In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of 18- 23 Oct. 2012, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) found that 4 members of Palestinian resistance groups were killed and 9 others were wounded in the northern Gaza Strip. Israeli forces used force to disperse peaceful protests organized by Palestinian civilians in the West Bank. Dozens of protesters sustained bruising and suffered from tear gas inhalation.Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip:
In the Gaza Strip, on 22 October 2012, Israeli forces killed 1 Palestinian man and wounded 2 others, when an Israeli warplane launched a missile on a group of members of the al-Qassam Brigades, military wing of the Hamas movement. The group was on Qleibo Hill, east of Sheikh Zayed city, south of Beit Lahia in the north of the Gaza Strip.
On the same day, Israeli forces killed 1 member of a Palestinian resistance group and wounded a second, when an Israeli warplane launched a missile on a group of members of the Salah Eddin Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committee. The group was on al-Ashqar land on Sultan Abdul Hamid Street, northwest of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip.
On 23 October 2012, Israeli forces killed 1 member of a Palestinian resistance group and wounded 4 others, whose injuries ranged from moderate to serious. Israeli soldiers positioned at the northeastern border of the Gaza Strip launched a ground-to-ground missile on a group of members of the al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas movement. The group was launching rockets towards Israeli towns from farming land to the east of al-Salateen Square in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip.
On the same day, another member of al-Qassam Brigades was killed and 2 others were seriously wounded by an Israeli airstrike. The al-Qassam Brigades were launching home-made rockets towards Israeli towns from Beit Lahia in the north of the Gaza Strip.
In the context of shooting incidents, on 19 October 2012, Israeli forces positioned along the border fence, east of al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, opened fire at a group of volunteers from the Local Initiative and a number of Popular Resistance activists. The volunteers and activists were on farming land belonging to the al-Tartouri family, supporting the family as they attempted to harvest olives. As a result, the volunteers and residents of the area were terrified and fled fearing for their lives.
On 22 October 2012, Israeli forces stationed inside watchtowers at the border fence, north of the Agriculture School, north of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at the farming lands and houses adjacent to the border. Neither casualties nor damage to property were reported.
In the context of targeting fishermen, on 19 October 2012, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Waha resort, northwest of Beit Lahia in the north of the Gaza Strip, opened fire sporadically at Palestinian fishing boats. As a result, fishermen were terrified and fled fearing for their lives. On 20 and 22 October 2012, Israeli forces again opened fire on fishermen.
On 22 October 2012, Israeli navy forces abducted 4 fishermen 2 kilometers off al-Sudaniya shore, north of Gaza City. Additionally, their fishing boat was confiscated.
In the Gaza Strip, on 22 October 2012, Israeli forces conducted 3 limited incursions into the north and south of the Gaza Strip. The first incursion was conducted at approximately 08:10, as 7 military vehicles moved 500 meters into the northeast of Beit Lahia in the north of the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces began leveling lands and sporadically opened fire in the area. 20 minutes later, the military vehicles moved to the west and stationed at Khayal land, north of the Agriculture School, while warplanes were flying in the sky. Neither casualties nor damage were reported. The second incursion was conducted at approximately 09:25 when 3 tanks and 2 bulldozers moved 400 meters into Abu al-Kas, east of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip. Israeli forces began leveling lands in the area.
On 23 October 2012, Israeli forces supported by military vehicles moved approximately 300 meters from al-Sreij Gate into al-Qarara, northeast of Khan Yunis in the south of the Gaza Strip. Leveling and bulldozing acts were conducted and fire was opened sporadically before Israeli forces withdrew at 11:00. No casualties were reported.
The illegal Israeli-imposed closure of the Gaza Strip, which has steadily tightened since June 2007, has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the Gaza Strip. 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. Recently-declared measures to ease the closure are vague, purely cosmetic and fail to deal with the root causes of the crisis; the root causes 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. Palestinians in Gaza may no longer suffer from the same shortage of goods but, as long as the closure is allowed to continue, they will remain economically dependent, unable to care for themselves, and socially, culturally and academically isolated from the rest of the world.
Israeli attacks in the West Bank:
Israeli forces conducted 40 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, during which they abducted 5 Palestinians. Israeli forces established dozens of checkpoints in the West Bank. At least 1 Palestinian was abducted at military checkpoints in the West Bank.
In one example of this week’s incursions, on Thursday October 18th. At approximately 19:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Nwei’ama village, south of Jericho. They patrolled the streets for some time and later withdrew. No arrests were reported.
Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Raboud village, southwest of Dora, south of Hebron. They patrolled the streets and later withdrew to reposition at the road between the villages of south of Dora and Bypass No. 60. They later withdrew and no arrests were reported.
Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Abu al-Ghozlan village, southwest of Dora, south of Hebron. They patrolled the streets for some time and later withdrew from the village to reposition at the road between the villages of south of Dora and Bypass No. 60. They later withdrew and no arrests were reported.
At approximately 20:00, Israeli forces moved into Ezna village, west of Hebron. They patrolled the streets for some time. A number of Palestinian boys gathered and threw stones at the tanks in which the soldiers were fortified. The soldiers fired stun grenades in response, as well as tear gas bombs aimed at dispersing the stone-throwers. Israeli forces later withdrew and neither injuries nor arrests were reported.
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 10:00 on Friday, 19 October 2012, a group of settlers from ‘Carmel’ settlement attacked civilians from Kharbet Um al-Khair near the aforementioned settlement, southeast of Yatta, west of Hebron. In his testimony to a PCHR fieldworker, Ibrahim al-Hathalin said that at least 3 settlers began throwing rocks at civilian houses and uttering abusive words against the Prophet Mohammed, while another settler stripped completely in front of the civilians. He added that the civilians called the Israeli police in ‘Kiryat Arba’ settlement, who came to investigate the incident and took a number of civilians to the police station to take their testimonies and file complaints against the settlers. In a separate testimony, Rateb al-Jabour, Coordinator of the Popular Committee in Yatta, said that Ms Yamina al-Hathalin (67) sustained bruises after settlers threw rocks at her near the village. He also added that the settlers organized a demonstration on the main road next to Kharbet Sousia, east of Yatta, and chanted anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian slogans, such as ‘Death to the Arabs, leave our lands.’
At approximately 08:00 on Monday, 22 October 2012, Israeli forces supported by military vehicles and a bulldozer, and accompanied by members of the police force and an officer from the Israeli Civil Administration, stormed the al-Hsain valley area, east of Hebron. They surrounded the houses in the area; a number of soldiers stationed themselves on the roofs of some houses and prevented civilians from leaving their homes. The military bulldozer demolished a 250-cubic-meter water well belonging to Mohammed Yousif al-Ja’bari (44). In his testimony to a PCHR fieldworker, Mohammed al-Ja’bari said that forces from the Israeli police and army surrounded the area and began demolishing the water-well, which is considered the main source of water in the village as it supplies over 40 individuals in the family with water. Construction on the water well finished two days before the incident. Al-Ja’bari added that Israeli forces gave him a notice to stop the construction of the well in 2009. This is the second time the water well has been bulldozed; it was previously bulldozed in 2010. He said that the officer from the Israeli Civil Administration told him that the notice, which is in place restricting infrastructural changes in the area, is not time-specific and can be implemented at any time, as the area is under complete Israeli control and falls under Area C in accordance with the Oslo Accords. Therefore, it is forbidden for Palestinians to make any infrastructural changes in the area without the permission of concerned Israeli authorities.
At approximately 2:30 on Monday, 22 October 2012, a group of settlers attacked Abu al-‘Asja village, south of Doura, southwest of Hebron, and set alight a Skoda car belonging to Ibrahim Ahmed al-Shawamra (39) while it was parked in front of his house. They also wrote racist slogans on the walls, such as ‘Vengeance… Sousia.’ In his testimony to a PCHR fieldworker, Ibrahim al-Shawamra said,’At early dawn hours on Monday, 22 October 2012, we heard a sound outside, as we went outside we saw a car, Subaru, storming out, and found the car blazing with fire. We also saw writings in Hebrew on the walls, ‘Vengeance… Sousia.’ We called the concerned Palestinian authorities and the Israeli police who came to the scene and investigated the incident.’ It should be mentioned that the settlers began forming gangs in ‘Sousia’ settlement, east of Yatta, and have carried out several attacks on Palestinian farmers in villages southeast of Yatta. These settlers had expanded their activities, reaching villages by Bypass No. 60, south of Doura.
At approximately 11:00 on Monday, a group of settlers from the settlement outpost ‘Ramat Yashay,’ established on lands inside Hebron, attacked farmers with rocks while they were harvesting olives in the al-Rmida Hill neighborhood. As a result, a number of farmers sustained bruises. Israeli forces surrounded the place and abducted Imad Nazmei al-Atrash (21), Jawad Thabet Abu-‘Aisha (36), and the international solidarity activist known as ‘Abu-Sarah’ (50) who had been videotaping the attack. In his testimony to a PCHR fieldworker, Issa Amro, spokesperson of Youth Against Settlement Activity, said that a large number of settlers from the settlement outpost ‘Ramat Yashay’ attacked the civilians while they were harvesting the olive trees in their lands, located near the aforementioned settlement, without any interference from Israeli forces to stop them. Furthermore, they abducted 3 civilians. He explained that Israeli forces had given the Palestinian Liaison a permit for civilians from the Abu-‘Aisha and al-Jabali families, allowing them to harvest the olives in their lands.
Israeli attacks on non-violent demonstrations:
In the West Bank, Israeli forces continued the use of excessive force against peaceful demonstrations organized by Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international human right defenders against the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities in the West Bank. As a result, dozens of protesters sustained bruises and suffered from tear gas inhalation.
Following the Friday Prayer, 19 October 2012, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders organized a peaceful demonstration in Bil’ein village, west of Ramallah, in protest to the construction of the annexation wall. The demonstrators gathered in the streets of the village, chanting slogans calling for national unity. The protesters aimed to stress the need to adhere to national principles and the right of return, to resist the occupation and to call for the release of all Palestinian prisoners. The protesters raised Palestinian flags and made their way towards the wall. They called through megaphones for Israeli settlers in “Mitityahu” settlement to leave Palestinian land. 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 demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation and others sustained bruises; the wounded were treated in the field.
Also following the Friday Prayer on 19 October 2012, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders organized a peaceful demonstration in Ne’lin village, west of Ramallah, in protest at the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities. The demonstrators moved towards areas of the annexation wall. Immediately, Israeli soldiers stationed in the area fired rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the demonstrators. As a result, some demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation and others sustained bruises; the wounded were treated in the field.
Around the same time that Friday, dozens of Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international human rights defenders gathered in Martyrs Square in Nabi Saleh village, northwest of Ramallah, to hold a weekly peaceful protest against the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities. The protesters walked towards the gate erected by Israeli forces near the entrance of the village, which lead 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, some demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation and others sustained bruises.
Following the Friday Prayer, Palestinian civilians and international human rights defenders, including Ms Luisa Morgantini, former Vice President of the European Parliament, organized a peaceful demonstration in the center of al-Ma’sara village, south of Bethlehem, in protest at the ongoing construction of the annexation wall. As the protestors moved towards the gate of the village, Israeli forces closed it to prevent the demonstration from gaining access to the confiscated lands. In his testimony to a PCHR fieldworker, Jawad Alaadin, a member of the Public Movement in Bethlehem, said, ‘Israeli forces stopped the crowd from reaching the lands threatened with confiscation. Israeli forces soldiers and demonstrators engaged in a skirmish after Israeli forces closed the main road.’
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 are a recommendation that, in recognition of ICRC as the guardian of the Fourth Geneva Convention, PCHR calls upon the ICRC to increase its staff and activities in the OPT, including the facilitation of family visitations to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
The PCHR appreciates the efforts of international civil society, including human rights organizations, bar associations, unions and NGOs, and urges them to continue their role in pressuring their governments to secure Israel’s respect for human rights in the OPT and to demand Israel end its attacks on Palestinian civilians.
For the full text of the report, click on the link below: