Army Shoots Two, Kidnaps Three

19 Jul
6:04 AM

Israeli forces, late Friday, shot and injured two Palestinians; one was shot in Gaza and the other to the east of Qalqilia. Meanwhile, dozens suffocated as Israeli forces violently suppressed two peaceful demonstrations in West Bank, according to WAFA correspondence.

Israeli army stationed at borderline military watchtowers opened gunfire at a Palestinian youth, injuring him the foot.

He was transferred to hospital for treatment where his condition was described as moderate.

Meanwhile, a Palestinian youth was also shot and injured late Friday as Israeli forces quelled a peaceful demonstration to the east of Qalqilia in protest of the Israeli wall and settlements, while dozens suffocated due to inhaling tear gas fired at them by the Israeli army.

The youth was transferred to hospital after being shot with live ammunition in his arm, where his medical condition was described as moderate.

In the meantime, dozens of Palestinians suffered from excessive tear gas suffocation during clashes with Israeli army in the village of Bilin to the west of Ramallah, after the latter violently suppressed a similar peaceful demonstration.

Furthermore, fire broke out in Palestinian-owned land after tear gas canisters, which were fired by the army towards demonstrators, exploded near the scene of the clashes.

Israeli troops routinely open fire at Palestinian farmers and other civilians if they approach borderline lands. Israel has unilaterally declared a buffer zone extending between 500 meters and 1500 meters into the Strip, effectively turning local farms into no-go zones.

According to a United Nations’ OCHA, 17 percent of Gaza’s total land area and 35 percent of its agricultural land lie within the buffer zone as of 2010, directly affecting the lives and livelihoods of more than 100,000 Gaza residents.

“Israeli forces’ use of live ammunition has placed up to 35 percent of Gaza’s agricultural land off-limits to farmers,’ it said.

Attacks by Israeli military and navy on farmers and fishermen come despite the signing of a ceasefire deal between Israel and the Palestinian factions on August 26 2014. The deal was supposed to put an end to all kinds of hostilities, however, multiple breaches by Israel have been reported.

According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), The Israeli military has issued directives prohibiting any Palestinian presence on land within Gaza abutting the territory’s perimeter fence, currently up to 300 meters from the fence, but Israeli forces have frequently shot at Palestinians beyond that distance.

According to UN figures Israeli military forces have killed four and wounded more than 60 civilians near the perimeter fence with Gaza since the beginning of 2014.

Human Rights Watch investigated seven incidents between January 2 and March 1 2014, in which Israeli forces shot civilians in the vicinity of the fence; Four were killed, including a high school student on a picnic and a woman with an intellectual disability who was lost.

Five others were wounded, including two journalists and two demonstrators planting olive trees, none of whom posed a threat to the soldiers or others, said HRW.

The Israeli military has not claimed that any of the victims in the seven cases were engaged in military operations or that armed groups were in the area when the shooting occurred, said HRW.

‘Month after month, Israeli forces have wounded and killed unarmed Palestinians who did nothing but cross an invisible, shifting line that Israel has drawn inside Gaza’s perimeter,’ said Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW’s Middle East director.

“It’s appalling that soldiers have shot men, women, and children apparently for simply crossing a line,” Said Whitson.

“Shooting at civilians is not a lawful policy near Gaza’s perimeter fence or anywhere else,” Whitson said. “Israeli commanders need to change their policies and practices to abide by international law, not flaunt it.”

Under international human rights law, “lethal force may only be used when strictly necessary to prevent an imminent threat to life. Israeli soldiers do not face an imminent lethal threat from unarmed Palestinian civilians in areas of Gaza near the perimeter fence.”

“In violation of international humanitarian law (or the laws of war) which prohibits attacks on civilians, Israeli soldiers have repeatedly shot at civilians near the fence on the Palestinian side.”

HRW noted that under the laws of war, attacks may only be directed at military objectives, such as enemy combatants.

“Forces must do everything feasible to verify that targets are military objectives, and if there is doubt, must cancel the attack. While civilians who take a direct part in hostilities are subject to attack, merely entering a prohibited area does not meet that requirement. Military personnel who willfully kill civilians are committing a war crime.”

HRW noted that the economy of the Gaza Strip has been severely harmed by Israel’s and Egypt’s border closures, with unemployment at almost 40 percent and more than 70 percent of the population receiving humanitarian assistance.

Israel has imposed a tightened blockade since 2007 after Hamas won the democratic legislative elections and took over power in the strip.

Also late Friday, as Palestinians marked the first day of Eid, abducted three Palestinians near the village of Jaba’ to the east of Jerusalem, according to local sources.

Sources told WAFA that forces arrested three Palestinians at a flying checkpoint while they were on their way back home. Forces further confiscated their car.

They were identified as Sa’eb Abahreh, 28, Fadi, 25, and Yasir Jarrar, 28.

The Israeli authorities have kidnapped 1545 Palestinians since the beginning of 2015 year, reported Abdel Nasser Ferwana the director of the Bureau of Statistics in the commission of detainees’ affairs.

The rate of arrests since January till April is 9.6% which exceeds the rate documented for the same period last year, said Ferwana.

A total of 258 Palestinian under the age of 18 are among the arrested in addition to 77 Palestinians women, the statement reported.

Also of interest: 94 Israeli Ceasefire Violations Since August

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