Israeli forces have continued with systematic attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) for the reporting period of 16 – 22 April 2015.Israeli attacks in the West Bank & Gaza:

Shootings

During the reporting period, Israeli forces wounded 14 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Nine of these civilians, including 3 children, were wounded during peaceful protests in the West Bank, a civilian was wounded in East Jerusalem and the 3 others, including a child, were wounded in the Gaza Strip. In the Gaza Strip too, Israeli navy forces continued to target Palestinian fishing boats and open fire at border areas along the Gaza Strip.

In the West Bank, Israeli forces continued the use of excessive and systematic force against peaceful protests organized by Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international solidarity activists against the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities in the West Bank. As a result, 4 protestors, including 2 children, were wounded during Bil’in and Ni’lin weekly protests, west of Ramallah.

In the same context, 5 Palestinians, including a child, were wounded during other protests in the vicinity of Ofer detention facility, southwest of Ramallah; at the southern entrance of al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of the city; and the western entrance of Selwad village, northeast of Ramallah.

In occupied Jerusalem, on 16 April 2015, a Palestinian civilian sustained a bullet wound when clashes were taking place in al-Eisawiya village.

In the Gaza Strip, as part of targeting border areas, on 17 April 2015, 3 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded when Israeli forces stationed along the border fence opened sporadic fire at dozens of civilians, who were present near the said fence, east of Khan Yunis in the south of the Gaza Strip. On 20 April 2015 afternoon and evening, Israeli forces opened fire at al-Fokhari and Abasan villages, east of Khan Yunis, but no casualties were reported. A similar gunfire incident was reported in the east of Jabalia in the north of the Gaza Strip.

Israeli navy forces opened fire 3 times at Palestinian fishing boats sailing off the shores in the northern and southern Gaza Strip. As a result, fishing nets were torn and a fishing boat was damaged.

Incursions

During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 62 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 5 ones in East Jerusalem. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 37 Palestinians, including 7 children and a woman. Ten of these Palestinians, including 2 children, were arrested in Jerusalem.

In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces conducted 2 limited incursions on 21 April 2015.

Restrictions on movement

Israel continued to impose a tight closure of the oPt, imposing severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.

The illegal closure of the Gaza Strip, which has been steadily tightened since June 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 8 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 1.8 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. In many occasions lately, Israeli forces arrested Palestinian patients and their companions and traders.

Use of excessive force against peaceful demonstrations protesting settlement activities and the construction of the annexation wall:

During the reporting period, Israeli soldiers used excessive force against peaceful demonstrations organized by Palestinian civilians, international and Israeli human rights defenders in protest at the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities in the West Bank. As a result, 4 protestors, including a child, were wounded in Bil’in and Ni’lin weekly protests, west of Ramallah.

In the same context, 5 Palestinians, including a child, were wounded during other protests at the western entrance of Selwad village, northeast of Ramallah, in the vicinity of Ofer detention facility, southwest of Ramallah, and at the southern entrance of al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of the city.

During the reporting period, Israeli forces arrested 3 civilians, including 2 children, in the weekly protests.

During the reporting period, Israeli forces arrested three civilians, including two children, in the weekly protests.

(PCHR keeps the names of the wounded in fear of being arrested by the Israeli forces within its policy to oppress the peaceful protests and prevent Palestinian civilians from participating).

Demonstrations against the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activity

Following the Friday prayer, on 17 April 2015, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders organized a peaceful demonstration in Bil’in, west of Ramallah, in protest at the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities. Protestors marched by the annexation wall and tried to cross the fence. Israeli soldiers 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 metal bullets, sound bombs and wastewater at them and chased them into the olive fields. As a result, Anas Mohammed Ibrahim Mansour (17) sustained a bullet wound to the right side of the chest and was taken to Palestine Medical Compound in Ramallah. Moreover, a number of protestors suffered tear gas inhalation.

