Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories


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Human Rights Concerns

Amnesty International's concerns are based on international standards and applied equally within the proper legal framework. The legal framework is defined by who retains jurisdiction, or effective control, over an area and the circumstances or situation at the time of the human rights violation. Amnesty's concerns within Israel-proper, the area inside the 1949 (W. Bank/E. Jerusalem) and 1951 (Gaza Strip) armistice lines (also called the '1967 borders') include but are not limited to, ill-treatment and torture of detainees, excessive use of force, the detention of conscientious objectors, and forced evictions and home demolitions within 'unrecognized' Bedouin villages.

The Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory (the West Bank including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip) is in its fifth decade and the undercurrent of violence and inherent abuses of fundamental human rights and disregard for international law inherent in any long-standing military occupation is presented by both sides. Both Israeli and Palestinian civilians continue to bear the brunt of the violence in the region.

Human rights violations by Israeli forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) have included, but are not limited to, home demolitions and the forced eviction of Palestinian families; punitive arrests, unfair trials, ill-treatment and torture of detainees and the use of excessive or lethal force to subdue nonviolent demonstrations as well as the use of restrictive legal means. In contravention of international law, Israel continues to build parts of the wall/fence in the OPT, expand settlements and use draconian restrictions on the movement of Palestinians with some 600 roadblocks and checkpoints. Amnesty International is also concerned about discriminatory policies affecting access to water for Palestinians.

In areas under control of the Palestinian Authority, concerns include, but are not limited to, excessive use of force, arbitrary arrests, ill-treatment, torture and the use of administrative detention to jail individuals without charge or trial. Some detainees also do not receive adequate medical attention.

A ceasefire between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups in the Gaza Strip in effect since 2009 has been generally respected. The Gaza Strip has been under increasing restrictions since 2005, when Israel unilaterally pulled troops and settlers out of the strip. June 2007, restrictions tightened to an almost air-tight blockade, deepening the hardship there and virtually imprisoning the entire population of 1.6 million.

Israel maintains effective control over Gaza, controlling all but one of the crossings into the Gaza Strip, the airspace, territorial waters, telecommunications and the population registry which determines who is allowed to leave or enter Gaza. Therefore, Israel is still considered the occupying power and is responsible for the welfare of the inhabitants in the strip under international humanitarian law.

Israeli authorities rejected or delayed hundreds of permit applications to leave Gaza by Palestinians requiring specialist medical treatment; a few died as a result. Most of Gaza's inhabitants depend on international aid, which is severely hampered by the blockade. In May 2010, Israeli forces killed nine men aboard an aid flotilla in international waters that was challenging the blockade's legality.

Amnesty also has concerns about the indiscriminate rocket fire into southern Israel by armed Palestinian groups. Palestinian militants fired a rocket into Israel that hit a school bus, killing a 16 year old boy April 2011.

Following hostilities between Israel and the Gaza Strip Dec. 2008 – Jan. 2009, Hamas has failed to conduct any domestic investigation into the serious allegations of violations of international humanitarian and human rights law committed by their forces during the conflict and Israel's investigations have been inadequate – failing to meet international standards.

Political Situation

Prospects for a just and durable resolution to the conflict are remote despite the fact that the Palestine Liberation Organization recognized the State of Israel in 1988 and Israel allowed the Palestinian leadership to return to the Occupied Territories under the Oslo Accords in 1994. Israel continues to violate international law by expanding settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem and the Palestinian Authority appears to have given up on direct negotiations, planning to go directly to the United Nations to seek official recognition of the State of Palestine within the '1967 borders' against the wishes of the Israeli government.

Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories News



July 1, 2020 • Press Release

Unlawful “annexation” plan for the occupied West Bank must be stopped

International law is crystal clear on this matter – annexation is unlawful. Israel’s continued pursuit of this policy further illustrates its cynical disregard for international law. Such policies do not change the legal status of the territory under international law and its inhabitants as occupied nor remove Israel’s responsibilities as the occupying power – rather it points to the ‘law of the jungle’ which should not have a place in our world today.

May 28, 2020 • Press Release

Israel Must Lift Punitive Travel Ban on Amnesty Campaigner

The Israeli authorities must immediately lift the apparently punitive travel ban imposed on Laith Abu Zeyad, Amnesty International’s Campaigner on Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), Amnesty International said today ahead of a court hearing this Sunday in a Jerusalem District Court.

May 15, 2020 • Press Release

Israeli court sets hearing seeking to lift travel ban on Amnesty campaigner

Laith Abu Zeyad, Amnesty International’s campaigner on Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), a Palestinian living in the occupied West Bank, has been barred from traveling abroad by the Israeli authorities since October 2019, for undisclosed “security reasons”. Amnesty International’s previous attempts to repeal the ban through administrative channels have been rejected.

May 8, 2020 • Press Release

Palestine must end arbitrary detention of critics in West Bank and Gaza

The Fatah-led Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and the Hamas de facto administration in the Gaza Strip must halt violations of the right to freedom of expression, in particular arbitrary detentions, and immediately and unconditionally release all those who have been detained solely for peacefully expressing their views, said Amnesty International today as it published a detailed statement outlining a pattern of arbitrary arrests against people who have criticized the authorities amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

January 28, 2020 • Press Release

Dismal ‘Peace Deal’ Would Exacerbate Violations, Enshrine Impunity Between Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories

The Trump administration’s dismal package of proposals to violate international law and further strip Palestinians of their rights is a handbook for more suffering and abuses in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), Amnesty International said today.

December 20, 2019 • Press Release

ICC Investigation Into War Crimes in Occupied Palestinian Territories a ‘Historic Step Towards Justice’

Responding to today’s announcement from the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, that her office’s preliminary examination into the “Situation in Palestine” has concluded that war crimes have been committed in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and that “all the statutory criteria under the Rome Statute for the opening of an investigation have been met,” Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director, Philip Luther, said:

August 15, 2019 • Press Release

Criticism of Israeli Government’s Policies Are Free Speech, Not Anti-Semitism

Responding to Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, and minister of Interior Arye Deri, denying entrance to two U.S. members of Congress and U.S. President Donald Trump’s tweets referring to the …

July 9, 2019 • Press Release

TripAdvisor Staff Urged to Speak Out Against Firm’s Role in Sustaining Illegal Israeli Settlements

Amnesty International has called on TripAdvisor employees to use their power to demand that their company stops profiting from war crimes by listing tourist attractions and properties in illegal Israeli settlements across the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).

May 14, 2019 • Press Release

Israel’s refusal to grant Palestinian refugees right to return has fuelled seven decades of suffering

Israel’s failure to respect the right to return for Palestinians who were forced to flee their homes in 1948 is a flagrant violation of international law that has fuelled decades of suffering on a mass scale for Palestinian refugees across the region, said Amnesty International, marking 71 years since the Nakba (catastrophe), as it is known to Palestinians.

May 12, 2019 • Press Release

Israel: Amnesty International engages in legal action to stop NSO Group’s web of surveillance

Amnesty International is supporting a legal action to take the Israeli Ministry of Defence (MoD) to court, to demand that it revokes the export license of NSO Group, an Israeli company whose spyware products have been used in chilling attacks on human rights defenders around the world.

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