to stabbing and other terror attacks against civilians (See Appendix 1 for statements). Articles with similar content have appeared in the international media.
This theme is a central tactic of politicized NGOs (and the Palestinian Authority) that seek to criminalize Israeli self-defense, and it has appeared frequently in NGO statements since the terror campaign intensified on October 1. The NGO statements apply a unique, unrealistic and unreasonable standard to actions of Israeli security forces. They also erase efforts by emergency responders and doctors to save the lives of injured terrorists.
In addition, despite video evidence and severely injured victims, a number of NGOs question or reject the reality of these terror attacks.
More broadly, the “excessive force” accusations are part of an entrenched narrative that only sees Palestinians as victims and Israelis as aggressors. This is a political framing that stands in direct contrast to the human rights principles these groups claim to advance.
Some particularly problematic examples of such allegations include:
- A group of Israeli NGOs (most funded by the New Israel Fund), including B’Tselem, Adalah, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, and Yesh Din, described “a worrying trend to use firearms to kill Palestinians who have attacked Israelis or are suspected of such attacks” (emphasis added). They go on to say that public “support for such actions endorses the killing of Palestinians in the Territories and in Israel.”
- Amnesty International condemned “the widespread use of excessive force by Israeli forces against demonstrators across the occupied West Bank,” despite acknowledging that “Palestinian demonstrators have thrown rocks and firebombs towards Israeli forces in many demonstrations, and there are reports that Palestinians have shot at Israeli forces in isolated cases.”
- Human Rights Watch claims that it has “documented the unlawful use of force by Israeli security forces…over many years.” Director Kenneth Roth tweeted, “Horrible deadly cycle: ‘lone wolf’ Palestinian attacks, excessively lethal Israeli response.”
- Palestinian Center for Human Rights refers to terrorists who have carried out attacks against Israeli civilians as “victims” and alleges that “Israeli forces could have used less force against the victims or could have arrested and tied them if their allegations were true.”
- Al Haq also accuses Israeli personnel of “wanton and excessive use of force against Palestinians, with no accountability for the deaths they cause.”
Excerpts from NGO statements
Table of Contents
PHROC:Addameer, Aldameer, Al-Haq, Al Mezan, Badil, Defence for Children International-Palestine Section, Ensan Center for Human Rights and Democracy, Hurryat, Jerusalem Center for Legal Aid and Human Rights, Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies, Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling
Re: Urgent actions required in light of recent escalation of violence in the OPT (Letter: October 24, 2015)
As the situation continues to deteriorate in the OPT, Israel has not demonstrated any intention to shoulder its responsibilities under international law towards the occupied Palestinian population. To the contrary, Israel is using security as a pretext to further infringement of the rights of the occupied population, making the need for an intervention by the UN Security Council all the more acute. The past couple of weeks have seen an alarming escalation of violence, in both frequency and severity, against Palestinians in the OPT. Since 1 October 2015, the Israeli occupying forces have killed 46 Palestinians. There has also been an increase in settler violence with more than 48 cases since the beginning of October. Many of the killings may amount to the grave breach and war crime of wilful killing with Israeli forces unnecessarily resorting to lethal force. Simultaneously, Israel has stepped up its practices of collective punishment, including punitive house demolitions, restrictions on movement, and revocation of residency permits for East Jerusalem residents.
On 20 October 2015, PHROC held an urgent meeting with representatives from the European Union (EU) and foreign missions to the Palestinian Authority.
During the meeting, PHROC called on international intervention given Israel’s recent grave escalations in violence including settler attacks, extrajudicial killings, excessive and lethal use of force which may amount to war crimes, as well as punitive house demolitions as a form of collective punishment and means to forcibly evict residents – all practiced in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).
PHROC Open letter to Foreign Ministers on Need for International Intervention in Palestine (Letter: October 20, 2015)
The past couple of weeks have seen a significant escalation of violence, in both frequency and severity, against Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). Since October 2015, the Israeli occupying forces have killed Palestinians 41.There has also been an increase in settler violence with approximately 48 cases since the beginning of October. Many of the killings may amount to the grave breach and war crime of wilful killing with Israeli forces unnecessarily resorting to lethal force. Simultaneously, Israel has stepped up its practices of collective punishment, including punitive house demolitions and revocation of residency permits for East Jerusalem residents.
Increased violence should not overshadow the legitimate mobilisation of Palestinians for their fundamental rights (Press Release: October 14, 2015)
Since 24 September 2015, the Israeli government has authorized soldiers to shoot when they feel a threat: this decision will unquestionably increase the already-alarming number of incidents of cold-blooded murder of civilians committed by Israeli soldiers and the disproportionate use of force by the Israeli army.
In view of the continued violation of international law, FIDH and its member organisations Al Haq, PCHR and PCATI feel that it is necessary for the international community to explicitly and tangibly state its commitment to respecting the rights of the Palestinian population. If it doesn’t and recent events have proven so, the Israeli government will continue to violate Palestinians’ right to life and freedom of speech and assembly.
Association of Civil Rights in Israel, Amnesty International, B’Tselem, Gisha, Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, Hamoked- Center for the Deference of the Individual, Yesh Din- Volunteer for Human Rights, Adalah- The Legal Center for the Rights of the Arab Minority in Israel, Physician for Human Rights- Israel
Since the beginning of the current wave of violence, there has been a worrying trend to use firearms to kill Palestinians who have attacked Israelis or are suspected of such attacks. Several incidents have been documented and reported, raising concern that the chosen response to such persons is the harshest possible, with lethal or – at the very least – unnecessary consequences. In instances when Jews have been suspected of attacks, none of the suspects has been shot.
Politicians and senior police officers have not only failed to act to calm the public climate of incitement, but on the contrary have openly called for the extrajudicial killing of suspects. They have also urged civilians to carry weapons. For example, Jerusalem District Police Commander Moshe Edri was quoted as saying: “Anyone who stabs Jews or hurts innocent people is due to be killed.” Interior Security Minister Gilad Arden declared that “every terrorist should know that he will not survive the attack he is about to commit.” MK Yair Lapid stated that “you have to shoot to kill anyone who pulls out a knife or screwdriver.” Much of the media joined in and encouraged a similar approach. The bodies responsible for supervising police operations – the State Attorney’s Office and the Department for the Investigation of Police – remained silent in the face of these comments.
No-one disputes the serious nature of the events of recent days, nor the need to protect the public against stabbing and other attacks. However, it seems that too often, instead of acting in a manner consistent with the nature of each incident, police officers and soldiers are quick to shoot to kill. The political and public support for such actions endorses the killing Palestinians in the Territories and in Israel.
[Donors include: the European Union, UN OCHA, Ireland, Denmark, and Norway, NGO Development Center (joint funding from the governments of Switzerland, Sweden, Netherlands, Denmark), Open Society Foundations (US), Christian Aid (UK), Grassroots International (US), Kvina Till Kvina (Sweden), Al-Quds Association Malaga (Spain), Oxfam Novib (Netherlands), and DanChurchAid (Denmark).]
In view of the continuing international policy of silence over grave crimes and violations committed by Israeli forces in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), on Thursday dawn, 12 November 2015, Israeli forces committed a cold-blooded crime at al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron, as a group of Israeli undercover agents “Mosta’rebeen”, who are well-known for carrying out dozens of extra-judicial executions following the al-Aqsa Intifada. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) stresses that the Israeli forces’ attack on the aforementioned hospital constitutes a flagrant violation of article 18 of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, which provides, “Civilian hospitals organized to give care to the wounded and sick, the infirm and maternity cases, may in no circumstances be the object of attack, but shall at all times be respected and protected by the Parties to the conflict”. Moreover, PCHR highlights that not holding the perpetrators accountable by the international community has made Israel above the law.
License to Kill: Israeli Forces Kill 5 Palestinians, Including 2 Children, in Less than 12 Hours (News: October 21, 2015)
With the continuing international policy of silence over grave crimes and violations committed by Israeli forces in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), Israeli forces have continued to flagrantly commit more crimes and violations against the Palestinian civilians. In less than 12 hours, Israeli forces killed four Palestinian civilians, including two children, from Hebron and a fifth in the Gaza Strip. This escalation coincides with the Israeli arbitrary and coercive measures in occupied East Jerusalem and its suburbs to isolate the Arab neighborhoods in application of a series of the Israeli Cabinet’s decisions. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns with the strongest terms the Israeli forces’ disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians, shooting-to-kill policy in suspicion of attempts to stab Israeli soldiers and settlers, and the arbitrary policies applied in occupied Jerusalem.
Israeli Forces Continue to Shed Palestinian Blood in oPt (Update: October 17. 2015)
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns in the strongest terms how the Israeli forces and police have continued to shed the Palestinian blood in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), especially in occupied East Jerusalem. In the past 3 days, eight Palestinian civilians, including a child, were killed; five of whom were killed in cold blood after they attempted to carry out stabbings according to Israeli allegations. The three others were killed in other shooting incidents during peaceful confrontations; two of whom were killed in the Gaza Strip. Moreover, another Palestinian civilian succumbed to injuries he sustained last week in the Gaza Strip. In the past 3 days also, 220 Palestinian civilians were wounded, including 12 children, 2 journalists and 2 paramedics. PCHR thus condemns these crimes and calls upon the international community to take immediate action and fulfill its legal and moral obligations to protect the Palestinian civilians in the oPt. PCHR believes that the silence of the international community towards these crimes encourages the Israeli government to continue its policy that violates the international humanitarian law.
Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (08-13 Oct. 2015) (Update: October 14, 2015)
Israeli forces have escalated the use of excessive lethal force against peaceful protests in occupied Palestinian territory.
The reporting period witnessed bloody escalation and blatant disregard by Israeli forces for the lives of Palestinian civilians. Moreover, Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against Palestinians participating in peaceful protests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Occupied East Jerusalem witnessed shooting incidents against all those suspected of attempting to stab Israeli soldiers and settlers.
Field investigations indicate that Israeli forces used excessive lethal force in the Gaza Strip in violation of the principles of proportionality and military necessity. Many of the Palestinian victims were shot in the upper parts of their bodies, reflecting an Israeli intention to cause maximum casualties among Palestinian civilians, who did not pose any serious threat to the lives of Israeli soldiers stationed in fortified military sites far away from the demonstrators.
Videos and Photos Showing Israeli Violations Against Palestinian Civilians (Update: October 14, 2015)
In some cases, Israeli forces claim that shootings or other practices were carried out in response to the Palestinians’ attempts to stab Israelis. However, the videos and photos showing the employment of excessive force reflect shooting-to-kill policy in violation of the international standards.
Child Killed and His Cousin Seriously Wounded Amidst Settlers’ Cry “Die” and “David Red Star” Ambulance Deliberate Delay (Press Release: October 13, 2015)
Moreover, PCHR stresses that in the above-mentioned cases, Israeli forces could have used less force against the victims or could have arrested and tied them if their allegations were true. PCHR reiterates its call upon the international community to take immediate and effective actions to put an end to such crimes…
Israeli Forces Continue to Kill Palestinians on grounds of Alleged Stabbing Attempts (Press Release: October 12, 2015)
Committing such crimes as a policy adopted by Israeli forces is a translation of the decisions taken by the Israeli government and statements made by its members inciting for killing Palestinian civilians, who carry out and/or attempt to carry out stabbings against Israeli forces, police and settlers.
PCHR strongly condemns the use of excessive force by Israeli forces against the Palestinian civilians in disregard for their lives. PCHR stresses that in the above-mentioned cases, Israeli forces could have used less force against the victims or could have arrested them.
In less Than 12 Hours, Israeli Forces Kill 4 Palestinian Civilians, Including Pregnant WOman, Her Child and another Child, and Wound 24 Others, Including 3 Children and Woman, in the Gaza Strip (Press Release: October 11, 2015)
Using excessive lethal force in the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces killed in less than 12 hours 4 Palestinian civilian… Moreover, they wounded 24 civilians, including three children and a woman. Thus, the number of Palestinians killed in the Gaza Strip since Friday afternoon has increased to 11, including two children. In addition, the number of the wounded has reached 91, including 20 children and a woman.
10 Palestinian Civilians Killed and 187 Civilians Wounded, Including 27 Children, Physician and Turkish Journalist, by Israeli Forces in the oPt; Seven of the Victims Were Killed in the Gaza Strip in Few Hours (Press Release: October 10, 2015)
Using excessive force, on Friday, 9 October 2015, Israeli forces killed seven Palestinian civilians, and wounded 67 civilians, including 17 children and a Turkish photojournalist, in five locations near the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel.
Field investigations indicate that Israeli forces used excessive lethal force in the Gaza Strip in violation of the principles of proportionality and military necessity. Many of the Palestinian victims were shot in the upper parts of their bodies, reflecting an Israeli intention to cause maximum casualties among Palestinian civilians, who did not pose any serious threat to the lives of Israeli soldiers stationed in fortified military sites far away from the demonstrators.
Israeli Forces Continue to Escalate Their Arbitrary Measures in the West Bank (Statement: October 5, 2015)
For the fifth consecutive day, Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against peaceful protests organized by Palestinian civilians in protest at the escalation policy practiced by Israeli forces in the West Bank, especially in East Jerusalem.
In another crime of excessive use of force, on Sunday afternoon, 04 October 2015, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian and wounded two others, when Israeli soldiers opened fire at dozens of Palestinian civilians who organized a protest in the vicinity of “Gishory” factories, west of Tulkram…
PCHR strongly condemns the willful killing of Aloon in East Jerusalem, which further proves the use of excessive force by Israeli forces against the Palestinian civilians in disregard for the civilians’ lives. Moreover, PCHR condemns collective punishment measures taken by the Israeli forces in the oPt and the attacks launched by Israeli settlers before the eyes of Israeli forces.
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.
Amnesty International found evidence that at least some of the killings of Palestinians by Israeli forces in Hebron were extrajudicial executions, and four more Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in Hebron since Tuesday morning. But Palestinian residents of Hebron have told Amnesty International that they feel just as threatened by the Israeli civilians, many of them armed, living in illegal settlements in and around the city.
Israeli forces in Occupied Palestinian Territories must end patterns of unlawful killings (News: 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.
“A clear pattern has emerged of lethal force being used unlawfully by Israeli forces following a wave of recent stabbing attacks by Palestinians against Israeli civilians and military or police forces in Israel and the occupied West Bank,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.
“There is mounting evidence that, as tensions have risen dramatically, in some cases Israeli forces appear to have ripped up the rulebook and resorted to extreme and unlawful measures. They seem increasingly prone to using lethal force against anyone they perceive as posing a threat, without ensuring that the threat is real.
Violence spirals in Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories (October 13, 2015)
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.
“Israeli forces have used excessive force on a large scale and intensified restriction on movement and have vowed to increase illegal punishments such as home demolitions. Security measures must respect international law. Collective punishment of the Palestinian population can never be justified.”
As a significant escalation in violence since 1 October 2015 in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and in Israel continues, Amnesty International condemns all deliberate attacks on civilians, including Israeli civilians in the OPT, and calls on all sides to end such attacks. Amnesty International also condemns the widespread use of excessive force by Israeli forces against Palestinian demonstrators across the occupied West Bank, and their failure to protect Palestinians from a wave of settler attacks.
No Justification for Deliberate Attacks on Civilians, Unlawful Killings by Israeli Forces, or Collective Punishment of Palestinians (Public Statement: October 9, 2015)
On the morning of 4 October, Fadi Alloun, 19, from Issawiyya in East Jerusalem, was shot and killed by the Israeli police near Jerusalem’s Old City, in what appears to have been an extrajudicial execution. Israeli police said that he tried to stab a 16-year-old Israeli boy who was lightly injured, and had a knife in his hand when he was shot.
Amnesty International also condemns the widespread use of excessive force by Israeli forces against Palestinian demonstrators across the occupied West Bank, and their failure to protect Palestinians from a wave of settler attacks. The organization urges the Israeli authorities to halt the use of excessive force and unlawful killings of Palestinians by Israeli forces…
Since 1 October, Israeli military and police forces have responded to dozens of spontaneous Palestinian protests throughout the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, by massively increasing their use of excessive force from what was already an unacceptable level. While Palestinian demonstrators have thrown rocks and firebombs towards Israeli forces in many demonstrations, and there are reports that Palestinians have shot at Israeli forces in isolated cases, Israeli military and police forces are heavily protected and must ensure that all use of force is strictly necessary and proportionate, and that firearms must only be used to protect against the imminent threat of death or serious injury.
Tweet by Kenneth Roth, director (October 13, 2015)
Human Rights Watch Investigator Shot (News Release: October 11, 2015)
“Indiscriminate or deliberate firing on observers and demonstrators who pose no imminent threat violates the international standards that bind Israeli security forces,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “It is particularly troubling when those seeking to monitor the security forces’ conduct are among the casualties.”
Human Rights Watch has documented the unlawful use of force by Israeli security forces in policing demonstrations in the West Bank over many years, and in particular firing live ammunition that hit protesters, journalists, and human rights activists who posed no imminent threat to the forces.
Israel/Palestine: Gunfire Kills Child at Protest (News Release: October 8, 2015)
“The death of a child after security forces used live ammunition against demonstrators should be a wake-up call for Israeli officials,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director. “Israel needs to ensure that its police and army comply with international standards for the use of force.”
“Especially in light of the rising number of civilian deaths and injuries in the West Bank, Israel should abide by international standards and immediately cancel the loosened rules of engagement for police,” Stork said.
[According to its website, “2014’s Partners” include: Bread for the World (Germany), Irish Aid (Ireland), Christian Aid (UK), Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Diakonia (Sweden), Federal Government of Belgium, Heinrich Boll Stiftung (Germany), ICCO (Netherlands), AECID (Spain), Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (joint government funding of Sweden Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands), UNDP, and Open Society Institute (US).]
Special Focus: Attacks against Health Facilities and Medical Staff by the IOF (News: November 9, 2015)
In October 2015, the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) documented 228 Israeli violations against medical staff, including 56 incidents where ambulances were delayed, 116 cases of assaults against medical staff, as well as 56 incidents where ambulances were attacked by the Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF). These incidents are documented as Israel continues to escalate its violence against Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), including against Palestinian medical staff and health facilities. These attacks include: raiding hospitals and arresting patients; holding up and detaining ambulances transferring patients; directly shooting rubber and live bullets at ambulances; physically beating ambulance medical staff; setting up checkpoints near hospitals and restricting access; and prohibiting ambulances from reaching patients. As a result, dozens of medical volunteers have been injured. Once again, such attacks illustrate Israel’s policy of disproportionate indiscriminate and excessive use of force against Palestinians, including paramedics and health facilities.
Special Focus: Holding the Bodies of Deceased Palestinians by Israel (November 9, 2015)
On Wednesday, 14 October 2015, Israel approved a proposal to hold the bodies of alleged Palestinians attackers killed during attacks, thereby denying families from burying their loved ones. Israel is currently holding the bodies of 24 Palestinians, including 6 children, who were killed by the Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) for allegedly carrying out attacks against Israelis.
Since 1 October 2015, Israel killed 70 Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel, of which 44 were killed in alleged attacks against Israelis. This is a direct result of Israel’s use of excessive and lethal force against Palestinians. This has revealed an Israeli trend of using lethal force to kill Palestinians from close proximity even in situations where other means are possible to control and subdue the alleged attacker.
Special Focus: Israeli Occupying Forces Assault Journalists in the OPT (Monitor: November 3, 2015)
As Israeli violations escalate against Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), journalists and media professionals have also been the subjects of Israeli attacks. Since the beginning of October 2015, Israel’s excessive use of force led to the killing of at least 64 Palestinians and the injury of over seven thousand across the OPT and the within the Green Line.
The Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) have deliberately targeted journalists and press personnel, in clear violation of their rights.
Unlawful Killing of Palestinians by Israeli Occupying Forces (October 31, 2015)
At the heart of the deadly escalation of violence is Israel’s recent relaxation of policing regulations whereby police may liberally open fire on stone throwers when they believe there is danger to any life as opposed to the narrower grounds of self-defense. Within these parameters, the IOF has used lethal force against Palestinians in violation of Palestinians’ right to life. This legal brief provides a legal analysis of the unlawful killing of Palestinians during a situation of occupation that does not rise to the level of armed hostilities.
Al-Haq Special Focus: Unlawful Killings of Palestinians by Israeli Occupying Forces since September 2015 (Field Update: October 19, 2015)
Since the beginning of October alone, Israel has killed 42 Palestinians, including 9 children. Israel has also injured thousands of Palestinians, including at least 1,850 by live ammunition across the OPT. This focus provides Al-Haq documentation on certain incidents that resulted in the unlawful deprivation of Palestinian life.
Israel’s unlawful killing of Palestinians is a continuing feature of Israel’s occupation. Al-Haq reminds Israel and the international community that “intentional lethal use of firearms may only be made when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life”.
In light of this, Israel must ensure prompt, impartial, independent, effective, transparent investigations into the killing of Palestinians and hold all perpetrators accountable. Additionally, the international community must take effective measures to ensure the protection of the occupied Palestinian population.
Al-Haq Field Information October 2015 (October 18, 2015)
As Palestinian frustration over Israel’s occupation has reached a boiling point, Israel has continued to dismiss its obligations as the Occupying Power and instead escalated state and state-supported violence against Palestinians. These acts include: excessive use of force against Palestinian civilians, including extrajudicial killings, punitive home demolitions, restrictions on movement, the further fragmentation of the West Bank, including severe restrictions on Palestinians in Jerusalem, and an escalation of settler violence, often facilitated by the Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF).
If you are Palestinian, expect to be killed by Israeli forces at any time, even if you are an Israeli citizen. Reasons for the killing are not important. It is enough to be Palestinian in order for soldiers or police to feel that your death is trivial, especially considering that individuals are rarely, if ever, held accountable. To justify the killing, members of the Israeli forces may simply claim that the attacker tried to stab someone. Claims are not disputed by their superiors or anyone in government, irrespective of evidence to the contrary provided by human rights organizations, including international ones.
Attacking someone with a knife can be dangerous. However, in most of the recent cases in which Palestinians were killed, lives were not under immediate threat, justifying the use of lethal force.
It has become clear that Israel is operating under a practice of shoot to kill Palestinians and ask no questions later. The murder of Palestinians is justified with the simple unfounded claim that he or she attacked using a knife. More broadly, when Palestinians are killed at protests, in their homes in Gaza, or on the street by Israeli forces (all of which we have seen in the past two weeks), there is rarely a transparent and impartial investigation as to whether the killing was legitimate.
Al-Haq Action Alert: Palestine on the brink (October 10, 2015)
Palestinians have been killed and injured throughout the OPT and in Israel at an alarming rate… This is a direct result of Israel’s wanton and excessive use of force against Palestinians, with no accountability for the deaths they cause.
Al-Haq has documented countless cases of excessive use of force where the IOF have showed complete disregard for Palestinians’ lives and safety.
[2012-15 donors include: European Union, Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (joint funding from Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands), DanChurch Aid (Denmark), Catholic Relief Services (US), Norway, Christian Aid Ireland, Diakonia (Sweden), Bread for the World- EED (Germany), ZIVIK (Germany), France, UK, UNICEF, UNDP, the Ford Foundation, the New Israel Fund, and others.]
High proportion of injuries from live fire at protests in Ramallah area in Oct. raises concern of disproportionate and unlawful gunfire (Investigation: November 2, 2015)
Since the current round of violence began in early October, B’Tselem has been following with concern the sharp rise in the number of Palestinian casualties hit by Israeli gunfire during demonstrations. B’Tselem’s investigation shows that, to date, five Palestinians have been killed by shots fired by Israeli security forces in the course of demonstrations and clashes in the West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem). Hundreds more have been injured. The proportion of individuals hit by live ammunition is particularly high. In addition, an unusually high proportion of those injured by rubber-coated metal bullets were hit in the upper body, placing their lives in jeopardy, despite open-fire orders restricting shooting to the lower extremities.
In 13 incidents over the past two weeks, Palestinians were shot to death for stabbing or attempting to stab Israelis , or when suspected of doing so. In two of these cases, video footage published by the media raises grave concern that the security forces shot to kill even when it was clear that the Palestinians no longer posed a threat and could be apprehended in other ways.
The wave of stabbing attacks against Israelis is shocking, and security forces must protect the public by apprehending Palestinians suspected of such actions. Security forces have the authority to use the minimal amount of force necessary to achieve that end, according to the circumstances, but law enforcement officers cannot act as both judges and executioners. In the two cases described above, there is cause for grave concern that the security forces shot the suspects not to stop them in their tracks, but to kill them. Given politicians’ support of such conduct and the public mood of condoning the killing of Palestinian suspects, such incidents are bound to recur.
In view of mounting violence, B’Tselem expresses its deep shock at contempt for human life and strongly condemns it; while individuals are responsible for their own particular actions, the government bears responsibility for the reality of the Occupation (Press Release: October 13, 2015)
Meanwhile, Israeli government officials and others in position of authority have been calling explicitly to “shoot to kill”, so the lives of Palestinians suspected of perpetrating attack are forfeit, even when they no longer pose a threat. To date, more than ten people have been shot to death when suspected of perpetrating attacks.
The excessive force Israel has been using to quell these demonstrations has left at least five Palestinian dead and hundreds injured.
[According to its 2014 annual report, “Core Programme Donors” include: Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (joint funding from Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands), Norway, Medico International (Germany), Save the Children International, and the Open Society Foundations. “Project Donors” include: EU, Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat, Diakonia (Sweden), Heinrich Boll Foundation(Germany), Norwegian Refugee Council, Sigrid Rausing Trust (UK), Oxfam- GB, Save the Children, Open Society Foundation, UNDP, and the UN Central Emergency Response Fund.]
Al Mezan Condemns Continued Escalation in Attacks and Calls on the International Community to Intervene (Press Release: November 1, 2015)
Israeli occupation forces continue to attack the civilian population of the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). The uses of force, including lethal force, against Palestinian protestors is excessive.
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights strongly condemns the escalation of attacks against civilians and the targeting of journalists and medical crews by Israeli occupation forces. Al Mezan warns of further deterioration of the situation and the perpetuation of Israeli violations in the oPt if the silence and failure of the international community to provide the due protection for civilians continues.
Al Mezan Reiterates Condemnation of Israeli Violations; Calls Internatinal Community to Intervene (Press Release: October 18, 2015)
The escalation of attacks by Israeli forces against the civilian population of the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) continues, with attacks being justified by alleged stabbing attacks. In several incidents, these false claims appear to be taken as a cover-up attacks and killings of Palestinian civilians. These claims make up a shield of immunity for Israeli forces and settlers who are engaging in violence towards the Palestinian communities in the West Bank, including Jerusalem.
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights strongly condemns the violations perpetrated by Israeli forces against civilians in the oPt. Al Mezan asserts that many of the practices carried out by Israel’s occupation forces represent serious and systematic violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law.
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights strongly condemns the Israeli violations against civilians in the oPt. Al Mezan asserts that many of the IOF practices represent serious and systematic violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law
The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) have used excessive and lethal force against Palestinian protestors, including children, who were near the border fence in the east of the Gaza Strip. Al Mezan Center for Human Rights condemns the excessive and lethal use of force against civilian protestors and calls for immediate international protection of Palestinian civilians in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).
Al Mezan asserts that the direct IOF shooting at unarmed protestors reflects instructions given by the Israeli government which has relaxed the regulations regarding the use of live fire at demonstrators and stone throwers.
Recent weeks have seen a wave of uncoordinated deliberate attacks, predominantly by young Palestinians against Israeli nationals. To date 8 Israelis have been killed.
Since 1 October, Israeli forces have killed 30 Palestinians, including 7 children while thousands of Palestinians have been injured as a result of the excessive use of force by Israeli security forces in Gaza, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and against Palestinian citizens of Israel.
Beyond the excessive use of force, the Israeli authorities have also adopted successive measures aimed at suppressing the legitimate right of Palestinians, including Palestinian citizens of Israel, to protest against the government’s policies and exercise their right to freedom of expression. This has included arbitrary arrests, preventive arrests of protest organisers, the arrest of parents of protestors, and intimidation.
EuroMed Rights condemns these and all unlawful attacks against civilians, which are unjustifiable under international law. Regrettably, what is missing in the EU’s response to the current escalations has been the application of such international standards to Palestinians civilians and a consideration fot he escalations’ root causes.
[Donors include: Broederlijk Delen (Belgium), Bread for the World-EED (Germany), Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (Switzerland), Oxfam-Novib (Netherlands), Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (joint funding from Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands), Christian Aid (UK), European Union, UNDP, and others.]
On 4 November 2015, Adalah and Palestinian prisoner group Addameer sent an urgent request to the Israeli Police Investigations Unit (Mahash) for a criminal investigation into a police officer implicated in the killing of Mu’taz Ewisat, a Palestinian minor (16 years old) from the Jabal al-Mukaber neighborhood of East Jerusalem. The two organizations further demanded that an autopsy of his body be conducted before it is returned to his parents, with the presence of a medical examiner commissioned by his family.
Adalah and Addameer argued in the request that the police had no justification for opening live fire on Mu’taz Ewisat, and that they had other courses of action available to them that could have secured his arrest. Had the police any intention of arresting and searching him, they could have done so, for example by warning him or firing into the air. His death leaves no room for doubt that the firing of live bullets to kill Palestinians has become standard operating procedure for the Israeli police.
When the police aren’t your protectors, there is no safety (+972 Magazine, October 19, 2015)
Palestinian citizens of Israel share the same fear of violence as Jews in recent weeks. But many of them don’t find security or comfort in Israel’s police forces, who seem to think that Palestinian citizens should accept that their rights and dignity must be compromised in order to make Jewish citizens feel safer.
The police’s routine breach of their own laws and protocols are most starkly reflected in the increasing trigger-proneness of police officers, after government officials ordered a loosening of the rules of engagement for using live fire. Palestinian citizens’ fears particularly heightened after the killing of 19-year-old Fadi Alloun in East Jerusalem, which took place after a right-wing Jewish mob urged police officers to shoot him, despite not posing an immediate threat after an alleged stabbing.
Adalah to AG: Investigate police violations of rules of engagement leading to killing and injury of Palestinians (Press Release: October 15, 2015)
On 13 October 2015, Adalah sent an urgent letter to the Attorney General, Yehuda Weinstein, demanding that he immediately order an investigation into the killing and injury of Palestinians in violation of the rules of engagement by the Israeli police. Adalah further demanded that the AG order the police forces to immediately cease the use of firearms in violation of the law. Adalah’s requests come in response to a highly publicized series of cases in which videos show how the police opened fire on Palestinians, pursuing “shoot-to-kill” actions in circumstances that appear not to have posed an imminent danger to them or to others.
Adalah further stressed regarding the recent statements of Israeli politicians and police officers concerning these events: “The above [request for an investigation] becomes even more important in light of the statements by politicians and police officials praising the actions by the police and calling on them to shoot and kill, in complete contravention of the rules of engagement set forth in detail above [in the letter].”
Family demands that Israeli Police Investigation Unit “Mahash” investigate police killing of Palestinian youth Fadi Alloun (Press Release: October 11, 2015)
…the police officers at the incident violated the rules of engagement, which only permit fatal shooting as a last resort, after all other measures have been exhausted, and when the suspect poses an immediate danger. “The police in this case chose to use deadly weapons as the only option, as a first course of action instead of as a last resort,” wrote the attorneys.
Israeli police acting above the law, taking brutal measures to suppress legitimate protest of Palestinian citizens of Israel (Press Release: October 11, 2015)
Over the last week, during the extremely violent events taking place throughout Israel…the Israeli police, backed by the courts, have been trying to prevent the legitimate protest of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel against the government’s policies by means of brutal and illegal acts.
[Donors include: EU, Norway, Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (joint funding from Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, and the Netherlands), Diakonia, Sweden, Christian Aid (UK), Bread for the World-EED (Germany), The Middle East Partnership Initiative (US), Germany, Oxfam, Rosa Luxemberg(Germany), Holland, and others.]
Letter from Sharon Abraham-Weiss, Executive Director (October 19, 2015)
An atmosphere of incitement, racism and violence has taken over the public sphere, and I regret the fact that public representatives are not doing enough to fight it. It is clear that undermining the most fundamental right to life pains us all. Our hearts are with the families of the victims of the attacks and those injured on both sides. The government must ensure the safety of its citizens and the lives of the Palestinians in the territories and in East Jerusalem. Public representatives must combat incitement and protect human rights and the rule of law – by which the resilience of democratic countries is measured. However the opposite appears to be happening.
“You must shoot to kill those who take out a knife or screwdriver…” said MK Yair Lapid. Jerusalem Chief of Police Moshe Edri elaborated: “The police do their jobs and arrive quickly. In under a minute and half, the terrorist is already killed. Anyone who stabs Jews or harms the innocent – shall be killed.” This statement cannot be taken lightly. The most senior official of the Jerusalem police has explicitly called for taking revenge against those who have stabbed Jews by killing them. When public figures encourage citizens to walk around armed in public, the danger only increases. The State of Israel is a state of law, and consequently the army and police must stop those violating the law and bring them to justice.
[Donors include the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands), Diakonia (Sweden), Medico International (Germany), Bread for the World (Germany), European Union,HEKS-EPER (Switzerland), Germany, Norway, Switzerland, UNHCR (UN), and others.]
Facebook Post: October 11, 2015 (Translated from Hebrew)
In recent weeks we have witnessed more incidents involving Palestinians that within a split second turn into a mega-event, which is immediately handled by shooting a suspect, either to wound or to kill [sic]. Instead of reacting according to the different nature of events, police officers and soldiers react both as judges and executioners. The default is killing, regardless of the actual danger posed by the attacker or suspect at the given moment…This practice is backed by government ministers and public officials who inflame the situation and authorize the spilling of the blood of Palestinians.
[2012 “supporters and sponsors” include: Broederlijk Delen (Belgium), CAFOD (UK), CCFD (France), CRS (USA), ZIVIK (Germany), UNESCO, World Council of Churches, and “International Religious Congregations in Rome, Canada and Belgium.”]
Pax Christi International calls for end of escalating violence in Palestine and Israel (Statement: October 19, 2015)
In these days we have seen the Israeli Defence Forces and police officers using excessive force in a ‘shoot to kill’ policy against Palestinian civilians, resulting in injury and death and provoking counter-violence from the Palestinian community. If crimes are committed they must be dealt with as crimes and not as acts of war according to the rules of law enforcement. Perpetrators should be arrested.
More must be done to defuse a culture of fear and hatred. The Israeli Government and the Israeli Defence Forces are inciting and provoking extremists on both sides of the conflict in attempts to escalate violence and justify further military action. Such actions must be challenged.
Through our years of partnership in the region we have witnessed time and again the deep frustration and oppression of Palestinians who have lived with forty-nine years of illegal occupation. This is an unresolved injustice for more than four million people and we plead with the international community, including the EU and the United Nations to renew its resolve to address the root causes of the conflict. The cost of failing to do so is too great to contemplate and undermines the security of both Israeli’s and Palestinians. International protection for Palestinian civilians has emerged as a key need in this present phase of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The occupation should be ended in order for peace to be achieved.
