Press Releases 

B'Tselem urges soldiers to refuse to shoot protesters in Gaza

The Human Rights group B'Tselem launched a campaign entitled “Sorry, Sir, I can't shoot”. The campaign includes newspaper advertisements clarifying to soldiers that they must refuse to open fire on unarmed demonstrators. The organization is taking this unusual step following last Friday’s events, when soldiers used live fire against unarmed demonstrators. Of at least 17 Palestinians killed that day, 12 were killed at the protests. Hundreds more were injured by live gunfire.

The military is preparing for the demonstrations, but instead of attempting to reduce the number of those killed or injured, official sources have announced in advance that soldiers will use live fire against demonstrators even if they are hundreds of meters from the fence. B'Tselem warned of the expected outcome of this policy and now, ahead of the expected demonstrations this Friday, it is again clarifying that shooting unarmed demonstrators is illegal and that orders to shoot in this manner are manifestly illegal.

The responsibility for issuing these unlawful orders and for their lethal consequences rests with the policy makers and – above all – with Israel’s prime minister, defense minister, and the chief of staff. They are also the ones who bear the obligation to change these regulations immediately, before this Friday’s planned protests, in order to forestall any further casualties. That said, it is also a criminal offense to obey patently illegal orders. Therefore, as long as soldiers in the field continue to receive orders to use live fire against unarmed civilians, they are duty-bound to refuse to comply.

B'Tselem wishes to emphasize that the illegality of such orders “is not a question of form, nor is it imperceptible, or partially imperceptible.” On the contrary, it is a case of “unmistakable illegality patently evident in the order itself, it is a command that bears a clearly criminal nature or that the actions it orders are of a clearly criminal nature. It is an illegality that pains the eye and outrages the heart, if the eye be not blind and the heart be not callous or corrupt.”

Contrary to the impression given by senior military officers and government ministers, the military is not permitted to act as it sees fit, nor can Israel determine on its own what is permissible and what is not when dealing with demonstrators. Like all other countries, Israel’s actions are subject to the provisions of international law and the restrictions they impose on the use of weapons, and specifically the use of live fire. The provisions limit its use to instances involving tangible and immediate mortal danger, and only in the absence of any other alternative. Israel cannot simply decide that it is not bound by these rules.

The use of live ammunition blatantly unlawful in the case of soldiers firing from a great distance at demonstrators located on the other side of the fence that separates Israel from the Gaza Strip. In addition, it is impermissible to order soldiers to fire live ammunition at individuals for approaching the fence, damaging it, or attempting to cross it. Obviously, the military is allowed to prevent such actions, and even to detain individuals attempting to carry them out, but firing live ammunition solely on these grounds is absolutely prohibited.

For additional information: Amit Gilutz, +972-54-6841126, Our mailing address is B'Tselem, The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories P.O. Box 53132, Jerusalem 9153002

After Gaza border bloodshed - protest at Likud Party HQ, Tel Aviv

Now is the time to stand together and create hope. Now is the time to prevent the next war.

In the previous weekend, we saw how the next war, which threatens to fall upon us every passing day, could look like: more than 15 dead and thousands of Palestinians wounded, more pain and fear, more hatred and animosity, and zero progress toward a life of security and peace for the people living on both sides of the border.

This sad outcome could have been avoided. But when the government chooses to continue the siege on Gaza and to suffocate its residents, the outcome is growing despair. Despair that has consequences for all of us. What happened on Friday at the border of the Gaza Strip is not just a Palestinian story. So many people, Israelis and Palestinians, are under imminent danger of a further war.

We have to stop such an event before everything burns and more blood is spilled in vain. Both Israelis and Palestinians deserve to live in security, and in order to do so, we must lift the siege on Gaza now and put an end to the terrible distress there, and strive to end the occupation and promote peace between two states living side by side - Israel and Palestine. This is what we must demand from the government now - stop the fire, completely change direction.

Come and demonstrate with us on Sunday, 1 April, at 18:00, in front of Metzudat Ze'ev, the Likud Party's Headquarters on 38 King George Street in Tel Aviv, to demand that the escalation be halted and that an Israeli-Palestinian peace solution be immediately advanced.

Standing Together, Peace Now, Other Voice, Meretz, Hadash, Combatans for Peace, Parents Circle - Families Forum, Breaking the Silence, Hope not War, Zazim, Gush Shalom.

Haifa: Protest the killing of unarmed demonstrators on the Gaza border


We will not stay quiet upon the murder of our innocent people in Gaza by the racist occupation forces during the march of return!

We call on the public in Haifa and the region to raise an angry cry against the Israeli butchers!

We will meet on Saturday, March 31, at 7:00 pm, at the Martyr Bassel Al-Aaraj junction, the intersection of Allenby Street and the German Colony.

Mass Rally Against the Expulsion of Asylum Seekers

Saturday night, March 24 in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square - a mass rally against the expulsion of asylum seekers

Our struggle will not end until the cruel expulsion plan is annulled!

On Saturday night, March 24 at 20:00, a mass rally will be held at the Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, to oppose government plans for the large-scale expulsion of African refuges and asylum seekers. It has been shown that expelled refugees, sent to such countries as Rwanda and Uganda, are highly unwelcome there and would face further expulsion, a highly dangerous and unpredictable fate and the tangible threat of death or slavery . We call for a responsible asylum policy, the rehabilitation of the slum neighborhoods of South Tel Aviv where the mass of Africans are presently located and the integration of refugees and asylum seekers throughout the country.

Israelis from all over the political spectrum and from a variety of population groups have made it clear in recent months that they oppose the expulsion of the refugees. Tens of thousands of people attended a demonstration in south Tel Aviv - to protest slum rehabilitation being linked with and conditional upon expulsion of Africans, and to demand alternate solutions - humane and fair ones.

Now is the time to stand up and be counted, to demonstrate our full strength at the Rabin Square, to sound a loud and clear voice and prove to the government that this expulsion cannot will not happen!

The participation of each and every one is important. Come one, come all!

A.S.F. - Refugees` Rights Association

“Between Fences” - film documenting a theatre group of asylum seekers

“Between Fences” documents a theatre group of asylum seekers from Eritrea and Sudan at Holot facility. The group was initiated by the directors Chen Alon and Avi Mugrabi.

Screening of “Between Fences” in the presence of the directors Tuesday 20.3, 7:30pm, Imbala, 3 Yanai St. Jerusalm.

After the film we will have a discussion with the director Avi Mugrabi and asylum seekers living in Jerusalem.

Using the technics of the “Theatre of the Oppressed”, they explore together the position of asylum seekers in Israel. What leads men and women to leave their lives behind and set off into the unknown? Why does Israel, a state established by and for refugees, refuse to fulfill its legal duty to look into the status of people who escaped war, genocide and persecution? And can Israelis who work with asylum seekers identify with them and understand their situation?

Following Supreme Court session - call for freezing deportation procedures!

ACT NOW > SEND AN EMAIL TO ISRAEL'S ATTORNEY GENERAL שלחו אימייל לפרקליטות המדינה עכשיו

Following the developments at the High Court of Justice - We demand the immediate freezing of all deportation actions and the annulment of the deportation policy!

The Israeli High Court of Justice has also cast doubts as to the legality of the Israeli government's deportation agreements with Rwanda - Now is the time to shift gears and appeal to the Israeli Attorney General!

During the hearing at the High Court of Justice today, the judges posed tough questions to representatives of the State: Is the agreement which was presented to them last year the actual agreement? Is there an agreement at all? The judges told the Attorney General his arguments were insufficient. The judges also recommended the freezing of all deportation procedures scheduled to begin on 1.4.2018, until the issue is clarified.

The judges gave the Attorney General an extension until tomorrow (Tuesday) at 13:00 to present his response.

Following the developments in the High Court of Justice - We demand the immediate freezing of all deportation actions and the annulment of the deportation policy!

The next 24 hours are critical for the campaign! Please appeal immediately to the Attorney General with the following message:

"I call on you to freeze immediately all deportation actions and annul the deportation policy!"

Masses expected to attend Tel Aviv migrant solidarity rally

Planners of demonstration scheduled for Saturday afternoon hoping to display massive show of support for migrants as government-ordered deportations loom; 'We won't stand aside'; counter protesters slam attempts to 'steal our identity.'

A giant rally is scheduled to take place in south Tel Aviv Saturday in solidarity with illegal African migrants and asylum seekers, mainly from Sudan and Eritrea, who are soon to be deported to Uganda or Rwanda or face imprisonment in Israel.

