Human rights reports on Israel-Palestine (regularly updated)

Human rights reports on Israel-Palestine (regularly updated)

A child in Gaza City. Photograph: Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images

Through the years, numerous humanitarian organizations have produced detailed reports on the situation in Israel-Palestine. Below are some of them.

– By IAK Staff

While both the Israeli and Palestinian governments have committed human rights violations, the Israeli abuses have been far more numerous, significant, and causative.

Moreover, many Israeli abuses are directly connected with Israel’s decades-long military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, theft of Palestinian land, and imprisoning of Palestinians behind a barrier, as documented in the reports below.

In addition, it is important to remember that Israel was established in 1948 through a war of ethnic cleansing, as an Israeli historian and many others have documented. It is also important to be aware that Israel’s claim that it is in danger from Palestinian attacks is also inaccurate.

U.S. media, however, rarely report these facts.

For example, in the years 2000-2007, humanitarian organizations published 76 reports documenting Israeli human rights abuses, and four reports documenting Palestinian abuses. The New York Times reported on two of each.

The relative quantity, chronology, and circumstances of the deaths (documented here) among both populations reflect the disproportionate power of the Israeli military over Palestinian resistance groups. Again, we find, the U.S. media regularly distort this reality.

This sampling of yearly fatality statistics illustrates the asymmetry:

At least 149 Palestinians (34 children) and 14 Israelis (2 children) have been killed by someone from the other side in 2019.

At least 290 Palestinians (55 children) and 14 Israelis (0 children) were killed by someone from the other side in 2018.

At least 96 Palestinians (20 of them children) and 17 Israelis were killed by someone from the other side in 2017.

At least 115 Palestinians (36 of them children) and 12 Israelis (1 of them a child) were killed by someone from the other side in 2016.

At least 192 Palestinians and 25 Israelis were killed by someone from the other side in 2015.

At least 2,285 Palestinians and 84 Israelis were killed by someone from the other side in 2014.

Below are a few of the multitude of reports documenting the situation for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza; a few address the situation for Palestinians within Israel itself. We will add new reports as they become available. Please check back often:

Human Rights Watch: Israel: 50 Years of Occupation Abuses

Amnesty International: Let’s be clear – Israel’s long-running settlement policy constitutes a war crime

Christian Aid: Christian Aid condemns the killing of our partner volunteer in Gaza

Cases of child malnutrition double in Gaza because of blockade

B’Tselem: After a year of protests in Gaza: 11 Military Police investigations, 1 charade

Red Cross: ICRC says Israel’s Gaza blockade breaks law

Physicians for Human Rights: Where We Work | Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory

Reporters Without Borders: RSF asks ICC to investigate Israeli sniper fire on Palestinian journalists

Foreign Service Journal: Special Report: Israel’s Treatment of Americans

U.S. State Department: U.S. says Israel may have violated cluster bomb use

Unicef: Children in Israeli Military Detention

Defense for Children International-Palestine: No Way to Treat a Child

Defense for Children International-Palestine: Military Detention

Human Sciences Research Center of South Africa: Is Israel an Apartheid State? Rhetoric or Reality

National Lawyers Guild: NLG Palestine Subcommittee Submits Report to ICC Prosecutor Refuting Israeli Self-Defense Claim

Red Cross: Israel: Record-Low in Gaza Medical Permits

UN: HUMAN RIGHTS IN PALESTINE AND OTHER OCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES: Report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict


B’Tselem: Minors in Jeopardy: Violation of the Rights of Palestinian Minors by Israel’s Military Courts

Recent reports:

Human Rights Watch: apparent war crimes by Israel during May attack on Gaza

Human Rights Watch investigated several Israeli attacks that resulted in particularly high numbers of civilian casualties – with no evident military target – and determined that the incidents may have been war crimes. Other Israeli attacks during the conflict were also likely unlawful. During the 11-day escalation, attacks by the Israeli military killed 260 Palestinians, including at least 129 civilians, of whom 66 were children. 12 Israelis were killed.

A Life Exposed: Military Invasions of Palestinian Homes in the West Bank 

Most of us feel safe in our homes. As night falls, we turn out the lights, close the doors and gather inside with our families, safe in
the knowledge that within our four walls, we are protected from the world outside. The knowledge that when our door is closed, no one can invade our private space without our permission enables the peace of mind and comfort we feel at home.

This sense of security is stolen from Palestinians in the West Bank, where almost every night, throughout the area, armedIsraeli soldiers raid Palestinian homes. This report presents the Israeli military’s widespread practice of invading Palestinian homes, which forms a key aspect of everyday life under the Israeli occupation. These invasions repeatedly and seriously violate the dignity and privacy of Palestinian families and communities…

No Thanksgiving for the Palestinian Children of Gaza: UN says Israelis deprived them of $16.7 Bn., potable Water

From 2007 to 2018, the Israeli blockade cost the people of Gaza $16.7 billion…  in 2020 Gaza has witnessed the world’s highest unemployment rate, and more than half of its population lives below the poverty line. The vast majority of the population has no access to clean water, electricity or a proper sewage system, and the Gaza Strip experiences major environmental deterioration…”

The report mentions that Israeli authorities for three years actually calculated what would be necessary to keep the Palestinians of Gaza alive but without any fat on their bodies (so as to avoid the appearance they were being starved), and to keep goods allowed into the Strip to that level. They miscalculated, because stunting was observed among Palestinian children, to whom they pettily denied chocolate in specific. The whole exercise was creepy and reeked of an experiment on living subjects…

Israel’s collective punishment of Palestinians illegal and an affront to justice: UN expert – full report here
ICRC: Urgent Intervention Needed to Protect Palestinian Prisoners and Detainees in Israeli Prisons from COVID-19 Exposure

Urgent Intervention Needed to Protect Palestinian Prisoners and Detainees in Israeli Prisons from COVID-19 Exposure

Experts: Israeli System Constitutes Apartheid, Crime against Humanity

Analyses by Professors Richard Falk and Virginia Tilley confirm that Israel is perpetrating ‘apartheid,’ a system of racism and discrimination that under international law constitutes a ‘crime against humanity.’ The authors conclude that Israel’s practice of racial-ethnic domination is the fundamental obstacle to peace.

Human Rights Watch: Israel and Palestine events of 2019

Sampling from the report: “During the first nine months of 2019, Israeli authorities approved plans for 5,995 housing units in West Bank settlements, excluding East Jerusalem, as compared to 5,618 in all of 2018…Israeli authorities destroyed 504 Palestinian homes and other structures in 2019…As of mid-November, 46 percent of “essential” medicines were reported at zero stock at Gaza’s Central Drug Store, according to WHO…As of November 11, lethal force by Israeli forces resulted in the killing of 71 and injuring 11,453 Palestinians in Gaza, OCHA reported. An additional 33 were killed and 114 injured, according to al-Mezan, during escalated fighting between November 12 and 14.”

World Health Organization: Right to Health (2018)

This report analyses some of the major barriers to realization of the right to health for Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory. It focuses on four main topics: provision and availability of healthcare; access to healthcare; underlying determinants of health; and health attacks.

…Israel, as occupying power, retains the primary responsibility to respect, protect and fulfil the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health in the occupied Palestinian territory, comprising the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, in line with its obligations towards the protected Palestinian population under international human rights law and international humanitarian law. The Palestinian Authority and de facto authority in Gaza also have obligations to fulfil the right to health to the extent of their jurisdiction, including ensuring the equitable provision of healthcare. Finally, third States have obligations to uphold the right to health and to ensure respect for international law.

September 2019 Demolition and Displacement Report – ICAHD (Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions)

During the month of September 2019, at least 47 structures were demolished in the occupied Palestinian Territories (including East Jerusalem) by Israeli forces, displacing at least 78 people- including 16 children- and affecting a further 1,096 people (according to OCHA oPT).

All the demolitions and confiscations were carried out on grounds of lacking an Israeli-issued building permit. Most of the demolished structures supported agricultural, herding and commercial livelihoods. […]

Euro Med Monitor for Human Rights: Jerusalem: 477 Israeli violations in August: Settlers’ raids at Al-Aqsa reflect official tendencies to change status quo

The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor is a Geneva-based independent organization with regional offices across the MENA region and Europe.

The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor confirmed in a report that the Israeli occupation forces escalated their attacks in the occupied city of Jerusalem, as party of a policy adopted by the highest Israeli political level, amid clear indications of Israeli tendencies to break the status quo at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

During this month, the Euro-Med team documented the storming of 3, 687 Israeli settlers of Al-Aqsa, accompanied by tight security from the Israeli police and special forces…

Amnesty International: Israel Discriminatory measures undermine Palestinian representation in Knesset

gaza blockadeOCHA: Gaza Crossings’ Operations Status: Monthly Update – July 2019

Report on movement and access of people, movement of goods into and out of Gaza:

Longstanding restrictions on the movement of people and goods to and from the Gaza Strip have undermined the living conditions of about two million Palestinians. Many of the restrictions, originally imposed by Israel in the early 1990s, were intensified after June 2007, following the Hamas takeover of Gaza, the imposition of a blockade and the closure of the Rafah Crossing with Egypt. These restrictions limit access to livelihoods, essential basic services and housing, disrupt family life, and undermine people’s hopes for a secure and prosperous future. In recent months, OCHA has witnessed some easing of restrictions such as opening Kerem Shalom crossing on Friday for the entry of Qatari-funded fuel for the Gaza Power Plant (GPP) and an increase in the number of permits issued to business people. (Full report here.)

gaza blockadeOCHA: Gaza Strip: early warning indicators – July 2019

Report on access to electricity, water, sanitation, health, protection, food, shelter, and education:

The Gaza Strip faces an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, impacting the livelihoods and access to essential services by its two million residents. This crisis has been driven by over 12 years of an Israeli blockade and an unsolved internal Palestinian divide, exacerbated since March 2018 by the massive increase in Palestinian casualties in the context of demonstrations taking place near Israel’s perimeter fence, as well as limited escalations in hostilities between Israel and Palestinian armed groups. The following indicators were identified by the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) to monitor specific aspects of the the crisis, trigger humanitarian action and prevent further deterioration. (Full report here.)

gaza blockadeOCHA: Humanitarian snapshot: Casualties in the context of demonstrations and hostilities in Gaza | 30 Mar 2018 – 31 July 2019

Report on fatalities and injuries to Palestinians and Israelis since the start of the Great March of Return:

Since the 30 March 2018, the Gaza Strip has witnessed a significant increase in Palestinian casualties resulting from the start of the Great March of Return demonstrations. In addition other activities along Israel’s perimeter fence have resulted in increased levels of casualties.   This snapshot captures the number of casualties since the start of the Great March of Return on 30 March 2018.   The large number of casualties of unarmed Palestinians, the use of live-ammunition and the impact of tear gas canisters all raise concerns of excessive use of force.   Exposure of children to violence and the lack of protection for medical personnel are additional concerns. (Full report here.)

israeli demolitionOCHA: West Bank Demolitions and Displacement: An Overview (July 2019)
  • Number of persons displaced so far this year exceeds total for 2018.
  • Ten buildings near the Barrier demolished on security grounds.
  • 24 donor-funded structures demolished or seized during July, the largest such figure in a single month since January 2017.

In July 2019, the Israeli authorities demolished or seized 66 Palestinian-owned structures, displacing 47 people and otherwise affecting the livelihoods or access to services of nearly 8,000 others. The cumulative number of people displaced due to demolitions in the first seven months of 2019 (481) now exceeded the number of people displaced in all of 2018 (472).

In Area C, a total of 52 structures were demolished this month, all on grounds of lack of building permits, bringing the number of structures demolished so far this year in this area to 223, an increase of 64 per cent compared to the equivalent period in 2018 (136). (Read full report here.)

israeli injustice

B’Tselem’s Fake Justice: The Responsibility Israel’s High Court Justices Bear for the Demolition of Palestinian Homes and the Dispossession of Palestinians

February 2019: In early September 2018, after years of legal proceedings, the justices of Israel’s High Court of Justice (HCJ) determined there was no legal obstacle to demolishing the structures in the community of Khan al-Ahmar ¬– located about two kilometers south of the settlement of Kfar Adumim – as construction in the compound was “unlawful.”

The ruling’s determination that the destruction of the community is no more than an issue of “law enforcement” accurately reflects how Israel has framed its policy regarding Palestinian construction in the West Bank for years. On the declarative level, Israeli authorities consider the demolition of Palestinian homes in the West Bank as no more than a matter of illegal construction, as if Israel does not have long-term goals in the West Bank and as if the matter does not have far-reaching implications for the human rights of hundreds of thousands of individuals, including their ability to subsist, make a living and manage their own routine. (Read full summary here; read full report here.)

israel land theftB’Tselem’s Conquer and Divide: new interactive map to mark 52 years since the Israeli occupation began

Today – 52 years to the day since Israel began occupying the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, and against the backdrop of measures undertaken by the Trump administration to promote its “deal of the century”– B’Tselem launched a new interactive project illustrating Israel’s encroachment upon Palestinian space over the decades, shattering the land into small, isolated units, and keeping Palestinians apart from one another and from Israelis.

This visualization of the occupation shows how a combination of measures – annexation; establishment of settlements; declaration of “state land,” firing zones, nature reserves and national parks; construction of the Separation Barrier; division of the West Bank into Areas A, B and C with varying forms of control; and severing the Gaza Strip from the West Bank – has broken up Palestinian space into separate units that are easier to control in isolation. While Israel imposes restrictions on Palestinian movement as a major means of control, Israelis enjoy freedom of movement within the West Bank, within Israel, and between the two areas. (Read full introduction here; see interactive map here.)

palestinian children

Defense for Children International – Palestine Year-in-review: 2018 rained deadly force on Palestinian Children

Israeli forces continued to kill Palestinian children at an average pace exceeding one child per week in 2018. At the bitter close of 52 weeks, 56 Palestinian children were dead due to Israeli forces’ actions.

The vast majority of the fatalities, 86 percent, took place in the Gaza Strip. Of these, 46 children died as a result of Israeli forces’ actions since March 30, often in the context of the “Great March of Return” protests and related activities. This number includes four-year-old Ahmad Yasser Sabri Abu Abed who was struck by bullet fragments on December 7 while in his father’s arms, dying four days later.

Live ammunition accounted for 73 percent of the total child fatalities. In a number of cases, DCIP found no evidence that children presented a direct, mortal threat at the time that Israeli forces employed lethal force against them. Full report here.)

 * Human Rights Watch 92 page report: Israeli suspension of Palestinian rights is unlawful & unjustifiable (December 17, 2019)

 * Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967

If Americans Knew is a nonprofit organization dedicated to giving Americans the facts on Israel-Palestine. The organization particularly focuses on information largely missing from U.S. media reports.


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