Timeline: Shrinking space in Israel-Palestine

Illustrating the clampdown on civil society

This timeline constitutes the first in a series illustrating the clampdown on civil society in Israel-Palestine that the Diakonia International Humanitarian Law Centre Jerusalem will develop in the coming months. The timelines are organized around different actors; this timeline focuses exclusively on official measures taken by the Israeli authorities.

This timeline is not comprehensive in scope but rather seeks to provide examples of measures that are illustrative of larger patterns of behaviour restricting civil and political rights. Major historical inflection points are included for purposes of contextualization.

The timeline is updated on a regular basis. The last update took place on 18 May 2023.  

Jump to sections of the timeline via these buttons:


Shrinking SpaceMeasures that result in shrinking space

Accountability efforts that Push BackAccountability efforts (i.e., 'pushback' against shrinking space)

Historical Inflection PointMajor historical inflection points (significant in the context of shrinking civic space)

Timeline focuses on official measures taken by:

Israeli authorities

Palestinian authorities

De facto authorities in Gaza

Third parties

Type of act:


Administrative decision

Military order

Court application/decision

Other policies and practices

Geographical applicability:

Mandatory Palestine (present-day Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory)

Israel (within the Green Line)

Occupied Palestinian territory (oPt)



Historical Inflection Point1948 • State of Israel proclaimed

On 14 May 1948, David-Ben Gurion, Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, proclaims the State of Israel. In the context of the war that follows, Israel declares a “State of Emergency” that lasts to the present day. Palestinians refer to Israel’s establishment and the associated experiences of mass displacement and loss of their historic homeland as the “Nakba” (“catastrophe” in Arabic).

Map based on Annex A to United Nations General ASsembly Resolution 181 (II).

Historical Inflection Point19481966 • Palestinian citizens of Israel subjected to military rule

Palestinian citizens of Israel are subjected to military rule and tried before military courts. The Emergency Regulations are one of the “enforcement mechanisms” used by the military government to curtail civil liberties and impose severe restrictions on citizens’ daily life.

1945 • Defense (Emergency) Regulations adopted

1948 • Revocation of the Palestine (Defence) Order in Council

1948 • Law and Administration Ordinance adopted

1948 • Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance adopted


Historical Inflection Point19481966 • Palestinian citizens of Israel subjected to military rule

Palestinian citizens of Israel are subjected to military rule and tried before military courts. The Emergency Regulations are one of the “enforcement mechanisms” used by the military government to curtail civil liberties and impose severe restrictions on citizens’ daily life.

Historical Inflection Point1951 • Begin cautions against retaining the Emergency Regulations

Menachem Begin, at the time leader of the Revisionist Herut party (a precursor to the Likud) and later Prime Minister of Israel (1977–1983), cautions that retaining the Emergency Regulations might amount to the “long-term presence of tyrannical, fascistic laws”. The Israeli Knesset contemplates repealing the Regulations but does not do so.


Historical Inflection Point19481966 • Palestinian citizens of Israel subjected to military rule

Palestinian citizens of Israel are subjected to military rule and tried before military courts. The Emergency Regulations are one of the “enforcement mechanisms” used by the military government to curtail civil liberties and impose severe restrictions on citizens’ daily life.

Historical Inflection Point1967 • Israel takes control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and annexes East Jerusalem

Israel conquers the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza in June 1967. It annexes East Jerusalem and extends the application of its domestic law to the area.

Barbed wire and in the background the Temple Mountain.

1964 • Al-Ard party banned from contesting the national elections

1967 • Military Order 101 issued

1967 • Military order confirming the applicability of the Emergency Regulations


Historical Inflection Point1970–1979 • Attacks against Israeli civilians

Throughout the 1970s, Palestinian groups perpetrate a series of airplane hijackings and attacks against Israeli civilians, including at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany.

Historical Inflection Point1979 • Egyptian-Israeli peace agreement

Following the 1973 war, Israel and Egypt reach a peace agreement pursuant to which Israel withdraws from the Sinai Peninsula occupied in 1967. 


Historical Inflection Point1982 • Israeli invasion of Lebanon

Israeli forces intervene in the Lebanese civil war (1975–1990) to expel the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and other Palestinian groups from Lebanon. The military takes control of Beirut’s surroundings and does not prevent combatants of its allied Phalange militia from entering the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, where they kill at least 800 civilians

Historical Inflection Point1987–1993 • First Palestinian Intifada

The First Intifada, a popular uprising against the military occupation, takes place in the oPt and in Israel. Like previous instances of political mobilization, demonstrations are met with violent repression, Israeli soldiers having been instructed by Defence Minister Yitzhak Rabin to “break the arms and legs” of protesters. According to estimates, the Israeli authorities arrest and detain around 100,000 Palestinians during the course of the uprising.  

1986 • PLO, Fatah and PFLP designated as “terrorist organizations”


Historical Inflection Point1991 • Israel derogates from Art. 9 of the ICCPR

In 1991, Israel derogates from Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) relating to arbitrary arrest and detention, on the basis of the “State of Emergency … proclaimed in May 1948” – in the context of the 1948 war – that has “remained in force ever since”.

Historical Inflection Point1993–1996 • Oslo process

The First Intifada comes to an end with the signing of the Oslo Declaration of Principles (DOP) between Israel and the PLO on 13 September 1993, marking the beginning of the Oslo peace process. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat shake hands on the White House lawn. 

The DOP was a framework agreement prescribing a series of negotiations and interim accords between Israel and the PLO that would culminate in a “permanent status agreement” covering the most protracted issues, namely “Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, security arrangements, borders, [and] relations and cooperation with other neighbours”.  

On 4 May 1994, Israel and the PLO conclude the first interim accord, the Gaza-Jericho Agreement, pursuant to which the Palestinian Authority (PA) is created as an interim body to oversee limited Palestinian self-government, and the Israeli military partially withdraws from the Gaza Strip and the city of Jericho in the West Bank. The five-year transitional period envisaged in the DOP for the conclusion of a permanent status agreement commences. 

On 28 September 1995, the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (the “Oslo II Accord”) is signed, which divides the West Bank into Areas A, B and C. The PA is to exert civilian and security powers over Area A – the major Palestinian population centres – while Israel retains security control over Area B and full control over Area C. Albeit envisaged as a temporary arrangement, the division into Areas A, B and C persists to this day, and with it the multitude of checkpoints and permit requirements that restrict Palestinians’ freedom of movement.  

On 4 November 1995, Israeli Prime Minister Rabin is assassinated by an Israeli extremist at a peace rally in Tel Aviv. In 1996, Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud), who has risen to prominence as leader of the opposition to the Oslo Accords, becomes Prime Minister of Israel. During Netanyahu’s first term in office, which lasts until 1999, the peace process stalls; the transitional period expires without a permanent status agreement. 

Photo: Checkpoint to a Village in the West Bank by The Advocacy Project/Rianne Van Doevern, 2008. Licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.


Historical Inflection Point2000–2005 • Second Palestinian Intifada

The Oslo process collapses following the unsuccessful Camp David II summit between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat. Against the backdrop of “shattered dreams of peace”, the visit of Likud politician Ariel Sharon – “father of the settler movement” and former Defence Minister deemed indirectly responsible for the 1982 massacre of Palestinian civilians in the Sabra and Shatila camps outside Beirut – to the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif in September 2000 triggers the Second Intifada.  

The second Palestinian uprising is characterized by greater violence than the first, including terrorist attacks in major Israeli cities, and at its height sees the Israeli army reoccupying parts of the West Bank that it had withdrawn from pursuant to the Oslo Accords. Over 3,000 Palestinians are killed and thousands more arrested. Israeli authorities also erect a “separation barrier” between Israel and the occupied West Bank, which in part deviates from Israel’s internationally recognized pre-1967 borders (the “Green Line”) and infringes upon the right to self-determination of Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank. The Intifada comes to an end with the February 2005 Sharm El Sheikh summit between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. 

Israel unilaterally withdraws its ground troops from the Gaza Strip in summer 2005; existing Israeli settlements are dismantled. Pursuant to the Israeli government’s “Disengagement Plan”, Israel nonetheless continues to “guard and monitor the external land perimeter of the Gaza Strip”, to “maintain exclusive authority in Gaza air space”, and to “exercise security activity in the sea off the coast of the Gaza Strip”. 

Historical Inflection Point2004 • ICJ advisory opinion on the “separation barrier”

On 9 July 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) – the “principal judicial organ of the United Nations” – renders its Advisory Opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (Wall Advisory Opinion) concerning the legality of the “separation barrier”. The Court finds, inter alia, that the wall – which is partly located deep within the West Bank beyond the “Green Line” – infringes upon the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and calls upon Israel “to cease forthwith the works of construction of the wall” in the oPt; “dismantl[e] forthwith … those parts of that structure situated” in the oPt; and “to return the land, orchards, olive groves and other immovable property seized” in this context, or to provide compensation accordingly.  

Historical Inflection Point2005 • Emergence of the BDS movement

On 9 July 2005 – the one-year anniversary of the issuance of the Wall Advisory Opinion – a network of civil society organizations launches a call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) of Israel, marking the emergence of the BDS movement.  

Historical Inflection Point2007 • Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip

Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood with an armed wing and rival to Fatah, takes control of the Gaza Strip. In response, Israel imposes a “land, sea and air blockade”. 

Historical Inflection Point2008-2009 • Gaza war

Between December 2008 and January 2009, Israel carries out a large military offensive in the Gaza Strip, which kills an estimated 1,383 Palestinians, including over 300 children.   

2006 • Punitive travel ban against Shawan Jabarin of Al-Haq

2009 • Attempts to discredit the Goldstone Report

A high concrete wall next to an appartement building.
A man and a woman in front of destroyed building.


Historical Inflection Point2010 • Storming of the Mavi Marmara

On 31 May, the Israeli navy storms the Turkish passenger ship Mavi Marmara – part of the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla” purporting to deliver aid to Gaza in circumvention of the naval blockade – in international waters. Nine passengers are killed in the resulting altercation, drawing international condemnation. 

Historical Inflection Point2012 • Palestine accorded non-member observer State status at the UN

United Nations (UN) General Assembly Resolution 67/19 accords the State of Palestine non-member observer State status at the UN. The date – 29 November 2012 – marks exactly 65 years since General Assembly Resolution 181 (II) first approved the partition plan for the territory of Mandatory Palestine. 

Historical Inflection Point2015 • Palestine joins the ICC 

In January 2015, Palestine accedes to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), becoming an effective member in April 2015. Palestine also accepts the Court’s jurisdiction on an ad hoc basis for crimes “committed in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, since June 13, 2014”. Accordingly, the ICC’s temporal jurisdiction in respect of the Situation in Palestine commences on 13 June 2014.  

Historical Inflection Point2018 • Nation-State Law adopted by the Knesset

The Knesset enacts the Nation-State Law (“Basic Law: Israel – The Nation State of the Jewish People”), which defines the State of Israel as the “national state of the Jewish people” and stipulates that “[e]xercising the right to national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people”. The Basic Law, which due to Israel’s lack of a formal written constitution is deemed to have quasi-constitutional status, also downgrades Arabic from official language to language with “special status” and elevates the “development of Jewish settlement” to “national value”.   

Historical Inflection Point2018 • “Great March of Return” protests near the Gaza border fence

Throughout 2018 and 2019, Palestinians in Gaza take part in a series of popular protests near the Israeli border – the so-called “Great March of Return” – against Israel’s closure policy and in favour of Palestinians’ right of return. Demonstrators are met with considerable force on the part of the Israeli authorities; over 200 are killed and thousands injured

2010 • Military Order 1651 enters into effect

2011 • “Nakba Law” adopted by the Knesset

2011 • “Boycott Law” adopted by the Knesset

2015 • Supreme Court decision on the “Boycott Law”

2015 • Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement declared as an “unlawful association”

2015 • Euromed Observer for Human Rights declared as an “unlawful association”

2016 • “NGO Transparency Law” adopted

2016 • Counter-Terrorism Law adopted

2017 • Amendment to the Entry into Israel Law adopted

2018 • “Loyalty in culture” law proposed

2018 • “Breaking the Silence Law” adopted

2019 • No renewal of TIPH’s mandate in Hebron

2019 • “Terrorists in Suits” report

2019 • Raid of Addameer’s offices

2019 • Omar Shakir of HRW expelled


Historical Inflection Point2021 • ICC Prosecutor announces the opening of an investigation; Israel refuses to engage

On 3 March, the Prosecutor of the ICC announces that her Office has initiated an investigation with regards to the Situation in Palestine, the State of Palestine having become party to the ICC in 2015. As part of a larger pattern of refusal to cooperate with international oversight mechanisms relating to human rights and compliance with international law, the Israeli authorities declare that they will not cooperate with the Court.

Historical Inflection Point2021 • Resurging violence

In the context of resurging violence in May, Palestinians take to the streets across Israel and the oPt, in a show of unity “unprecedented” in recent years. Israeli authorities arrest an estimated 3,100 Palestinians. For background information on one of the root causes of resurging violence – displacement and dispossession in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood – see the IHL Centre’s timeline.  

A man climbing on a pile of rubble that is still smoking after an air strike.
A man climbing on a pile of rubble that is still smoking after an air strike. © Photo by UNDP

Historical Inflection Point2021Establishment of a Commission of Inquiry

During a special session convened in the context of the May 2021 hostilities, the UN Human Rights Council adopts a resolution establishing the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel. The mandate of the Commission includes investigating “all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law leading up to and since 13 April 2021, and all underlying root causes of recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict, including systematic discrimination and repression based on national, ethnic, racial or religious identity”.

Historical Inflection Point20222023 • Request for an advisory opinion from the ICJ 

On 30 December 2022, the General Assembly passes a resolution requesting an advisory opinion from the ICJ on the legal consequences of “the ongoing violation by Israel of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, [of] its prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and [of] its adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures”, as well as the legal status of Israel’s occupation as a result of these “policies and practices”. 

On 6 January 2023, the Israeli security cabinet imposes punitive measures on the PA for its role in requesting the advisory opinion, and determines to “take action against organizations that promote hostile activity, including political-legal activity against Israel under the guise of humanitarian activity”. Two days later, it is reported that Israel has revoked the travel permit of Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyadh al-Maliki.

On 16 January 2023, Palestinian officials release a statement signed by 37 countries, plus Algeria as Chair of the Arab Summit and Member of the Arab Troika, and Pakistan as Chair of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). In the statement, the signatories “express [their] deep concern regarding the Israeli government’s decision to impose punitive measures against the Palestinian people, leadership and civil society following the request by the General Assembly of an advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice”. They include countries that voted against the request for an advisory opinion in December 2022, such as Estonia, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, and Romania, and countries that abstained, including Brazil, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Iceland, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. More countries join in the following days.  

Historical Inflection Point20222023 • Inauguration of the 37th Israeli government 

On 29 December 2022, the 37th government of Israel is sworn in, deemed the most right-wing in the country’s history. The governing coalition comprises Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud party, the far-right Otzma Yehudit, Religious Zionism, and Noam parties, as well as the Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) parties Shas and United Torah Judaism (UTJ).  

Netanyahu summarizes the proposed guidelines of his government as follows: “The Jewish people have an exclusive and unquestionable right to all areas of the Land of Israel. The government will promote and develop settlement in all parts of the Land of Israel – in the Galilee, the Negev, the Golan Heights, [and] Judea and Samaria [i.e., the occupied West Bank].” 

Prior to the inauguration of the new government, the Knesset legislates to the effect of allowing Aryeh Deri (Shas) to serve as minister despite a recent criminal conviction, granting extended powers over the police to National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir (Otzma Yehudit), and enabling Bezalel Smotrich (Religious Zionism) – since appointed Finance Minister – to also serve as Minister in the Defence Ministry alongside Defence Minister Yoav Gallant (Likud), with control over COGAT and the Civil Administration in the West Bank. These bodies oversee Palestinian planning and construction and regulate access and movement, amongst other issues.  

A series of legislative proposals draw criticism from domestic and international commentators across the political spectrum. Much of this criticism is directed at the so-called “override clause”, which would allow a simple parliamentary majority (61 out of 120) to override rulings of the Supreme Court in its capacity as High Court of Justice that particular pieces of primary legislation contravene Israel’s Basic Laws (higher-order, quasi-constitutional laws that in the absence of a formally codified constitution protect certain fundamental rights and values). It is feared that this effective neutering of judicial review and oversight over the legislative branch of government will further weaken the separation of powers and undermine the protection of minorities. Indeed, members of the governing coalition (for instance, Ben-Gvir, Smotrich, and Noam’s Avi Maoz) have on previous occasions issued statements and taken actions that convey strong antagonism towards liberal democratic values.  

Justice Minister Yariv Levin (Likud) also presents a plan to abolish the reasonableness standard on the basis of which Israel’s Supreme Court sitting as High Court of Justice has reviewed decisions of the executive, and to reform the composition of the Judicial Appointments Committee so as to leave politicians in the majority over judges. 

National Security Minister Ben-Gvir previously floated the idea of according immunity to members of the Israeli security forces for actions taken in the context of operations, raising concerns about a further entrenchment of impunity for excessive use of force.  

On 3 January 2023, in a move widely seen as provocative, Ben-Gvir visits the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, drawing international condemnation and comparisons to then-opposition leader Ariel Sharon’s visit in September 2000, which triggered the Second Intifada. A few days later, Israeli Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai instructs district commanders to implement a general prohibition against the public display of the Palestinian flag, having been briefed to do so by National Security Minister Ben-Gvir.

Historical Inflection Point2023 • Settlement expansion and judicial overhaul

January–March 2023 Protests against judicial overhaul  

Since Justice Minister Yariv Levin first announced the government’s “judicial overhaul” plans in early January, recurring protests across Israel have attracted tens of thousands of demonstrators. 

January 2023 • Netanyahu dismisses Aryeh Deri following High Court ruling

On 22 January, Prime Minister Netanyahu dismisses Health and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri in accordance with an earlier ruling by the Israeli Supreme Court to this effect in light of Deri’s multiple criminal convictions and failure to uphold a pledge, made during his 2022 criminal trial for tax fraud, that he would retire from public life. At the same time, Netanyahu proclaims that “[t]he High Court decision ignores the will of the nation, and I am intending to find every possible legal means to allow you to contribute to the country”.  

February 2023 • New outposts and settlement units

In early February, it is reported that the settler population in the West Bank has grown to over 500,000, excluding the more than 200,000 Israeli settlers who live in East Jerusalem. 

On 12 February, the Israeli security cabinet announces plans to “legalize” nine settlement outposts in the West Bank and to advance the construction of around 10,000 new housing units in existing West Bank settlements, allegedly in retaliation for a series of attacks in East Jerusalem. 

February 2023 • Smotrich granted extended powers over the Civil Administration

On 23 February, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant and Bezalel Smotrich – who, in addition to his role as Finance Minister, also holds the position of “Minister in the Defence Ministry” – sign an agreement affording the latter wide-reaching powers over the Civil Administration, the body that oversees administrative issues in the West Bank, as well as the regulation of construction. The agreement also provides for the establishment of a “Settlement Administration” tasked with developing Israeli settlements in the West Bank and connecting them to infrastructure and services. 

Legal experts criticize the agreement, arguing that by subordinating the administration of the West Bank to Israel’s national and social interests it is “in direct contravention of international law”, and that it is “an overt and formal measure that gives validity to claims that Israel’s practices constitute apartheid, which is prohibited under international law”. 

February 2023 • Settler violence in Huwara 

On 26 February, following the killing of two Israelis in the village of Huwara in the northern occupied West Bank, hundreds of Israeli settlers go on a rampage in the town reportedly torching cars and at least 10 houses, killing one Palestinian and injuring an estimated 350 in the process.  

After the incident, Finance Minister and Minister in the Defence Ministry Bezalel Smotrich calls for Huwara “to be wiped out. I think that the State of Israel needs to do that – not, God forbid, private individuals”. The statement draws fierce international criticism, including from a US official, who speaks about “incitement to violence”.  

Knesset member Zvika Fogel of the Otzma Yehudit party comments that he “looks very favorably upon” events in Huwara, noting further: “Hawara is burned and shut. That’s what I want to see”. 

March 2023 Smotrich speaks in front of a map of Greater Israel at a Paris conference, claims “there is no such thing as Palestinians” 

On 19 March, Smotrich, addressing a conference in Paris, claims that “there’s no such thing as Palestinians because there’s no such thing as a Palestinian people”. He delivers his remarks at a podium displaying a flag of Mandatory Palestine and Transjordan, which ideologues of the Israeli extreme right refer to as “Greater Israel” extending to both sides of the Jordan river. 

March 2023 Amendment of the Disengagement Law 

On 20 March, the Knesset passes legislation amending the Disengagement Law so as to allow for the presence of Israeli civilians in four West Bank settlements – most notably Homesh, now the location of an “outpost” built on private Palestinian land and considered illegal even under Israeli law – which had been evacuated in 2005 in connection with Israel’s withdrawal of its ground forces from the Gaza Strip.   

The law is heavily criticized as it is adopted only a day after Israeli officials reiterate their commitment to a previously agreed temporary freeze in settlement construction and the legalization of outposts at a summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. In an exceptional move, the US government summons the Israeli Ambassador to the United States for a meeting at the State Department in protest.  

March 2023 First “judicial overhaul” law prevents the Attorney General from declaring a Prime Minister unfit for office 

On 23 March, the Knesset passes legislation amending the Basic Law: The Government so as to effectively remove the ability of the Attorney General to declare a Prime Minister unfit for office. Critics argue that the initiative is personally motivated to ensure that incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – who stands accused of and has been on trial for bribery, fraud, and breach of trust – can remain in office. 

March 2023 Netanyahu fires Defence Minister Gallant, temporarily halts judicial overhaul after mass protests

On 26 March, Prime Minister Netanyahu fires Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, who had previously called for a freeze of the “judicial overhaul”. In the wake of mass demonstrations, a general strike in various sectors, as well as a shutdown of Ben Gurion International Airport, Netanyahu agrees to temporarily halt the process on the evening of 27 March. Some members of the governing coalition had called for counter-protests in response to the demonstrations, with far-right groups endorsing violence. National Security Minister Ben-Gvir, who had earlier threatened his resignation in case the “judicial overhaul” is stopped, reportedly agreed to the pause in return for an agreement with Netanyahu concerning the formation of a National Guard, described by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel as “a private, armed militia that would be directly under Ben-Gvir’s control”. On 2 April, the government approves the creation of a committee charged with outlining the proposed operations of the National Guard.  

April 2023 Highest number of administrative detainees in two decades 

On 4 April, the Associated Press, citing data collected by the human rights organization HaMoked, reports that the number of persons held in administrative detention by Israel – without being formally charged or tried, to avert what the authorities deem a future security threat – has reached 1,016 (1,012 of whom are Palestinians, and four Jewish Israelis). This figure is the highest since 2003, at the height of the Second Palestinian Intifada.  

April 2023 Escalation of violence 

In the early morning hours of 5 and 6 April, Israeli forces raid the Al-Aqsa Mosque at the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City. While the Israeli authorities claim that they were responding to worshippers barricading themselves inside the mosque, Palestinians condemn the raids and decry excessive use of force on the part of the Israeli police. Hundreds of Palestinians are reportedly arrested, and video footage emerges depicting police officers beating worshippers, including some who appear to be lying on the ground. 

Against the backdrop of tensions at Al-Aqsa, which occurred during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and at the beginning of the Jewish Passover holiday, Palestinian armed groups in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon fire rockets towards Israeli territory, the latter deemed the largest escalation between Israel and its northern neighbour since the 2006 Lebanon war. The Israeli military responds with airstrikes on Gaza and southern Lebanon. 

Four persons are killed and seven more wounded in separate attacks in Tel Aviv and near a settlement in the northern West Bank on 7 April.  

On 8 and 9 April, rockets are fired from Syrian territory towards Israel, drawing Israeli artillery fire and airstrikes in response.  

April 2023 Settler march to Evyatar outpost 

On 10 April, Israeli settlers and far-right activists march to the settlement outpost of Evyatar south of Nablus in the occupied West Bank, which had been vacated in July 2021 as part of a “compromise” between the residents and the previous government led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. Ministers Ben-Gvir and Smotrich, as well as several Knesset members, join the march among heavy military and police presence. The Israeli army fires tear gas and rubber bullets at Palestinian demonstrators in the nearby village of Beita, wounding at least 22.  

April 2023 Gallant to remain Defence Minister, reversing earlier dismissal 

On the evening of 10 April, Netanyahu announces a reversal of his earlier decision, on 26 March, to fire Defence Minister Yoav Gallant over his stance concerning the so-called “judicial overhaul”. Gallant reportedly never received a formal notice of dismissal. The move had drawn severe criticism amidst the tense security situation.  

April 2023 Prayer at Homesh settlement outpost 

On 26 April – commemorated as “Independence Day” in the State of Israel – Finance Minister and Minister in the Defence Ministry Bezalel Smotrich attends prayer at the Homesh settlement outpost in the northern West Bank in the company of settlers and activists. Smotrich proclaims that “[t]he Israeli government is committed to the prosperity and development of this wonderful land”. At the end of March, the Knesset had amended the 2005 Disengagement Law to allow for the presence of Israeli civilians in Homesh and three other settlements. 

2020 • No renewal of work visas for international OHCHR staff

2021 • B’Tselem banned from appearing in public schools

2021 • Office raids of Palestinian CSOs

2021 • Six Palestinian CSOs declared as “terrorist organizations” in Israel

2021 • Five Palestinian CSOs declared as “unlawful associations” in the West Bank

2021 • 10,000 Palestinians from the West Bank subjected to travel bans

2022 • Five Palestinian CSOs challenge their declaration as “unlawful associations”

2022 • Killing of Shireen Abu Akleh

2022 • Supreme Court decision on the “Breach of Loyalty Law”

2022 • Announcements by the Ministry of Defence; raids and closures of seven Palestinian CSOs

2022 • New COGAT procedure for foreigners in the West Bank

2022 • Smotrich calls human rights organizations an “existential threat”

2022 • Deportation of Salah Hammouri

2022 • Proposed tax on foreign government donations to CSOs

2023 • “Law for Revocation of Citizenship or Residency” adopted