Palestine (State of)The State of Palestine consists of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. is located in the Middle East bordering the Mediterranean Sea, Egypt, Israel, and Jordan. 4.8 million people live in Palestine, including 2.1 million people living in Gaza making it the 3rd most populated place in the world. There are 871,000 registered Palestinian refugees living in the West Bank and 1.4 million registered Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip. The population across the West Bank and Gaza Strip consist of individuals practicing Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. The predominant ethnic groups are Palestinian Arab and Jewish.
Automated Apartheid: How facial recognition fragments, segregates & controls Palestinians in the OPT May 2, 2023In this report, Amnesty International explores how facial recognition technology is used extensively by the Israeli authorities to support their continued domination and oppression of Palestinians in the OPT. With a record of discriminatory and inhuman acts that maintain a system of apartheid, the Israeli authorities are able to use facial recognition software – in particular at checkpoints – to consolidate existing practices of discriminatory policing, segregation, and curbing freedom of movement, violating Palestinians’ basic rights.
NEW REPORT: ISRAEL’S APARTHEID AGAINST PALESTINIANS: Cruel System of Domination and Crime Against Humanity (2022)Amnesty International has analyzed Israel’s intent to create and maintain a system of oppression and domination over Palestinians and examined its key components: territorial fragmentation; segregation and control; dispossession of land and property; and denial of economic and social rights. It has concluded that this system amounts to apartheid. It has also documented unlawful acts committed by Israel against Palestinians with the intent to maintain this system, including forcible transfers, administrative. detention and torture, unlawful killings, denial of basic rights and freedoms and persecution. It has concluded that such acts form part of a systematic as well as widespread attack directed against the Palestinian population and amount to the crime against humanity of apartheid. Read the full report and engage with Amnesty’s calls to action here! Watch a short video explainer of the report. The following information is based on the Amnesty International Report 2022/23. This report documented the human rights situation in 149 countries in 2022, as well as providing global and regional analysis. It presents Amnesty International’s concerns and calls for action to governments and others.
BACKGROUNDIn March, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the OPT determined that the “political system of entrenched rule” in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip “satisfies the prevailing evidentiary standard for the existence of apartheid”. In November, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing reached the same conclusion in relation to Israel’s policies of home demolitions. Some states, including South Africa, condemned Israeli apartheid, echoing statements by Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights organizations. Despite this growing recognition, Israel continued to enjoy impunity thanks to the support of its key allies. In October, the United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel, concluded that the occupation of the OPT is unlawful due to its permanence and Israel’s measures to annex Palestinian land in law and in practice. In 2022, such measures included retroactive authorization of settlement outposts, including by the Israeli Supreme Court. In November, Israel held its fifth elections in three years after the collapse of an ideologically diverse coalition government, which continued to discriminate against Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line. The vote was polarized between those supporting and opposing former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while consensus on maintaining Israel’s occupation of Palestinian and Syrian territories remained. The right-wing bloc, led by Benjamin Netanyahu and a religious-nationalist coalition, secured a majority of seats and formed a government in December.
APARTHEIDIn February, Amnesty International released a280-page report showing how Israel was imposing an institutionalized regime of oppression and domination against the Palestinian people wherever it exercised control over their rights, fragmenting and segregating Palestinian citizens of Israel, residents of the OPT and Palestinian refugees denied the right of return. Through massive seizures of land and property, unlawful killings, infliction of serious injuries, forcible transfers, arbitrary restrictions on freedom of movement, and denial of nationality, among other inhuman or inhumane acts, Israeli officials would be responsible for the crime against humanity of apartheid, which falls under the jurisdiction of the ICC.1In March, Israeli authorities re-enacted the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (temporary order) that imposes sweeping restrictions on Palestinian family unification between Israeli citizens or residents and their spouses from the OPT to maintain a Jewish demographic majority. In July, the Israeli Supreme Court upheld a law authorizing the interior minister to strip citizens of their citizenship if convicted of acts that amount to “breach of allegiance to the state”. Since its enactment in 2008, application of the law has only been considered against Palestinian citizens. On20 September, the Israeli Appeals Tribunal approved the revocation of stay or temporary residency permits of 10 Palestinians – four children, three women and three men – living in Jerusalem because they are distant relatives of a Palestinian assailant. On December 18, Israel deported French Palestinian human rights defender Salah Hammouri following the revocation of his East Jerusalem residency.
