In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, for the week of 23-29 January, 2014, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) found that, this past week, Israeli forces killed 2 Palestinian civilians and wounded 12 others in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. PCHR also documented 5 shooting incidents along the border fence and 2 others at Palestinian fishing boats.Israeli attacks in the West Bank:
In the West Bank, on 29 January 2014, Israeli forces willfully killed a Palestinian labourer from a distance of around 50 meters.
Israeli forces conducted 73 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. At least 42 Palestinians, including 6 children, were abducted.
Israeli forces established dozens of checkpoints in the West Bank. At least 10 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children, were abducted at checkpoints in the West Bank.
Israel is continuing to create a Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem. 5 houses were demolished and 24 persons, including 13 children, were made homeless.
Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip:
In the Gaza Strip, in an excessive use of lethal force, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian in the northern Gaza Strip. According to investigations conducted by the PCHR, at approximately 15:40 on Friday, a group of young men gathered in Bouret Abu Samrah, north of Beit Lahia, near the border with Israel, and approached the border to throw stones at the Israeli forces stationed there. Israeli forces then opened fire at them. As a result, Belal Samir Ahmed ‘Aweidah (20) from Beit Lahia was killed immediately by a bullet to the chest. A number of young men carried him on their shoulders and took him on a motorbike to al-Shaimaa’ area. A civilian car took him from the aforementioned area to Martyr Kamal ‘Adwan Hospital, in Beit Lahia. He was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit, where it was declared that he died soon after he was injured.
His cousin, Akram Sha’aban Ahmed ‘Aweidah (20) said to a PCHR fieldworker that at approximately 15:00 on Friday, 24 January 2014, he got out of his house with Belal and their friend, Nour Mohammed Sa’id Qaza’er (19) on his motorbike for promenade, north of Bouret Abu Samrah, and it took them 15 minutes to reach the area. They stopped 1,000 meters away from the border and, then, took some photos for themselves in the green areas and on sand dunes. They again went on the motorbike and stopped a few meters away from the aforementioned border to take other photos. The area was very calm, so they sat on a sand dune. At approximately 15:00, they saw dozens of children and young men approaching the border and throwing stones at the Israeli forces there. Nour then went to the border, and Belal went after him. They were at the forefront of all of them, as they could touch the borderline. Belal called Nour to show him something hanging on the fence. When they approached it, they heard the sound of shooting. Everyone then fled, and Nour and Belal managed to get away approximately 100 meters from the fence. Nour reported “Belal started shouting that he was wounded, but everyone thought he was kidding with us. We came back to see him lying on his abdomen, and his face was buried in the sand. We turned him to his back to find blood coming from his chest due to being injured by a bullet to the middle of his chest.”
On 24 January 2014, 5 civilians were wounded when Israeli forces stationed along the border fence, east of Jabalia, opened fire at a group of young men, who were present near the fence in an attempt to throw stones at Israeli soldiers.
In addition, Israeli forces conducted 3 other shooting incidents along the border fence on 25, 26 and 27 January, 2014, but no casualties were reported.
Israeli navy forces continued targeting Palestinian fishermen in the sea. Israeli naval forces opened fire twice at Palestinian fishing boats and one fishing boat sustained damage.
The illegal closure of the Gaza Strip, which has steadily tightened since June of 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 7 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 1.7 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’s economy. They also aim at imposing a complete ban on the Gaza Strip’s exports.
Israeli settlement activities:
Israeli forces continued to support settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property. Israeli forces uprooted 1,000 olive trees in Qana valley, northwest of Salfit. Settlers levelled lands in the south of Bethlehem.
On 23 January 2014, Israeli forces uprooted in Qana Valley area 1,000 olive trees belonging to the residents of Deiristayah village, north of Salfit. Those trees levelled from Kafet al-‘Amoud in Qana Vallet belong to ‘Abdel Karim Ahmed Hussein; Qasem Naser Mansour; and ‘Abdel qader Ref’at Abu Hajlah.
On 24 January, 2014, settlers from “Kermayel” settlement, established on al-Hazaline lands in Kherbet Um al-Kheir, east of Yatta, south of Hebron, moved into the lands of the aforementioned family. Settlers insulted and threw stones at farmers from al-Hazaline family. They prevented them from grazing their sheep and denied them access to the water wells in the farmlands adjacent to al-Kherbah.
On 25 January, 2014, settlers from “Beit ‘Ein” settlement, west of Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron, attacked farmers in their lands in Abu al-Rish Valley area. Settlers threw stones at them and insulted them. They threatened settlers in case of returning to their lands. As a result, they fled from the area in fear for themselves and their sons.
On 26 January, 2014, around 15 settlers from “Afrat”, established on the lands of southern Bethlehem, worked in 700-square-meter agricultural lands belonging to civilians from Rahal Valley village. Settlers dug with hand tools under the protection of the Israeli soldiers and police, who detained journalists covering the events in the area.
On 28 January, 2014, settlers from the settlements established to the south and west of Kisan village, east of Bethlehem, levelled 70-square-meter agricultural lands belonging to civilians from the village under Israeli forces’ protection.
Israeli attacks on non-violent demonstrations:
Israeli forces used excessive force against peaceful demonstrations organised by Palestinian civilians, with international and Israeli human rights defenders, in protest at the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities in the West Bank. 7 Palestinian civilians, including a child and a journalist, were wounded.
Following the Friday Prayer, 24 January, 2014, dozens of Palestinian civilians, with international and Israeli human rights defenders, organised a peaceful demonstration in Bil’in, west of Ramallah, in protest at the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities. Demonstrators took the streets, raising the Palestinian flags, and headed to the liberated territories near the annexation wall. Israeli forces had closed all the entrances of the village, since the morning, in order to prevent Palestinian and international activists and journalists from participating in the demonstration. Demonstrators marched adjacent to the cement wall and tried to cross the fence before Israeli forces that are stationed behind the wall, in the western area, and a large number of soldiers deployed along it, fired live bullets, tear gas canisters, rubber-coated steel bullets, sound bombs and skunk water at them, chasing them into the olive fields. As a result, 2 protestors were wounded. Moreover, dozens of demonstrators suffered tear gas inhalation, and others sustained bruises as they were beaten up by Israeli soldiers. A 19-year-old civilian sustained a bullet wound to the left foot; and a 38-year-old civilian sustained a bullet wound to the right hand.
On the same day, dozens of Palestinian civilians organised a peaceful demonstration in the centre of Ni’lin village, west of Ramallah, in protest at the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities. Demonstrators took the streets and headed to the annexation wall. Israeli forces closed the gates of the wall with barbed wire and prevented the demonstrators from crossing to the land behind it, before they responded by throwing stones. As a result, many civilians suffered tear gas inhalation and bruises as they were beaten up by Israeli soldiers.
Around the same time, dozens of Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international human rights defenders organised a peaceful demonstration, in protest at the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities, in Nabi Saleh village, southwest of Ramallah. Demonstrators took to the streets raising the Palestinian flags and chanting slogans against the occupation and in support of the Palestinian unity resistance, and then they headed to the lands that the settlers are trying to rob by force near “Halamish” settlement. Israeli forces closed all the entrances of the village, since the morning, to prevent Palestinian and international activists and journalists from participating in the demonstration. When they arrived on the land, demonstrators were met by live bullets, tear gas canisters, rubber-coated steel bullets, sound bombs and skunk water and were chased into the village. As a result, many civilians suffered tear gas inhalation and bruises due to being beaten up by Israeli soldiers.
Following the Friday prayer, dozens of Palestinian civilians, with international and Israeli human rights defenders, organised a peaceful demonstration in Ma’assara village, in protest at the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities, and in solidarity with al-Yarmouk refugee camp. The demonstration started in front of the Candles Cultural Centre, in the centre of the village. Demonstrators moved in the streets, raising the Palestinian flag. When they arrived at the area where the annexation wall is established, Israeli forces started firing tear gas canisters in an attempt to disperse them, and prevented them reaching the annexation wall. Israeli forces detained activist Iyad Ali Zawahra (33) for 2 hours and released him later.
At approximately 12:30 on the same day, Palestinian civilians and international activists organised a peaceful demonstration in the centre of Kufor Qaddoum village, northwest of Qalqilia, and headed towards the eastern entrance of the village, in protest of the continued closure of the entrance with an iron gate since the beginning of the Aqsa Intifada (2000). Clashes erupted between the demonstrators and Israeli forces that fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters to prevent them from reaching the aforementioned gate. The Popular Committee against Settlements in the village said to a PCHR fieldworker that Israeli forces used, for the first time, new tear gas, which is distinguished by its speed, the force of collision, size, and the gas density emitted. As a result, 5 civilians, including a child and a journalist, were wounded. A tear gas canister fell on a house belonging to the family of Murad Mahmoud Ishteiwi. As a result, his 2-month-old baby girl, Bisan Ishteiwi, suffered tear gas inhalation and the curtains were burnt after the canister entered the house and smashed the window. Of those wounded persons was Ja’afar Ishtayyah (45), a cameraman at the French News Agency, as he was hit by a gas canister to the back. A 44-year-old civilian sustained a bullet injury to the back; a 14-year-old child sustained a bullet injury to the right foot; a 21-year-old was hit by a canister to the abdomen; and a 35-year-old civilian was hit by a canister to the back.
On Friday afternoon, 24 January 2014, dozens of young Palestinian men gathered at the western entrance of Selwad village, northeast of Ramallah, on the road between Selwad village and Yabrod village, near Street (60), and threw stones at the aforementioned street. As a result, Israeli soldiers stationed in the area fired live ammunition, metal rubber-coated bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs at them, chasing them into the village. Moreover, some civilians suffered tear gas inhalation.
Recommendations to the international community:
Due to the number and severity of Israeli human rights violations this week, the PCHR has made several recommendations to the international community. Among these were a recommendation that states which apply the principle of universal jurisdiction not surrender to Israeli pressure to limit universal jurisdiction to perpetuate the impunity enjoyed by suspected Israeli war criminals;
In addition, PCHR calls upon the international community to act in order to stop all Israeli settlement expansion activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, through imposing sanctions on Israeli settlements and criminalizing trade with them;
For the full text of the report, click on the link below: