The Occupied

West Bank

The Occupied

The images in this series highlight the difficulties and realities of daily life for Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation in the West Bank

The images in this series highlight the difficulties and realities of daily life for Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation in the West Bank.

The actions of Palestinian civilians living in the West Bank are governed by Israeli military law, allowing the military authorities to restrict their movement not only between towns and villages but also within them, denying them access to basic human rights and civil liberties and creating a pervasive and threatening presence.

Israeli settlers who live in those same towns and villages, and whose occupation of the land is deemed illegal under international law, enjoy all the freedoms and protections afforded them under Israeli civilian law. “There is no law enforcement on the Israeli settlers or soldiers,” explains Issa Amro, a Palestinian human rights defender and non-violent activist. “As a Palestinian I am under Israeli military law, and my Israeli settler neighbors are under Israeli civilian law. We are under different laws even though we are living in the same neighborhood.”

A Palestinian boy is detained by Israeli soldiers while riding his bicycle with a group of friends in the Old City of Hebron in the occupied West Bank/ Claire Thomas.

A Palestinian child is injured after being hit by a car driven by an Israeli settler in the Old City of Hebron. These types of hitandrun incidents are common in this area of the city, with the drivers facing no consequence or prosecution. Such are the disparate realities for Israelis living under the protection of Israeli civilian law, while Palestinians are without access to such protections under Israeli military law, albeit in the same neighborhood. The mandate of Israeli soldiers above all is to protect Israeli settlers living in occupied Palestinian areas/ Claire Thomas. 

Palestinian peace activist Izzat Karake sweeps the street while an Israeli sniper aims his gun at a group of Palestinian children throwing stones toward the checkpoint. Watch towers, checkpoints, razor wire and tear gas are all fixtures for Palestinians, and those resisting the occupation are often targeted by Israeli forces/ Claire Thomas.

A Palestinian boy rides a bicycle past the separation wall in the Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem. The partition of rights and freedoms along ethnic lines is manifested in the Separation Wall, (also referred to as the West Bank barrier and the apartheid wall), built by the Israeli government in 2000, which divides the land, separates Palestinian communities and families, and segregates those without access to civil liberties from those who do/ Claire Thomas. 

Children from al-Ibrahimiya kindergarten in the Old City of Hebron paint messages on the separation wall directly outside the kindergarten near Shuhada Streeta landmark location in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which cannot be accessed from this area of HebronPainting on the separation wall was a message for the whole world that even though we can’t go to Shuhada Street, we can send our dreams to the street, and we can send messages to the Israelis that we are here, said Zleikha Muhtaseb, the kindergarten owner. “Being a Palestinian is a big crime here,” she continued/ Claire Thomas.  

Palestinians in Hebron gather to commemorate the anniversary of the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre, a mass shooting carried out by American-Israeli Baruch Goldstein on February 25, 1994. Goldstein opened fire on Palestinian Muslims praying inside the mosque, killing 29 and wounding 125/ Claire Thomas. 

Israeli soldiers detain four Palestinians including a child on their way home after a vigil commemorating the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre in HebronSuch detentions are commonplace as part of the Israeli occupation forces’ practice of making their presence felt/ Claire Thomas.

A Palestinian man collapses during a confrontation with an Israeli settler who attacked a crowd that had gathered to commemorate the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre in Hebron/ Claire Thomas.

A Palestinian woman cries as her husband collapses during a confrontation with an Israeli settler in Hebron after a peaceful commemoration ceremony for the victims of the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre. The woman pleads with Israeli soldiers to allow an ambulance to access the area to take her husband to hospital/ Claire Thomas.

Palestinian human rights defender Issa Amro speaks to a military commander who refused to intervene when a settler attacked Palestinians and international volunteers during an evening of commemorate activities in Hebron. Amro is himself no stranger to detentions, arrests and confrontations with Israeli soldiers and settlers. Born and raised in Hebron, the largest Palestinian city in the West Bank, Amro has dedicated his life to peaceful resistance against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. As a result, he faces frequent arrests, targeted attacks by settlers and unrelenting efforts by Israeli occupation forces to sabotage his non-violent resistance and to undermine his legitimacy as an internationally recognized human rights defender/ Claire Thomas.

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