ARBITRARY ARREST & DETENTIONIsraeli authorities increased their use of administrative detention, prompting a mass boycott of Israeli military courts by hundreds of detainees including Salah Hammouri, who went on hunger strike together with 29 others in protest at their detention without charge or trial. By December 31, 866 individuals, all but two of them Palestinians, were administratively detained, the highest number in 14 years. On April15, Israeli police arrested more than 400 Palestinians, including children, journalists and worshippers, during a raid on the al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem. According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, at least 152 Palestinians were injured by rubber bullets, live ammunition and stun grenades, and were beaten. Most were released after several hours. CLIMATE CRISIS On June 28, the government introduced a climate bill, which proposed to reduce Israel’s greenhouse gas emissions by 27% by 2030. The bill remained pending. Meanwhile, Israel’s military industrial complex, including its August offensive in Gaza, exacerbated environmental damage caused in previous attacks that Israel continued to disregard. In March, Israeli planes resumed aerial spraying of herbicides on the buffer zone in the Gaza Strip, damaging Palestinian farmland.
FORCED EVICTIONSTens of thousands of Palestinians remained at risk of forced evictions in Israel and the OPT, including some 5,000 living in shepherding communities in the Jordan Valley and South Hebron Hills. Israeli authorities demolished 952 Palestinian structures across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, displacing 1,031 Palestinians, and affecting the livelihoods of thousands of others. On May 4, the Israeli Supreme Court upheld a decision to forcibly transfer over 1,000 residents of Masafer Yatta in the South Hebron Hills from their ancestral land, which Israel had designated as “firing zone 918”, a military training zone closed to Palestinian access. In July, the Israeli Supreme Court legalized the settlement outpost of Mitzpe Kramim, built on private Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank, claiming that it was “purchased in good faith”. This reversed its 2020 decision that ordered the government to evacuate the outpost. According to OCHA, 2022 was the sixth consecutive year that saw an increase in state-backed settler violence against Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, reaching a peak in October during the olive harvest season. The Israeli army and police continued to fail to investigate complaints by Palestinians about such violence. In Israel, the authorities continued to deny official recognition to 35 Palestinian villages in the Negev/Naqab, depriving them ofessential services. In January, the Israeli Land Authority and the Jewish National Fund began planting trees on lands belonging to the village of Saawa al-Atrash in the Negev/Naqab to forcibly transfer its Palestinian population. In December, Israeli authorities demolished tents and structures in al-Araqib for the 211th time since 2010.
FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION & EXPRESSIONOn August 18, Israeli soldiers raided the offices of seven Palestinian civil society organizations in Ramallah, vandalizing equipment, seizing files, and issuing closure orders based on the 1945 Defense (Emergency) Regulations. On September 29, the Israeli Central Elections Committee disqualified the Palestinian party Balad from running in Israeli parliamentary elections because it called for a “state for all of its citizens”, in violation of Israel’s Basic Law. The Israeli Supreme Court reversed the decision in October. On 24 November, the Israeli military renewed by 45 days and for the fourth time the detention of four Jewish Israeli teenagers – Einat Gerlitz, Evyatar Moshe Rubin, Nave Shabtay and Shahar Schwartz – who were first imprisoned in September for refusing, on grounds of conscience, to enroll in compulsory military service.
FREEDOM OF MOVEMENTOn August 18, Israeli soldiers raided the offices of seven Palestinian civil society organizations in Ramallah, vandalizing equipment, seizing files, and issuing closure orders based on the 1945 Defense (Emergency) Regulations. On September 29, the Israeli Central Elections Committee disqualified the Palestinian party Balad from running in Israeli parliamentary elections because it called for a “state for all of its citizens”, in violation of Israel’s Basic Law. The Israeli Supreme Court reversed the decision in October. On 24 November, the Israeli military renewed by 45 days and for the fourth time the detention of four Jewish Israeli teenagers – Einat Gerlitz, Evyatar Moshe Rubin, Nave Shabtay and Shahar Schwartz – who were first imprisoned in September for refusing, on grounds of conscience, to enroll in compulsory military service.
LGBTQI+ RIGHTSOn 14 February, Israel’s health ministry published a circular banning medical practitioners from conducting medical “conversion therapy” to change the sexual orientation of gay and lesbian individuals but failed to grant it legislative status.
