Israeli forces continue systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt)
(30 March – 05 April 2017)
- Israeli forces killed a Palestinian from Nablus in occupied Jerusalem
- 22 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children and a journalist, were wounded.
- Israeli forces continued to target the border areas in the Gaza Strip, but no casualties were reported
- Israeli forces conducted 57 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 11 incursions into occupied Jerusalem and its suburbs.
- 73 civilians, including 16 children, were arrested in the West Bank.
- 23 of them, including 11 children, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem and its suburbs.
- Israeli forces continued their efforts to create Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem.
- Israeli forces demolished 16 residential apartments in al-Za’im village and forced 3 civilians to self-demolish their houses.
- 34 civilians were displaced, including 16 children.
- Israeli forces continued their settlement activities in the West Bank.
- 20 dunums were demolished from Deir Balout lands, and 135 olive trees were uprooted from Deiristayah in Salfit.
- 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.
- 5 Palestinian civilians 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 (30 March – 05 April 2017).
During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian child from Nablus in Jerusalem’s Old City. Meanwhile, they wounded 22 other civilians, including 3 children and a photojournalist, in the West Bank. In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces continued to open fire at the farmers in the border areas.
In the West Bank, in a new crime of using excessive force, on 01 April 2017, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian child, Ahmed Ghazal (17), from Nablus, after stabbing settlers on al-Wad Street in Jerusalem’s Old City. They chased the abovmeentioned child, who fled towards the entry of a small building. The Israeli forces then fired around 25 bullets at him from a close distance, so Ghazal immediately died. Eyewitnesses emphasized that the shooting occurred immediately after they raided the building, so they could have arrested the child especially that the building is small and was completely surrounded. Moreover, there was only one exit.
In the same context, on 30 March 2017, 16 civilians, including 2 children, were wounded when dozens of Palestinian civilians and human rights defenders organized a peaceful protest commemorating the Earth Day in Salman Mount, south of Nablus, and planted olive trees in a land threatened of confiscation. Two of the wounded persons were hit with live bullets while the rest were hit with metal bullets.
On the same day, a 25-year-old civilian was hit with a bullet to the left thigh when Israeli forces moved into Tubas to carry out an arrest campaign. Therefore, a number of civilians protested against them.
On 31 March 2017, a 14-year-old child was wounded when Israeli forces stationed at the southern entrance to Ni’lin village, west of Ramallah, opened fire at him. They then arrested the child and took him to a hospital in Israel.
On the same day, Israeli forces wounded 3 civilians, including a photojournalist in Palestine TV while participating in Kafr Qadoum protest, north of Qalqilya.
On 05 April 2017, Akram al-Atrash (23) was hit with 3 bullets to the shoulder, hand and chest when Israeli undercover units dressed like Palestinians “Mosta’arbeen” sneaked into al-Dheishah refugee camp, south of Bethlehem to carry out an arrest campaign.
In the Gaza Strip, as part of targeting the border areas, on 03 April 2017, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip, east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, opened fire at the agricultural lands in al-Fokhari and Khuza’ah villages. No casualties were reported.
On 04 April 2017, Israeli planes sprayed crop-killing pesticides on the agricultural lands to the west of the border fence between Israel and Gaza Strip, northeast of al-Qararah village, east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. Farmers there emphasized that they saw small planes flying low in the area. The farmers added that those planes started spraying pesticides over 300-400 meters of the lands to the west of the fence before moving to the north to the eastern side of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 57 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 11 ones into occupied Jerusalem and its suburbs. During those incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 73 Palestinian civilians, including 16 children. Twenty-three of them, including 11 children, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem.
Creating Jewish Majority in Occupied East Jerusalem:
In the context of house demolitions, the Israeli Municipality vehicles demolished 3 residential facilities, walls and an agricultural room in Za’im village, east of the city, under the pretext of non-licensing. Those facilities are comprised of 3 buildings, which include 16 apartments; two of which were inhabited, 8 were ready for housing and 6 were under construction. Moreover, the bulldozers demolished an agricultural room and walls surrounding 3 plots of lands. It should be mentioned that the two inhabited apartments used to shelter 11 persons.
In the same context, Hafez al-Rajabi self-demolished his house on the same day in Beit Hanina village, north of East occupied Jerusalem, upon a decision by the Israeli municipality, in order to avoid paying the demolition costs to the municipality staff. The 120-square-meter house was built 15 years ago and sheltered a family of 7 members, including 4 children.
in the same context, Fayez and Soliman ‘Abdel Latif Ja’abis was forced to self-demolishe their houses in al-Mukaber Mount village, southeast of occupied Jerusalem, upon a decision by the Israeli municipality. The two houses were built on an area of 150 square meters 3 years ago and sheltered two families of 16 members, including 12 children.
Settlement Activities and settlers’ attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property:
On 30 March 2017, Israeli forces levelled Palestinian lands belonging to the Deir Balout Municpality, west of Salfit. Local sources said that the Israeli municipality bulldozers levelled so far 20 dunums out of 72 dunums intended to be levelled. those lands belong to the families of Samarah, ‘Abdel Rahman and ‘Abdullah and were levelled for the interest of expanding “Arayel” settlement and its industrial area.
On 03 April 2017, Israeli forces uprooted 135 olive trees from Qana Valley lands belonging to the Deiristiya Municipality, northwest of Salfit, under the pretext that “they are obstacles in the Natural Reserve.” A 35-meter retaining wall was also demolished under the pretext of changing the area.
In the same context, on 27 March 2017, a group of settlers from Gel’ad settlement established on the Palestinian lands of Jeet village, northeast of Qalqilya, attacked farmers from the abovementioned village while ploughing their land there.
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;