In January, the government of Israel began notifying thousands of Africans who entered the country illegally that they have three months to leave or face incarceration.

The Population and Immigration Authority called on migrants at the same time from Sudan and Eritrea to leave "to their country or to a third country," meaning Rwanda or Uganda. Those who leave by the end of March will be given $3,500, along with airfare and other incentives.

The movement orchestrating the rally, known as “South Tel Aviv Against Deportation”, is expecting thousands to flock to the area to attend from across Israel in a bid to display widespread opposition to the Knesset’s approval of the deportation plan two months ago.

South Tel Aviv has been seriously affected by the wave of illegal migration in recent years that swept through Israel’s once-porous southern border.

Ahead of the demonstration, activists from the “Stand Together” movement recorded a number of famous people in video that has recently been published calling on the public to attend.

“We need to tell the government clearly: We will not stand aside while you deport asylum seekers to a cruel journey of suffering. South Tel Aviv has been abandoned and neglected for years. The time has come to find a real and just solution for everyone,” the activists said in the video.

Shula Keshet, a resident of Tel Aviv’s Neve Sha'anan neighborhood and founder of the South Tel Aviv Against Deportation movement, said that the aim of the demonstration was to call on the government to refrain from deporting elderly inhabitants and asylum seekers.

“Our protest is not right wing or left wing. It is for everyone whose eyes are wide open, both to the distress of the residents and the distress of the asylum seekers,” Keshet said.

Meital Cohen, a resident of public housing, also spoke out against the government plans, suggesting that financial considerations were at play in the decision.

“We cannot allow the deportation of migrants from Africa to take place. If it succeeds with the refugees, me and my neighbors will be next in line. They don’t want asylum seekers living on ‘their’ expensive land,” Cohen argued.

“They don’t want the residents of the neighborhoods and they most certainly do not want residents of public housing. They basically want clean spaces … so the land is available for the wealthy so they can make more profits.”

She also criticized the incitement that she said had permeated south Tel Aviv, led by people who are unfamiliar with the area.

“In south Tel Aviv there is incitement and a lot of brainwashing that is directed by activists, many of whom don’t live in the neighborhood,” Meital added, while another activist described the plan as illegitimate, inhumane.

In an effort to counter the demonstration, crowds are planning to assemble from the other side of the camp, led by “The Front for the Liberation of South Tel Aviv” under the campaign banner of “Remember Esther Galili,” a victim whose murder came to symbolize anger over the migrants’ presence and galvanize protesters into action.

The protest will take place exactly eight years after the Sudanese asylum seeker Yaakov Alpdel killed 70-year-old Esther Galili, near her home in the area near the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station after an argument broke out.

Sheffi Paz, Suzy Cohen and Ayala Sinvani who are leading the demonstration in favor of the deportations were keen to highlight Galili’s murder, arguing that it was being exploited by their opponents.

“This year, on the day marking the murder of Esther Galili, extremist left-wing groups are holding a giant rally under their banner of ‘South Tel Aviv Against Deportation.’ It’s enough to look at what is happening to understand the depths of the hypocrisy and the nerve of these movements,” they said.

“They are not for south Tel Aviv. They are don’t even know south Tel Aviv. For the resident of south Tel Aviv, the sense of security was taken, freedom of movement was snatched, and now they’re trying to take one thing that we have left and are insisting on stealing identity.”

Responding to the accusation however, Keshet bemoaned the fact that it was in fact the trio’s movement that was cynically exploiting Galili’s death for political ends.

“We remember on this day and every day Esther Galili, may her memory be blessed,” Keshet said. “The terrible murder joins more instances of serious violence that have ripped south Tel Aviv apart over the years, whether they were carried out by asylum seekers or Israelis. The blood of the victims is on the heads of the criminals and we must not mark entire communities with the badge of disgrace which belongs to criminals in order to justify the deportations.”

Roads near the rally will be closed from 3pm on Saturday afternoon.

Rwanda announced Friday that it would only absorb Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seeker being deported from Israel if the measures were in accordance with international law.

“Every statement suggesting that asylum seekers in Israel must choose between deportation to Rwanda or prison are offensive and misleading,” an official statement by the Rwandan government read.

“The issue of asylum seekers is an internal Israeli issue, and Rwanda will be happy to help any asylum seeker who comes legally,” it added,7340,L-5127607,00.html