Monday, January 11, 2016

Out of sight, out of mind

The story told primarily by the media is one of Palestinian stabbers and Israeli retaliation in self-defense. However, as the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor documents in this 100-day report, proven Palestinian attacks are relatively small in number and often committed by lone youths, while the number of arrests, harassment and executions committed by Israeli forces are increasingly excessive and disproportionate. Its report covering the period between 1 October, 2015 and 8 January, 2016 indicate that 150 Palestinians, including seven women and 27 minors, were extrajudicially executed, with Israel refusing to release the bodies of 24 to their families. In contrast, 27 Israelis, including one woman, were killed by Palestinians. In addition, 15,759 Palestinians were injured, 92 seriously—including 58 journalists and 103 emergency medical personnel. Among Israelis, 385 were injured, 33 seriously. Palestinians attacked Israeli individuals or property an estimated 227 times, ranging from knife stabbings to car rammings. The most common incident, however, was stone-throwing by Palestinian youth. These incidents primarily occurred around checkpoints and on streets linking Palestinian cities and villages. They resulted in the death of 27 Israelis, including one woman, and the injury of 385 others (33 of whom were seriously wounded).

Two-thirds of Palestinian victims—95 of 150—were executed in Jerusalem, the West Bank and the border area of the Gaza Strip during protests or immediately upon detention. Many were killed merely on “suspicion,” including those falsely accused of trying to attack Israelis. In mid-October of 2015, Euro-Med published a video recording showing eight Palestinians being arbitrarily executed by Israeli forces. The UN special rapporteur called on the UN to launch a special investigation into such extrajudicial killings. Since the escalation of protests in October 2015, 3,401 Palestinians have been detained—58 percent more than during the same period the year before. About half of these detainees, 1,511, are minors. One in every 3 of these detainees was exposed to cruel treatment such as beatings, humiliation, hand-cuffing and blindfolding.

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