[2010 annual report (latest available) “acknowledge[s] the support and advocacy” of Christian Aid (UK), ICCO (Netherlands), Ireland, Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (joint funding from the governments ofSweden, Switzerland, Denmark, the Netherlands), Paz con Dignidad (Spain), Solidaridad Internacional (Spain), Solidarity for Development and Peace (Sodepaz), The United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), and others.]
Special Edition Monthly Newsletter: Events of October 2015 (Newsletter: November 9, 2015)
During October 2015, a popular uprising started in the occupied Palestinian territory in response to the Israeli occupation’s widespread human rights violations and escalation at Al-Aqsa Mosque as well as the ever-growing settlement activity and complete impunity to crimes by settlers, the latest of which was the arson and murder of the Dawabsheh family in Duma, Nablus. In response to the recent events, Israeli occupation forces (IOF) intensified human rights violations against Palestinians including mass arrests, increased use of administrative detention, excessive use of force and extrajudicial executions and collective punishment. Over the month, Israeli officials raised mass hysteria and incited violence against Palestinians and called on Israelis to bear arms. Every Palestinians became a suspect susceptible to being killed by the IOF and settlers resulting in the death of dozens of Palestinians. Families of murdered Palestinians are facing collective punishment including punitive house demolitions and holding the bodies of the dead thus denying the families to mourn the death of their loved ones.
Addameer Holds Israeli Occupation Responsible for the Recent Escalation in Occupied Palestine (News: October 25. 2015)
Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association holds Israeli occupation authorities responsible for the recent escalation in the West Bank and 1948 territory. The practices and violations by Israeli occupation and Israeli settler in addition to the provocation at Al-Aqsa mosque are the main reasons for the recent deterioration and escalation. Israeli practices of collective punishment and daily violations including house demolitions, arrests, extrajudicial executions and assaults on Palestinians in addition to confiscating Palestinian land for settlement and overlooking settler violence –the most recent of which was the arson of the Dawabsheh family in Duma south of Nablus have all factored to fuel the current escalation.
Since the beginning of the current events, IOF has resorted to excessive use of lethal force against Palestinian civilians and those allegedly accused of attempting stabbing attacks. Footage and several eyewitnesses have confirmed that the Israeli occupation’s forces have use lethal force against unarmed Palestinians upon suspicion without them posing any direct threat or harm which would justify opening fire. Furthermore, IOF have also used live ammunition and rubber bullets aimed at the upper body of protesters during demonstrations and clashes. This dangerous escalation has resulted in the death and injury of many Palestinian youth.
Addameer Demands the Immediate Release of the Body of Fadi Alloun (News Update: October 8, 2015)
The lawyer of Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Adv. Mohammad Mahmoud, submitted a request earlier today demanding the Israeli occupation’s prosecution to immediately release the body of 19-year-old Fadi Alloun, who was extra-judicially executed by Israeli police in occupied East Jerusalem last Sunday.
Palestinians Facing Intensified Violence (News: October 9, 2015)
Israeli military, police and settler violence against Palestinians is intensifying quickly. Over the past week, at least 900 Palestinians have been injured, at least 60 with live fire. Only today, six Palestinians in Gaza were shot dead by Israeli soldiers who opened fire on a demonstration. These peaks in lethal violence are a part of the systematic violence Palestinians are subjected to under Israel’s Apartheid regime.
Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP)
[JVP’s funding sources are not transparent and its website carries no information on its donors. JVP has received funding from the Violet Jabara Charitable Trust (an Arab-American foundation that also supports Electronic Intifada), the Firedoll Foundation, and the Wallace Global Fund, which all contribute to numerous anti-Israel groups.]
JVP Statement on State of Emergency in Jerusalem and the West Bank (Statement: October 4, 2015)
Jewish Voice for Peace mourns the lives lost in violent attacks, both Palestinian and Israeli, in the last days and weeks.
We are deeply alarmed by the escalated level of collective punishment being imposed on Palestinians by both settlers and the Israeli Army. In the last 24 hours, the IDF has used live fire in Jenin and elsewhere in the West Bank, wounding over 100 Palestinians. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society has declared a state of emergency after their staff and ambulances were attacked 14 times in the last 72 hours.
U.S. State Department Briefing (October 14, 2015)
John Kirby: “Now, we have seen some – I wouldn’t call the checkpoints this, but we’ve certainly seen some reports of what many would consider excessive use of force… we’ve certainly seen some reports of security activity that could indicate the potential excessive use of force… we’re always concerned about credible reports of excessive use of force against civilians, and we routinely raise our concerns about that.”
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (October 13, 2015)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Israel to carry out a “serious review” on whether its security forces are resorting to “excessive force” against Palestinians. Ban found “the apparent excessive use of force by Israeli security forces” to be “troubling,” his spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.
UNRWA statement (October 12, 2015)
“Further to the recent statement of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the high number of casualties, in particular those resulting from the use of live ammunition by Israeli forces raise serious concerns about the excessive use of force that may be contrary to international law enforcement standards. Under international law there are strict limits to the use of lethal force whether in the context of law enforcement operations or during conflict.”