In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of 23 – 29 Feb. 2012, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights found that a Palestinian civilian was killed in a peaceful demonstration in al-Ram village, north of Jerusalem, protesting Israeli forces attempts to raid the al-Aqsa Mosque.In addition, 5 protesters, including an Israeli Knesset Member and a member of the Palestinian National Council, were wounded in 2 peaceful demonstrations in the center of Hebron.
Israeli forces have continued bombardments and shootings in the Gaza Strip. A Palestinian resistance fighter was wounded in the east of Gaza City.
A tunnel and a container were destroyed in Rafah and damages were caused to 3 houses and offices of the International Federation of Football in the north of the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces also fired at Palestinian fishermen and their fishing boats.
Israeli attacks in the West Bank:
In the West Bank, on 24 February 2012, Israeli forces used excessive force to kill a Palestinian who was participating in a peaceful demonstration in al-Ram village, north of Jerusalem, in protest against Israeli forces and Israeli settlers attempts to raid the al-Aqsa Mosque. During the reporting period, many peaceful demonstrations were organized in protest to Israeli forces raiding the al-Aqsa Mosqu in Occupied Jerusalem and to their use of force against Palestinians who were in the Mosque trying to confront Israeli settlers who were trying to get into the Mosque to perform religious rituals. As a result, a Palestinian civilian was killed and a member of the Palestinian civil defense service was wounded. Additionally, dozens of demonstrators and passers-by suffered from tear gas inhalation.
At approximately 13:30 on Friday, 24 February 2012, a number of Palestinian boys gathered near Qalandia checkpoint, north of Occupied Jerusalem, to organize a peaceful demonstration in protest to Israeli forces attempts to raid the al-Aqsa Mosque. They chanted slogans calling for an end to the Israeli occupation and the closure of all the Israeli prisons, and other slogans condemning Israeli forces repressive policy against Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and attacks on the al-Aqsa Mosque. Then they walked to Qalandia checkpoint. Before they arrived at the checkpoint, Israeli forces fired rubber-coated metal bullets, live bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters. The demonstrators responded by throwing stones at Israeli forces. As a result, a number of the demonstrators and passers-by suffered from tear gas inhalation including Maya Musa Rebhi, 14 months, and Nebal Ishaq, 18 months who were transferred to Palestine Medical Compound in Ramallah for treatment.
On Friday, 24 February 2012, Israeli forces used excessive force against participants in a peaceful demonstration in al-Ram village, north of Occupied Jerusalem, organized in protest to Israeli forces attempts to raid the al-Aqsa Mosque. As a result, a Palestinian civilian was killed.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 15:00 on Friday, 24 February 2012, dozens of Palestinian civilians gathered near the northeastern entrance of al-Ram village, north of Jerusalem, to organize a peaceful demonstration in protest of attempts by Israeli forces and Israeli settlers to storm the al-Aqsa Mosque. Some of the protesters walked towards the gate of an Israeli forces camp, 200 meters from the entrance of al-Ram village. A number of them managed to set fire to tires inside the camp. In the meantime, a large personnel carrier arrived from the camp, and approximately 20 Israeli soldiers stepped down from the carrier. The Palestinian men who had entered the camp immediately fled to the entrance of al-Ram village. The soldiers who were deployed near the gate of the Israeli forces camp fired tear gas canisters and sound bombs at the demonstrators. They then walked towards the entrance of al-Ram village, and the Palestinian demonstrators threw stones at them. At the same time, one of the demonstrators, Tala’t Abdul Rahman Diab Ramiya, 24, threw fireworks at the soldiers who were near the entrance of al-Ram village. The soldiers responded by firing bullets. Around 20 minutes later, Ramiya threw fireworks again, at around 15 soldiers who were at the entrance of the village, approximately 50 meters from him. It was around 16:18 when a military officer, who was positioned behind the soldiers, opened fire at Ramiya, who was wounded by a bullet that penetrated his right armpit and exited from his back. Ramiya fell onto the ground and was transferred, by a Palestinian car, to al-Salam Medical Center in al-Ram village. The Center was closed, and Ramiya was carried to a car belonging to the Jerusalem Governorate. Shortly thereafter, an ambulance from a Palestinian medical team arrived and transferred Ramiya to the Palestine Medical Compound in Ramallah. At approximately 20:00 on the same day, Ramiya was pronounced dead. Eyewitnesses stated to a PCHR fieldworker that an Israeli soldier, who was wearing a black bulletproof vest, fired at Ramiya with the intention to kill him. The Israeli officer was 50 meters away from Ramiya. Eyewitnesses reported that Ramiya did not pose any threats to the soldiers and that the soldiers could have used less lethal force or they could have abducted him.
Israeli forces conducted 58 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, during which they abducted 40 Palestinians, including 2 children.
Israeli forces raided the offices of Watan and al-Quds local TV channels and confiscated broadcasting devices and other possessions.
Israeli forces abducted 9 Palestinians, including 3 children, at checkpoints in the West Bank.
Israeli forces maltreated a school student in Hebron.
Israel has continued efforts to create a Jewish majority in East Jerusalem. Israeli Newspaper Ma’ariv wrote that the Israeli Municipality’s District Committee for Planning and Building in Jerusalem recently registered the land of the Qalandia Airport in the name of the Israeli Municipality in Jerusalem and the name of the State of Israel. Ma’ariv revealed that the said land was not previously registered in the name of any Israeli authority. The Civil Airports Department seized the land and submitted a request to the Municipality to register the lands in the name of the Municipality and the State of Israel, in ‘Israel Lands Department’. It should be noted that the Israeli authorities closed the Qalandia Airport after the breakout of the First Intifada in 1987.
The closure of Silwan Charity and Silwan Islamic club was extended for a year.
Israeli settlement activities:
Israeli forces have continued settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.
On 23 February 2012, Israeli forces moved into Soreef village, northwest of Hebron, and demolished a water well and fields. They also uprooted hundreds of trees under the pretext that those lands were ‘public lands.’ According to information collected by PCHR, the water well was destroyed, 690 trees were uprooted, 22 dunums were demolished, and 800 meters of the fence surrounding the fields were removed.
On the same day, Israeli forces moved into al-Njasat area, northwest of Hebron. There they demolished an agricultural facility built on an area of 29 meters, and a water tank used for agricultural purposes. They also distributed notices to demolish a mosque, a school and 19 shelters of Bedouins in Kherbet Janba, south of Hebron
On 26 February 2012, Israeli forces sent a military notice confiscating approximately 21 dunums in Sartah, Hares and Qarawet Bani Hassan villages, north of Salfit. In his testimony to PCHR, Abdul Aziz ‘Assi, head of the Municipality of Qarawet Bani Hassan, said that this land surrounds ‘Burkan’ settlement, west of Salfit. The land was confiscated a year ago, when Israeli forces surrounded it with barbed wires to prevent the Palestinians from entry, paving the way to arrest them under a security pretext. Israeli forces have been preventing people from entering the land so far.’
In the same context, on 27 February 2012, an Israeli settler fired at a number of Palestinians shepherds while they were in their lands, south of Hebron. According to information collected by PCHR, an Israeli armed settler tried to take some sheep. The shepherds fought with him; as a result, the settler fired at the sheep and shepherd. However, no injuries were reported.
On 28 February 2012, a group of settlers living in Hebron settlements entered al-Nabi Yunis area, north of Hebron. They entered through the eastern entrance of the area by 7 Israeli vehicles before military and police vehicles followed them to make them leave the area. However, no incidents were reported.
Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip:
On Friday Feb. 24th, at approximately 03:25, an Israeli forces warplane fired a missile at a training site used by the Izz Addin al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, in the east of the Bedouin village in the north of the Gaza Strip. Windows of two houses in the southwest of the site crushed as a result of the explosion. In addition, the windows of the International Federation of Football, to the south of the site, crushed. Further, the locals, especially women and children, were in panic because of the strong explosion. No casualties were reported. The missile caused a big hole in the training site.
Israeli forces have continued to attack Palestinian fishermen at sea. Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen off the shore of Deir al-Balah and confiscated fishing nets.
Israel has continued to impose a total closure and has isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world.
Israeli Annexation Wall:
During the reporting period, Israeli forces used force against peaceful demonstrations organized by Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders in protest to the construction of the Wall and settlement activities in the West Bank, and in protest to the establishment of a buffer zone in the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces attacks on peaceful demonstrations resulted in wounding 5 Palestinian civilians, including Israeli Knesset Member Mohammed Barakeh and Palestinian National Council Member Mohammed Amin al-Jaabari. Additionally, dozens of Palestinian civilians and human rights defenders participating in peaceful demonstrations suffered from tear gas inhalation.
Following the Friday Prayer on 24 February 2012, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders organized a peaceful demonstration in Bil’in village, west of Ramallah, protesting the construction of the annexation wall. They raised the Palestinian flag. They called for ending the political division and for releasing all the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. As they arrived at Abu Leimoun reserve, Israeli soldiers stationed in the area fired rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the demonstrators. As a result, a number of Palestinians, including Haroun ‘Amayra, cameraman of Palestine TV, suffered from tear gas inhalation.
Also following the Friday Prayer, on 24 February 2012, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international and human rights defenders organized a peaceful demonstration in Ni’lin village, west of Ramallah, in protest against the construction of the annexation wall. They chanted slogans calling for Palestinian reconciliation, adherence to the Palestinian inalienable rights and resistance of the occupation. They clashed with Israeli troops positioned near the annexation wall. Israeli soldiers fired rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at demonstrators. As a result, a number of demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation.
Also following the Friday prayer on 24 February 2012, dozens of Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international human rights defenders gathered in the center of al-Nabi Saleh village, northwest of Ramallah, to start the weekly peaceful protest against the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities and to protest against the Israeli violations against Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem. They raised the Palestinian flag and chanted slogans condemning Israeli forces arbitrary actions. The protesters walked towards the gate erected by Israeli forces near the entrance of the village and leading to Palestinian lands that Israeli settlers from the nearby ‘Halmish’ settlement are trying to seize. Israeli soldiers, who had been extensively deployed in the area and near all the entrances of the village since the morning, began to confront the protesters who wanted to walk towards the affected lands. Israeli soldiers fired live and rubber-coated bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the protesters. As a result dozens of protesters suffered from tear gas inhalation. Additionally, Israeli forces occupied the roofs of a number of houses in al-Nabi Saleh village and transferred them into military barracks. Israeli forces withdraw at approximately 16:00 from the village and no arrests were reported.
Also following the Friday Prayer on 24 February, Israeli forces used excessive force to disperse two peaceful demonstrations that were organized in the center of Hebron, commemorating the 18th anniversary of the Cave of the Patriarchs massacre, protesting the closure of al-Shuhada Street in the center of Hebron, and calling for opening al-Shuhada Street and lifting the restrictions imposed on Palestinians’ right to the freedom of movement. Israeli forces closed all the roads leading to al-Shuhada Street and all the roads leading to the old city of Hebron. They violently confronted the demonstrators over several hours. They fired rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the demonstrators. Additionally, they sprayed toxic chemicals at the demonstrators. They were also intentional to attack medical crew while evacuating and rescuing the wounded. Around 40 demonstrators sustained wounds, suffered tear gas inhalation or sustained bruises as they were beaten by Israeli forces. Additionally, Israeli forces abducted 2 Palestinians and an international solidarity activist. The demonstrations were organized by the Committee for the Defense of Hebron, the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements and Youth against Settlements in Hebron. Different solidarity delegations, public opinion leaders, PLC members, Chairman of the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality and Knesset Member (Hadash) Mohammed Barakeh, professor Ghadi al-Ghazi, Hadash member, Mahmoud al-‘Aloul, member of the Fatah Central Committee, Former Member of the European Parliament Luisa Morgantini, and Leader of Abnaa Elbalad Movement Raja Eghbareyeh participated in the demonstrations.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, following the Friday Prayer on 24 February 2012, hundreds of Palestinians and dozens of international solidarity activists participated in a peaceful demonstration organized by the Committee for the Defense of Hebron and the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements. The demonstrators walked from farms in the southeast of Tal Rmeida neighborhood in the center of Hebron to al-Karantina Street that leads to one of the main entrances of al-Shuhada Street. When the demonstrators were around 120 meters from the entrance of al-Shuhada Street, Israeli forces soldiers who excessively deployed in the area extensively fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters from 5-15 meters distance directly at the demonstrators who were unable to reach al-Shuhada Street as a result. The soldiers were intentional to throw a sound bombs between the legs of Mohammed Barakeh and Palestinian National Council Member Mohammed Amin al-Jaabari. Barakeh and other demonstrators were wounded as a result. The soldiers pushed Barakeh and al-Jaabari and threatened them. Then Israeli forces brought an armored vehicle equipped with a sprayer and used the sprayer to spray toxic chemicals at the demonstrators. The sprayed toxic chemicals cause suffocation, inability to breathe and losing consciousness. This resulted in confrontation between Israeli forces and the demonstrators in al-Karantina Street and the surroundings of the Islamic cemetery.
In the meanwhile, dozens of Palestinian civilians were carrying a dead body to bury it in the Islamic cemetery. The demonstrators opened the way for those participating in the funeral. However, Israeli forces continued firing sound bombs and tear gas canisters. They even were intentional to spray toxic chemicals at those participating in the funeral and at the dead body.
In the same time, another peaceful demonstration started from the Prophet’s Commandments Mosque in the south of Hebron. The demonstrators walked in Tareq Bin Zeyad Street in the south of Hebron. As they were around 150 meters from the permanent military checkpoint which is established near Abu al-Rish Mosque and which leads to the Ibrahimi Mosque and al-Shuhada Street, Israeli forces who had already extensively deployed in the area fired sound bombs, tear gas canisters and bullets from different distances at the demonstrators, preventing them from going forward. They chased the demonstrators in the street and they were intentional to spray an ambulance from the Palestinian Medical Relief Committees with toxic chemicals while the paramedics where evacuating and rescuing the wounded in the area. They also were intentional to spray toxic chemicals at surrounding Palestinian houses, leading to confrontations near Tareq Bin Zeyad school and in nearby streets.
Israeli forces use of force against these demonstrations resulted in wounding 40 Palestinian and international solidarity activists. Thirteen persons of the wounded were transferred to Hebron Public Hospital and Mohammed Ali al-Muhtaseb Hospital. The rest of the wounded were treated in the field. Among the wounded, 5 persons sustained shrapnel wounds, including Israeli Knesset Member Mohammed Barakeh, who was wounded by a sound bomb in the left leg and Palestinian National Council Member Mohammed Amin al-Jaabari, 66, who sustained shrapnel wounds by a sound bomb and who suffered from tear gas inhalation.
In addition, Israeli forces abducted two Palestinians; Badi’ Adib al-Dweik, 39, Fadi Hazem Quraan, 25, and an international solidarity activist. Israeli forces released al-Dweik and the solidarity activist later on the same day while they transferred Quraan to ”Ofer’ detention center, southwest of Ramallah.
On Saturday afternoon, 25 February 2012, Israeli forces used force against dozens of Palestinian civilians and international solidarity activists who were organizing a peaceful demonstration in Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron, in protest to the expansion of ‘Karmi Tsur’ settlement, south of Beit Ummar village and preventing Palestinian farmers from having access to their farms in the proximity of the settlement.
Yousef Abu Mareya, activist from the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements, reported that Israeli forces surrounded the demonstrators in Khellet al-Kutla area, 150 meters from the fence surrounding ‘Karmi Tsur’ settlement. They attacked some of the demonstrators and chased them in farms. They also fired sound bombs at the demonstrators. As a result, Abu Mareya’s borther, Musa, 36, sustained bruises in the legs.
At approximately 18:00 on Sunday, 26 February 2012, Israeli forces fired rubber coated metal bullts, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at Palestinians in al-Ram village, north of Occupied Jerusalem. As a result, Nader Ahmed Abdul Rahman Abu Ezreiq, a member of the Palestinian civil defense service, from Rafat village, west of Salfit, sustained wounds by a bullet to the right hand, while on duty.
Abu Ezreiq stated the following to the PCHR fieldworker: ‘At approximately 18:15 on Sunday, 26 February 2012, we got a phone call and the caller told us that there were a number of civilians who were stuck in a house in al-Ram village due to confrontations with the Israeli occupation forces and that they needed our help. We immediately drove to the scene. We parked our vehicle away from the confrontations between the civilians and the forces. We started to rescue the civilians who were stuck in the house. As we were leaving the house after rescuing the civilians, we met a number of civilians who were running to us as the Israeli forces were extensively firing tear gas canisters and sound bombs at them. I saw a number of civilians who were suffering from tear gas inhalation. As I walked to them to rescue them, the Israeli immediately fired rubber-coated metal bullets at us. As a result, a bullet wounded me in my right hand. Another bullet hit the civil defense vehicle. I then left the site because of my wound’.
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 European Union activate Article 2 of the Euro-Israel Association Agreement, which provides that Israel must respect human rights as a precondition for economic cooperation between the EU states and Israel. PCHR further calls upon the EU states to prohibit import of goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
The PCHR calls on the international community to recognize the Gaza disengagement plan, which was implemented in September 2005, for what it is not an end to occupation but a compounding of the occupation and the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.
For the full text of the report, click on the link below: