Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in theoPt continued during the reporting period (02 – 08 June 2016).
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. During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed 2 Palestinian civilians, including a woman, in the West Bank, and wounded 8 others, including a girl child and her sister.
In the West Bank, in a new crime of excessive use of lethal force, Israeli forces killed Ansar Harsha (25), from Qufin village, north of Tulkarm, while she was present at Enab military checkpoint, east of the city, on 02 June 2016. Israeli websites claimed that the Palestinian woman had arrived at the checkpoint with a small knife in her hand. She attempted to stab someone, but the Israeli soldiers opened fire at her, due to which she sustained serious wounds and then died. It should be noted that the aforementioned woman did not pose any threat to the Israeli soldiers. Besides, she was a mother of 2 children and had left home on the above mentioned day heading to Nablus to apply for a job.
In another crimes of excessive use of force, Israeli forces killed Jamal Dweikat (20), from Balatah village, east of Nablus. According to PCHR’s investigations, on Thursday, 02 June 2016, Israeli forces moved into Balatah village in company of dozens of buses carrying settlers to Joseph Tomb. In the meanwhile, dozens of youngsters gathered and threw stones and empty bottles at the Israeli vehicles, due to which, Israeli forces opened fire to disperse them. As a result, the aforementioned person sustained a bullet wound to the head. He was then taken to Rafidiya Hospital, as his wound was very critical. He was admitted to the operations room. On 04 June 2016, Dweikat was transferred to Tel HaShomer Hospital in Israel. On Monday, 06 June 2016, medical sources at the Palestinian Ministry of Health pronounced Dweikat dead. It should be noted that another child was wounded on that day too.
On 03 June 2016, a 21-year-old male was wounded by a bullet to the left leg when Israeli forces moved into Kufor Malek village, northeast of Ramallah.
In the context of using forces against peaceful protests, 3 Palestinian civilians were wounded in 2 peaceful protests organized at the eastern entrance to Kufor Qaddoum village, east of Qalqilya on Friday and Saturday, 03 and 04 June 2016.
In the Gaza Strip, in the context of Israeli forces opening fire at peaceful protests, on 03 June 2016, Israeli forces opened fire at dozens of Palestinian youngsters who headed to the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of al-Shuja’iya neighbourhood, east of Gaza City. They threw stones at the Israeli soldiers stationed at the border fence, as a result, a civilian was hit with a bullet to the right leg.
Concerning targeting Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip Sea, Wafa’ al-Sha’er (17) sustained a superficial wound to the right buttock and her sister Eman (21) was hit with the same bullet that settled in her left leg. They were wounded by the random gunfire of Israeli gunboats stationed off Rafah shore, south of the Gaza Strip.
On 02 June 2016, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Sudaniya shore, north of the Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles in the sea.
On 03 June 2016, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Waha shore, northwest of Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip, opened fire at the Palestinian fishing boats twice. No casualties were reported in both incidents.
On 07 June 2016, Israeli gunboats stationed off Rafah shore, south of the Gaza Strip, opened fire at a group of Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 6 nautical miles. Neither casualties nor material damage were reported.
On 08 June 2016, Israeli gunboats opened heavy fire at fishing boats sailing off al-Waha shore, north of the Gaza Strip. Two gunboats surrounded a fishing boat manned by 3 fishermen: Khalil (21), Shaher (19) and Mohammed Abu Riyala (18), from al-Shati’ refugee camp, west of Gaza City. The Israeli navy officers ordered them to take off their clothes and swim towards one of the gunboats. The 3 fishermen were taken to an unknown destination, while the boat was drowned due to the heavy gunfire.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 48 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 3 ones in occupied East Jerusalem and its suburbs. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 44 Palestinian civilians, including 6 children. Eleven of them, including 5 children, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem.
In the Gaza Strip, on 02 June 2016, Israeli forces moved about 150 meters into the east of al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. They levelled lands along the border fence and then headed northwards to Gaza valley, after which they redeployed behind the border fence.
On 07 June 2016, Israeli forces moved about 50 meters near Sofa military checkpoint in al-Shouka village, east of Rafah. They levelled and combed lands and established sand barriers in the area. The Israeli vehicles withdrew later.
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.
Efforts to Create a Jewish Majority:
On 03 June 2016, the Israeli municipality crews closed health service units in al-Ghawanma Gate, one of al-Aqsa mosque gates in the Old City of occupied Jerusalem. It was scheduled that the Islamic Endowments Department opens the health units building (80 health units) on 1st Ramadan to offer services to worshippers in al-Aqsa mosque during the holy month of Ramadan.
- Use of excessive force against peaceful demonstrations protesting settlement activities and the construction of the annexation wall
- On Friday, 03 June 2016, dozens of Palestinian young men gathered at the western entrance to Selwad village, northeast of Ramallah; and at the southern entrance to al-Jalazonerefugee camp, north of the city, to organize demonstrations in protest at the Israeli attacks against Palestinian civilians. The protesters threw stones at Israeli forces, who fired live bullets, rubber-coated metal bullets, tear gas canisters, and sound bombs at them. As a result, many civilians suffered tear gas inhalation.
- At approximately 14:30 on Friday, 03 June 2016, dozens of Palestinian young men headed to the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of al-Shuja’iya neighbourhood, east of the Gaza City. The protesters threw stones at the Israeli soldiers stationed along the fence. Israeli soldiers stationed behind sand barriers opened fire at the protesters. As a result, a civilian was hit with a live bullet to the right leg and was then taken to al-Shifa Hospital, where his wound were classified as moderate.
Demonstrations against the annexation wall and settlement activities
- At approximately 13:30, on Friday, 03 June 2016, Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international human rights defenders organized a protest in the center of Kufor Qaddoum village, northeast of Qalqiliya, and then made their way to the eastern entrance to the village in protest against closing that entrance since the beginning of al-Aqsa Intifada with an iron gate. When the protesters approached the entrance, Israeli forces fired live bullets, rubber-coated metal bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs at them. As a result, 2 brothers were wounded, the first (19), was hit with a live bullet to the right thigh, while the second (20) was hit with a live bullet to the right thigh too.
- Following the Friday prayer, dozens of Palestinians and Israeli and international human rights defenders organised protests against the annexation wall and settlement activities in Bil’in and Nil’in villages, west of Ramallah, and al-Nabi Saleh village, northwest of city. Israeli forces used force to disperse the protesters by firing live bullets, metal bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs and chased the protesters into the olive fields and between houses. As a result, many civilians suffered tear gas inhalation and others sustained bruises as Israeli soldiers beat them up.
- At approximately 17:30, on Friday, 04 June 2016, Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international human rights defenders organized a protest in the center of Kufor Qaddoum village, northeast of Qalqiliya, and then made their way to the eastern entrance of the village in protest against closing that entrance since the beginning of al-Aqsa Intifada with an iron gate. When the protesters approached the entrance, Israeli forces fired live bullets, rubber-coated metal bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs at them. As a result, a civilian was hit with a live bullet to the right thigh.
Note: PCHR keeps the names of the injured persons in the aforementioned demonstrations.
Rubber-coated metal bullets are lethal if they hit the head of victim from a close range.
- 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.
Restriction of Movement
Israel has imposed a tightened closure on the West Bank. During the reporting period, Israeli forces imposed additional restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians:
- Hebron: Israeli forces established (5) checkpoints all over the city.
On Thursday, 02 June 2016, Israeli forces established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to Sa’ir and Ethna villages.
On Friday, 03 June 2016, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance to Der Samet village. On Saturday, 04 June 2016, Israeli forces established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to al-Fawar refugee camp and southern Hebron (al-Fahes).
- Ramallah and al-Bireh: Israeli forces established (9) checkpoints all over the city.
On Thursday, 02 June 2016, Israeli forces established 3 checkpoints at the intersection of Ein Senia village, on the road between Ramallah and Nablus, the crossroad of Beit Our al-Fuqa village, southwest of Ramallah ad under the bridge of Kharebatha al-Mesbah village, southwest of the city.
On Friday, 03 June 2016, Israeli forces established 3 checkpoints at the entrance to al-Nabi Saleh village, northwest of Ramllah, the entrance to N’ilin village, west of the city and the eastern entrance to al-Tibah village, east of the city.
At approximately 15:30 on Monday, 06 June 2016, Israeli forces established a checkpoint under the bridge of Yabrud village, northeast of Ramallah. At approximately 21:00, they established a similar checkpoint at the entrance to Termes’ayya village, north of the city.
At approximately 10:00 on Thursday, 07 June 2016, Israeli forces established a checkpoint under the bridge of Kharbatha al-Mesbah village, southwest of Ramallah.
At approximately 09:30 on Thursday, 02 June 2016, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the eastern entrance to Qalqiliyah.
At approximately 22:00, Israeli forces established a similar checkpoint under the bridge of ‘Azzoun village on the main road between Qalqiliyah and Tulkarm.
At approximately 18:50 on Friday, 03 June 2016, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the eastern entrance to Qalqiliyah.
At approximately 12:30, on Sunday, 05 June 2016, Israeli forces established a checkpoint on the main road between Tulkarm and its villages in the northern side of the city, in the crossroad between Qoffin and eastern Baqah villages, north of Tulkarm.
At approximately 18:00 on the same day, Israeli forces stationed at ‘Inab checkpoint established on the main road between Tulkarm and Nablus, east of Tulkarm, have tightened its arbitrary measures against Palestinian civilians and obstructed their way.
Arrests at military checkpoints
- At approximately 17:00, on Thursday, 02 June 2016, Israeli forces stationed at Za’tarah military checkpoint, south of Nablus, arrested Mohammed Abdullah Hathnawi (24) from Qabatyah village, southeast of Jenin when he was returning from Ramallah. They stopped a taxi travelling Mohammed and forced the passengers to get off. After they checked their ID cards, they arrested Mohammed and took him to an unknown destination.
- At approximately 22:00 on the same Thursday, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the northern entrance to Azzoun village, east of Qalqiliya, and prevented civilians from entering or leaving the village. Before removing the checkpoint, the Israeli forces arrested Anan Esam Mohammed Suaidan (27).
- At approximately 14:00 on Friday, Israeli forces stationed at the Container checkpoint, northeast of Bethlehem, arrested Mo’men Ahmed Zaid (21) from al-Birah. They then stopped a vehicle travelled by Mo’men. They checked the passengers’ ID cards and detained him. It should be mentioned that Mo’men is a fourth-year Medicine student at in al-Quds University and he was on his way back from A’alia Hospital in Hebron where he had a practical test.
- At approximately 17:00 on Sunday, 05 June 2016, Israeli forces established a checkpoint near the entrance to Jabarah village, south of Tulkarm. They started stopping vehicles travelling in both sides and checking their ID cards. When Mo’ath Mohammed Amen al-Shaikh Husain (21), from Kafer ‘Abush village, northeast of Qalqiliyah, was passing, the Israeli forces arrested him.
- At approximately 18:00 on the same Sunday, Israeli forces arrested Abdullah Mohammed al-Qassas (25) from al-Fawar refugee camp, south of Hebron, after stopping the vehicle he was traveling at the camp entrance.
- On Thursday, 07 June 2016, Israeli forces stationed at the gate of the annexation wall established on Palestinian lands of al-Jarushiyah village, north of Tulkarm, arrested four civilians when they were passing via the gate to the Palestinian lands isolated behind the wall. The arrested civilians were identified as Nasserallah Yasser Abdul Razeq Oufi (24), Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed Oufi (33), both from from Ateel village, north of the city, and Fadi Kamal Jarar (35) from Tulkarm.
- At approximately 18:00 on Monday, 06 June 2016, Israeli forces arrested Kareem Mohammed Remawi (28) from Beit Rema village, northwest of Ramallah when he was passing through a checkpoint established by the Israeli forces near the adjacent Aboud village.
House demolitions and demolition notices:
On Friday Dawn, 03 June 2016, Israeli municipality crews protected by Police officers closed health services units at al-Ghawanmah Gate, one of al-Aqsa mosque gates in the Old City in occupied Jerusalem. Islamic Endowments’ (Waqf) Department said that the Israeli municipality closed the gate and welded it with oxygen claiming that there are historical remnants. Islamic Endowments’ (Waqf) Department was supposed to open the health service building (including 80 units) on 1st Ramadan to absorb the arrivals to al-Aqsa mosque during this month. The Israeli municipality has issued a decision to stop the rehabilitation works of the health services building under the pretext of presence of historical remnants inside the building. This decision was issued by the orders of Benjamin Netanyahu, the President of the Israeli government.
- Settlement activities and attacks by settlers against Palestinian civilians and property
Israeli Forces Attacks:
- At approximately 10:00 on Sunday, 05 June 2016, Israeli forces accompanied with two military jeeps and a vehicle of the Construction and Organization Department in the Civil Administration moved into al-Barahish and Khelat al-Kutla areas, south of Hebron. They handed notices to stop construction works in two houses under the pretext of building without a permit in areas classified (c) according to Oslo Accord. The two noticed houses were as follows:
- A 280-square-meter under-construction house, comprised of 4 floors belongs to Mahmoud Khader Muqbel.
- A 200-square-meter under-construction house comprised of two floors belongs to Ibrahim Kahder Zaidan Sabarnah.
Before the Israeli forces withdrew from the vicinity of the village, they photographed several houses in Khelat al-Sair opposite to “Karmi Tsur” settlement established on Palestinian lands that were confiscated from the southern side.
- At approximately 20:30 on Wednesday, 08 June 2016, Israeli forces moved into Qasra village, southeast of Nablus. They surrounded a group of civilians in Nabouh area, southeast of the city, and then confiscated a vehicle belonging to Shadi Mohammed Deeb Ouda from the abovementioned village. Shadi works in reclamation of civilian lands. However, the Israeli forces tried to confiscate the bulldozer used in the abovementioned work, but civilians and the head of the Palestinian municipality interfered and prevented them. As a result, the Israeli soldiers fired sound bombs to disperse the civilians.
- On Sunday, 05 June 2016, dozens of Israeli settlers stormed al-Aqsa mosque yards through al-Magharbeh gate amidst restricted security measures by the Israeli forces. The Islamic Endowments’ (Waqf) Department stated that 307 Israeli settlers stormed al-Aqsa mosque during the abovementioned day and attempted to perform their religious rituals in the mosque yards. However, the Palestinian guards confronted them and the Israeli police then led them out of al-Aqsa mosque. Moreover, the Israeli forces arrested two sisters from Lod namely as Afnan (19) and Anhar Yusuf al-Baz (21) when both were leaving via al-Nather gate, one of al-Aqsa mosque gates. Afanan and Anhar underwent investigation for several hours in Qishleh police station in Hebron gate. They then were released on condition that they are denied access to al-Aqsa mosque.
- In the evening, thousands of Israeli settlers organized a demonstration from West Jerusalem into al-Buraq Wall via al-Amoud Gate on the 49th anniversary of occupying Jerusalem. Moreover, the roads and streets were closed, iron checkpoints were established, dozens of Police, special, border and intelligence officers were deployed particularly in al-Amoud gate area, Nablus Street and al-Saherah gate. Moreover, the settlers raised the Israeli flags during the demonstration and chanted slogans against Arabs and Muslims. At that time, a group of Palestinian civilians demonstrated in front of al-Amoud gate, raising Palestinian flags, amidst of total closure of the area. Settlers then insulted and cursed Palestinians in an attempt to provoke them. After that, the Israeli forces suppressed and dispersed them.
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:
- 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;
- 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;
- 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;
- 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;
- 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;
- 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;
- 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;
- 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;
- 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;
- 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;
- 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;
- 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;
- 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 available at the official PCHR website.