Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the oPt continued during the reporting period (12 – 18 November 2015).Israeli attacks in the West Bank & Gaza:
Israeli forces have continued to 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 7 Palestinian civilians, including a child, in the West Bank. Moreover, 93 Palestinian civilians, including 24 children, a woman and 5 journalists, were wounded. Eighteen of whom, including 3 children, were wounded in the Gaza Strip and the others were wounded in the West Bank. Concerning the nature of injuries, 58 civilians were hit with live bullets, 29 ones were hit with rubber bullets and 6 others were hit with tear gas canisters.
In the West Bank, killings committed by Israeli forces were as follows:
On Thursday dawn, 12 November 2015, Israeli forces committed a new cold-blooded crime by killing Abdullah Shalalda (28), from Sa’ir village, east of Hebron. This crime was committed at al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron by Israeli undercover agents ‘Mosta’rebeen’ that are well known for carrying out dozens of extra-judicial executions following al-Aqsa Intifada.
On the same day afternoon, Israeli forces wounded Mahmoud Wadi (17), from Sa’ir village while participating in a protest following the funeral procession of Abdullah Shalalda. The bullet entered the lower back and exited the right shoulder. The wounded civilian was taken to al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron, but at approximately 10:00 on Friday, 13 November 2015, medical sources declared that he succumbed to his injury.
On 13 November 2015, Israeli forces killed Hassan Se’da (21), from Halhoul, north of Hebron, while participating in a protest between the southern entrance of Halhoul and the northern entrance of Hebron.
On the same day, Israeli forces killed Lafi Awad (22), from Budrus village, west of Ramallah and al-Bireh, while throwing stones along with other youngsters, southwest of the said village. An eyewitness said that Israeli forces opened fire at him from a range of 5 meters and they could have arrested him instead. It should be noted that Israeli forces arrested the aforementioned person after he sustained a rubber-coated metal bullet wound, but when he escaped, Israeli forces opened fire at him.
On 16 November 2015, Israeli forces killed Laith Manasra (21) when they opened fire at him from a range of 50 meters while being present on the roof of his family in Qalandia refugee camp throwing stones at Israeli soldiers. Moreover, Ahmed Abu al-Eish (28) was killed in armed clashes with Israeli forces in the same refugee camp. It is worth noting that Israeli forces moved into Qalandia refugee camp to demolish an apartment rented by the family of Mohammed Abu Shaheen, who was arrested by Israeli forces in June 2015 under the pretext of killing a settler.
On 17 November 2015, Israeli forces killed Mohammed Saleh (24), from Aroura village, northwest of Ramallah. Israeli forces opened fire at him from a military jeep that was stationed near Termis’ya intersection, north of the city. Israeli forces claimed that Saleh opened fire at the vehicle, yet there was not eyewitness to confirm or deny the Israeli claim. In addition, Israeli forces denied the Palestinian medical crews from reaching the scene.
During the reporting period, 75 Palestinian civilians in the West Bank, including 21 children a woman and 3 journalists, were wounded. Eight of them were wounded in East Jerusalem and its suburbs.
The Palestinian civilians wounded in the West Bank were as follows:
In peaceful protests against Israeli policies: 59 Palestinian civilians, including 19 children, a woman and 3 journalists, were wounded. Forty-one of them were hit with live bullets and 18 others were hit with rubber-coated metal bullets.
In peaceful protests against Israeli incursion: 7 Palestinian civilians were wounded. One of them were hit with live bullets, 5 were hit with rubber-coated metal bullets and one was hit with a tear gas canister.
In peaceful protests against the annexation wall and settlement activities: a child was hit with a live bullet.
Palestinian civilians wounded in occupied Jerusalem: 8 Palestinian civilians were wounded. Four of whom were hit with live bullets, 3 were hit with rubber bullets and one was hit with a tear gas canister.
In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces wounded 18 civilians. Sixteen of them, including 3 children and 2 journalists, were wounded in peaceful protests, while 2 fishermen were wounded in the sea. Eleven of the wounded were hit with live bullets, 3 were hit with rubber bullets and 4 were hit with tear gas canisters.
The Palestinian civilians wounded in the Gaza Strip were as follows:
North of the Gaza Strip: 6 Palestinian civilians were wounded; 1 of whom sustained a live bullet wound, 3 sustained rubber bullet wounds and 2 others were hit with tear gas canisters.
Gaza City: 2 fishermen sustained live bullet wounds.
Central Gaza Strip: 6 Palestinian civilians were wounded; 4 of whom sustained live bullet wounds and 2 were hit with tear gas canisters.
Khan Yunis: 4 Palestinian civilians sustained live bullet wounds.
In the context of shooting incidents at the border area, on 15 November 2015, Israeli forces stationed at the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip, east of Jabalia, north of the Gaza Strip, opened fire at the border area, but neither casualties nor material damage were reported.
Concerning targeting Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip sea, on 13 November 2015, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Waha resort, northwest of Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing with 2 nautical miles, but no casualties were reported. A similar shooting incident was reported on 17 November 2015, but no casualties were reported.
On 16 November 2015, Israeli gunboats opened fire at a Palestinian fishing boat on board of which were 2 fishermen. The boat was sailing 6.5 nautical miles off Gaza Seaport. As a result, they sustained minor wounds.
In the context of Israeli airstrikes, on 17 November 2015, Israeli warplanes raided a Palestinian training site, southwest of al-Bureij refugee camp, but no casualties were reported.
House demolition on grounds of collective punishment
As part of the collective punishment policy practiced by Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians, following the approval of the Israeli High Court on Thursday, 12 November 2015, on the demolition of houses belonging to families of Palestinian civilians accused of ‘being involved in carrying out attacks against Israeli target’, Israeli forces started applying the decision. On 14 November 2015, Israeli forces moved into Nablus. They stationed around houses of 3 Palestinian civilians accused of being involved in ‘Itamar’ attack, on 01 October 2015, that resulted then in killing a settler and his wife. Explosive experts planted explosives in the walls of the 3 houses and bombed them. The bombed houses belong to Karam al-Masri, Samir Kousa and Yehya Hamad. The explosions inflicted damage on 8 houses and an orphanage.
On the same day, Israeli forces moved into Silwad village, northeast of Ramallah. They raided a house belonging to the family of Mo’az Hamed (26), a Palestinian prisoner detained at the Palestinian Preventive Security prison since last July under the pretext of being a member of a military cell that killed a settler in June. Israeli forces surrounded the area, where the explosive experts planted explosive inside the house and remotely bombed it. The house was completely destroyed as a result and other neighbouring houses sustained large damage.
On 16 November 2015, Israeli forces bombed an apartment rented by the family of Mohammed Shaheen, who was arrested by Israeli forces in June 2015 under the pretext of killing a settler.
In the same context, the Israeli Home Front Command issued a decision on 12 November 2015 to confiscate and demolish a house belonging to the family of Baha’ Elayan in al-Mukaber Mountain village, southeast of Jerusalem. It should be noted that Baha’ was killed by Israeli forces after carrying out a stabbing and shooting attack in an Israeli bus on 13 October 2015, in the said village.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 77 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 11 ones in occupied East Jerusalem. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 111 Palestinian civilians, including 38 children. Thirty-six of these civilians, including 22 children, were arrested in East Jerusalem.
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 (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. 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.
On 12 November 2015, Israeli forces demolished 2 cattle farms, east of Hebron.
On 16 November 2015, Israeli forces demolished 2 residential tents and a livestock barn in al-Qanoub area, east of Sa’ir village, east of Hebron. They also demolished 3 other residential tents and a livestock barn in Joury al-Khail area, west of the said village.
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.