To understand the violence of Israel’s occupation, know these 30 stories


Violence and whitewashing are the double helix of the occupation's DNA. Here are 30 stories of Palestinians killed or harmed by its brutality, collected by B'Tselem over three decades. And they’re just the tip of the iceberg.

Hanan and Iman Abu Sha’ala, who were hit by an IDF artillery shell inside their home in 2001

Aishah Abu Laban is 70 years old. It has been 30 years since the fateful day in 1989 when an Israeli soldier shot and killed her 13-year-old daughter, Rufaydah – but she will never forget it. Rufaydah, who lived in Dheisheh Refugee Camp, was killed on her way home from the funeral of 16-year-old Naser al-Qassas, who had also been shot dead by soldiers a day earlier. The IDF Spokesperson responded to Rufaydah’s death by declaring “There was no connection between the death of the girl and IDF activity in the area.” Thirty years on, as Aishah puts it, there is only one conclusion: “When the judge is your enemy, who can you complain to?”

Twelve years later, we find ourselves in another refugee camp in the West Bank. This time Nur a-Shams and her two young sisters, Hanan, 11, and Iman, 8, were wounded in their home by an Israeli tank shell. Their mother, Najah Abu Sha’ala, was fearful of the tanks encircling the camp, as any mother would be. When the shelling grew heavier, she led her family to the safest place in the house: the staircase leading up to the roof. Then the shell hit. The IDF Spokesperson said: “After reviewing the overall circumstances of the incident, the decision is that there are no grounds for ordering an investigation by the Military Police Investigation Unit into this matter.

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