Right to water
Israel continued to deny Palestinians in the OPT fair access to adequate, safe water supplies, hindering social and economic development and posing threats to health, in violation of its responsibilities as the occupying power. Palestinian water consumption barely reached 70 litres a day per person – well below the WHO's recommended daily minimum of 100 litres. Israeli daily per capita consumption was four times higher. The Israeli army repeatedly destroyed rainwater harvesting cisterns used by Palestinians in the West Bank on the grounds that they had been built without permission.
Israeli forces forcibly evicted Palestinians and demolished their homes, particularly in East Jerusalem, on the grounds that the buildings lacked permits. Such permits are systematically denied to Palestinians. Simultaneously, Israeli settlements were allowed to expand on illegally confiscated Palestinian land. The Bedouin population of the Negev was also targeted for forced evictions.
Excessive use of force
Israeli forces used excessive force against Palestinian civilians, causing many injuries and some deaths. The security forces used tear gas, rubber-coated metal bullets and live ammunition, often when there was no serious threat to themselves or to others.
- On 17 April, Bassem Abu Rahmeh was hit by a high-velocity Israeli tear gas canister, causing internal bleeding that quickly killed him. He was taking part in the weekly protest in Bil'in village against the security fence/wall that cuts off Bil'in from much of its agricultural land. Video footage showed that Bassem Abu Rahmeh was unarmed and posing no threat. The Israeli military said it was investigating his death.
Military justice system
Detentions without trial
The number of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons without charge or trial decreased from 564 in January to 278 in December.
- Hamdi al-Ta'mari, a Palestinian student arrested on 18 December 2008 when he was 16 years old, continued to be administratively detained without charge in Ofer Prison near Ramallah in the West Bank until his release on 14 December. He was arrested by Israeli soldiers at gunpoint at his home in Bethlehem and, according to his family, was kicked, eaten and otherwise abused during arrest.
Palestinians from the OPT, including juveniles, continued to be interrogated without a lawyer present and to be tried in military rather than civil courts, where they suffered other violations to their right to fair trial.
Prison conditions – denial of family visits
Around 900 Palestinian prisoners continued to be denied family visits, some for a third year, because Gazans have not been allowed to travel into Israel since the blockade was imposed.
Torture and other ill-treatment
Torture and other ill-treatment of Palestinians by the General Security Service (GSS) continued to be reported. Methods allegedly used included beatings, sleep deprivation and prolonged periods in stress positions. Israeli domestic law retains "necessity" as a possible justification for torture.
Impunity remained the norm for Israeli soldiers, police and other security forces, as well as Israeli settlers, who committed serious human rights abuses against Palestinians, including unlawful killings. Violence by settlers against Palestinians included beatings, stone throwing and damaging their crops and homes. In rare cases where Israeli security personnel were convicted, the punishments were extremely lenient.