Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the occupied Palestinian territories continued during the reporting period (16 – 22 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 a Palestinian child while another civilian succumbed to his wounds in the West Bank. Moreover, Israeli forces wounded 6 other civilians, including 3 children, in the West Bank. In the Gaza Strip, a civilian sustained moderate wounds due to the explosion of a suspicious object he was playing with from the Israeli forces’ remnants. Moreover, Israeli forces continued targeting the Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip Sea and the farmers in the border area.
In the West Bank, in the context of Israeli forces using force against peaceful protests, on 21 June 2016, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian child and wounded four other civilians, including 3 children; wounds of two of whom were classified as dangerous. Moreover, Israeli forces arrested two other children near Beit Sira village bridge and Beit ‘Or al-Tahta, southwest of Ramallah when Israeli forces opened fire at a car carrying 6 children and driven by ‘Ahd ‘Othman (21) on their way back home in Beit ‘Or al-Tahta village. Israeli forces claimed in the beginning that the Palestinian children threw stones at setters’ cars on Road 443. Only hours later, Israeli forces admitted that they mistakenly killed the child.
On 19 June 2016, Medical sources in al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron, declared that ‘Arif Shareef Jaradat (22), from Sa’ir village, east of Hebron, succumbed to his wounds. According to PCHR’s investigations, the aforementioned civilian was hit with a live bullet by Israeli forces on 04 May 2016 when the later moved into the village. He was transferred to al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron and underwent then a surgery to remove part of the liver and Large intestine. He was later discharged from the hospital. On 17 June 2016, Jaradat was taken to al-Ahli Hospital in the City after his health status deteriorated. The doctors said that they found the large intestine closed, causing adhesions. As a result, his health status deteriorated and died. It should be mentioned that the aforementioned civilians suffered from “Down Syndrome”.
On 21 June, two Palestinian civilians were wounded when Israeli forces moved into Nour Shams refugee camp, east of Tulkarm. A number of Palestinian civilians and children gathered to throw stones at the Israeli soldiers, who in response fired live ammunition, gas canisters and sound bombs at the stone-throwers to disperse them. As a result, two civilians were wounded.
In the Gaza Strip, on 18 June 2016, Mohammed Qreiqe’a (23) from al-Shuja’iyah neighbourhood, east of Gaza City, was wounded after a suspicious object he played with exploded from the Israeli remnants. His left hand and hand-right finger were amputated and sustained shrapnel wounds throughout his body. He was transferred to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, where his wounds were classified as moderate.
In the context of targeting Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip Sea, on 19 June 2016, Israeli forces stationed off al-Wahah shore, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire in the vicinity of Palestinian fishing boats and chased them.
On 20 June 2016, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Soudaniyah shore, west of Jabalia, north of the Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats and chased them as well.
On the same day, Israeli gunboats stationed off Khan Younis shore in the southern Gaza Strip heavily opened fire in the vicinity of Palestinian fishing boats. The shooting recurred in the area at approximately 19:00 and at approximately 07:30 on Tuesday, 21 June 2016.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 56 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 5 limited ones in occupied East Jerusalem and its suburbs. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 54 Palestinian civilians, including 8 children and 3 women. Eleven of them, including 4 children and 3 women, were arrested in occupied 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.
Collective Punishment Policy:
On 21 June 2016, Israeli forces accompanied with two military bulldozers moved into Hajjaah village, east of Qalqilya. They surrounded a hoise belonging to the family of Mohammed ‘Abdel Qader Masalahah, father of Bashar Masalhah who was killed on 08 March 2016 under the pretext of carrying out a stabbing attack in Yafa. They started demolishing the inside walls with a hand digger while they demolished the outside walls with a bulldozer.
Palestinian Civilian wounded after playing with suspicious object from the Israeli remnants, east of al-Zaytoun neighborhood:
- At approximately 17:00 on Saturday, 18 June 2016, Mohammed Bassem Hamdan Qreiqe’a (23) from al-Shuja’iyah neighborhood, east of Gaza City was wounded when he played with a suspicious object from the Israeli remnants. As a result, his left hand and right-hand finger was amputated and he sustained shrapnel throughout his body. He was taken to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza city and medical sources their described the wounds as moderate. According to his testimony to a PCHR fieldworker, when he was on his way back from al-‘Asr Prayer heading to his field near Tunis School, east of al-Zaytoun neighborhood, east of Gaza City, he saw children playing with a suspicious object, which is a rectangular metal piece with shaped edges. He knew that it was from the Israeli remnants as it is a border area that is subject to frequent shelling and where many Israeli remnants were previously found. He took it from the children’s’ hands to put it in far place. He carried it until he reached the field but was then surprised that it exploded. He fell to the ground and fainted until he arrived at the hospital. The Palestinian police said to the fieldworker that the explosion occurred in al-Zayoun neighborhood, where Qreiqe’a was wounded due to playing with Israeli forces’ remnant. The police added the area is always subject to shelling and is only 2 kilo meters away from the eastern borders between the Gaza Strip and Israel.
Use of excessive force against peaceful demonstrations protesting settlement activities and the construction of the annexation wall
Demonstrations against the annexation wall and settlement activities:
- Following the Friday prayer, 17 June 2016, 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, al-Nabi Saleh village, northwest of city, and Kufur Qaddoum village, northeast of Qalqilia. 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 00:30 on Tuesday, 21 June 2016, Israeli forces accompanied with military jeeps and two bulldozers moved into Heja village, east of Qalqiliyah. They surrounded a house belonging to Mohammed Abdul Qader Maslahah, father of Bashar Masalhah who was killed on 08 March 2016 after the Israeli forces claimed he carried out a stab attack in Jaffa. They handed Mohammed a demolition notice and that he should vacate the house until 20 June 2016 to demolish it. The Israeli soldiers began demolishing the internal walls of the house with a hand digger while they demolished the external ones with the bulldozer. The house is in the second floor of a three-story house which is built on an area of 200 square meters. It should be noted that Mohammed hired lawyer Leah Tsemel regarding the threatening of demolition case. However, she informed him that the Israeli Supreme Court has issued a decision on 15 June 2016 to demolish the second floor of the house by hand and not by bulldozers. However, the Israeli forces did not commit to the above mentioned decision and used a bulldozer.
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 (8) checkpoints all over the city.
On Thursday, 16 June 2016, Israeli forces established 2 checkpoints at the southern entrance to Hebron connecting between Yatta (al-Fahes) and the entrance to Bani Na’im village.
On Friday, 17 June 2016, Israeli forces established 3 checkpoints at the southern entrance to Halhoul, Bani Na’im and Beit Awa villages.
On Sunday, 19 June 2016, Israeli forces established 3 checkpoints at the northern entrances to al-Shayoukh village, al-Aroub refugee camp and Hebron.
Ramallah and al-Bireh:
Israeli forces established (7) checkpoints all over the city.
On Thursday, 16 June 2016, Israeli forces established 2 checkpoints under the bridge of Yabrud village, northeast of Ramallah and under the bridge to Kharbatha al-Mesbah village, southwest of the city.
On Friday, 17 June 2016, Israeli forces established 4 checkpoints as follows: under the bridge of Yabrud village, northeast of Ramallah, the entrance to Na’lin village, west of the city, the northern entrance to Birzeit village, north of Ramallah and the entrance to Turmus’ayya village, north of the city.
On Saturday, 18 June 2016, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the eastern entrance to al-Taibah village, northeast of Ramallah.
Israeli forces established (5) checkpoints all over the city.
On Friday, 17 June 2016, Israeli forces established 3 checkpoints at the entrance to
al-Nu’ayma village, north of Jericho, the southern entrance to the city and the crossroad of the (Dead Sea) the main street between Jericho and Jerusalem.
On Saturday, 17 June 2016, Israeli forces established 2 checkpoints near the entrance to Ein al-Duke, and the entrance to al-Ouja village, north of Jericho.
At approximately 20:50 on Saturday, 18 June 2016, Israeli forces established a checkpoint
between Kafer Qadoum and Hejah villages, northeast of Qalqiliyah.
At approximately 01:30 on Thursday, 21 June 2016, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance to Kafer Qadoum village, northeast of Qalqiliyah. They checked the civilian’s ID cards and their vehicles and detained Mohammed Saleh Shtaiwi (26) and released him before removing the abovementioned checkpoint.
At approximately 19:50 on Saturday, 18 June 2016, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance to Kafel Hares village, north of Salfit. They checked the civilians’ ID cards and vehicles and then detained Mahfouth Jameel Shuhada, who is soldier at the Palestinian National Security and released him before removing the checkpoint.
Arrests at military checkpoints:
- At approximately 18:00 on Thursday, 16 June 2016, Israeli forces arrested Marwan Salim Mousa (24), from al-Khader village, south of Bethlehem, while he was at Jerusalem. They claimed that he does not have a permit to enter the city.
- At approximately 20:00 on the same Thursday, Israeli forces arrested Jameel Sohail Hamamrah (22) from Husan village, west of Bethlehem while he was in al-Wajlah village, northwest of the city.
- At approximately 09:40 on Friday, 17 June 2016, Israeli forces arrested Refqah Faisal Nemer Gharabah Hanaysha (21), from Qabatyah village, southeast of Jenin, while she was near al-Amoud Gate in occupied Jerusalem. Israeli forces claimed that Refqah tried to carry out a stabbing attack near al-Amoud Gate and they found a knife with her while arresting her.
- At approximately 14:00, on the same Friday, Israeli forces arrested Sohir Ahmed Mahmud Busharat (20), from Tamoun village, south of Tubas, while she was crossing Qalandiya checkpoint, north of East Jerusalem.
- At approximately 17:00, on the same Friday, Israeli forces arrested 3 civilians near Mgharet Dab’aa Gate, south of Qalqiliyah, and ran over another civilian while attempting to enter via the aforementioned gate and work in Israel. The arrested civilians were identified as Ayed Husain Oudah (22), Mohammed Abdullah Abdul Azeez Ouaisat (17) and Mahyoub Othman Abdul Qader Ouda (19). After that, the Israeli forces released two of them while kept Mahyoub Ouda under arrest. Moreover, a gatekeeper of the abovementioned gate ran over Hamzah Abdullah Ouaisat (22). As a result, Hamzah was sustained bruises after which he was transported to Yaser-Arafat Hospital in Salfit to receive medical treatment.
- At approximately 20:20 on Saturday, 18 June 2016, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the eastern entrance to Qalqiliyah and checked the civilians’ IDs and vehicles. They then arrested Mohammed Kayed Mohammed Suailem (30) and Kahled Khalil Fawzi Zamari (28) from the city.
- At approximately 23:00 on Saturday, 18 June 2016, Israeli forces arrested Khader Yusuf Judah (33), from Aydah refugee camp, north of Bethlehem, while he was near the western entrance to Beit Jala.
- At approximately 22:30 on Monday, 20 June 2016, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at Kafer Qadoum village, northeast o Qalqiliyah. They checked the civilians IDs vehicles. They also arrested Mohammed Ahmed Burhum (21) and released him on Tuesday morning.
- At approximately 17:20 on Tuesday, 21 June 2016 Israeli forces stationed near the annexation wall established on lands of Azoun Etmah village, south of Qalqiliyah, arrested Ezz Eiden Amer al-Shelah (37), from the above mentioned village, and Adnan Abdul Karem Ali Zaid (35), from Qalqiliyah, claiming that both of them put a ladder on the wall to allow Palestinian civilians sneak to work in Israel.
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 02:00 on Sunday, 19 June 2016, Israeli forces moved into al-Eizariya village, east of Jerusalem. They raided and searched several houses after which they arrested Shereen Mohammed Bassah (33) and Sabah Far’oun (31).
- At approximately 01:00 on Tuesday, 21 June 2016, Israeli forces raided and searched a house belonging to Ayman al-Rasheq in Ras Khamees neighbourhood near Shu’fat refugee camp, north of East Jerusalem. They confiscated a number of PC sets and then arrested Ayman’s son Mousa (23).
- At approximately 23:00 on the same Tuesday, Israeli forces raided and searched a house belonging to Bassam Hamada in Sour Bahar village, southeast of East Jerusalem. They then arrested Bassam’s daughter We’am (23).
- At approximately 02:00 on Wednesday, 22 June 2016, Israeli forces moved into al-Issawiyya village, northeast of Jerusalem. They raided and searched a number of houses and then arrested six civilians: Mohammed Nader Abu Ouais (16), Tamer Malehat (17), Nader Mazen Muhaisen (15), Abdul Fatah Yusuf Abu Saimah (15), Wadee’ Abu al-Humus (20) and Saeb Darbas (20).
- At approximately 02:30 on the same day, Israeli forces raided and searched a house belonging to Jamal Rabee’ in Abu Dees village, east of East Jerusalem. They then arrested his son Abdul Rahman (22) and took him to an unknown destination.
Settlement expansion and demolition notices:
- At approximately 16:00 on Thursday, 16 June 2016, crews from the Israeli municipality, the Antiquities Authority and Special Forces raided a playground of Helwa Valley in Silwan village, south of East Jerusalem, under the pretext of doing repairs in the infrastructure.
The Helwa Valley committee stated that the Israeli municipality crews and the Antiquities Authority as well as “Elad Settlement Association” raided the neighbourhood’s playground under the pretext of doing repairs in the infrastructure of the area. They began digging without presenting the work permit while the Israeli Special Forces were present. The committee mentioned that the residents confronted them on the same day morning and prevented them from entering the playground. After that, one of the “Elad Settlement Association” staff members insulted and cursed at the residents and threatened them. The committee doubted the main reasons of raiding the playground and the demolishing works particularly that the permit was not shown. The committee also pointed that many tunnels were dug and still present under the abovementioned playground. It emphasized that Helwa Valley playground is a land belonging to Siyam family and was rented by Madaa Creative Centre, after which it was turned into a playground. This reflects the Israeli municipality’s negligence to offer kid’s yards and playgrounds. Moreover, the Israeli authorities attempts to confiscate the playground to build a road that serves settlers in the area, as the Israeli authorities seek to connect the area of Helwa Valley with al-Rababah Valley and then to al-Thawri neighbourhood in Silwan.
Settlement activities and attacks by settlers against Palestinian civilians and property
Israeli Forces Attacks:
- At approximately 13:00 on Sunday, 19 June 2016, Israeli forces accompanied with several military jeeps and two bulldozers moved into Abu Juhaish Valley area, south of Susiya village, south of Yatta, south of Hebron. The soldiers patrolled between residential tents while the civil administration staff that accompanied the Israeli forces too began to vacate two houses under the pretext of building without a permit. They then demolished them. The demolished houses were:
- A house built of bricks and tin plates with an area of 50 square meters belonging to Khalil Salama Nawaj’ah (60). Khalil lives with his wife and son Mohammed (26) who is married and has three children. The house cost about NIS 9,000; and
- A house built of tin plates and shade cloth with an area of 45 square meters in addition to a kitchen built of shade cloth with an area of 10 square meters and a livestock barrack that is built of shade cloth with an area of 30 square meters. All of these belong to Hisham Khalil Salamah Nawaj’ah (35) and his family which consist of two wives and 9 children.
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 more at PCHR official.