Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

Israel and Palestine border

We are witnessing horror unfolding on an unimaginable scale in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

The unparalleled escalation of the conflict between Israel and Hamas and other armed groups has taken a devastating toll on civilians. The level of casualties is unprecedented. Countless lives have been shattered, ripped apart, and upended.

Civilian deaths in Gaza continue to rise at a staggering rate amid relentless Israeli bombardment, in response to the horrific attacks on October 7, 2023 in Israel by Hamas and other armed groups that resulted in 1,200 people killed and the abduction of civilians. More than a third of casualties in Gaza are children and countless bodies are still trapped beneath the rubble. Millions more face further displacement, dispossession and suffering.

At least 100 Israeli hostages taken by Hamas and other armed groups and continue to be held in Gaza remain in danger, and ongoing indiscriminate rocket fire into Israel places civilians at risk. 

Amnesty International is one of the few organizations still on the ground and monitoring the human rights and humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip. Israel security forces and Palestinian armed groups must make every effort to protect the lives of civilians after the outbreak of fighting in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.

Protect Civilians

DEMAND A CEASeFIRE BY ALL PARTIES

Urge the international community to call for an immediate ceasefire and put an end to the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.

***TOOLKIT FOR ACTION***

What you will find below:

  • Amnesty’s calls for action
  • Letter writing to Canada, the USA & Israel
  • Online censorship and what to do about it
  • Protecting the Right to Protest
  • Solidarity Actions
  • How the laws of war apply
  • The latest Open Letters, News & Updates
  • Further background including Israel’s system of Apartheid

What Amnesty International is calling for

  • An immediate and sustained ceasefire by all parties in the occupied Gaza Strip and Israel.
  • An immediate end to unlawful attacks, including indiscriminate attacks, direct attacks on civilians and civilian objects, and disproportionate attacks by all parties.
  • Israel to immediately allow unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid into the occupied Gaza Strip’s civilians, lift its 16-year illegal blockade on Gaza, and grant immediate access to the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
  • The immediate restoration of internet and telecommunications infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, to allow rescue operations amidst Israeli pounding airstrikes and expanding ground operations.
  • Hamas and all other armed groups to unconditionally and immediately release all civilian hostages and to treat all those being held captive humanely, including by providing medical treatment, pending their release.
  • Israel to release all arbitrarily detained Palestinians.
  • A comprehensive arms embargo on all parties to the conflict in light of the serious violations amounting to crimes under international law currently being committed.
  • The International Criminal Court’s ongoing investigation into the situation of Palestine to proceed and to receive full support and all necessary resources.
  • The international community to address the root causes of this violence, with utmost urgency.

What you can do to help: take action!

CANADA: Contact the Prime Minister and your Member of Parliament and urge them to follow through on the Canadian government’s commitment to support international efforts towards a sustainable ceasefire by all parties and other measures to protect civilians.

STOP ARMS SALES: Any state continuing to transfer military equipment violates international rules on arms trade and risks becoming complicit in violations of international humanitarian law – including war crimes – and a plausible genocide in Gaza. Sign and share our online action Calling on the Minister of Foreign Affairs to stop all direct or indirect transfers of military equipment to Israel.

USA: Call on US President Biden to support an immediate and sustained ceasefire by all parties and other measures including suspending the sale or transfer of weapons to Israel.

ENSURE HUMANITARIAN AID: Write letters calling on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to ensure that the State of Israel complies with the ICJ ruling and takes immediate and effective steps to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian and medical aid across the entire Gaza Strip as required by international law. More information and addresses here.

Sign and share our online action Israel: Allow Aid into Gaza.

PROECTING HOSPITALS: Write personal letters calling on Israel’s Minister of Defense to rescind the evacuation order against Gaza hospitals. More information and addresses here.

HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS: UPDATE: MUNTHER AMIRA HAS BEEN RELEASED! THANKS TO ALL WHO TOOK ACTION. Write letters calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Munther Amira, a prominent Palestinian human rights defender and social worker, held by Israeli forces since December 18, 2023. On January 11, 2024, an Israeli military court upheld a four-month administrative detention order against him. Amira, who urgently needs daily medication for chronic illnesses, faces serious health risks while in detention. More information and addresses here.

ATTACKS ON MEDICAL WORKERS: Write personal letters to the Military Advocate General of the Israel Defense Force urging him to immediately release Dr. Khaled Al Serr and disclose the whereabouts and legal status of all Palestinian health workers from Gaza who have been forcibly disappeared. On March 24, 2024, Israeli forces detained Palestinian doctor Khaled Al Serr from Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis, Gaza. He has since been held in conditions amounting to enforced disappearance. Over two months later, Israeli authorities still conceal his fate and whereabouts. His family has only received scant information from his colleagues and released detainees. More information and addresses here.

