Israel and Palestine
Events in 2018
The Israeli government continued to enforce severe and discriminatory restrictions on Palestinians’ human rights; restrict the movement of people and goods into and out of the Gaza Strip; and facilitate the unlawful transfer of Israeli citizens to settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Inhumanity in the army
Israeli forces stationed on the Israeli side of the fences separating Gaza and Israel responded to demonstrations for Palestinian rights on the Gaza side with excessive lethal force. Between March 30 and November 19, security forces killed 189 Palestinian demonstrators, including 31 children and 3 medical workers, and wounded more than 5,800 with live fire. Demonstrators threw rocks and “Molotov cocktails,” used slingshots to hurl projectiles, and launched kites bearing incendiary materials, which caused significant property damage to nearby Israeli communities, and, in at least one instance, fired towards soldiers. Officers repeatedly fired on protesters who posed no imminent threat to life, under expansive open-fire orders from senior officials that contravene international human rights law standards. In May, the United Nations Human Rights Council set up a commission of inquiry.
The Israeli army also launched intermittent air and artillery strikes in the Gaza Strip, killing 37 Palestinians between March 30 and November 19, including at least five civilians. Palestinian armed groups fired 1138 rockets and mortars indiscriminately toward Israel from Gaza as of November 13, according to the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, a major increase over previous years, killing one person and injuring at least 40, including civilians.
Attempts to reconcile did not end the rivalry between Palestinian groups Fatah and Hamas. Both the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza arrested opposition supporters and other critics and mistreated and tortured some in their custody. The Independent Commission for Human Rights in Palestine (ICHR), a statutory commission charged with monitoring human rights compliance by the Palestinian authorities, received 180 complaints of arbitrary arrest, 173 complaints of torture and ill-treatment, and 209 complaints of administrative detention under orders from a regional governor by PA security forces as of October 31. In the same period, the body recorded 81 complaints of arbitrary arrest and 146 complaints of torture and ill-treatment against Hamas security forces.