In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of 03- 09 January 2013, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) found that 2 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded during Israeli invasions of the West Bank, and 1 in the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against peaceful protests in the West Bank. 4 protesters, including 2 children, were wounded. Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against peaceful protests in the West Bank. 4 protesters, including 2 children, were wounded.Israeli attacks in the West Bank:
Israeli forces conducted 54 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. At least 26 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children, were abducted.
In the West Bank, on 03 January 2013, a Palestinian civilian was wounded when an Israeli undercover unit moved into the industrial zone, north of Jenin, to arrest a member of the Islamic Jihad. The Israeli forces then moved into the area amidst heavy fire. As a result, Fadi Ala’ Abdul Latif Ejawi, 24, was wounded by a bullet to the leg.
On 07 January 2013, a 17-year old boy was wounded during clashes in Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron. The Israeli forces moved into the village, deployed between the houses and started firing sound bombs and tear gas canisters. A number of boys gathered and threw stones at the Israeli soldiers. Israeli soldiers in return fired rubber-coated metal bullets. As a result, a child was wounded by a bullet to the right hand.
In the context of efforts to create a Jewish Majority in the Occupied East Jerusalem, the Israeli forces continued to confiscate lands, demolish houses and built new settlement units. PCHR stresses that these measures come in the context of isolating East Jerusalem and annexing it to Israeli according to the Israeli policy that is in violation of the international humanitarian law. PCHR calls upon the international community to promptly take action and reiterates its call upon the High Contracting parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations under Article 1 of the Convention.
On the level of house demolitions, on 08 January 2013, the Israeli forces demolished a house belonging to the family of Met’eb in the Old Town of East Jerusalem. The 3-storey house built on 150 square meters was still under construction. Fakhry Abu Diab, member of the Defence Committe of Silwan Lands, said that the Met’eb family had been trying for 8 years to obtain a construction license from the Israeli municipality, but in vain. He added that the extended family, comprised of 6 small families, was forced to start building the 3-storey house to keep their ID cards and residency in Jerusalem. The family rented a 4-room house in an attempt to find a shelter.
Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip:
In the Gaza Strip, on 05 January 2013, a trash collector was wounded when the Israeli Forces stationed at the border fence, north of the landfill, north of Beit Hanoun, opened fire at a waste truck in the landfill. The truck was 150 meters away from the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip. Besides, the truck sustained material damage.
Israeli forces continued to fire at the Palestinian civilians in the border areas of the Gaza Strip.
Israeli settlement activities:
Israel has continued its settlement activities in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, in violation of international humanitarian law, and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.
On 05 January 2013, the Israeli forces denied the Palestinian farmers from the al-Jbouar family access their lands in the east of Yatta village, south of Hebron. The farmers were threatened of arrest in case they violated the military order under the pretext that the area was a closed military zone for 24 hours. Rateb al-Jbour, coordinator of the Popular Committee against Settlement activities in Yatta, said that the Israeli forces attacked al-Jbour family several times during last year and denied them access to their lands in an attempt to confiscate those lands and annex them to ‘Ovijal’ settlement.
On 07 January 2013, Nitzan Alon, the GOC Central Command of the Israeli forces, signed a military order legitimizing 2 settlement outposts in the northern West Bank after combining them into 1 settlement named ‘Rechalim.’ The 2 settlement outposts were established in 1992, south of Nablus. It was posted on the official website of the regional council that ‘Yesh Din’ Human Right organization had presented a petition to the Israeli High Court in order not to recognize the 2 settlement outposts, because they were established on private property. However, the Israeli government recognized the 2 outposts and combined them under the name of ‘Rechalim’ settlement.
On 04 January 2013, a group of Israeli settlers moved into al-Manshiya village, south of Bethlehem. They smashed the windows of a Peugeot Station car belonging to Khalil Jom’a Abu Daya, 35. They also wrote slogans against Arabs such as ‘paying the price’.
On 05 January 2013, dozens of heavily armed settlers gathered at the eastern entrance of Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron, under the protection of the Israeli forces. The Israeli forces closed the entrance of the village and denied the Palestinians access to the village. Ahmed Abu Hashem, member of the popular committee against settlement activities, said to a PCHR fieldworker that a large number of settlers gathered at the entrance of the village, accompanied by the head of settlements’ security and the Israeli Infrastructure Minister. During an interview with the Israeli TV, the aforementioned minister announced a new plan to establish a security fence at the entrance of the abovementioned village and areas surrounding Bethlehem-Hebron road in order to secure the movement of settlers.
As far as attacks on religious sites, on 06 January 2012, a group of settlers raided al-Nabi Dawood Mosque, southwest of al-Aqsa mosque in the Old Town of occupied Jerusalem. The settlers damaged the 3 sides of the msque that were made of Ottoman ceramic and marble. Additionally, the house goes back to the 17th century. It should be noted that the Israeli forces had previously seized the mosque and turned it into a Jewish synagogue.
Israeli attacks on non-violent demonstrations:
During the reporting period, Israeli forces used force against peaceful demonstrations organized by Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders in protest at the construction of the wall and settlement activities in the West Bank. As a result, 4 Palestinian civilians, including 2 children, were wounded. Dozens of demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation and others sustained bruises as well.
Following the Friday Prayer on 04 January 2013, 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, two Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded. The first person, an 18 year-old boy sustained a bullet wound in the neck, and the other one, a 16-year-old boy, sustained a bullet wound in his right arm. Also dozens of demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation and others sustained bruises.
Also following the Friday Prayer on 04 January 2013, 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, dozens of demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation and others sustained bruises.
Around the same time on Friday, 28 04 January 2013, dozens of Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international human rights defenders gathered in the 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 leads to Palestinian lands that Israeli settlers from the nearby ‘Halmish’ settlement are trying to seize. Israeli soldiers fired live and rubber-coated bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the protesters. As a result, two Palestinian civilians, including a child, sustained wounds and some demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation and others sustained bruises. Three demonstrators were abducted by Israeli forces; including the Spokesperson of B’Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.
Also following the Friday Prayer, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international human rights defenders 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 protesters moved towards the gate of the village, the Israeli forces closed it to prevent the demonstration from gaining access to the confiscated land and attacked the participants; as a result, some demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation and a 41-year old man sustained bruises in his right foot.
At approximately 12:15 also on Friday, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international human rights defenders organized a peaceful demonstration in the center of Kuffor Kadoum village, northeast of Qalqilya, in protest to the continuous closure of the eastern entrance of the village since the outbreak of al-Aqsa Intifada. The demonstrators moved towards the entrance of the village. Immediately, Israeli forces, stationed in the surroundings of the steel gate established at the entrance, fired tear gas canisters and rubber-coated metal bullets. As a result, dozens of demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation.
At approximately 11:00 on Saturday, 05 January 2013, dozens of Palestinian civilians, international and Israeli human rights defenders, gathered in the center of Bait Ummar village, north of Hebron, for the weekly peaceful demonstration organized against the settlement expansion policy, the construction of the annexation wall and the detention of children. The demonstrators headed towards the confiscated farmlands near the security fence of ‘Kermi Tsour’ settlement, east of the village. A group of Israeli soldiers surrounded the demonstrators, fired tear gas canisters and started a hand fight with them. As a result, dozens of participants suffered from tear gas inhalation.
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, in recognition of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as the guardian of the Fourth Geneva Convention, PCHR calls upon the ICRC to increase its staff and activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, 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 Occupied Palestinian Territories and to demand Israel end its attacks on Palestinian civilians.
For the full text of the report, click on the link below: