accuses Israel of torture, restricting movement, limiting freedom of
speech, and a 'siege that strangles 1.6 million people.' According to
the group, torture and abuse are also rampant in both the PA and Hamas
Published: 05.24.12, 14:45 / Israel News
published on Thursday its human rights report for 2012, which provides
a survey of the global human rights situation. The report addresses
human rights in 155 nations over the course of 2011 and offers a
macroview of international human rights
highlights of which were presented before journalists at Beit Sokolov on
Wednesday evening, notes that as Amnesty International enters its sixth
decade of work, the findings demonstrated not only the suffering of
those living in the shadow of human rights violations, but also those
who are inspired to work for human dignity.
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An introduction penned by Amnesty International Israel Chairman Dr. Yishai Menuhin and general director of the group in Israel
Yonatan Ger says that 2011 was not free from widespread human rights
violations, but that looking back it was possible to say that human
rights had never been so central a subject as they were last year. "If
in the past tyranny was part of the reality of life in many countries,
last year we witnessed unprecedented civil revolts in which citizens
told their leaders: enough."
Addressing the group's activity in Israel, Menuhin and Ger said that
AI continues to protect the rights of refugees and asylum seekers, fight
ongoing housing discrimination against Palestinians,
and prevent human rights violations stemming from the Israeli "occupation."
The report addressed Israel's ongoing closure on the Gaza Strip,
saying that the situation, in existence since 2007, had created a
humanitarian crisis for 1.6 million residents, most of whom were
dependent on humanitarian aid. The report criticized the ongoing ban on
exports, which it said "choked" the economy, as well as the severe
restrictions on imports. According to AI, this has driven prices up, in
effect a collective punishment, which contravenes international law and
is particularly hard on children and the sick.
At least 36
Palestinians have been killed in accidents in smuggling tunnels or in
Israeli Air Force attacks on the tunnels, Amnesty says. In addition the
report addressed the several aid flotillas to Gaza stopped by the
Israeli government. The organization noted that while in September 2011
the UN had decreed Israel's naval siege on Gaza legal, it had not
addressed the legality of the overall closure of the Gaza Strip.
Turning to the West Bank, the Amnesty Report noted that "over 500
checkpoints and military barriers continued to complicate Palestinians'
access to employment, schools, and hospitals, while Israel continued to
build a 700-kilometer security fence. The fence, according to the
report, is built mainly on Palestinian land and separates "thousands" of
farmers from their land and water sources.
forbidden to enter areas surrounding Israeli settlements, which were
built and expanded in violation of international law," the report
states, adding that settlement construction was up. Amnesty puts the
number of settlers living in the West Bank at the end of 2011 at over
Moreover, the report continued, in 2011 over 620 Palestinian
buildings in the West Bank had been demolished, causing 1,100
Palestinians to lose their homes, 80% more than in 2012. The group noted
that Bedouin and other shepherds had been particularly affected and
some were in danger of permanent dislocation due to restrictions on
Amnesty said that Israel's demolition last June of 33 structures in
Al-Hadidiya in the northern Jordan Valley had left several families
The IDF also came in
for criticism, with the report citing "unnecessary violence" by troops
against Palestinians in the West Bank and against demonstrators on the
Lebanese and Syrian borders. Amnesty says that IDF forces killed 55
Palestinian civilians in the West Bank, including 11 children. While the
army had set up investigative committees to look into some of these
incidents, the report says, the panels were not transparent or
The report also criticized Israel for not taking steps to investigate
"war crimes" or "crimes against humanity" committed by Israel during Operation Cast Lead
in 2008-9, and said that according to the Yesh Din organization nearly
90% of the police cases in which settlers were accused of violence
against Palestinians were closed, and that only 3.5% of the Palestinian
complaints about violence by IDF soldiers had led to indictments.
In addition, the Amnesty report claims, in 2011 at least 307
Palestinians from the West Bank had been held in custody in Israel
without being indicted or tried. This was possible through the use of
directives based on secret information.
Israel also continued its policy of not allowing family members of
Gazan Palestinians to visit their relatives being held in Israel
prisons, the report says, a policy that has been in place since June
2007. In some cases, according to Amnesty, the government also prevented
family members of West Bank residents from visiting them in prison.
Amnesty also cited a number of incidents of alleged torture and abuse.
Recent legislation was also cited in the report, with Amnesty arguing
that the Knesset had passed laws limiting freedom of speech and
assembly, including a law that criminalized calls to boycott Israelis or
Israeli institutions or settlements. Amnesty also vilified the Nakba
Law, which makes it illegal for Israeli institutions or local
authorities to commemorate the Palestinian "Nakba."
Amnesty addressed the issue of refugees and asylum seekers, saying that
Israeli authorities continued to keep Eritrean and Sudanese asylum
seekers from undergoing procedures that would declare them refugees.
According to Amnesty, migrants from these two countries comprise 80% of
the total 45,000 refugee seekers in Israel. Amnesty said that they had
been issued temporary documents only and were not eligible to work or
apply for public services.
Not only Israel was criticized in the Amnesty report. The Palestinian
Authority in the West Bank and the Hamas government in Gaza are guilty
of condoning torture and violating civil rights, the group charges.
According to Amnesty, Palestinian security forces torture prisoners
and abuse them freely with no ramifications for the perpetrators.
Torture methods include beatings, suspension by the wrists or ankles,
and forcing victims to stand or sit in painful positions. Amnesty says
that four people in Gaza have died in "suspicious circumstances."
Morever, in both Gaza and the West Bank civilians continue to be
tried in Palestinian military courts, which are not independent. Hamas
reportedly staffs these courts with judges and prosecutors without the
appropriate education rather than judges appointed by the Palestinian
Amnesty adds that hundreds of Palestinians in the West Bank have been
jailed without trial for supporting Hamas, while Hamas forces in Gaza
have arrested hundreds of Fatah supporters, most of whom were held
without being allowed legal counsel, and some of whom were abused.
The Amnesty report also says that both the PA and Hamas government
continue to quash freedom of speech, association, and assembly.
Journalists are subject to harassment and even trial, as are bloggers
and other critics. Islamic organizations are forbidden from holding
meetings or demonstrations, and women and girls are subjected to
discrimination and violence by family members. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4233846,00.html
In: Other Middle East
Tags: Israel, Jews, military, torture, Palestinians, settlers, demolitions, free, speech, movement
Location: Israel (load item map)
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