Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories
The human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (the Gaza Strip and West Bank, including East Jerusalem) has deteriorated to an unprecedented level.
The undercurrent of violence, abuses of fundamental human rights and disregard for international humanitarian law that have marked over 40 years of Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip become firmly entrenched and relentless.
Civilians in both Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories have suffered the most from confrontations.
The Israeli authorities' blockade of the Gaza Strip is on-going. Much of the dividing wall being constructed in the West Bank is on Palestinian land, meaning it is in breach of international law. Palestinians cannot move freely in the Occupied Territories and those living in Israel and the West Bank live under constant threat of their homes being demolished.
The Israeli army uses excessive, sometimes lethal, force against protestors in the West Bank and civilians in border areas of the Gaza Strip, often detaining them without charge or trial. Violence against Palestinians in the West Bank is increasing but perpetrators frequently escape justice.
Israel/Gaza conflict - our researcher in Gaza city
Our crisis response researcher Donatella Rovera has been on the ground in Gaza since the ceasefire began on 21 November. Her first report from Gaza city once again shows civilians bearing the brunt of brutal attacks - families searching in rubble for lost loved ones, homes destroyed and children killed. We are calling for an independent investigation into these attacks so that the perpetrators of any human rights violations can be brought to justice.
Palestinian bid for UN membership: The human rights implications
As part of its strategy to seek broader recognition of a Palestinian state, in September 2011 the Palestinian Authority requested full membership of the United Nations.
In October 2011 the United Nations cultural organisation UNESCO admitted Palestine as a member. The US government joined Israel in opposing this move and subsequently cut its funding on the UN body.
We do not take a position on the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or on issues of statehood, but whatever the UN decides will have important implications for human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Any UN resolution, initiative or agreement must fully respect the human rights of Palestinians and Israelis.
Palestinian communities at risk in the West Bank
Twenty Palestinian communities, including some of the poorest in the West Bank, are at risk of being removed from their homes. If the plan goes ahead it will be with a complete lack of consultation and against the wishes of the residents who will be relocated to a site just 300 metres away from one of the main rubbish dumps serving Jerusalem. The Israeli authorities would be breaking international law.
Middle East uprising
On 15 March 2011, thousands of Palestinians joined people across the Middle East and North Africa by taking to the streets to call for change. The protestors were demanding political reconciliation between their rival governments - the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, and the de facto Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip.
In Gaza, Hamas security officials forcibly dispersed protesters with some being arrested. In Ramallah in the West Bank, Fatah-led security forces beat protestors, arresting four.
On 15 May 2011, the Israeli military used force against Palestinian and Arab demonstrators. At least 12 people were killed and hundreds more injured. We are calling on the Israeli government to launch a full investigation.
- Read our public statement (pdf)
- Follow the unfolding human rights crisis across the Middle East and North Africa
Gaza: Don't let war criminals get away with murder
- Israeli Army must make public findings of its probe into Gaza conflict 24 April 2009
- Israel troops reveal Gaza abuses 1 April 2009