Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the occupied Palestinian territories continued during the reporting period (09 – 15 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 wounded 6 Palestinian civilians in the West Bank. Five of them sustained metal bullet shrapnel wounds in occupied Jerusalem while the sixth was hit with a bullet at a checkpoint, north of the West Bank.
In the West Bank, on 10 June 2016, Israeli forces stationed at ‘Awerta checkpoint, southeast of Nablus, opened fire at Hasan al-Qadi (22) from ‘Awerta village. As a result, he was wounded to the abdomen with a live bullet. Israeli forces claimed that the aforementioned civilian attempted to stab an Israeli soldier with a sharp tool. It should be mentioned that al-Qadi suffers from mental disorders and has medical reports proving his health status.
On 11 June 2016, 5 Palestinian civilians sustained metal bullet wounds when Israeli forces severely beat 5 Palestinian civilians with sticks and batons and pepper-sprayed their faces. The aforementioned civilians were near al-Ghawanmah Gate and were transferred to al-Maqased Hospital in Jerusalem, where their wounds were classified as minor.
On 15 June, Israeli forces moved into ‘Askar al-Qadeem refugee camp, northeast of Nablus, to carry out an arrest campaign. When they were on their way out, a number of Palestinian youngsters gathered in the vicinity of al-Ghawi Intersection and threw stones and empty bottles at the Israeli vehicles. An Israeli military jeep deliberately ran over Saleh abu al-‘Anad (21) from nearby Balatah refugee camp many times and left him on the ground. He was then taken to Rafidia Surgical Hospital in Nablus, and medical sources classified his wounds as very critical.
In the Gaza Strip, in the context of targeting Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip Sea, on 15 June 2016, Israeli forces stationed in the sea off al-Sheikh ‘Ejlin shore, opened fire at 4 Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 6 nautical miles. They surrounded those boats and forced 10 fishermen to jump into the water and swim towards a gunboat.. The Israeli navy officers arrested the 10 fishermen and confiscated the four boats with the fishing equipment. At approximately 20:00 on the same day, Israeli forces released 8 fishermen while kept 2 under arrest.
Moving to airstrikes, on 14 June 2016, Israeli warplanes launched one missile at a vacant land, east of Johr al-Deek, southeast of Gaza City. As a result, a hole was caused, but no casualties were reported.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 89 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 6 ones in occupied East Jerusalem and its suburbs. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 88 Palestinian civilians, including 5 children and a woman. Sixteen of them, including a child, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem.
In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces conducted one limited incursion. On 15June 2016, Israeli forces moved into near al-Nahdah neighbourhood in al-Shawkah village, east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. They levelled lands and established sand barriers, after which they withdrew.
Collective Punishment Policy:
On Thursday, 09 June 2016, Israeli bulldozers closed the northern main entrance to Yatta, south of Hebron, in addition to the bypass roads leading to the city and its villages. Israeli forces imposed this cordon after declaring the city as a closed military zone as two civilians from the city carried out a shooting incident in a restaurant in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, 08 June 2016. Due to the Israeli measures, Yatta and other nearby villages with a population of about 120,000 civilians became under a tightened cordon, so Tawjihi students were denied access to their exam halls with prior coordination. Moreover, ambulances were forced to previously coordinate with the Israeli security services before taking any patient out of the village.
On Saturday, 11 June 2016, Israeli forces demolished a house belonging to Badir Abdullah Mahmoud Ed’ais (48) in Beit ‘Omrah village, east of Yatta, south of Hebron. They stationed in the centre of the village, near Rab’i Ibn ‘Amir Mosque.Israeli forces accused Badir’s son, Murad (16) of killing an Israeli female settler in “Otniel” settlement on 17 January 2016. Murad was arrested two days after the incident and taken to the Ashkelon prison interrogation centre. The house is comprised of two floors; the first is 170 square meters and shelters 5 family members, including 2 children, while the second floor is 150 square meters is ready for habitation. Israeli forces also leveled a 70-cubic-meter water well and a 70- square- meter house yard. The total value of the building is NIS 270,000.