Around the same time, 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. The demonstrators took the streets and headed to the annexation wall. Israeli forces closed the gates of the wall with barbwires and prevented the demonstrators from crossing to the land behind it before they responded by throwing stones. Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition, rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the civilians, and chased them into the village. As a result, 3 civilians, including a child, sustained wounds and were taken to Palestine Medical Compound in Ramallah. Moreover, a number of protestors suffered tear gas inhalation and others sustained bruises as they were beaten up by Israeli soldiers. The wounded were identified as:
1. Haitham Sa’id Salim Nafe’ (17), who sustained 2 bullet wounds to the knee and right leg;
2. Jouda Ahmed Zahran Srour (18), who sustained a bullet wound to the right leg; and
3. Amir Nizar Yusef Khawaja (20), who sustained a bullet wound to the left leg.

Also following the Friday prayer, 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. They made their way towards Palestinian lands that Israeli settlers from the nearby ‘Halmish’ settlement are trying to seize. Israeli soldiers closed all the village’s entrances to prevent the Palestinian and international solidarity activists and journalists from participating in the protest. As a result, many protestors suffered tear gas inhalation and others sustained bruises as they were beaten up by Israeli soldiers.

Other demonstrations

Following the Friday prayer, 17 April 2015, dozens of Palestinians gathered at the western entrance of the Silwad village, northeast of Ramallah, on the road between Silwad and Yabroud villages, near Bypass road (60), in protest at the Israeli policies. The protestors set fire to tires and threw stones and Molotov Cocktails at the aforementioned road and Israeli soldiers. In response, Israeli soldiers stationed in the area fired live ammunition, rubber-coated bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the protestors. As a result, Jihad Samir Abdul Aziz Hammad (18) sustained a bullet wound to the right leg and was taken to Palestine Medical Compound in Ramallah. Furthermore, a number of protestors suffered tear gas inhalation and others sustained bruises as they were beaten up by Israeli soldiers.

On Friday afternoon, dozens of youngsters gathered from different areas of Ramallah and al-Bireh in the vicinity of Ofer detention facility, southwest of Ramallah. They headed towards the facility’s gate that was closed by Israeli soldiers. They set fire to tires and threw stones and empty bottles at the soldiers. Israeli forces deployed around the detention facility and started firing live and rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters. As a result, 3 civilians, including a child, were wounded in the lower limbs while a number of protestors suffered tear gas inhalation and others sustained bruises as they were beaten up by Israeli soldiers.

Moreover, Israeli forces arrested 2 children and took them to the abovementioned detention facility. The 2 children were handed at approximately 23:30, on the same day, to the Palestinian liaison office. They were identified as:
1. Ra’ed Ayman Mohammed Ghazzawi (13); and
2. Bara’ Iyad Taha al-Akhras (16).

Also following the Friday prayer, dozens of children and young men gathered at the southern entrance of al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah. They were about 300 meters away from the fence of ‘Beit Eil’ settlement. Israeli forces stationed in the area fired live ammunition, rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters. As a result, 39-year-old male sustained a bullet wound to the right arm and was taken to Palestine Medical Compound in Ramallah. A number of protestors also suffered tear gas inhalation and others sustained bruises.

Continued closure of the oPt:

Israel continued to impose a tight closure on the oPt, imposing severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.

Gaza Strip

Israeli forces continuously tighten the closure of the Gaza Strip and close all commercial crossings, making the Karm Abu Salem crossing the sole commercial crossing of the Gaza Strip, although it is not suitable for commercial purposes in terms of its operational capacity and distance from markets.

Israeli forces have continued to apply the policy, which is aimed to tighten the closure on all commercial crossings, by imposing total control over the flow of imports and exports.

The total closure of al-Mentar (‘Karni’) crossing since 02 March 2011 has seriously affected the economy of the Gaza Strip. Following this closure, all economic and commercial establishments in the Gaza Commercial Zone were shut off. It should be noted that al-Mentar crossing is the biggest crossing in the Gaza Strip, in terms of its capacity to absorb the flow of imports and exports. The decision to close al-Mentar crossing was the culmination of a series of decisions resulting in the complete closure of the Sofa crossing, east of the Gaza Strip in the beginning of 2009, and the Nahal Oz crossing, east of Gaza City, which were dedicated for the delivery of fuel and cooking gas to the Gaza Strip, in the beginning of 2010.

Israeli forces have continued to impose a total ban on the delivery of raw materials to the Gaza Strip, except for very limited items and quantities. The limited quantities of raw materials allowed into Gaza do not meet the minimal needs of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip.

The cooking gas crisis has fluctuated due to the closure of Karm Abu Salem for security claims. According to PCHR’s follow-up, Israeli authorities only allow an average of 98 tons of cooking gas into Gaza per day. This limited quantity is less than half of the daily needs, which is 200 tons per day of the civilian population in the Gaza Strip during winter. The lack of diesel and benzene led to the aggravation of the crisis as a result of using the gas cylinder for cars or as an alternative for benzene to run generators. As a result, the demand for gas further increased.

For almost 8 consecutive years, Israeli forces have continued to prevent the delivery of construction materials to the Gaza Strip. Two years ago, Israeli forces approved the delivery of limited quantities of construction materials for a number of international organizations in the Gaza Strip. On 17 September 2013, they allowed the entry of limited quantities of construction materials for the private sector. However, on 13 October 2013, they re-banned it claiming that these materials are used for constructing tunnels. Israeli forces allowed the entry of construction materials only for UNRWA and UNDP projects. As a result, construction works have completely stopped impacting all sectors related to construction and an increase in unemployment levels. During the 51-day Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip in July and August 2014, Israeli authorities did not allow the entry of any construction materials. As a result, vital and infrastructure projects have been obstructed so far.

Israeli forces also continued to impose an almost total ban on the Gaza Strip exports, including agricultural and industrial products, except for light-weighted products such as flowers, strawberries, and spices. However, they lately allowed the exportation of some vegetables such as cucumber and tomatoes, furniture and fish. 3 weeks ago, Israeli forces started to ban the entry of wood under the pretext is it used for constructing tunnels.

Israel has continued to close the Beit Hanoun (“Erez”) crossing for the majority of Palestinian citizens from the Gaza Strip. Israel only allows the movement of a limited number of groups, with many hours of waiting in the majority of cases. Israel has continued to adopt a policy aimed at reducing the number of Palestinian patients allowed to move via the Beit Hanoun crossing to receive medical treatment in hospitals in Israel or in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel denied permission to access hospitals via the crossing for new categories of patients from the Gaza Strip. It should be noted that in the past weeks Israeli forces arrested a number of Palestinian traders heading to Israel after they got permits or were requested to meet with the Israeli intelligence service at the crossing. During the reporting period, a patient was arrested at the crossing.

West Bank

Israel has imposed a tightened closure on the West Bank. During the reporting period, Israeli forces imposed additional restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians:

· Hebron: Israeli forces have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. At approximately 15:00 on Thursday, 16 April 2015, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance of Beit ‘Awwa village, southwest of Dura, southwest of Hebron. Later, the checkpoint was removed, and no arrests were reported.

At approximately 07:00 on Friday, 17 April 2015, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance of Abu Rishah Valley Road, west of Ethna, west of Hebron. At approximately 17:00, another checkpoint was established at the entrance of al-Fawar refugee camp, south of Hebron. Later, both checkpoints were removed, and no arrests were reported.

At approximately 08:00 on Sunday, 19 April 2015, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the northern entrance of Hebron. Later, the checkpoint was removed, and no arrests were reported.

At approximately 16:00 on Monday, 20 April 2015, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance of al-‘Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron. Around the same time, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the northern entrance of Hahoul, north of Hebron. Later, both checkpoints were removed, and no arrests were reported.

At approximately 08:00 on Tuesday, 21 April 2015, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the eastern entrance of Dura, southwest of Hebron. The checkpoint was later removed, and no arrests were reported.

· Ramallah: Israeli forces have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. At approximately 10:00 on Thursday, 16 April 2015, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance of Deir Abu Mesh’al village, northwest of the city. At approximately 20:30, another checkpoint was established on the road between Termes’ayah and al-Moghir, north of Ramallah. Later, both checkpoints were removed and no arrests were reported.

At approximately 10:00 on Friday, 17 April 2015, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance of al-Nabi Saleh village, northwest of Ramallah. Around the same time, two checkpoints were established under the bridge of Yabrud village, northeast of the city. At approximately 12:30, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance of Ni’lin village, west of Ramallah. Later, all checkpoints were removed and no arrests were reported.

At approximately 18:30 on Saturday, 18 April 2015, Israeli forces established a checkpoint under the bridge of Kherbtha al-Mesbah village, west of Ramallah. Later, the checkpoint was later removed, and no arrests were reported. At approximately 20:30, they re-established at ‘Atara checkpoint at the northern entrance of Bir Zeit, north of the city. They later withdrew, and no arrests were reported.

At approximately 09:30 on Sunday, 19 April 2015, Israeli forces established a checkpoint under the bridge of Yabrud village, northeast of the city. At approximately 12:30, another checkpoint at the entrance of al-Nabi Saleh village, northwest of Ramallah. At approximately 19:00, they re-established at ‘Atara checkpoint at the northern entrance of Bir Zeit, north of the city. Later, all checkpoints were later removed, and no arrests were reported.

At approximately 11:00 on Monday, 20 April 2015, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance of Deir Abu Mesh’al village, northwest of the city. At approximately 13:30, another checkpoint was established at the entrance of Ni’lin village, west of Ramallah. Later, both checkpoints were removed and no arrests were reported. At approximately 19:30, they re-established at ‘Atara checkpoint at the northern entrance of Bir Zeit, north of the city. Israeli forces later withdrew and no arrests were reported.

At approximately 17:30 on Tuesday, 21 April 2015, Israeli forces established a checkpoint on the road between Termes’ayah and al-Moghir, north of Ramallah. At approximately 10:00, another checkpoint was established a checkpoint at the entrance of al-Nabi Saleh village, northwest of Ramallah. At approximately 16:00, Israeli forces established a checkpoint under the bridge of Yabrud village, northeast of the city. Later, all checkpoints were later removed, and no arrests were reported.

· Tulkarm: Israeli forces have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. At approximately 01:30 on Saturday, 18 April 2015, Israeli forces established a checkpoint on the main road known as ‘al-Sha’arawiyah’ between Tulkarm and the villages in the northern side of Tulkarm near ‘Atil village entrance, north of Tulkarm. The checkpoint was later removed, and no arrests were reported.

At approximately 10:00 on Monday, 20 April 2015, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at Shofah village entrance, southeast of Tulkarm. The checkpoint was later removed, and no arrests were reported. At approximately 16:30, Israeli forces stationed at ‘Annab military checkpoint which is established on the road between Tulkarm and Nablus, east of the city, tightened their restrictions against civilians and obstructed their movement. Later that day, the tightening ended and no arrests were reported. The tightening renewed at approximately 23:30 on the same day.

At approximately 11:45 on Tuesday, 21 April 2015, Israeli forces established a checkpoint on the road between al-Zababdah village and the Arab American University campus, south of Jenin. The checkpoint was later removed, and no arrests were reported.

Efforts to create Jewish demographic majority in occupied East Jerusalem:

Incursions and arrests

At approximately 18:00 on Thursday, 16 April 2015, an Israeli soldier fired a rubber-coated metal bullet at Suleiman Mahmoud al-Tarabi (20) while he was walking in the street in al-Eisawiya village, north of East Jerusalem. This coincided with clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian youngsters in the village. As a result, al-Tarabi sustained a serious wound to the left eye and was taken to Hadasa Ein Karem Hospital to receive medical treatment.

Mohammed Abu al-Hummus, member of al-Eisawiya follow-up committee, said that al-Tarabi went out of his house heading to a nearby grocery and had no idea that there were clashes in the village. While walking in the street, Israeli forces fired at him and severely wounded him in the left eye. He added that al-Tarabi fell to the ground and Israeli forces attacked and arrested him.

At approximately 19:00 Israeli forces arrested Mohammed Khaled Zaitoun (14) when he was in Beer Ayoub neighbourhood in Selwan village, south of the old city in East Jerusalem. They took him to Saladin interrogation facility.

At approximately 20:30, on Friday, 17 April 2015, Israeli forces arrested Mohammed Rashid al-Shalabi (21) and Mohammed Anas Abu Sbeih (23) while walking in al-Wad Street in the old city, in East Jerusalem.

At approximately 02:00 on Monday, 20 April 2015, Israeli forces moved into al-Ein neighbourhood in Selwan village, south of the old city in East Jerusalem. They raided and searched a number of houses from which they arrested 4 civilians, including a child: Baha’ Ahmed al-Abbasi (19); Mohammed Ahmed al-Abbasi (17); and Mohammed Nasser al-Abbasi (20); and Mohammed Walid Castiro (19).

At approximately 16:00, Israeli forces arrested 3 Palestinian civilians while walking near Birenbala village, northwest of East Jerusalem: Suleiman Mahmoud Afifi (23); Ali Ahmed al-Sheikh (19); and Wesam Mo’taz Tabakhi (23).

Recommendations to the International Community:

PCHR emphasizes the international community’s position that the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are still under Israeli occupation, in spite of Israeli military redeployment outside the Gaza Strip in 2005. PCHR further confirms that Israeli forces continued to impose collective punishment measures on the Gaza Strip, which have escalated since the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections, in which Hamas won the majority of seats of the Palestinian Legislative Council. PCHR stresses that there is international recognition of Israel’s obligation to respect international human rights instruments and the international humanitarian law, especially the Hague Regulations concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land and the Geneva Conventions. Israel is bound to apply the international human rights law and the law of war sometime reciprocally and other times in parallel in a way that achieves the best protection for civilians and remedy for victims.

In light of continued arbitrary measures, land confiscation and settlement activities in the West Bank, and the continued aggression against civilians in the Gaza Strip, PCHR calls upon the international community, especially the United Nations, the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention and the European Union – in the context of their natural obligation to respect and enforce the international law – to cooperate and act according to the following recommendations:

1. PCHR calls upon the international community and the United Nations to use all available means to allow the Palestinian people to enjoy their right to self-determination, through the establishment of the Palestinian State, which was recognized by the UN General Assembly with a vast majority, using all international legal mechanisms, including sanctions to end the occupation of the State of Palestine;

2. PCHR calls upon the United Nations to provide international protection to Palestinians in the oPt, and to ensure the non-recurrence of aggression against the oPt, especially the Gaza Strip;

3. PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to compel Israel, as a High Contracting Party to the Conventions, to apply the Conventions in the oPt;

4. PCHR calls upon the Parties to international human rights instruments, especially the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to pressurize Israel to comply with their provisions in the oPt, and to compel it to incorporate the human rights situation in the oPt in its reports submitted to the concerned committees;

5. PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fulfil their obligation to ensure the application of the Conventions, including extending the scope of their jurisdiction in order to prosecute suspected war criminals, regardless of the nationality of the perpetrator and the place of a crime, to pave the way for prosecuting suspected Israeli war criminals and end the longstanding impunity they have enjoyed;

6. PCHR calls on States that apply the principle of universal jurisdiction not to surrender to Israeli pressure to limit universal jurisdiction to perpetuate the impunity enjoyed by suspected Israeli war criminals;

7. PCHR calls upon the international community to act in order to stop all Israeli settlement expansion activities in the oPt through imposing sanctions on Israeli settlements and criminalizing trading with them;

8. PCHR calls upon the UN General Assembly to transfer the Goldstone Report to the UN Security Council in order to refer it to the International Criminal Court in accordance with Article 13(b) of the Rome Statute;

9. PCHR calls upon the United Nations to confirm that holding war criminals in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a precondition to achieve stability and peace in the regions, and that peace cannot be built on the expense of human rights;

10. PCHR calls upon the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council to explicitly declare that the Israeli closure policy in Gaza and the annexation wall in the West Bank are illegal, and accordingly refer the two issues to the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Israel to compel it to remove them;

11. PCHR calls upon the international community, in light of its failure to the stop the aggression on the Palestinian people, to at least fulfil its obligation to reconstruct the Gaza Strip after the series of hostilities launched by Israel which directly targeted the civilian infrastructure;

12. PCHR calls upon the United Nations and the European Union to express a clear position towards the annexation wall following the international recognition of the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders, as the annexation wall seizes large parts of the State of Palestine;

13. PCHR calls upon the European Union to activate Article 2 of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, which provides that both sides must respect human rights as a precondition for economic cooperation between the EU states and Israel, and the EU must not ignore Israeli violations and crimes against Palestinian civilians;

Full, detailed document, including info on patrols and border crossings available at the official PCHR website.

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