DISAPPEARED JOURNALISTS: Write personal letters calling on Israel’s Military Advocate General Brig. Gen. Yifat Tomer-Yerushalmi to immediately disclose the whereabouts of Nidal al-Waheidi and Haitham Abdelwahed, two journalists from the occupied Gaza Strip who disappeared following their arrest on October 7, 2023. More information and addresses here.

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION: Write letters calling for the release of Ahmad Khalefa, a Palestinian citizen of Israel and lawyer, human rights defender, community organiser and newly elected city council member. On October 19, 2023, Israeli police violently arrested him along with 10 other demonstrators from a peaceful protest in his native town of Umm al-Fahm in northern Israel. He was subsequently charged with “incitement to terrorism” and “identification with a terrorist group,” for chanting slogans against the war in Gaza. Israeli authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Ahmad Khalefa from house arrest, allow him to resume his work without intimidation and drop the baseless charges against him. More information and addresses here.

Report online censorship and shadowbanning

Amnesty International is continuing to monitor instances of the wrongful blocking or removal of social media posts, as well as shadowbanning of accounts in the context of the current conflict. If you or anyone you know has experienced this, please share links and/or screenshots of the content that was flagged or removed, as well as screenshots of the original content with hello@amnesty.tech.

Support the Right to Protest

PRESS RELEASES

Canada: Authorities must protect rights as student protests surge (3 May 2024)

OTHER RESOURCES

Sign up for Amnesty’s online course on the Right to Protest and learn why protest is protected by human rights, how the freedom to protest is under threat throughout the world, and how you can defend your right to protest.

Learn more about your rights when protesting in Canada by checking out this guide from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

Take Amnesty’s online course on Self care for Activists and learn how to invest in yourself as an activist. Understand the nature of burnout and vicarious trauma, and learn how to put together your own Self-Care Toolbox.

Watch he UN Human Rights Council #56 side event on 26 June 2024 in Geneva at the Palais des Nations: In defence of free expression and peaceful assembly in solidarity with Palestinian human rights:

Share Amnesty’s calls for action on social media and at protests

Download Amnesty branded signs and images from this folder. Remember that Amnesty has a specific role and that we do not endorse all calls by other organizations.

Send a message of support to the families of the hostages

Use this online form set up by Amnesty Israel to send a message of support to the families of the hostages. Your messages will be delivered at the end of January 2024. THIS ACTION IS NOW CLOSED. THANKS TO ALL WHO SENT MESSAGES.

Act in Solidarity

🎥 Film Your Demand: Create a video demanding a #CeasefireNOW and share it on your social channels.
📷 Photo Opportunity: Print a CeasefireNOW poster, take a photo holding it at a well-known landmark, and post it online. Change your social media profile picture or post a photo of yourself or a group of people holding signs or placards spelling out “Ceasefire”. Use hashtag #CeasefireNOW.
🎆 Light Up the Night: Use sparklers to write ‘CeasefireNOW’ in the dark, film it in slow motion, and share your luminous call for peace. Use hashtag #CeasefireNOW.
✊🏾 Wear Your Message: Write ‘CeasefireNOW’ on your arm or hand and showcase your commitment to the cause.

Learn more about human rights in the context of armed conflict

Understanding the long roots of violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel

RIGHTS REVEALED #1: Human Rights and Armed Conflict: Even wars have laws

This looks at human rights in armed conflict and explains International Humanitarian Law (aka the “laws of war”).

RIGHTS REVEALED #2: Human Rights and Armed Conflict: The escalating conflict in Israel and Gaza

This looks specifically at human rights and International Humanitarian Law in the context of the current and historical conflict in Gaza/OPT and Israel.

Read more about the current crisis in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

Latest updates from the UN Office of Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) including civilian casualties.

AMNESTY CANADA’S OPEN LETTERS

Open letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the call for an immediate ceasefire by all parties in the occupied Gaza Strip and Israel (8 Nov 2023)

Open letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on human rights in Gaza (14 Oct 2023)

JOINT LETTERS

Feminist Organizations Joint Appeal for Immediate Ceasefire in Gaza (17 Nov 2023)

Open Letter: Civil society coalition urges Canada to stop arms transfers to Israel (5 Feb 2024)

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASES

Israel/OPT: Hamas and other armed groups must immediately release civilians held hostage in Gaza (12 July 2024)

Israel/OPT: Dutch Investor pushes for human rights safeguards to stop use of surveillance technology against Palestinians (4 July 2024)

New crossing points and ‘floating dock’ are cosmetic changes, as humanitarian access disintegrates in Gaza, warn aid agencies (28 May 2024)

Israeli air strikes that killed 44 civilians further evidence of war crimes in the occupied Gaza Strip (27 May 2024)

Israel must comply with International Court of Justice order calling it to immediately halt military operations in Rafah (24 May 2024)

Israel/OPT: ICC applications for arrest warrants for Netanyahu, Sinwar and other senior Israeli and Hamas officials crucial step towards justice (21 May 2024)

World leaders fail to act as Israeli invasion of Rafah worsens humanitarian catastrophe (joint stmt 15 May 2024)

Nakba Day: Mass forced displacement in Gaza highlights urgent need for Israel to uphold Palestinians’ right to return (15 May 2024)

Israeli military must guarantee civilians’ safety as ground operation gets underway in eastern Rafah (7 May 2024)

Gaza: Discovery of mass graves highlights urgent need to grant access to independent human rights investigators (24 April 2024)

State-backed deadly rampage by Israeli settlers in the West Bank underscores urgent need to dismantle apartheid (22 April 2023)

Jordan: Stop cracking down on pro-Gaza protests and release those charged for exercising their freedoms of assembly and expression (11 April 2024)

More than 250 humanitarian and human rights organisations call to stop arms transfers to Israel and Palestinian armed groups (updated10 April 2024)

Death in custody of Walid Daqqah is cruel reminder of Israel’s disregard for Palestinians’ right to life (8 April 2024)

Israel/ OPT: With famine setting in a ceasefire and more aid routes into Gaza are urgently needed (5 April 2024)

Time is running out for international action to protect civilians and prevent atrocity crimes in Rafah, as UN Security Council resolution is ignored (3 April 2024)

UN Special Rapporteur report on Gaza provides crucial evidence that must spur international action to prevent genocide (26 March 2024)

UN resolution must pave way for enduring ceasefire to alleviate mass suffering in Gaza (25 March 2024)

EU: European Council call for a sustainable ceasefire in Gaza not sufficient to end civilian suffering (22 March 2024)

Gaza: Airdrops and sea routes are no alternative to aid delivery by land (13 March 2024)

Denmark: NGOs sue the Danish state to stop arms exports to Israel (12 March 2024)

Egypt: Human Rights Group and its Director Threatened and Smeared Following Reports on Gaza Border Activity (26 Feb 2024)

Israel defying ICJ ruling to prevent genocide by failing to allow adequate humanitarian aid to reach Gaza (26 Feb 2024)

Israel must end its occupation of Palestine to stop fuelling apartheid and systematic human rights violations (20 Feb 2024)

Israel/OPT: New evidence of unlawful Israeli attacks in Rafah, Gaza causing mass civilian casualties amid real risk of genocide (12 Feb 2024)

Shocking spike in use of unlawful lethal force by Israeli forces against Palestinians in t (he occupied West Bank (5 Feb 2024)

Israel/OPT: States must reverse cruel decision to withdraw UNRWA funding (29 Jan 2024)

Canada ‘must not sit quietly on the sidelines’ after ICJ genocide ruling on Gaza (29 Jan 2024)

Israel must comply with key ICJ ruling to prevent genocide against Palestinians in Gaza (26 Jan 2024)

ICJ hearings over Israel’s alleged breaches of the Genocide Convention a vital step to help protect Palestinian civilians (10 Jan 2024)

Israel/OPT: Adoption of UN resolution to expedite humanitarian aid to Gaza an important but insufficient step (22 Dec 2023)

Urgently investigate inhumane treatment and enforced disappearance of Palestinians detainees from Gaza (20 Dec 2023)

Israel/OPT: US veto of ceasefire resolution displays callous disregard for civilian suffering in face of staggering death toll (8 Dec 2023)

Israel/OPT: US must not block UNSC resolution to demand an immediate ceasefire (7 Dec 2023)

Lebanon: Deadly Israeli attack on journalists must be investigated as a war crime (7 Dec 2023)

Israel/OPT: US-made munitions killed 43 civilians in two documented Israeli air strikes in Gaza – new investigation (5 Dec 2023)

ISRAEL/OPT:  Urgent need for a sustained ceasefire to end civilian bloodshed and mass suffering as fighting resumes (1 Dec 2023)