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.
Concerning settlers’ attacks in occupied Jerusalem, On 12June 2016, more than 140 settlers raided al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem’s Old City through al-Magharbah Gate and divided themselves into groups. The raid was carried out under the Israeli forces’ protection and upon calls launched by “The alleged temple organizations” on the so-called “Descent of the Torah” holiday.
On 13June 2016, a group of settlers from “Yitsahar” settlement, south of Nablus, threw stones at a Palestinian vehicle crossing the bypass road to Howarah village. As a result, the right front window, back window and left flashing signal were damaged. The driver, Emad Jaber Saleh (35) and his cousin, Majd Ahmed Saleh (29), both from ‘Asirah al-Qabaliyah village, south of the city, were wounded. The first one was wounded with a stone thrown to his abdomen while the second was hit with a stone to the head and right shoulder. They were both taken to Rafidia Hosipital in Nablus for medical treatment.
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.
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:
Israeli forces established (22) checkpoints all over the city.
On Thursday, 09 June 2016, Israeli forces established 5 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Yatta, the northern entrance to Hebron, the entrance to al-Aroub refugee camp, the entrance to Wad al-Shajenah road and the entrance to Ethna village.
On Friday, 10 June 2016, Israeli forces established 3 checkpoints at the southern entrances to Hebron, and al-Samou’ and Bani Na’im village. On Saturday, 11 June 2016, Israeli forces established 4 checkpoints at the entrance to al-Fahes, southeast of Yatta; the entrance to Zeef, north of Yatta, Khelat al-Mayah road, east of Yatta, east of Ethna and al-Kume villages.
On Sunday,12 June 2016, they established 2 checkpoints at the entrance to Ethna village and at the northern entrance to Yatta (Zeef). On Monday, 13 June 2016, Israeli forces established two checkpoints at the southern entrance to Hebron and at the entrance to Zeef, north of Yatta.
On Tuesday, 14 June 2016, Israeli forces established 2 checkpoints at the northern entrances to Yatta. on Wednesday, 15 June 2016, Israeli forces established 4 checkpoints at the southern entrances to Halhoul ( Jouret Bahlas) and Bani Naim, Beit Awa, Yatta road and al-Samou’ villages
Ramallah and al-Bireh:
Israeli forces established (13) checkpoints all over the city.
On Thursday, 09 June 2016, Israeli forces established 2 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Ein Seniya village and the northern entrance to Birzeit village, north of Ramallah.
On Friday, 10 June 2016, Israeli forces established 3 checkpoints at the crossroad of Beit
Our al-Tahta village, southwest of Ramallah, at the entrance to Sanagal village, north of the city and under the bridge of Yabroud village, northeast of the city.
On Saturday, 11 June 2016, Israeli forces established 2 checkpoints at the entrance to al-Nabi Saleh village, northwest of Ramallah and under the bridge of Kharbatha al-Mesbah village, southwest of the city.
On Sunday, 12 June 2016, Israeli forces established 6 checkpoints at the entrances to Aboud, al-Nabi Saleh, Deir Abu Mesh’al and Deir Netham villages, northwest of Ramallah and the northern entrance to Birzeit village, north of the city.
Israeli forces established (6) checkpoints all over the city.
on Saturday, 11 June 2016, Israeli forces established 3 checkpoints at the eastern entrance to Qalqiliyah, the entrance to Jeet village, north of the city and the entrance to Azzoun village, east off the city.
At approximately 00:15 on Sunday, 12 June 2016, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance to Jeet village, northeast of Qaliqliyah. At approximately 19:30, they re-established the checkpoint in the abovementioned village in which the Israeli soldiers checked the ID cards of Palestinians and their vehicles and arrested Akram Mohammed Suwan from the General Intelligence office and then released him before removing the checkpoint.
At approximately 13:30 on Monday, 13 June 2016, Israeli forces established a checkpoint between Azoun and al-Tabeeb villages, east of Qalqiliyah.
Israeli forces established (12) checkpoints all over the city.
At approximately 20:30 on Thursday, 09 June 2016, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance to al-Zawiyah village, west of Salfit. On Saturday,11 June 2016, Israeli forces established 6 checkpoints as follows: al-Ain area in Kafer al-deek village, the road between Kafer al-Deek and Qarawet Bani Zaid village, the entrance to al-Zawiyah village, west of Salfit, the western entrance to Hares village, north of the city, the crossroad of Deir Estiya village, northwest of the city and the bridge of eskaka village, east of Salfit.
On Sunday, 12 June 2016, Israei forces established 3 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Salfit, the bridge of al-Zawiyah village, west of the city, the western entrance to Deir Estiya village, northwest of the city. At approximately 18:45 on Monday. 13 June 2016, Israeli forces established a checkpoint between Rafadat and Deir Ballut villages, west of Salfit. At approximately 22:30, they established a checkpoint at the entrance to Hares village, north of the city. they beat Sameer Saleh Ghanam (51) from Jenin. his medical condition was classified as moderate.
At approximately 19:00 on Friday, 10 June 2016, Israeli forces stationed at Enab checkpoint established on the main road between Tulkarm and Nablus, east of Tulkarm, tightened its arbitrary measures against Palestinian civilians and obstructed their way.
At approximately 21:30 on Thursday, 09 June 2016, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the crossroad of Zabouba and Romanah villages, northwest of Jenin. At approximately 15:00 on Friday, 10 June 2016, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the crossroad of Romanah village, northwest of Jenin and approximately 23:00, they established a checkpoint at the eastern entrance to Ya’bud village, southwest of the city.
Arrests at military checkpoints:
- At approximately 16:00 on Thursday, 09 June 2016, Israeli forces stationed at the entrance to al-Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron’s Old City, arrested Mahmoud ‘Ayed al-Tarairah (40) from Bani Na’im village, east of the city, claiming that he had a knife.
- At approximately 23:00 on Sunday, 12 June 2016, Israeli forces stationed near the annexation wall gate established on lands of ‘Azoun Etmah village, south of Qalqiliyah, arrested Obaidah Walid Zayat (23) attempting to enter Israel for work and later released him.
- on Monday, 13 June 2016, Israeli forces arrested Ahmed Salem al-‘Abiyat (80) from Bethlehem when he was on his way to visit his son Naief al-‘Abiyat who is a prisoner in “Eshel” prison in Beersheba inside Israel. It should be noted that Naeif has been arrested since 19 December 2006 and is serving two life sentences and 25 years after being accused of killing Israeli settlers in 2004.
- At approximately 21:00 on Tuesday, 14 June 2016, Israeli forces arrested Mousa Ahmed Saied (26) from Jenin refugee camp, north of the West Bank, while crossing Taqou’ checkpoint, southeast of Bethlehem.
- On Wednesday, 15 June 2016, Israeli forces arrested Fouz Ali Mahmud Awad (55) while she was visiting her son Mousa ‘Awad in Negev prison and then taken to an unknown destination for no reason.
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 04:00 on Friday, 10 June 2016, Israeli forces moved into Hezmah village, northeast of occupied Jerusalem. They raided and searched several houses after which they arrested Nader Salem al-Basha (39) and Mohammed Abdul Mo’tiSbaih (34).
- At approximately 03:00 on Saturday, 11 June 2016, Israeli forces attacked and beat five Palestinian civilians with sticks and batons, pepper-sprayed their faces. After firing rubber-coated metal bullets in the area, the civilians were arrested when they were near al-Ghwanmah Gate in the Old City in East Jerusalem without any justification. As a result, five civilians sustained bullet shrapnel wounds and were identified as namely as Hatem Muhalwis, Ahed al-Rasheq, Arafat Sader, Ramadan Sader and Thaer Sader, all between 35 and 45 years old. Those civilians were transported al-Maqased Hospital to receive medical treatment. The arrested civilians were identified as Ashraf al-Sharbati, Shadi al-Natshah, Ahmed al-Baseti, Mohammed al-Baseti and Mohammed al-Basheti.
- At approximately 03:30 on Monday, 13 June 2016, Israeli forces moved into al-Mukaber Mount neighbourhood, southeast of East Jerusalem and stationed in the schools’ street in the village. They raided and searched a number of houses after which they arrested Ali Khaled Ouaisat (16) and Shadi Nasser Ouaisat (20).
- At approximately 02:00 on Tuesday, 14 June 2016, Israeli forces moved into al-Issawiyah village, northeast of Jerusalem from the western entrance and stationed in al-Thahrah gate in the village. They raided and searched a number of houses after which they arrested Mohammed Essa Mustafa (24) and Rami Azmi Mustafa (23).
- At approximately 03:00 on the same Tuesday, Israeli forces moved into ‘Anata village, northeast of Jerusalem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ayman Mousa al-Rufa’i (21) and then arrested him.
- At approximately 16:00 on the same Tuesday, Israeli forces raided and searched a house belonging to Ammar al-Hadrah (37) in al-Tur neighbourhood, east of the Old City in East Jerusalem and then arrested him under the pretext of publish images of Palestinian victims and praising them on
- At approximately 02:00 on Wednesday, 15 June 2016, Israeli forces raided and searched a house belonging to Ibrahim al-Wazani in al-Eizariya village, east of East Jerusalem. They then arrested Ibrahim’s son Majd (21).
Settlement activities and attacks by settlers against Palestinian civilians and property —
- At approximately 02:00 on Tuesday, 14 June 2016, Israeli forces accompanied with five military jeeps and a bulldozer moved into Kherbet al-Berkah area, southwest of Yatta, south of Hebron. They stationed in the area and started demolishing a 150-square-meter retaining wall belonging to Mohammed N’oman Na’ameen under the pretext of building without a permit.
- At approximately 09:30 on Sunday, 12 June 2016, around 140 Israeli settlers protected by the Israeli forces raided al-Aqsa mosque in the Old City in East Jerusalem via al-Maghrbah “Dung” Gate divided into groups following calls by “The alleged temple organizations” on the so-called “Descent of the Torah” holiday.The Islamic Awqaf Department explained that 140 settlers broke into the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque through Dung Gate during the morning break-ins. They varied out tours at Al-Aqsa gates especially Lions, Al-Qataneen and Al-Hadeed (Iron) Gates and performed their religious rituals outside the gates. During this, Israeli forces arrested an employee of the Islamic Awqaf, Mohammad Rweidi (41), and one of Al-Aqsa guards, Hamzeh Nimer (36).
- At approximately 22:25 on Monday, 13 June 2016, a group of settlers moving from “Yitzhar” settlement, south of Nablus, threw stones at a Palestinian vehicle passing on the road to Hawara village. As a result, the right front window, the rear windshield and the left blinker were damaged. The driver stopped his vehicle 200 meters away from the place when a Palestinian ambulance arrived along with the Israeli military liaison and the Israeli police. They questioned the driver namely Emad Jebril Saleh (35), who is a first assistant in the Palestinian police in Tulkarm. Emad, who was hit with a stone to his abdomen, was accompanied with his cousin Majd Ahmed Hamdan Saleh (29,) who is a first lieutenant in the Palestinian National Security in Jericho, was hit with a stone to his head and right shoulder. Both Emad and Majd from Asirah al-Qabliyah village, south of the city, were on their way to the city. They then were transported to Rafedia Hospital in Nablus. At approximately 01:00 on Tuesday, 14 June 2016, they left the hospital after they received medical treatment.
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 and related info available at the official website for the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights.