Press Release by the Palestinian  Centre For Human Rights (PCHR): The West Bank witnessed a number of security incidents in which force was excessively used and a number of civilians were arrested in Tulkarem and Jenin.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) follows up with concern these developments in the two cities and stresses the significance of fulfilling the legal and international standards in dealing with civilians in all circumstances and under any charges brought against them.

PCHR calls upon the Attorney General to follow up the file of the detainees and to comply with the legal procedures.

Moreover, PCHR highlights that security services’ duty is to ban the possession of firearms and maintain the security of civilians within the boundaries of the law with a strict commitment to the relevant international standards, especially the 1979 Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials.

At approximately 02:00, today, security services surrounded a house belonging to the family of Ra’ef Fat’hi Rashid Mansour (32) in the southern neighborhood of Kufor Qaleel village, southeast of Nablus, in order to arrest him.

A number of the neighborhood residents immediately gathered and threw stones at the police officers who opened fire in response. As a result, a number of civilians were wounded, including a child.

On 04 August 2016, the security officers suppressed a protest in front of the Electricity Company in al-Yamoun village that was organized against the power outages in the village. The Company contacted the police after some young men threw stones at the Company.

As a result, a large force of security services arrived and started beating all who were present in the street with clubs. The security services arrested 5 civilians on grounds of the incident.

On 01 August 2016, the security services launched arrest campaign against 10 members of Fateh movement in Tulkarem under the pretext they spat curses at the Palestinian Prime Minister and Ministry of Local Government on Facebook because of the repeated power outages in the city.

Following the arrests, some members of Fateh movement went out to the streets, set fire to tires and opened fire in the air, due to which other civilians were arrested too.

A state of tension has prevailed in the city because of the arrests against Fateh members in spite of attempts to contain the situation and the Palestinian President’s personal intervention.

In the same context, on 05 August 2016, security officers pepper-sprayed the face of Ibrahim Khreisha, Secretary-General of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), after which he was transported to Tulkarem Hospital.

The incident occurred while security officers were attempting to arrest Mohammed Araj, a Fateh member.

Meanwhile, some civilians, including Khreisha who was around, intervened to stop the arrest. Khreisha explained that he was attacked after he said to the security officers, “If you want to arrest him, we have no problem, but why you are beating him?” Khreisha added that Araj was beaten while being arrested.

PCHR stresses that security services’ duty is to keep the security and safety of civilians and companies and highlights the significance of eliminating the state of possessing and using firearms during protests.

Therefore, PCHR underscores the importance of the security services’ commitment to the principles of proportionality and lawfulness when using force. In addition, PCHR condemns the excessive and random use of force, and:

  1. Calls upon the Attorney General to investigate the incidents in Tulkarem and Jenin, to stop the breaches committed by security services and to prosecute those who are responsible for them; and
  2. Calls upon the Prime Minister, who holds the position of Minister of Interior as well, to fulfill his duties to guarantee security services commitment to the law and dignity of civilians and to apply the law within the international standards relevant to the use of force.