Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the oPt continued during the reporting period (29 Oct. – 04 Nov. 2015).Israeli attacks in the West Bank & Gaza:
Israeli forces have continued to flagrantly commit crimes, inflicting civilian casualties. They have also continued to use excessive force against Palestinian civilians participating in peaceful protests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the majority of whom were youngsters. Occupied East Jerusalem witnessed similar attacks. During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed 8 Palestinian civilians, including 2 children, in the West Bank; one of whom was killed in occupied Jerusalem. Moreover, 129 Palestinian civilians, including 25 children, 3 journalists and a paramedic, were wounded. In addition, 8 other paramedics suffered tear gas inhalation. Fifty-six of the wounded, including a child, a journalist and a paramedic, sustained shrapnel wounds and 4 others suffered tear gas inhalation in the Gaza Strip, while the remaining others were wounded in the West Bank. Concerning the nature of injury, 87 Palestinian civilians were hit with live ammunition and 41 were hit with rubber-coated metal bullets.
In the West Bank, killings committed by Israeli forces were as follows:
On 29 October 2015, Israeli Border Guard officers stationed at the military checkpoint (160), south of Hebron’s Old City, shot Mahdi al-Mohtaseb (22) dead under the pretext of a stabbing attempt.
On the same day, Israeli soldiers deployed in al-Shuhada Street, in the centre of Hebron’s Old City, killed Farouq Seder (19), from Izone neighbourhood, east of Hebron, by opening fire at him from behind. Israeli forces claimed that he attempted to stab a soldier. However, some photos posted by Israeli soldiers on social media showed that there was no knife in the crime scene.
On 30 October 2015, Israeli forces stationed at Za’tara checkpoint, south of Nablus, killed Qasem Saba’na (20), from Qabatya village, southeast of Jenin, and seriously wounded another in a stabbing attempt.
On the same day, a light rail security officer on Bar Lev Street near Shaikh Jarrah neighbourhood, north of East Jerusalem’s Old City, opened fire at Ahmed Qnaibi (23), from Kufor Aqeb neighbourhood, north of the city. As a result, he sustained several bullet wounds from a close range, due to which he was transported to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in West Jerusalem to receive the necessary medical treatment, but he succumbed to his injuries few hours later. Israeli forces claimed that the aforementioned person attempted to stab 2 settlers in the city.
On 31 October 2015, Israeli security officers serving the Israeli forces and guarding al-Jalama crossing, northeast of Jenin, killed Mahmoud Nazzal (17), from Qabatya village, southeast of the city, who was running towards the crossing and crying ‘Allah Akbar’. It should be noted that he was not holding any sharp tool with him.
On 01 November 2015, Israeli forces deployed at the entrance of Beit Aynoun village, east of Hebron, killed Fadi al-Faroukh (27) while being present in an agricultural land near the main street leading to the said village. It should be noted that there were confrontations between Palestinian civilians and Israeli forces in that area. Israeli forces claimed that the aforementioned person attempted to carry out a stabbing.
On 02 November 2015, Israeli forces stationed at al-Jalama crossing, northeast of Jenin, killed Ahmed Abu al-Rob (16) and wounded Mahmoud Kmail (17); both are from Qabatya village, southeast of Jenin. The first was killed when Israeli forces ordered both of them to pull up their clothes, but Abu al-Rob pulled a knife out; therefore, Israeli soldiers opened fire at him and shot him dead and wounded the other, who was then arrested.
On 04 November 2015, Israeli infantry deployed at the entrance to Halahoul northern entrance opened fire at a vehicle with a Palestinian registration plate after its driver had run over 2 Israeli police officers. As a result, the driver namely Ibrahim Eskafi (22), from Khellet Hadour, south of Hebron, was killed.
During the reporting period, 73 Palestinian civilians, including 24 children, were wounded in the West Bank; one of whom was wounded in occupied East Jerusalem.
The Palestinian civilians wounded in the West Bank were as follows:
In peaceful protests against Israeli policies: 52 Palestinian civilians, including 17 children, were wounded. Ninety-three of them were hit with live ammunition and 13 others were hit with rubber-coated metal bullets.
In peaceful protests against Israeli incursion: 20 Palestinian civilians, including 7 children, were wounded. Four of them were hit with live ammunition and 16 others were hit with rubber-coated metal bullets.
Palestinian civilians wounded in occupied Jerusalem: 28 Palestinian civilians were wounded with rubber-coated metal bullets.
In the Gaza Strip, 56 Palestinian civilians, including a child, a journalist and a paramedic, were wounded, while 4 other paramedics suffered tear gas inhalation. Forty-four of whom were hit with live ammunition, 11 others were hit with rubber-coated metal bullets and dozens of civilians suffered tear gas inhalation.
The Palestinian civilians wounded in the Gaza Strip were as follows:
North of the Gaza Strip: 6 civilians were wounded; 5 of whom sustained live bullet wounds and the 6th sustained a rubber bullet wound.
Gaza City: 17 Palestinian civilians were wounded; 7 of whom sustained live bullet wounds and the 10 others sustained rubber bullet wounds.
Central Gaza Strip: 19 Palestinian civilians, including a child, sustained live bullet wounds.
Khan Yunis: 14 Palestinian civilians, including a paramedic and a journalist, sustained live bullet wounds.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 77 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 14 ones in occupied East Jerusalem. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 119 Palestinian civilians, including 35 children and a woman. Forty-eight of these civilians, including 14 children, were arrested in East Jerusalem.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces raided the offices of Menbar al-Hurriya Radio and Adwar ‘Roles’ for Social Change Association in Hebron and issued a decision to close the aforementioned radio for 6 months. Moreover, they raided houses of a number of families of Palestinians accused of carrying out stabbing and run-over attacks. They also verbally threatened these families to confiscate and demolish their houses within a week.
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 9 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 (KeremShaloum) 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. The Israeli closure raised the rate of poverty to 38.8%, 21.1% of which suffer from extreme poverty. Moreover, the rate of unemployment increased up to 44%, which reflects the unprecedented economic deterioration in the Gaza Strip.
Efforts to create a Jewish majority
Israeli forces escalated their attacks on Palestinian civilians and their property. They have also continued their raids on al-Aqsa Mosque and denied the Palestinians access to it:
· At approximately 15:00 on Friday, 30 October 2015, a light rail security officer on Bar Lev Street near Shaikh Jarrah neighbourhood, north of East Jerusalem’s Old City, opened fire at Ahmed Hamada Yusef Qnaibi (23), from Kufor Aqeb neighbourhood, north of the city. As a result, he sustained several bullet wounds from a close range, due to which he was transported to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in West Jerusalem to receive the necessary medical treatment, but he succumbed to his injuries few hours later.
In a statement issued by the Israeli police, Luba Samri, Israeli police spokesperson, claimed that a Jerusalemite young man around (23) years old, from Kufor Aqeb neighbourhood had stabbed two Jewish persons near a light rail in ‘Givat Hat’hmoshet’ settlement. The two Jewish persons’ injuries ranged between minor and moderate. The light rail security officer immediately opened fire at the aforementioned person; therefore the officer ‘neutralized him’. The wounded person was transported to a hospital to receive medical treatment, but he was pronounced dead later.
Collective punishment against families of Palestinians accused of carrying out attacks against Israeli forces and settlers
· At approximately 04:00 on Thursday, 29 October 2015, Israeli forces raided a house belonging to the family of Tha’er Abu Ghazala in Kufir Aqeb neighbourhood, north of East Jerusalem. The family said to PCHR’s fieldworker that Israeli forces had raided their house and damaged the main door in the dawn, but no one was in there. They photographed the house, took its measures and examined the walls according to the family neighbours. It should be noted that Abu Ghazala was killed by Israeli forces in Tel Aviv on 08 October 2015, under the pretext of stabbing a female soldier with a screw. The corpse of Abu Ghazala has been kept in the Israeli custody. Moreover, they arrested his father and then placed him under administrative detention.
House demolitions and demolition notices
· On Friday, 30 October 2015, Israeli forces accompanied by Jerusalem Municipality officers raided 3 houses belonging to Abu Jamal family in al-Mukaber Mountain village, southeast of occupied Jerusalem. Abu Jamal family said that the Israeli municipality officers delivered administrative demolition notices for a house belonging to Mohammed Abu Jamal, Alaa’s brother, under the pretext of non-licensing. It should be noted that the 110-square-meter house was built in 2001, in which 6 family members, including the father, mother and four children, have been living. Moreover, the municipality officers delivered another administrative demolition notice for a house belonging to the family of Alaa Abu Jamal; the same house against which a confiscation and demolition decision was issued by the Israeli Home Front Command last week. This house was built in 1995. It should be noted that the Israeli forces raided lately a house belonging to Safa’ Abu Jamal, Alaa’s sister, and made holes in the house walls, took its measures, examined the walls and made holes in them. However, Israeli forces claimed that the house belongs to Alaa and that the first house that was examined to be demolished was not his. Thus, the Israeli authorities have threatened to demolish 3 houses attached to each other belonging to Alaa Abu Jamal’s family. Israeli forces killed Alaa Abu Jamal on 13 October 2015 after stabbing and running over Israeli settlers in West Jerusalem.
· In the same context, Israeli forces raided a house belonging to the family of Akram Abu Jamal, looking for the family of the wounded prisoner, Belal Abu Ghanem. Abu Ghanem’s family was renting Akram’s house, but left lately. The municipality officers photographed Akram’s house license and then withdrew.
· At approximately 07:00 on Monday, 12 November 2015, under the protection of special forces, the Israeli municipality bulldozers demolished a house belonging to the family of Sami Edris in Khellet al-Abed area in al-Mukaber Mountain village, southeast of occupied Jerusalem, without warning, under the pretext of non-licensing. The aforementioned civilian said to PCHR’s fieldworker that Israeli special forces accompanied by Israeli municipality officers and bulldozers raided a house in Khellet al-Abed in al-Mukaber Mountain to demolish it without warning. He added that Israeli forces allowed him to take out his personal papers, money and light belongings only. They also obliged him to leave the house in minutes and kept his family few meters away from him. The municipality officers then randomly emptied the house content. After which, a bulldozer demolished the 80-square-meter house that used to shelter a 7-member family, including 4 children. It should be noted that Edris started building his house 3 months ago and moved in with his family for 15 days only. The building costs were around NIS 100,000. Edris pointed that the Israeli municipality had fixed an administrative demolition notice twice in the past 2 months; therefore, he attempted to obtain a construction license, but could not because of the Israeli restrictions in this regard.
· A few hours later, Israeli forces accompanied by municipality officers and a bulldozer moved into Beit Hanina neighbourhood, north of East Jerusalem, and demolished a 3-storey building belonging to lawyer Khaldoun Nejem and Mousa and Mahmoud al-Dosoky.
The affected families said that the building, which was residential, was added to an old building a year ago and they had moved in last April. After the Israeli municipality had issued a demolition decision, the families could adjourn the decision until they reached a settlement with the municipality, one day before the demolition, to turn the demolition decision into an indictment and construction fines. However, the families were surprised that on the abovementioned day Israeli forces moved into the area and demolished the building. Lawyer Khaldoun Nejem said that the 3-storey building (each floor is a 120-square-meter apartment) was resided by 3 families as follows: Khaldoun’s family, including his wife and 2 children; Mousa al-Dosoky, his wife and daughter; and Khaldoun’s brother namely Mahmoud who was preparing his apartment to move in soon. The families declared that the building was demolished with its contents inside.
· On Tuesday, 03 November 2015, Israeli municipality officers fixed administrative demolition notices on the walls of al-Qa’qa’ Mosque and a commercial facility in Hosh Abu Tayeh in silwan village, south of East Jerusalem’s Old City, under the pretext of non-licensing.
Hani Abu Tayeh, who is responsible for the mosque’s affairs, said that Israeli municipality officers fixed an administrative demolition notice on the wall of al-Qa’qa’ Mosque in Hosh Abu Tayeh in Ein al-Louza neighborhood that is located in Silwan village, under the pretext of non-licensing. Moreover, they fixed a similar one on a carwash in Beer Ayoub neighborhood, in the city. They photographed some commercial facilities, residential buildings, entrances to certain neighbourhoods and streets. He added that the 120-square-meter mosque was built 3 years ago. it should be noted that the decision was issued on 20 August 2015 and gave a 90-day period for challenging the decision, otherwise, it would be applied. The demolition decision is based on ‘Law 212’, which is utilized by the Israeli municipality and General Prosecution to implement demolition decisions. The same law allows the General Prosecution to issue demolition decisions against non-licensed buildings even if the person/s were unknown.
On 29 October 2015, Israeli forces issued a military order to confiscate 5 dunums of lands in Yasouf village, east of Salfit, belonging to the heirs of Ghaleb Abdullah Deeb.
On 03 November 2015, Israeli forces moved into al-Shaikh Bashir area, southeast of Jaloud village, southeast of Nablus. They handed residents of the area, in which 10 families reside, notices to vacate their houses in 15 days to be demolished because they about 300 meters away from ‘Ahya’ settlement that was established in 1997. It should be noted that the targeted houses are located in area (C) according to the Oslo accords. Some of these houses were built in 1975 and their owners have construction licenses from the Israeli forces. The families affected by this decision consist of 38 persons, including 20 children.
On Sunday, 01 November 2015, Alaa’ Hassan Ibrahim al-Khateeb (25), from Jayous village, northeast of Qalqilya, was run over by a settler on the main road between Qalqila and Nablus, near Azoun intersection, east of Qalqilya. As a result, he sustained fractures to the arm and a cut in the head.
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 latest 51-day offensive 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;
Fully detailed document, including info on protests, patrols and border crossings available at the official PCHR website.