Israeli forces continue systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt)
(20 – 26 October 2016)
- Israeli forces continued to use excessive force in the oPt
- A Palestinian child was killed in Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron.
- 3 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
- Israeli forces targeted the border areas in the Gaza Strip. However, no casualties were reported.
- Israeli forces conducted 56 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and a limited one in the Gaza Strip.
- 57 civilians, including 15 children and a woman, were arrested. Thirty-two of them, including 12 children and the woman, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem.
- Israeli forces continued to target Palestinian fishermen in the Sea.
- Israeli forces continued their efforts to create Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem.
- A residential building belonging to Ja’afrah Family was demolished in Silwan village in addition to 3 other houses in Beit Hanina, rendering 46 persons homeless.
- A printing house was shut down in al-Ram after confiscating its contents.
- Hundreds of Israeli settlers raided al-Aqsa Mosque on Jewish holidays.
- Israeli forces turned the West Bank into cantons and continued to impose the illegal closure on the Gaza Strip for the 9th
- Dozens of temporary checkpoints were established in the West Bank and others were re-established to obstruct the movement of Palestinian civilians.
- 11 Palestinian civilians were arrested at military checkpoints.
- A trader from Rafah was arrested at Beit Hanoun Crossing in the northern Gaza Strip.
Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the oPt continued during the reporting period (20 – 26 October 2016).
Israeli forces have continued to commit crimes, inflicting civilian casualties. They have also continued to use excessive force against Palestinian civilians participating in peaceful protests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the majority of whom were youngsters. During the reporting period, in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian child in Beit Ummar, north of Hebron, and wounded 3 others, including a child, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
In the West Bank, in a new crime of excessive use of force, on 20 October 2016, Israeli forces shot dead Khaled Bahar Ahmed Bahar (15), from Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron. The aforementioned child was directly hit with one bullet from a 10-meter distance when he was in an agricultural land in Beit Z’etah area, east of the village and threw stones at an Israeli military jeep in the area.
On 20 October 2016, a 23-year-old civilian from Old ‘Askar refugee camp was hit with a metal bullet to the head when Israeli forces moved into Nablus and a number of civilians demonstrated against them. The wounded person was taken to Rafidia governmental hospital to receive medical treatment. His state was classified as stable.
In the Gaza Strip on 21 October 2016, Tariq Jalhoum (16) from Beit Lahia hHousing Project in the northern Gaza Strip was hit with a bullet in the right leg and bullet shrapnel in the left hand when the Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence, east of al-Shuja’yah neighbourhood, fired live and metal bullets at dozens of young men, who headed to Nahal ‘Oz to participate in activities in solidarity with Jerusalem.
On the same day, ‘Omer ‘Arafah (55) was hit with a bullet to the right leg when Israeli forces stationed along the border fence, east of al-Bureij, fired live bullets and tear gas canisters at dozens of young men who headed to the area to participate in activities in solidarity with Jerusalem.
In the context of targeting Palestinian fishermen offshore, on 22 October 2016, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Sudaniyah shore, west of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles. The shooting recurred on the same day in the same area.
on 23 October 2016, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, northwest of al-Wahah Resort, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats and fired dozens of flare bombs overheads. They also chased the fishing boats sailing within 4-5 nautical miles. The shooting caused fear among fishermen, forcing them to flee. However, neither casualties nor damages to the boat were reported.
In the Gaza Strip, in the context of targeting the border areas, Israeli forces stationed at the border fence, fired an artillery shell at a checkpoint belonging to al-Qassam Brigades. The checkpoint located in al-Bourah area, northeast of Beit Hanoun, is 250 meters away from the border fence. While no casualties were reported, the checkpoint sustained severe damages.
On the same day, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence opened fire at the agricultural lands, east of al-Maghazi refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. As a result, the farmers fled fearing for their lives. However, neither casualties nor material damage were reported.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 56 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 10 others in occupied Jerusalem and its suburbs. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 57 Palestinian civilians, including 15 children and a woman. Thirty-two of them, including 12 children and a woman, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem.
In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces conducted a limited incursion. On 19 October 2016, Israeli forces moved 150 meters into east of Gaza Valley village in the central Gaza Strip. They levelled lands and then redeployed.
Creating Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem:
In the context of house demolitions, on 26 October 2016, Israeli military vehicles demolished a 2-storey residential building belonging to al-Ja’afarah family in al-Jeser area in Silwan village, south of East Jerusalem under the pretext of building without a permit, rendering 30 persons homeless.
On the same day, Israeli municipality vehicles demolished 3 houses in Beit Hanina village, north of Jerusalem under the pretext of building without a permit.
on 20 October 2016, Israeli forces raided al-Rayan Printing house in al-Ram village, north of Jerusalem after bursting the main doors and confiscating its equipment used for making banners. They welded the printing house door with oxygen and pinned a closure order to it under the pretext of finding indictment materials and banners in addition to pictures of Mesbah Abu Sbeih.
Concerning settler attacks, on 23 October 2016, hundreds of settlers raided al-Aqsa Msoque in East Jeruslaem’s Old City concurrently with the Jewish Sukkot holiday started on Monday, 17 October 2016, and continued for 8 days.
The next day, settlers stabbed and attacked Mohammed al-Razem (26), from Silwan village, while he was walking in a street, north of East Jerusalem.
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 1.8 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 38.8%, 21.1% of which suffer from extreme poverty. Moreover, the rate of unemployment increased up to 44%, which reflects 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. During the reporting period, Israeli forces arrested 5 Palestinian civilians, including a child, while passing through those checkpoints.
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 obligation 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 on 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 UN General Assembly to transfer the Goldstone Report to the UN Security Council in order to refer it to the International Criminal Court in accordance with Article 13(b) of the Rome Statute;
- PCHR calls upon the United Nations to confirm that holding war criminals 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, 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;