Human rights defender
For more than 30 years Iyad has been working as a field researcher on human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories where he conducts the documentation of human rights violations. His main source of information are testimonies and reports taken from witnesses or victims of human rights violations. As a field researcher Iyad also collects information and writes reports based on information provided by additional sources such as hospitals, morgues and journalists. Over the course of 30 years Iyad has taken thousands of testimonies which document the stories of Palestinians who are the victims of human rights violations such as house demolitions, land grabbing, beatings and other harassments by the Israeli security forces. He also focuses on the families of the victims who have been killed or imprisoned.
“They can control our access to electricity, roads, terminals or medicine. But they can’t control our minds.”
Human rights violations in Palestine
In October 2015 the West Bank experienced an upsurge in violence. Over the course of 2015 and 2016, more than 230 Palestinians and at least 32 Israelis were killed in the context of demonstrations by Palestinians, as well as (alleged) Palestinian attacks, and the often lethal and excessive response of the Israeli security forces. While the number of violent incidents has declined, the ongoing use of punitive demolitions, movement restrictions and other measures continue to negatively affect the human rights of the Palestinian people on a continuous basis. The Israeli authorities for example detained or continued to imprison thousands of Palestinians from the Occupied Palestinian Territories, in violation of international law.
Threats and harassment
Iyad has been subjected to administrative detention by the Israeli security forces three times for periods between four and six months. Moreover, he has been detained and interrogated over ten times by the Israeli Security Agency for periods between 4 to 18 days. Amnesty International recognized Iyad as a Prisoner of Conscience during the First Intifada. From January 2001 onwards Iyad endured live fire and huge amounts of tear gas while he was covering incidents. He has been shot more than ten times by rubber coated bullets and tear gas canisters. His camera has been smashed and taken away by both settlers and soldiers many times.