Israeli forces continued with systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt)¬†for the week of¬†16-22, March 2017.
Israeli forces killed 2 Palestinian children in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. 3 civilians, including a child, and 2 Israeli activists, were wounded.¬†Israeli forces also conducted 70 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and a limited one in the southern Gaza Strip.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed two Palestinian children and wounded 3 others, including a child, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.¬† Meanwhile, they wounded two Israeli activists in the West Bank.¬† In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces continued to chase Palestinian fishermen in the sea and open fire at the farmers in the border areas.¬† Moreover, the Israeli warplanes carried out many airstrikes against training sites belonging to the Palestinian armed groups.
In the West Bank, in a new crime¬†of using excessive force, on 17 March 2017, Israeli forces stationed at the entrance to al-‚ÄėAroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, a Palestinian child and seriously wounded another.¬† The shooting occurred from a distance of 10 meters after two boys threw two Molotov Cocktails at an Israeli military vehicle stationed near the Israeli watchtower established at the entrance to the camp. The Israeli soldiers opened fire at the Palestinian civilians who hurried to rescue the two children in order to hinder saving their lives.
On the same day, Israeli forces wounded a Palestinian civilian when they raided Sebastia village, northwest of Nablus, so a number of Palestinian children and youngsters gathered to throw stones at the Israeli vehicles.
On the same day as well, two Israeli activists were wounded while participating in Kafr Qaddoum weekly protest, northeast of Qalqilya.
In the Gaza Strip, in a new crime of excessive use of force, on 22 March 2017, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian and seriously wounded a young man after firing artillery shells at them when both civilians were near the border fence with Israel in al-Shokah village, east of Rafah City.¬† PCHR‚Äôs investigations emphasized that the shelling incident violates the principle of necessity and distinction, the use of force was excessive, especially the victims were only civilians and unarmed.
In the context of airstrikes, on 16 March 2017, Israeli warplanes carried out 2 airstrikes against two training sites belonging to the Palestinian armed groups, north and west of the Gaza Strip.¬† As a result, the two sites sustained damages.¬† The airstrikes caused strong explosions that rocked the area, so civilians, especially women and children, were terrified.¬† However, no casualties were reported.
In the context of targeting border areas, On 18 March 2017, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence between the Gaza Strip an Israel, fired an artillery shell at a vacant land, north of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip.¬† As a result, 4 sheep grazing in the area were killed.
On the same day, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence, east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, opened fire at agricultural lands in the villages of Khuza‚Äôah and ‚ÄėAbasan.¬† No casualties were reported.
On 19 March 2017, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence opened fire at agricultural lands in al-Shokah village, east of Rafah City in the southern Gaza Strip.¬† No casualties were reported.
In the context of targeting Palestinian fishermen in the sea, On 17 March 2017, Israeli gunboats stationed off Rafah shore opened fire at the Palestinian fishing boat sailing there.¬† However, no casualties were reported.
On 22 March 2017, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, northwest of Beit Lahia village in the northern Gaza Strip, sporadically opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats and chased them. However, neither casualties nor material damages were reported.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 70 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and limited on into the Gaza Strip. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 58 Palestinian civilians, including 8 children. Five of them, including 3 children, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem. Among those arrested was a Member representing Hamas in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) identified as Mohammed al-Tol (60).
In the Gaza Strip, on 22 March 2017, Israeli forces moved into the eastern side of al-Qararah village, northeast of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. They leveled the lands adjacent to the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel after which they redeployed along the border fence.
House Demolitions on grounds of collective punishment
On 22 March 2017, Israeli forces moved into al-Mukaber Mount village, southeast of occupied Jerusalem, and stationed in al-Qunbor neighborhood.¬† They surrounded a house belonging to the family of Fadi Qunbor, and then a cement mixing truck arrived and poured cement inside the house.¬† The 2-stroey house used to shelter his wife and 4 children.¬† It should be mentioned that Israeli forces killed the aforementioned civilian on 08 January 2017 when he ran over a number of soldiers in a bus station near ‚ÄúArmon HaNetziv‚ÄĚ settlement, which is established on the above-mentioned village lands.¬† As a result, a number of the soldiers were killed while the Israeli authorities so far keep al-Qunbor‚Äôs body in custody and refuse to hand it for burial.
Creating Jewish Majority in Occupied East Jerusalem:
In the context of house demolitions, on 11 March 2017, the Israeli Municipality demolished two barracks for horses and livestock belonging to Ayoub Shkeirat and Bassam Shkeirat in the village of Al-Mukaber Mount under the pretext of building without a permit.
Settlement Activities and settlers‚Äô attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property:
In the context of Israeli settlers‚Äô attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property, on 16 March 2017, Israeli settlers from ‚ÄúYitsihar‚ÄĚ settlement and under the Israeli forces‚Äô protection attacked Burin Secondary School, south of Burin village, south of Nablus village, and threw stones at the school outside walls and iron fence.
On 17 March 2017, Israeli settlers uprooted 75 olive seedlings from a land belonging to Haitham Abu Kafanah in al-Wad area in the north-western side of al-Sawiyah village, south of Nablus.
On 18 March 2017, Israeli settlers from ‚ÄúKiryat Arba‚ÄĚ settlement, east of Hebron, threw stones at a vehicle belonging to ‚ÄėAref Jaber (48) from Jaber neighbourhood.¬† As a result, the car‚Äôs windscreen was broken.
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‚Äôs economy.¬† They also aim at imposing a complete ban on the Gaza Strip‚Äôs 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 ‚Äúcantons‚ÄĚ 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.
¬† House Demolition on Grounds of Collective Punishment
The Israeli forces previously took punitive measures. In a dangerous precedent, on Tuesday, 10 January 2017, the family of Fadi al-Qunbar received orders to suspend their residencies (withdrawing the blue IDs), in addition to cancelling family¬†reunion¬†applications of other relatives following the run-over attack carried out by Fadi in¬†‚ÄúArmon Hanatziv‚ÄĚ settlement. Fadi‚Äôs family said to PCHR‚Äôs fieldworker that Israeli forces raided Fadi‚Äôs family house and handed them 12 orders issued by the Israeli Interior Minister to suspend the residency and reunion applications of several family members, The people who received such orders are:
Continued closure of the oPt
Israel continued to impose a tight closure on the oPt, imposing severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.
Israeli forces continuously tighten the closure of the Gaza Strip and close all commercial crossings, making the Karm Abu Salem crossing the sole commercial crossing of the Gaza Strip, although it is not suitable for commercial purposes in terms of its operational capacity and distance from markets.
Israeli forces have continued to apply the policy, which is aimed to tighten the closure on all commercial crossings, by imposing total control over the flow of imports and exports.
Israeli forces have continued to impose a total ban on the delivery of raw materials to the Gaza Strip, except for very limited items and quantities. The limited quantities of raw materials allowed into Gaza do not meet the minimal needs of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip.
Israeli forces also continued to impose an almost total ban on the Gaza Strip exports, including agricultural and industrial products, except for light-weighted products such as flowers, strawberries, and spices. However, they lately allowed the exportation of some vegetables such as cucumber and tomatoes, furniture and fish.
Israel has continued to close the Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing for the majority of Palestinian citizens from the Gaza Strip. Israel only allows the movement of a limited number of groups, with many hours of waiting in the majority of cases. Israel has continued to adopt a policy aimed at reducing the number of Palestinian patients allowed to move via the Beit Hanoun crossing to receive medical treatment in hospitals in Israel or in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel also continued applying the policy of making certain civilian traveling via the crossing interviewed by the Israeli intelligence service to be questioned, blackmailed or arrested.
Israeli forces escalated their attacks on Palestinian civilians and their property. They have also continued their raids on al-Aqsa Mosque and denied the Palestinians access to it:
‚ÄúWhile leaving my work place at the Mahane Yehuda Market in West Jerusalem, I got in my car as usual. When I stopped at a traffic light in the area, one of the settlers gave me a strange look, may be because I looked like an Arab. I continued to drive, but noticed through the car‚Äôs mirror that the same settler was chasing me, so I tried to avoid him. However, I was stuck in a traffic jam in the area. Meanwhile, the settler approached me, so I took down the window and closed the doors of my car, and I asked him what you want from me, but he started insulting me. However, I neglected him and closed my car‚Äôs window again and then drove away as I felt something wrong will happen. Few minutes later, I arrived at al-Anbiyiaa‚Äô Street in West Jerusalem and found again the same settler, accompanied with three other settlers, chasing me. Two of the three settlers were driving motorcycles and tried to open my car door while I was inside it.¬† One of them then pointed a knife at me, so I panicked and my car collided with a bus in the area. The Israeli settlers then fled away.¬† I miraculously survived, but sustained wounds due to the collision.‚ÄĚ
PCHR emphasizes the international community‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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 ‚Äď in the context of their natural obligation to respect and enforce the international law ‚Äď to cooperate and act according to the following recommendations: