Israeli forces continued with systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) for the week of 08 – 14 June, 2017.
Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian in the Gaza Strip, in new crime of excessive use of force. 21 Palestinian civilians, including 2 children, were wounded during peaceful demonstrations organized along the Gaza Strip borders.
During the reporting period, in a new crime of excessive use of force, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian and wounded 21 others, including 2 children, in the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces continued to chase the Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip Sea and open fire at farmers along the border areas.
In the Gaza Strip, on 09 June 2017, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian and wounded 21 others, including 2 children, when the Israeli forces opened fire at dozens of young men protesting near the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel. In the northern Gaza Strip, those forces killed a Palestinian civilian and wounded 18 others, including 2 children. Five of whom were hit with bullets to the limbs, one was hit with bullet shrapnel to the chest, 10 were directly hit with gas canisters and 2 were hit with metal bullets. In the eastern side of al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, two civilians were wounded with bullets to the limbs while in al-Shokah village, east of Rafah City in the southern Gaza Strip, a civilian was hit with a bullet to the limbs.
In the same context, the border area witnessed protests against the Israeli-imposed closure on the Gaza Strip. They used force against the protestors, due to which 7 civilians, including a child, were wounded (excluding the 2 abovementioned)
In the context of Israeli attacks against fishermen in the sea, on 08 June 2017, Israeli gunboats opened fire at and chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles northwest of Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip. As a result, fishermen were forced to flee for fear of being arrested or killed. However, neither casualties nor damage to the boats were reported. The shooting recurred at the Palestinian fishing boats in the same area on 13 June 2017 when also fishing boats sailing off Rafah shore in the southern Gaza Strip were targeted in the same way.
In the West Bank, Israeli forces used force to disperse protests organized by Palestinian civilians and human rights defenders in the villages of Ni’lin, Bi’lin, west of Ramallah, al-Nabi Saleh, northwest of the city, and Kafr Qaddoum, northeast of Qalqilya. As a result, some protestors suffered tear gas inhalation while others sustained bruises after being beaten up by the Israeli soldiers.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 38 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, and 7 others into Jerusalem and its suburbs .During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 46 Palestinian civilians, including 10children. Fourteen of them, including 6 children, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem and its suburbs. Among those arrested were ‘Abdel Khaleq al-Natsheh (62), a Hamas leader, and Wasfi Qabha, a former Minister. The Israeli forces also confiscated a carr belonging to al-Natsheh’s wife and another car belonging to Hadil Abu Menshar. The Israeli forces claimed that the two confiscated cars belong to Hamas movement while both al-Natsheh and Abu Menshar families confirmed they bought those cars from their own money.
In the Gaza Strip, on 12 June 2017, Israeli forces moved 100 meters into al-Qararah village, northeast of Khan Younis, south of the Gaza Strip. They combed lands along the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip.
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 2 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 65%. Moreover, the rate of unemployment increased up to 47% and youth constitutes 65% of the unemployed persons. Moreover, 80% of the Gaza Strip population depends on international aid to secure their minimum daily needs. These rates indicate the unprecedented economic deterioration in the Gaza Strip.
In the West Bank, Israeli forces continued to suffocate the Palestinian cities and village by imposing military checkpoints around and/or between them. This created “cantons” isolated from each other that hinders the movement of civilians. Moreover, the Palestinian civilians suffering aggravated because of the annexation wall and checkpoints erected on daily basis to catch Palestinians.
- Use of excessive force against peaceful demonstrations protesting settlement activities and the construction of the annexation wall
Demonstrations in protest against the annexation wall and settlement activities
- Following the Friday prayer on 09 June 2017, dozens of Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international human rights defenders organized a protest in Bil’in and Ni’lin villages, west of Ramallah; al-Nabi Saleh village, northwest of the city and Kufor Qaddoum village, northeast of Qalqiliyah, in protest against the annexation wall and settlement activities. Israeli forces forcibly dispersed the protests, firing live and metal bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs. They also chased protesters into olive fields and houses. As a result, some of the protesters suffered tear gas inhalation while others sustained bruises as Israeli soldiers beat them up.
- At approximately 17:00 on Thursday, 08 June 2017, dozens of Palestinian young men gathered near the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of al-Qararah village, northeast of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. They set fire to tires and raised the Palestinian flags and banners condemning the Israeli closure on the Gaza Strip. When a number of the young men approached the abovementioned border fence, the Israeli soldiers stationed there sporadically fired live bullets and tear gas canisters for an hour and a half around the protestors to disperse them. As a result, a number of them sustained tear gas inhalation.
- Around the same time, dozens of Palestinian young men gathered near the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of Khuza’ah village, east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. They set fire to tires and raised flags and banners condemning the Israeli closure on the Gaza Strip. When some of the young men approached the abovementioned border fence, the Israeli soldiers stationed there sporadically fired live bullets and tear gas canisters for an hour and a half around the protestors to disperse them. As a result, some of them sustained tear gas inhalation.
- Around the same time, dozens of Palestinian young men made their way to the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of al-Buraij, in protest against the Israeli-imposed closure on the Gaza Strip. The young men gathered near the security fence, set fire to tires, raised the Palestinian flags and then threw stones at the Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence. The soldiers fired live bullets and tear gas canisters at the protestors and the agricultural lands located to the west of the abovementioned border fence. As a result, a number of civilians suffered tear gas inhalation and received medical treatment on the spot.
- At approximately 14:30 on Friday, 09 June 2017, dozens of youngsters gathered near the border fence, east of the cemetery, east of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip. Some of them set fire to tires and threw stones at Israeli soldiers stationed behind the border fence. The Israeli soldiers sporadically fired tear gas canisters and live bullets at the protestors for 5 hours. The confrontations peaked at 18:00. As a result, ‘Ayed Khamis Mahmoud Jom’ah (19) from Jabalia died after he sustained a live bullet wound to the head. In addition, 18 civilians, including 2 children, were wounded, when they were between 50 and 150 meters away from the border fence. Six civilians were hit with live bullets to the limbs, one sustained a live bullet shrapnel wound to the chest, 9 civilians were directly hit with tear gas canisters and 2 others sustained live bullet wounds. The killed and wounded were transferred by ambulances, civilian vehicles and even motorcycles to the Indonesian Hospital in Jabalia. The medical sources classified their injuries between moderate and minor. (PCHR keeps the names of the wounded civilians).
- At approximately 03:30 on the same Friday, dozens of Palestinian civilians gathered few meters away from the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel near al-Nahdah neighborhood, east of al-Shawkah village, east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, in response to calls for protests in the border area against the Israeli-imposed closure on Gaza. A number of the protestors approached the border fence, set fire to tires, raised the Palestinian flags and then threw stones at the Israeli soldiers stationed at the border fence. The soldiers fired tear gas canisters and live bullets at them. The clashes continued until approximately 19:00 on the same day. As a result, Mohammed Yasin Ahmed al-‘Arabid (21) sustained a live bullet wound to the upper limbs. He was transferred to Gaza European Hospital in Khan Yunis. His injury was classified as moderate.
- At approximately 17:00 on the same Friday, dozens of Palestinian young men made their way to the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of al-Buraij, in rejection to the Israeli-imposed closure on the Gaza Strip. The young men gathered near the security fence, set fire to tires, raised the Palestinian flags and then threw stones at the Israeli soldiers stationed at the border fence. The soldiers fired live bullets and tear gas canisters at the protestors and the agricultural lands that are located in the west of the abovementioned border fence. As a result, 2 civilians sustained live bullet wounds to the limbs. One of the wounded civilians was in his land that is located about 220 meters away from the abovementioned border fence. Moreover, other civilians sustained tear gas inhalation. The wounded civilians were transferred to al-Aqsa Hospital to receive medical treatment. Their injuries were classified as moderate.
- At approximately 17:00 on the same Friday, dozens of Palestinian young men made their way to the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of Khuza’ah village, east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. They set fire to tires, raised the Palestinian flags and banners condemning the Israeli closure on the Gaza Strip. When a number of the young men approached the border fence waving the Palestinian flags, the Israeli soldiers stationed there sporadically fired live bullets and tear gas canisters at them for an hour and a half in order to disperse the protestors. As a result, a number of civilians sustained tear gas inhalation.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 also continued applying the policy of making certain civilian traveling via the crossing interviewed by the Israeli intelligence service to be questioned, blackmailed or arrested.
Arrests at military checkpoints:
- At approximately 16:00 on Thursday, 08 June 2017, Israeli forces stationed at al-Nashash checkpoint in al-Khadir village, south of Bethlehem, arrested Mofti al-Masri (26) and Yousef Sarahnah (28). Both of them are from al-Dahisha refugee camp, south of the city.
- At approximately 19:20 on Saturday, 10 June 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance to al-Nabi Iyyas village, east of Qalqiliya. They searched the Palestinian vehicles and checked passengers’ IDs. During this, they arrested ‘Amer Mohamed Abed al-Rahman Friaj (25) and Mjtahid Tahseen ‘Abdouh (28).
- At approximately 22:00, Israeli forces stationed at al-Kontainer checkpoint, northeast of Bethlehem, arrested Mohanad Abed al-Baset Shawabkah (25).
- Efforts to Create 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:
Arrests and Incursions:
- At approximately 00:30 on Sunday, 11 June 2017, Israeli forces moved into Silwan village, south of occupied Jerusalem’s Old City. They then deployed in ‘Ain al-Louza neighborhood and discriminately fired rubber-coated metal bullets towards civilians’ houses under the pretext of burning a vehicle belonging to Israeli settlers in the abovementioned neighborhood. ‘Emad al-Qaq stated to PCHR’s fieldworker that the Israeli forces moved into many neighborhoods in Silwan village and fired rubber-coated metal bullets in the neighborhood. Moreover, a group of Israeli settlers deployed in the neighborhood under the protection of the Israeli forces. The settlers insulted the neighborhood’s residents under the pretext that the residents burned a vehicle belonging to the settlers. Al-Qaq also said that a rubber-coated metal bullet penetrated his house window and broke it.
- At approximately 03:00 on Sunday, Israeli forces moved into Beit Haninah neighborhood, north of occupied Jerusalem. They raided and searched a house belonging to the representative Of Islamic Bloc in Birzeit University, Yaser Abu Ramilah (23) and arrested him.
- At approximately 21:00 on Sunday, Israeli forces moved into Baten al-Hawa neighborhood in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched a house belonging to Iyad al-‘Abasi and arrested his son ‘Adnan (15).
- At approximately 01:00 on Monday, 12 June 2017, Israeli forces moved into Wadi al-Jouz neighborhood, east of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched houses from which they arrested Wisam al-‘Ouri (20), Majd Sa’idah (21), Yehia ‘Ajalouni (19) and Fawzi ‘Ashour (20).
- At approximately 01:00 on tueasday, 14 June 2017, Israeli forces moved into ‘Ein al-Lozeh neighborhood in Silwan village, south of Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched a house belonging to the family of al-Shyoukhi. They arrested Mo’az (27) and Mansours al-Shyoukhi (25) and later withdrew taking them to an unknown destination.
- At approximately 15:30 on Tuesday, 13 June 2017, a special force of Israeli soldiers assaulted ‘Abed al- Hay al-Zair (60) while he was in front of his house in al-‘Abasiyia neighborhood in Silwan village, south of occupied Jerusalem’s Old City. The Israeli soldiers assaulted ‘Abed al-Hay under the pretext that he assaulted the soldiers while on duty. As a result, ‘Abed al-Hay sustained fracture to the right arm. Abed al-Hay said that the Israeli forces arrested him along with his son Ahmed (15) under the pretext that they assaulted the Israeli soldiers while raiding Silwan village. He also pointed out that the Israeli forces released him while his son is so far under arrest in order to bring him before the court.
Al-Zair also said that the Israeli forces accompanied by military vehicles carrying special forces and Israeli Intelligence forces moved into al-‘Abasiyia neighborhood in the vicinity of his house. Abed al-Haiy said that he was sitting in the yard near his house when the Israeli soldiers raided the area. During this, an Israeli officer asked him to come and open some doors adjacent to his house. ‘Abed al-Hay said to the officer that these doors are the doors of the neighbors’ houses. The officer told him” If you do not open the doors, I will fracture your hands”. Abed al-Haiy added that “I had keys of my car, house and workplace so the officer asked me to give them to him and again ordered me to open the doors”. In the meantime, my son Ahmed was sitting in my car in front of my house and then the Israeli soldiers headed toward him taking him out of the car and severely beat him. When I attempted to help my son, they beat me as well and fractured my arm. Al-Zair said that the Israeli forces took him and his son Ahmed to the Salah al-Din Street police station. During that time, he lost consciousness because of the severe pain he suffered. Despite his screams and pains, the soldiers detained him until evening hours. He was subjected to naked search and insulted him and his son.
- At approximately 01:00 on Wednesday, 14 June 2017, Israeli forces moved into al-‘Issawiyia village, northeast if occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched houses from which they arrested Mohamed Samer Mahmoud (15), Shaker Amjad Mostafa (17), ‘Abed al-Fattah Abu Siyamah (16), and Mohamed ‘Alaa Mahmoud (17).
Recommendations to the International Community
PCHR warns of the escalating settlement construction in the West Bank, the attempts to legitimize settlement outposts established on Palestinian lands in the West Bank and the continued summary executions of Palestinian civilians under the pretext that they pose a security threat to the Israeli forces. PCHR reminds the international community that thousands of Palestinian civilians have been rendered homeless and lived in caravans under tragic circumstances due to the latest Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip that has been under a tight closure for almost 10 years. PCHR welcomes the UN Security Council’s Resolution No. 2334, which states that settlements are a blatant violation of the Geneva Conventions and calls upon Israel to stop them and not to recognize any demographic change in the oPt since 1967. PCHR hopes this resolution will pave the way for eliminating the settlement crime and bring to justice those responsible for it. PCHR further reiterates that the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are still under Israeli occupation in spite of Israel’s unilateral disengagement plan of 2005. PCHR emphasizes that there is international recognition of Israel’s obligation to respect international human rights instruments and international humanitarian law. Israel is bound to apply international human rights law and the law of war, sometimes reciprocally and other times in parallel, in a way that achieves the best protection for civilians and remedy for the victims.
- PCHR calls upon the international community to respect the Security Council’s Resolution No. 2334 and to ensure that Israel respects it as well, in particular point 5 which obliges Israel not to deal with settlements as if they were part of Israel.
- PCHR calls upon the ICC in 2017 to open an investigation into Israeli crimes committed in the oPt, particularly the settlement crimes and the 2014 offensive on the Gaza Strip.
- PCHR Calls upon the European Union (EU) and all international bodies to boycott settlements and ban working and investing in them in application of their obligations according to international human rights law and international humanitarian law considering settlements as a war crime.
- PCHR calls upon the international community 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.
- PCHR calls upon the international community and United Nations to take all necessary measures to stop Israeli policies aimed at creating a Jewish demographic majority in Jerusalem and at voiding Palestine from its original inhabitants through deportations and house demolitions as a collective punishment, which violates international humanitarian law, amounting to a crime against humanity.
- PCHR calls upon the international community to condemn summary executions carried out by Israeli forces against Palestinians and to pressurize Israel to stop them.
- PCHR calls upon the States Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC to work hard to hold Israeli war criminals accountable.
- PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fulfill their obligations under article (1) of the Convention to ensure respect for the Conventions under all circumstances, and under articles (146) and (147) to search for and prosecute those responsible for committing grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions to ensure justice and remedy for Palestinian victims, especially in light of the almost complete denial of justice for them before the Israeli judiciary.
- PCHR calls upon the international community to speed up the reconstruction process necessary because of the destruction inflicted by the Israeli offensive on Gaza.
- PCHR calls for a prompt intervention to compel the Israeli authorities to lift the closure that obstructs the freedom of movement of goods and 1.8 million civilians that experience unprecedented economic, social, political and cultural hardships due to collective punishment policies and retaliatory action against civilians.
- PCHR calls upon the European Union to apply human rights standards embedded in the EU-Israel Association Agreement and to respect its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights when dealing with Israel.
- PCHR calls upon the international community, especially states that import Israeli weapons and military services, to meet their moral and legal responsibility not to allow Israel to use the offensive in Gaza to test new weapons and not accept training services based on the field experience in Gaza in order to avoid turning Palestinian civilians in Gaza into testing objects for Israeli weapons and military tactics.
- PCHR calls upon the parties to international human rights instruments, especially the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), to pressurize Israel to comply with its provisions in the oPt and to compel it to incorporate the human rights situation in the oPt in its reports submitted to the relevant committees.
- PCHR calls upon the EU and international human rights bodies to pressurize the Israeli forces to stop their attacks against Palestinian fishermen and farmers, mainly in the border area.