European governments donors’ discriminatory funding restrictions to Palestinian civil society risk deepening human rights crisis (28 Nov 2023)

Israel/ OPT: Deal to release hostages and prisoners must pave way for further releases and a sustained ceasefire (22 Nov 2023)

Israel/OPT: ‘Nowhere safe in Gaza’: Unlawful Israeli strikes illustrate callous disregard for Palestinian lives (20 Nov 2023)

Global: UNSC Resolution on ‘humanitarian pauses’ in Gaza presents vital opportunity to stop massive suffering (16 Nov 2023)

Israel/OPT: Another blackout in Gaza imminent if sufficient fuel is not restored (15 Nov 2023)

Israel/OPT: Amnesty petition demanding ceasefire to end civilian suffering backed by more than one million signatures (10 Nov 2023)

Peaceful protest against injustice in Israel/OPT is not a threat to security (9 Nov 2023)

States must call for an immediate ceasefire at Paris Humanitarian Conference to ensure safe delivery of aid in Gaza (8 Nov 2023)

Israel/OPT: Horrifying cases of torture and degrading treatment of Palestinian detainees amid spike in arbitrary arrests (8 Nov 2023)

Israel/OPT: Hamas and other armed groups must release civilian hostages and treat all captives humanely (7 Nov 2023)

Lebanon: Evidence of Israel’s unlawful use of white phosphorus in southern Lebanon as cross-border hostilities escalate (31 Oct 2023)

Global: Social media companies must step up crisis response on Israel-Palestine as online hate and censorship proliferate (27 Oct 2023)

Israel/OPT: Urgent call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza by all parties to end civilian suffering (26 Oct 2023)

Israel/OPT: Israeli army leaflets ordering residents of northern Gaza to leave and threatening lives may amount to war crimes (25 Oct 2023)

Damning evidence of war crimes as Israeli attacks wipe out entire families in Gaza (20 Oct 2023)

Appalling Gaza “evacuation order” must be rescinded by Israel immediately (13 Oct 2023)

Israel/OPT: Identifying the Israeli army’s use of white phosphorus in Gaza (13 Oct 2023)

Palestinian armed groups must be held accountable for deliberate civilian killings, abductions and indiscriminate attacks (12 Oct 2023)

Israel/OPT: Israel must lift illegal and inhumane blockade on Gaza as power plant runs out of fuel (12 Oct 2023)

Civilians paying the price of escalating hostilities between Israel, Gaza: Amnesty International (8 Oct 2023)

Further Background on human rights in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

The root causes of these repeated cycles of violence must be addressed as a matter of urgency. This requires upholding international law and ending Israel’s 16-year-long illegal blockade on Gaza, and all other aspects of Israel’s system of apartheid imposed on all Palestinians. The Israeli government must refrain from inciting violence and tensions in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, especially around religious sites. Amnesty International calls on the international community to urgently intervene to protect civilians and prevent further suffering.

Since 2007, Israel has imposed an air, land and sea blockade on the Gaza Strip collectively punishing its entire population.

In 2021, the International Criminal Court opened an investigation into the situation in the State of Palestine. Its mandate includes crimes under international law committed by all parties in the current fighting, as well as the crime against humanity of apartheid against Palestinians.

Israel’s system of Apartheid is a crime against humanity

In February 2022, Amnesty International released a groundbreaking report on Israel’s apartheid, systemic oppression and discrimination that is a daily reality for Palestinians. 

Read the executive summary, FAQ, our Letter to Prime Minister Trudeau and download a copy of the full report ISRAEL’S APARTHEID AGAINST PALESTINIANS: CRUEL SYSTEM OF DOMINATION AND CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY.

Sign up for Amnesty’s 90 minute online course on Deconstructing Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians, available in EnglishArabicFrenchSpanish and Hebrew.

In June 2023, Amnesty International published its investigation into the May 2023 offensive on the Gaza strip, finding that Israel had unlawfully destroyed Palestinian homes, often without military necessity in what amounts to a form of collective punishment against the civilian population.

End the Occupation!

Amnesty International is an impartial human rights organization and seeks to ensure that all parties to an armed conflict comply with international humanitarian law and international human rights law. Accordingly, in future briefings, Amnesty International will be investigating Israel’s military action in the Gaza Strip to determine whether it is complying with the rules of international humanitarian law, including by taking necessary precautions to minimize harm to civilians and civilian objects and refraining from unlawful attacks and from collective punishment of the civilian population, as required under international law. Amnesty International will also continue to monitor the activities of Hamas and Palestinian armed groups.