Last year was devastating for long-suffering Palestinians, the way things have been for over seven decades.
B’Tselem compiled examples of Israeli ruthlessness in 2018. Its security forces murdered 290 defenseless Palestinian civilians, including 55 children.
The toll includes 254 Gazan deaths, mostly during peaceful Great March of Return demonstrations, assaulted by extreme Israeli violence.
Another 34 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, two others in Jewish state territory – all of it stolen from Palestinians.
Repeated incidents throughout the year, and every year, “are a direct result of Israel’s reckless open-fire policy, authorized by the government and the top military command, and backed by the judicial system,” B’Tselem stressed, adding:
“As long as Israel adheres to this policy, despite its predictable outcomes, the casualties will continue to amass.”
Extremist settlers killed at least three Palestinians, harmed many others, including young children. A Palestinians woman threatening no one, Aishah Rabi, was stoned to death in a car she was riding in.
Most Palestinian deaths are because of Israel’s shoot-first-ask-no-questions policy, its longstanding contempt for Palestinian lives and welfare.
Israel considers cold-blooded murder self-defense. Soldiers given unlawful orders use live fire against peaceful demonstrators in Gaza and elsewhere in the Territories.
“Despite the predictable lethal outcomes, Israel has refused to alter its policy,” said B’Tselem, adding:
“This ongoing profound disregard for the lives of Palestinians is broadly backed by senior policy-makers in the military, the government and the judicial system.”
Almost never is anyone “held accountable for these incidents, and the military law enforcement system whitewashes them. Given this sweeping support and the lack of accountability for these deaths, such incidents will continue” – as they have since the Jewish state’s creation.
Law enforcement in Occupied Palestine is “a whitewash mechanism,” B’Tselem stressed. Investigations when conducted, including violent incidents causing deaths and injuries, are routinely whitewashed.
Senior government and military officials are never held accountable for the worst of high crimes against Palestinians – rank-and-file military personnel almost never. The rarest of rare exceptions prove the rule.
Military law enforcement shows almost no attempts to punish Israeli wrongdoers when it comes crimes against Palestinians.
Settlers nearly always go unpunished for violent and vandalism incidents. One aggrieved Palestinian said the following:
“The settlers have the army, the state and the law on their side to protect them. We don’t have anyone. We’re guilty even if we did nothing. We’re always the guilty ones. It’s really hard to feel that your life is in danger and your property is being destroyed in front of your eyes.”
A Palestinian woman recounted the horror of a settler attack she and her husband endured, saying the following:
“At first, I thought that the people standing by the road were Palestinians who work in the settlements. As we got closer, I noticed that they were masked, and then they started to throw stones at us.”
“One of the stones shattered the front windshield and I hollered in fear. I told my husband to drive quickly.”
“I heard the stones hitting the car and felt that we were about to die, especially when the settlers chased after us after we’d passed them.”
“Iman asked me to recite verses from the Quran and to trust in God. I was shaking with fear and cold, because the window had been broken and it was very windy.”
‘Small fragments of glass got in my eye and I felt stinging and pain. I couldn’t open my eye and lots of tears were coming out.”
“When we got home, I left Rital with my sister and went to see the doctor at the village clinic. He cleaned my eye and gave me some liquid to rinse it with.”
“I got home at about eleven o’clock and I couldn’t sleep because I was so scared. I couldn’t get the images of the attack out of my mind.”
“It’s like they found live prey to attack. I still panic when I think about it. On Saturday my husband went to Nablus to replace the front windshield. It cost us 700 shekels. The body of the car also need to be repaired, and that will cost us more money and take time.”
Countless other horror stories are similar to the above ones. Yesh Din volunteers for human rights include lawyers, human rights experts, and other professionals.
They document, compile, and disseminate information on human rights violations in the Territories – by security forces and settlers, complicit with each other against defenseless Palestinians.
Numerous incidents happen almost daily. Palestinians are longstanding victims of a ruthless occupier, Gazans suffering most of all.