Palestine (State of)


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Palestine (State of)

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.

Palestine (State of) Newsroom



October 19, 2018 • Press Release

Gaza: Fears of further bloodshed as Israel adopts ‘zero tolerance’ policy

Fears of escalating bloodshed are rising ahead of planned protests in Gaza later today after Israeli authorities announced a “zero tolerance” policy towards demonstrations along the Israel/Gaza fence, said Amnesty International.

June 14, 2018 • Press Release

State of Palestine: Amnesty staff member arbitrarily detained and tortured by Palestinian security officers

Responding to the arbitrary detention and beating during arrest of scores of demonstrators and bystanders, including an Amnesty International staff member, Laith Abu Zeyad, by Palestinian security forces, Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s MENA Research and Advocacy Director said: “The Palestinian authorities in the West Bank revealed a dark underbelly of violence and dysfunction yesterday, when its security …

August 23, 2017 • Press Release

Palestine: Dangerous escalation in attacks on freedom of expression

The Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and their rivals, the de-facto Hamas administration in Gaza, have both tightened the noose on freedom of expression in recent months, launching a repressive clampdown on dissent that has seen journalists from opposition media outlets interrogated and detained in a bid to exert pressure on their political opponents, said Amnesty International.

February 26, 2016 • Press Release

Palestinians protest in Hebron against decades of severe restrictions

Today Palestinian residents and activists in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron are holding demonstrations marking 22 years since the Israeli authorities first closed al-Shuhada Street, formerly the city’s commercial center. They are protesting against illegal Israeli settlements and demanding the removal of the restrictions on their movement, which are applied only to Palestinians and not to Israeli settlers.

February 22, 2016 • Press Release

Amnesty International’s Annual State of the World Report Slams Governments, Including the U.S., for Global Assault on Freedoms

On the launch of its 2015 State of the World report, Amnesty International USA urged President Obama to use his last year in office to bring U.S. laws and policies in line with international human rights standards.

February 18, 2016 • Press Release

Your rights in jeopardy, global assault on freedoms, warns Amnesty International

International protection of human rights is in danger of unravelling as short-term national self-interest and draconian security crackdowns have led to a wholesale assault on basic freedoms and rights, warned Amnesty International as it launched its annual assessment of human rights around the world. “Your rights are in jeopardy: they are being treated with utter contempt by many governments around the world,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

February 18, 2016 • Report

Amnesty International State of the World 2015-2016

International protection of human rights is in danger of unravelling as short-term national self-interest and draconian security crackdowns have led to a wholesale assault on basic freedoms and rights, warned Amnesty International as it launched its annual assessment of human rights around the world. “Your rights are in jeopardy: they are being treated with utter contempt by many governments around the world,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

July 24, 2015 • Report

‘Black Friday’: Carnage in Rafah During 2014 Israel/Gaza Conflict

New evidence showing that Israeli forces carried out war crimes in retaliation for the capture of an Israeli soldier has been released today in a joint report by Amnesty International and Forensic Architecture. The evidence, which includes detailed analysis of vast quantities of multimedia materials, suggests that the systematic and apparently deliberate nature of the air and ground attack on Rafah which killed at least 135 civilians, may also amount to crimes against humanity.

February 25, 2015 • Report

State of the World 2014/2015

This has been a devastating year for those seeking to stand up for human rights and for those caught up in the suffering of war zones. Governments pay lip service to the importance of protecting civilians. And yet the world's politicians have miserably failed to protect those in greatest need. Amnesty International believes that this can and must finally change.

January 7, 2015 • Press Release

Retaliation Against Palestine’s Welcome Accession to ICC Must Stop

Israel, the USA and EU member states must refrain from punishing or threatening Palestine for taking the positive step of granting the International Criminal Court (ICC) jurisdiction over crimes under international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).