REFUGEE & MIGRANT RIGHTSIsrael welcomed tens of thousands of people fleeing Ukraine and allowed thousands of Jewish Ukrainians to settle under the 1950Law of Return, while continuing to deny Palestinian refugees their right of return. Israel continued to reject asylum applications of nearly 30,000 African asylum seekers, primarily from Eritrea and Sudan. Following a 2021 court decision, over 2,000 Sudanese asylum seekers from Darfur, Blue Nile and the Nuba mountains were given temporary residence permits, including access to national health insurance and other benefits. In October, a commission appointed by Israel’s minister of interior concluded that asylum seekers from Darfur and the Nuba mountains were no longer at risk of persecution on ethnic grounds and could be returned safely to Sudan’s capital Khartoum, amid concerns of a possible reversal of Israel’s general non-deportation policy. Government regulations banning some 20,000 asylum seekers from work in 17 Israeli cities unless they seek employment in construction, agriculture, hospitality and institutional nursing, came into effect in October.
RIGHT TO TRUTH, JUSTICE & REPARATIONIsraeli authorities continued to refuse to cooperate with the investigation by the ICC Office of the Prosecutor, despite a 2021decision by the ICC to initiate an investigation into the situation in Palestine. The authorities also failed to adequately investigate violations and crimes under international law.
TORTURE & OTHER ILL-TREATMENTIsraeli forces continued to subject Palestinian detainees to torture and other ill-treatment. As in previous years, the internal investigation unit of the police, Mahash, failed to properly investigate complaints of torture. On November 24, the Beersheba District Court extended, by four months, the solitary confinement of Ahmad Manasra, imprisoned as a 13-year-old in 2015 and held in solitary confinement since November 2021, an act that amounts to torture. The same court had rejected in September his appeal for early release on medical grounds despite his severe mental health condition.
UNLAWFUL ATTACKS & KILLINGS ARMED CONFLICT BETWEEN ISRAEL AND PALESTINIAN ARMED GROUPS IN GAZAOn August 5, Israel launched an offensive on the Gaza Strip targeting the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and its armed wing, destroying or damaging some 1,700 Palestinian homes and displacing hundreds of civilians. The Israeli army and Palestinian armed groups committed apparent war crimes during the three days of fighting. According to the UN, 49 Palestinians were killed, including 31 civilians. Amnesty International established that Israeli forces killed 17 of the civilians, including eight children. Seven civilians, including four children, were killed by a rocket that misfired apparently launched by a Palestinian armed group. On 7 August, an Israeli missile, apparently fired by a drone, hit Al-Falluja cemetery in Jabalia refugee camp, killing five children and injuring one, in an apparent direct attack on civilians or indiscriminate attack. WEST BANK Israeli forces killed 151 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and injured 9,875, according to OCHA-OPT, amid a surge of military incursions that involved excessive use of force, including unlawful killings and apparent extrajudicial executions. Defense for Children International-Palestine reported that Israeli forces or settlers killed 36 children across the West Bank and East Jerusalem. On May 11, Israeli soldiers killed Shirin Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-US Al Jazeera correspondent, and injured her colleague, while they were covering an Israeli army raid in Jenin Camp. In September, the Israeli authorities admitted that an Israeli soldier “likely” killed the journalist but concluded that no criminal offence had been committed.
WOMEN’S RIGHTSIn Israel, marriage and divorce remained under the exclusive jurisdiction of religious courts, leading to systematic discrimination against women in personal status matters. Despite legal protections against domestic violence, 24 women were killed by partners or relatives according to the Israeli police. Some 69 women were killed between January 2020 and August 2022. Of the 40 femicides against Palestinian women in Israel during that period, 58% were not resolved by the police while all 29 femicides of Jewish Israeli women in the same period were resolved.
Human rights in the Middle East and North Africa: A review of 2018
February 26, 2019
Amnesty International State of the World 2015-2016
February 18, 2016 – Annual Report
‘Black Friday’: Carnage in Rafah During 2014 Israel/Gaza Conflict
July 24, 2015
State of the World 2014/2015
February 25, 2015
Families Under the Rubble – Israeli Attacks on Inhabited Homes
November 5, 2014
Trigger-happy: Israel’s use of excessive force in the West Bank
February 27, 2014
Annual Report: Palestinian Authority 2013
May 23, 2013
Annual Report: Palestinian Authority 2011
July 13, 2011
Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories: Dashed Hopes:Continuation of the Gaza Blockade
March 26, 2011 – Discrimination
Annual Report: Palestinian Authority 2010
March 19, 2011
Discriminatory Measures Undermine Palestinian Representation in Knesset
September 3, 2019 – Discrimination
Gaza: Fears of further bloodshed as Israel adopts ‘zero tolerance’ policy
October 19, 2018 – Gaza