In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of 02-07 September 2010, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights found that Israeli forces killed two Palestinian workers in an air strike against a tunnel in the southern Gaza Strip.Israeli forces continued to use force against peaceful protests in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Dozens of Palestinian civilians and international human rights defenders suffered from tear gas inhalation or sustained bruises. Israeli forces abducted a Palestinian boy and 12 human rights defenders. Israeli forces continued to fire at Palestinian farmers and workers in the Gaza Strip’s border areas. Two Palestinian workers were wounded in the northern Gaza Strip.
Israeli attacks in the West Bank:
Israeli forces conducted 47 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, and abducted 23 Palestinian civilians, including a child, in the West Bank. Also this week, Israeli forces transformed 3 Palestinian houses into military sites in Hebron.
Also this week, Israeli troops stationed at military checkpoints and border crossings in the West Bank abducted at least one Palestinian civilian.
In one example of many similar incidents this week, on Saturday evening, 04 September 2010, Israeli troops stationed at Shu’fat checkpoint harassed and humiliated a Palestinian family. According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 18:30 on Saturday, Bilal Mohammed ‘Ali, 33, was driving his vehicle transporting 12 members of his family from Shu’fat refugee camp, east of Jerusalem, to a village located near the city. When he was crossing Shu’fat refugee camp, he turned to the left path and did not notice a sign placed by Israeli soldiers ordering cars to pass through the right path. An Israeli soldier ran towards the window near the driver and shouted on, and insulted him. The driver told the soldier that he did not know that traveling on the left path was banned. The soldier asked the driver for his ID card and ordered him to stop behind the checkpoint. He then ordered all passengers to get out of the vehicle. The soldier told the driver that he was under arrest. When he turned to tell his family that he was under arrest, the soldier pulled him and sprayed a pungent substance onto his face, and the faces of his sister Fidaa’, 37, and his niece ‘Afaf, 14. When Ashraf Subhi Mohye al-Din, 35, intervened, Israeli soldiers abducted him together with the driver. The two were taken to ‘Ataroth’ military post, where there accused of attacking Israeli soldiers. Several hours later, they were released. The were told that what happened was a ‘misunderstanding.’
Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip:
On 04 September 2010, Israeli warplanes bombarded a tunnel at the Egyptian border to the south of the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah. As a result, two workers were killed and two others were wounded. The attack occurred at approximately 00:45, when Israeli forces moved nearly 300 meters into al-Shouka village, east of Rafah. They searched the area along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel. They fired flash bombs at the area, while Israeli drones and helicopters were seen hovering over the area. Israeli forces withdrew from the village at approximately 06:00.
Also during the reporting period, two Palestinian workers were wounded when Israeli forces fired at a number of workers who were collecting raw construction materials in the northern Gaza Strip.
Israel has continued to impose a total siege and has isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world. Although Israeli authorities claim to have partially lifted this siege, investigations by the PCHR this week revealed that the people of Gaza are still feeling the impact of the siege on a daily basis. According to the PCHR, the illegal closure has caused not only a humanitarian crisis but a crisis of human rights and human dignity for the population of the Gaza Strip. Measures declared recently to ease the blockade are vague, purely cosmetic and fail to deal with the root causes of the crisis, which can only be addressed by an immediate and complete lifting of the closure, including lifting the travel ban into and out of the Gaza Strip and the ban on exports. PCHR is concerned that the new Israeli policy is simply shifting Gaza to another form of illegal blockade, one that may become internationally accepted and institutionalized. Palestinians in Gaza may no longer suffer from the same shortage of goods, but they will remain economically dependent and unable to care for themselves, and socially, culturally and academically isolated from the rest of the world.
Israeli settlement activities:
Israeli forces have continued settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property. At approximately 10:40 on Thursday, 02 September 2010, a number of Israeli settlers gathered at Sarra intersection, southwest of Nablus, an threw stones at Palestinian civilian vehicles.
At approximately 13:00 also on Thursday, many armed Israeli settlers coming from ‘Halmish’ settlement, northwest of Ramallah, closed the main road in front of the settlement. They terrified and provoked Palestinian civilians traveling on the road. Israeli forces intervened later and moved the settlers away from the road.
At approximately 20:00 on the same day, Israeli settlers from ‘Shilo’ settlement, north of Ramallah, threw stones at a Palestinian civilian vehicle that was traveling on Ramallah-Nablus road. As a result, the front window was broken.
At approximately 16:30 on Friday, 03 September 2010, a number of Israeli setters gathered at Homesh intersection, northwest of Nablus. They threw stones at Palestinian civilian vehicles traveling on Nablus-Jenin road.
At approximately 12:45 on Saturday, 04 September 2010, a number of Israeli setters gathered at Homesh intersection, northwest of Nablus. They threw stones at Palestinian civilian vehicles traveling on Nablus-Jenin road.
Israeli Annexation Wall:
Israeli forces used excessive force to disperse peaceful demonstrations organized in protest of Israeli settlement activities and the construction of the annexation wall. As a result, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international human rights defenders suffered from tear gas inhalation or sustained bruises. Israeli forces also abducted a Palestinian boy and 12 international human rights defenders.
Following the Friday Prayer on 03 September 2010, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders organized a peaceful demonstration in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall in Bil’in village, west of Ramallah. They moved towards the annexation wall. Israeli troops stationed in the area fired rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the demonstrators. Dozens of demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation and others sustained bruises as they were beaten by Israeli troops.
Also following the Friday Prayer on 03 September 2010, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international and human rights defenders organized a peaceful demonstration in Ne’lin village, west of Ramallah, in protest against the construction of the Annexation Wall. They clashed with Israeli troops positioned near the Wall. Israeli troops fired rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at demonstrators. As a result, several demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation, and others sustained bruises.
Also following the Friday Prayer on 03 September 2010, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders organized a peaceful demonstration in Nabi Saleh village, northwest of Ramallah, in protest against land confiscations in the Wad al-Raya area between the villages of Nabi Saleh and Deir Nizam. When the demonstrators attempted to reach areas of land seized by Israeli settlers near ‘Halmish’ settlement, Israeli troops fired rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at them. A number of demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation and others sustained bruises. Israeli troops also abducted Taher Farah al-Tamimi, 19, and 9 international human rights defenders. They released al-Tamimi 4 hours later.
Recommendations to the international community:
Due to the number and severity of Israeli human rights violations this week, the PCHR made several recommendations to the international community. Among these were a recommendation that the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention comply with their legal obligations detailed in Article 146 of the Convention to search for and prosecute those responsible for grave breaches, namely war crimes.
Another recommendation made by the PCHR was the immediate implementation of the Advisory Opinion issued by the International Court of Justice, which considers the construction of the Annexation Wall inside the West Bank illegal.
For the full text of the report, click on the link below: