Israeli forces continue systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt)
(23 February- 01 March 2017)
- A Palestinian civilian was killed by Israeli settlers, south of Hebron.
- 6 civilians, including 3 children and a young woman, were wounded in the West Bank while a child was wounded in the Gaza Strip.
- Israeli warplanes carried out 8 airstrikes, launching 23 missiles against civil objects and military sites belonging to the Palestinian armed groups.
- A civilian and three Palestinian officers in the Gaza Interior Ministry were wounded.
- Military training sites sustained material damages while 6 other houses and a mosque sustained minor damages.
- Israeli forces continued to target the border areas in the Gaza Strip, but no casualties were reported.
- Israeli forces continued to target Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Sea.
- Israeli forces conducted 66 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and two limited ones were conducted in the central and southern Gaza Strip.
- 47 civilians, including 4 children and 3 young women, were arrested in the West Bank.
- 6 of them, including 3 young women, were arrested during a protest organized by the Birzeit university students in the vicinity of ‘Ofer Prison, west of Ramallah.
- Israeli forces continued their efforts to create Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem.
- A residential building in al-‘Issawiyah was demolished, rendering 14 individuals, including 4 children, homeless.
- Israeli forces turned the West Bank into cantons and continued to impose the illegal closure on the Gaza Strip for the 10th
- Dozens of temporary checkpoints were established in the West Bank and others were re-established to obstruct the movement of Palestinian civilians.
- 7 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children and girl, were arrested at military checkpoints.
Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the oPt continued during the reporting period (23 February – 01 March 2017).
During the reporting period, Israeli settlers killed a Palestinian civilian, south of Hebron. Meanwhile, the Israeli forces wounded 11 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children and a woman. Six of them and a woman were wounded in the West Bank while 5 others, including a child, were wounded in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli forces continued to chase Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Sea and open fire at farmers in the border areas in addition to carrying out many airstrikes targeting training sites belonging to the Palestinian armed groups and civilian objects.
In the West Bank, On 01 March 2017, Sa’di Qaysiyah (25) from al-Thaheriyah village, south of Hebron were killed after an Israeli setter from “Havat Mor” settlement outpost, west of the aforementioned village, opened fire at him. The Israeli media claimed that the Palestinian civilian attempted to stab the settler. However, no local eyewitness was there to confirm or deny the Israeli claims as the crime happened within the outpost borders. The Israeli forces then took his body to an unknown destination and detained it.
On 24 February 2017, an 11-year-old child was wounded with a rubber-coated bullet to the neck while a 26-year-old man was wounded with a rubber-coated metal bullet to the left leg when Israeli forces opened fire at the Kafr Qaddoum weekly protest, northeast of Qalqilya.
On 24 February 2017, a child from Zowaydin village, southeast of Yata, south of Hebron, sustained severe burns after an object from the Israeli remnants exploded near the abovementioned village school. The child was grazing sheep.
On 27 February 2017, Israeli soldiers stationed at Qalendia checkpoint at the northern entrance to occupied Jerusalem opened fire at Manar Mojahed (28) from Kafr ‘Aqab village, north of the city when she was near the aforementioned checkpoint. As a result, she was wounded and then arrested.
On the same day, ‘Abdullah ‘Anati (14) from Sho’afat refugee camp, northeast of occupied Jerusalem, was seriously wounded after being hit with a metal bullet when he was on his way back home from school along with his family.
On 28 February, Israeli forces stationed at Howarah checkpoint at the southern entrance to Nablus opened fire at a Palestinian civilian, who already suffers from a mental disorder. As a result, he was hit with two bullets to the thighs.
In the Gaza Strip, On 24 February 2017, a 16-year-old child from al-Maghazi in the central Gaza Strip was hit with a bullet to the left leg when Israeli forces opened fire at a protest organized in the north-eastern side of al-Maghazi in the central Gaza Strip. his condition was described as moderate.
As part of the aerial bombardment, on 27 February 2017, Israeli warplanes carried out 8 airstrikes. During those airstrikes, 23 missiles were launched at Hiteen military site belonging to al-Quds Brigades; Ajnadin training site for the Palestinian Mujahidin Movement, north of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip; training site in al-Nussairat; observation point for the Interior Ministry officers in al-Shokah village, east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip and agricultural and vacant lands. As a result, 3 officers were wounded while a civilian was moderately wounded. Moreover, those sites sustained damages while a mosque and six houses sustained minor damages.
In the context of targeting Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Sea, on 26 February 2017, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats and chased them On 27 February 2017,
Those gunboats heavily opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats off Khan Younis Sea in the southern Gaza Strip. On 01 March 2017, Israeli gunboats heavily opened fire at Paeltinian fishing boats, west of al-Soundiyah, west of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip. Neither casualties nor damages to the boats were reported.
In the context of targeting the border areas, on 25 February 2017, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of Kahn Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, opened fire at the agricultural lands, east of al-Farahin area, west of the abovementioned fence.
On 27 February 2017, Israeli forces fired 4 artillery shells at an observation point belonging to the Gaza Military Interior in al-Shokah village, east of Rafah City in the southern Gaza Strip. On the same day, Israeli forces fired two artillery shells at a vacant land, east of al-Zaytoun neighbourhood, east of Gaza City.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 66 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and two limited ones into the central and southern Gaza Strip. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 40 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children. Six of them, including 3 young women, were students from Birzeit University during a protest organized by them in the vicinity of ‘Ofer Prison, west of Ramallah, to support the Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli jails.
In the Gaza Strip, 23 February 2017, Israeli forces moved 150 meters into the western side of the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, southeast of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip and moved 100 meters into east of al-Qararah village, northeast of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. They levelled lands for hours and later redeployed along the border fence in the abovementioned areas.
Efforts to create Jewish majority
In the context of house demolitions, On 01 March 2017, Israeli municipality bulldozers demolished a residential building in al-Issawiyah village, northeast of Jerusalem, under the pretext of building without a permit. That was the third time during which the two-storey building was demolished, rendering 14 individuals, including 4 children homeless.
Restrictions on movement:
Israel continued to impose a tight closure of the oPt, imposing severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.
The illegal closure of the Gaza Strip, which has been steadily tightened since June 2007 has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli authorities impose measures to undermine the freedom of trade, including the basic needs for the Gaza Strip population and the agricultural and industrial products to be exported. For 9 consecutive years, Israel has tightened the land and naval closure to isolate the Gaza Strip from the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, and other countries around the world. This resulted in grave violations of the economic, social and cultural rights and a deterioration of living conditions for 2 million people. The Israeli authorities have established Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shaloum) as the sole crossing for imports and exports in order to exercise its control over the Gaza Strip’s economy. They also aim at imposing a complete ban on the Gaza Strip’s exports.
The Israeli closure raised the rate of poverty to 65%. Moreover, the rate of unemployment increased up to 47% and youth constitutes 65% of the unemployed persons. Moreover, 80% of the Gaza Strip population depends on international aid to secure their minimum daily needs.
These rates indicate the unprecedented economic deterioration in the Gaza Strip.
In the West Bank, Israeli forces continued to suffocate the Palestinian cities and village by imposing military checkpoints around and/or between them. This created “cantons” isolated from each other that hinders the movement of civilians. Moreover, the Palestinian civilians suffering aggravated because of the annexation wall and checkpoints erected on daily basis to catch Palestinians.
Recommendations to the International Community
PCHR emphasizes the international community’s position that the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are still under Israeli occupation, in spite of Israeli military redeployment outside the Gaza Strip in 2005. PCHR further confirms that Israeli forces continued to impose collective punishment measures on the Gaza Strip, which have escalated since the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections, in which Hamas won the majority of seats of the Palestinian Legislative Council. PCHR stresses that there is international recognition of Israel’s obligation to respect international human rights instruments and the international humanitarian law, especially the Hague Regulations concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land and the Geneva Conventions. Israel is bound to apply the international human rights law and the law of war sometime reciprocally and other times in parallel in a way that achieves the best protection for civilians and remedy for victims.
In light of continued arbitrary measures, land confiscation and settlement activities in the West Bank, and the latest 51-day offensive against civilians in the Gaza Strip, PCHR calls upon the international community, especially the United Nations, the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention and the European Union – in the context of their natural obligation to respect and enforce the international law – to cooperate and act according to the following recommendations:
- PCHR calls upon the international community and the United Nations to use all available means to allow the Palestinian people to enjoy their right to self-determination, through the establishment of the Palestinian State, which was recognized by the UN General Assembly with a vast majority, using all international legal mechanisms, including sanctions to end the occupation of the State of Palestine;
- PCHR calls upon the United Nations to provide international protection to Palestinians in the oPt, and to ensure the non-recurrence of aggression against the oPt, especially the Gaza Strip;
- PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to compel Israel, as a High Contracting Party to the Conventions, to apply the Conventions in the oPt;
- PCHR calls upon the Parties to international human rights instruments, especially the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to pressurize Israel to comply with their provisions in the oPt, and to compel it to incorporate the human rights situation in the oPt in its reports submitted to the concerned committees;
- PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fulfil their obligations to ensure the application of the Conventions, including extending the scope of their jurisdiction in order to prosecute suspected war criminals, regardless of the nationality of the perpetrator and the place of a crime, to pave the way for prosecuting suspected Israeli war criminals and end the longstanding impunity they have enjoyed;
- PCHR calls upon States that apply the principle of universal jurisdiction not to surrender to Israeli pressure to limit universal jurisdiction to perpetuate the impunity enjoyed by suspected Israeli war criminals;
- PCHR calls upon the international community to act in order to stop all Israeli settlement expansion activities in the oPt through imposing sanctions on Israeli settlements and criminalizing trading with them;
- PCHR calls upon the United Nations to confirm that holding war criminals accountable in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a precondition to achieve stability and peace in the regions, and that peace cannot be built on the expense of human rights;
- PCHR calls upon the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council to explicitly declare that the Israeli closure policy in Gaza and the annexation wall in the West Bank are illegal, and accordingly refer the two issues to the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Israel to compel it to remove them;
- PCHR calls upon the international community, particularly the UN, in light of its failure to the stop the aggression on the Palestinian people, to at least fulfil its obligation to reconstruct the Gaza Strip after the series of hostilities launched by Israel which directly targeted the civilian infrastructure;
- PCHR calls upon the United Nations and the European Union to express a clear position towards the annexation wall following the international recognition of the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders, as the annexation wall seizes large parts of the State of Palestine;
- PCHR calls upon the European Union to activate Article 2 of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, which provides that both sides must respect human rights as a precondition for economic cooperation between the EU states and Israel, and the EU must not ignore Israeli violations and crimes against Palestinian civilians;