Israeli forces continue systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt)
(09-15 March 2017)
- Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian in occupied Jerusalem.
- 11 civilians, including 3 children, were wounded in the West Bank.
- Israeli forces continued to target the border areas in the Gaza Strip, and no arrests were reported.
- Israeli forces conducted 80 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and a limited one was conducted in the central Gaza Strip.
- 80 civilians, including 9 children and 4 women, one of whom is a PLC Member, Samira al- Halyqa, were arrested in the West Bank.
- 35 of them, including 5 children and 2 women, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem and its suburbs.
- 3 children were arrested while sneaking through the border fence into Israel to look for work and were then released after interrogation.
- Israeli forces continued their efforts to create Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem.
- Two houses were demolished and a civilian was obliged to self-demolish his house.
- Closure of Arab Studies Society’s Mapping and arresting its director.
- Israeli forces continued their settlement activities in the West Bank.
- A mobile house was confiscated in Farosh Beit Dajan village, while a vegetable stall was demolished.
- Israeli settlers uprooted and stole (143) olive trees, south of Nablus.
- Israeli forces continued to target Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip Sea.
- 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.
- 2 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were arrested at military checkpoints in the West Bank.
Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the oPt continued during the reporting period (09-15 March 2017).
During the reporting period, Israeli settlers killed a Palestinian civilian in occupied Jerusalem. Meanwhile, the Israeli forces wounded 11 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children, in the West Bank. The Israeli forces continued to chase Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Sea and open fire at farmers in the border areas.
In the West Bank, in new crime of using excessive force, on Monday, 13 February 2017, Israeli officers killed Ibrahim Mahmoud Matar (25), from al-Mukaber Mount, southeast of occupied Jerusalem. Israeli forces claimed that Ibrahim entered the Israeli police office in Lions Gate (al-Asbat), took a knife out and then stabbed 2 Israeli soldiers. After that, Ibrahim was shot dead by another Israeli soldier.
On 10 March 2017, Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian civilians, who were at the western entrance to Selwad village, northeast of Ramallah, and wounded 2 of them.
On 11 March 2017, a 16-year-old male was hit with a tear gas canister at his head, when Israeli forces raided Birzeit, north of Ramallah. Moreover, the Israeli forces fired live bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at Palestinian civilians.
On 11 March 2017, a Palestinian civilian was hit with a live bullet to the leg, when Israeli forces moved into Sabastiyia village, northwest of Nablus. During which, a number of Palestinian young men protested against them.
On 15 March 2017, 5 civilians, including 2 siblings, were wounded, when Israeli forces moved into al-Duhaisha refugee camp and al-Dawha village nearby, south of Bethlehem. One of whom was wounded as he was at the roof of his house in al-Dawhah village. when the wounded’s brother along with his 3 friends rushed to take him to the hospital, the Israeli forces opened fire at the car carrying them. As a result, 4 other civilians were wounded.
On the same day, a Palestinian worker, from al-‘Obaidiya village, east of Behtlthem, was wounded while he was near ” Mazmouriya” checkpoint, east of the city, attempting to go to his work in occupied Jerusalem.
On the same day, Fatmah Jabrin ‘Aye Abdul ‘Aziz Taqatqah (16) from Sahlet ‘Eid neighborhood in al-Fajjar village, south of Bethlehem, was shot by the Israeli forces. The Israeli forces claimed she attempted to carry out a ran-over attack in the intersection of “Gush Etzion” settlement complex, south of the city, but she was arrested. After that, Fatama was taken to “Shaare Zedek” Medical Centre in Jerusalem. Fatmah’s family refused the Israeli claims and said that she lost control of her vehicle.
In the Gaza Strip, in the context of targeting border areas, On 09 March 2017, , Israeli forces stationed in the vicinity of “Kissufim” military site established along the border fence between the Gaza Strip an Israel, northeast of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, fired several artillery shells and opened fire at agricultural lands in al-Qararah and al-Salqa Valley areas, west of the abovementioned border fence amidst firing several flare bombs, but no arrests were reported.
In the context of targeting Palestinian fishermen in the sea, On 14 March 2017, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, northwest of Beit Lahia village in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and chased them. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee for fear of their lives, but neither casualties nor material damages were reported.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 80 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and its suburbs, and conducted 11 raids in occupied Jerusalem and its suburbs. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 80 Palestinian civilians, including 9 children and 4 women. Thirty five of them, including 5 children and 2 women, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem. Among those arrested was a Member representing Hamas in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) identified as Samira al-Halyqa (53).
In the Gaza Strip, on 15 March 2017, Israeli forces moved into the east of Gaza Valley (Johr al-Deek) in the central Gaza Strip. They leveled the lands adjacent to the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel after which they re-deployed along the border fence.
Creating Jewish Majority in Occupied East Jerusalem:
Concerning house demolitions, on Saturday, 11 March 2017, the Israeli Municipality obliged ‘Arafat Qara’een to self-demolish part of his family house in Wadi Helwa neighborhood, south of the Old City, under the pretext of non-licensing. Al-Qara’een said that the part, which was demolished comprised of a 20-square-meter room used as a store built 2 years ago.
On 14 March 2017, Israeli forces accompanied demolished an under-construction residential building in al-‘Issawiyia village, northeast of occupied Jerusalem. The 250-square-meters building, which was comprised of 2 floors, belongs to Majdi Mostafa.
On the same day, Israeli forces demolished a house in Silwan village, south of East Jerusalem’s Old City. The house belongs to Mohamed Abu Saleh and was comprised of 2 rooms built in an area of 50 square meters. It should be noted that Mohamed along with his family comprised of 3 members, were intending to live in the house soon.
In the context of imposing restrictions on Palestinian associations, on 14 March 2017, Israeli forces raided the Mapping and Survey Office of the Arab Studies Society- Orient House in Beit Hanina neighborhood, north of occupied Jerusalem. The police officers arrested the Office Director and maps and settlement expert, Khalil Tufakji, and took him to an unknown destination after confiscating his cell phone and some contents of the office. The Israeli police closed the office for 6 months upon an order from the Israeli Interior Minister, Gelad Ardan.
Settlement Activities and settlers’ attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property:
On 14 March 2017, Israeli forces confiscated a mobile house in Farosh Beit Dajan village. The house belongs to Tawfiq Abed al-Raheem Haj Mohamed, who works as Headmaster of the village’s school. The abovementioned house was built on an area of 25 square meters and shelters 8 members, including 3 children. Moreover, the bulldozer demolished a vegetable stall located in the village’s main street. The 30-square-meter stall belongs to Yaser Ibrahim Aub Murtada.
In the same context, on 10 March 2017, Israeli settlers, from “Rhalim” settlement, uprooted 143 olive trees from al-Sawiyia villages’ lands, south of Nablus. The land belongs to Haytham Ahmed Mohamed Abu Kafanah and Suhail Abed al-Raheem Suliman. Both of them are from the abovementioned village.
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;