Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the occupied Palestinian territories continued during the reporting period (23 – 29 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 woman in Hebron in the southern area of the West Bank. Moreover, Israeli forces wounded 43 other civilians, including a woman, in the West Bank as well. In Jerusalem, 40 civilians were wounded in al-Aqsa Mosque while 19 others sustained bruises, including 2 journalists, in al-Aqsa Mosque as well. In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces continued targeting the Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip Sea.
In the West Bank, on 24 June, Israeli forces stationed at the entrance of “Jaf’at Kharsina” settlement, east of Hebron, killed al-Majd ‘Abdullah al=Khdour (18) from Beit ‘Aynoun village, east of the city. The aforementioned was killed when Israeli soldiers heavily opened fire at a “Mazda” car, which al-Majd was driving, with an Israeli yellow registration plate. Israeli forces then published a video of the incident, calming that al-Majd attempted to drive to the car stop at the aforementioned settlement entrance to carry out a deliberate run-over attack.
On 24 June 2016, a young man from al-Dhishah refugee camp was wounded when Israeli forces moved into al-Doha village, west of Bethlehem. A number of Palestinian young men gathered to Molotov cocktails at their vehicles. In response, the Israeli soldiers immediately fired live bullets and tear gas canisters at them, wounding that young man with a bullet to the right foot.
On 25 June 2016, two Palestinian civilians were wounded when Israeli forces moved into Tulkarm. A number of Palestinian youngsters gathered to throw stones and empty bottles at the Israeli soldiers, who in response fired sound bombs, tear gas canisters and live bullets to disperse them. As a result, two civilians were hit with bullets to the lower parts. One of them is 22 years old and the other is 25 years old.
In Jerusalem on 26 June 2016, a special forces from the Israeli police raided al-Aqsa Mosque through al-Magharbah Gate to protect settlers. This happened when dozens of civilians, who were performing prayers “I’tikaf” in the Mosque yards and al-Qebali Mosque. The Israeli forces fired sound bombs and rubber-coated metal bullets in al-Qebli Msoque. As a result, 24 civilians were wounded; 7 of whom were transferred to al-Maqased Hospital in the City for medical treatment. Moreover, 5 of them sustained bullet and sound bombs shrapnel wounds while two were wounded to the heads. Seventeen other civilians also sustained bruises due to being beaten.
On 27 June 2016, Israeli forces respectively raided al-Aqsa Mosque for the second time and deployed in its yards after closing the doors of al-Qebali Mosque with chains and locked the worshipers inside it. The Israeli soldiers then vacate whoever was in the yards, especially the one next to al-Qebali Mosque. They fired rubber-coated metal bullets and sound bombs and pepper-sprayed. This happened to secure and protect the entry of 90 settlers into the Mosque, provoking the worshipers. According to al-Aqsa clinics, around 35 worshippers were hit with rubber-coated metal bullets and sound bombs shrapnel.
In the context of targeting Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip Sea, on 27 June 2016, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Soudaniyah shore, west of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire in the vicinity of Palestinian fishing boats and chased them.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 40 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 55 Palestinian civilians, including 18 children. Twenty-eight of them, including 15 children, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem.
During this week, Israeli forces raided al-Aqsa Mosque twice to secure the entry of dozens of settlers while Palestinian worshipers attempted to prevent them. Israeli forces used force against them, wounding dozens of worshippers in addition to arresting 20 civilians; most of whom were children, at the outside gates.
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.
- 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, 24 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 Kafur Qaddoum village, northeast of Qalqilyia. 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.
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.
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 (11) checkpoints all over the city.
On Thursday, 23 June 2016, Israeli forces established 3 checkpoints at al-Aroub refugee camp, the entrance to al-Burj village, and the northern entrance to Hebron.
On Friday, 24 June 2016, Israeli forces established 2 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Yatta and the entrance to Beit Ommar village.
On Saturday, 25 June 2016, Israeli forces established 3 checkpoints at the northern entrances to Yatta, the entrance to Sa’ir village, and the entrance to Bani Na’im village.
On Sunday, 26 June 2016, Israeli forces established 3 checkpoints at the entrance to al-Aroub refugee camp, the entrance to Karza village and the road of Farsh al-Hawa.
- Ramallah and al-Bireh:
Israeli forces established (4) checkpoints all over the city.
At approximately 17:30 on Thursday, 23 June 2016, Israeli forces redeployed at Attarah checkpoint at the northern entrance to Birziet village, north of Ramallah. They checked the vehicles and ID cards of the passengers and then detained number of civilians causing traffic on the road.
On Friday, 24 June 2016, Israeli forces established 3 checkpoints at the entrance to al-Nabi Saleh village, northwest of Ramallah, the crossroad of Beit Our al-Fuqa village, southwest of the city and under the bridge of Yabrud village, northeast of the city.
Israeli forces established (5) checkpoints all over the city.
At approximately 17:45 on Thursday, 23 June 2016, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance to Kafer Qadoum village, northeast of Qalqiliyah.
At approximately 17:10 on Friday, 24 June 2016, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance to the tunnel of Hablah village (the southern entrance to Qalqiliyah). At approximately 21:20
On Sunday, 26 June 2016, they established a checkpoint at the entrance to Jeet village, northeast of Qalqiliyah.
At approximately 23:00 on Tuesday, 28 June 2016, Israeli forces established a checkpoint under the bridge of Azzoun village at the road linking between Qalqiliyah and Tulkarm.
At approximately 01:35 on Wednesday, 29 June 2016, they established a similar checkpoint between Azzoun village and Ezbet al-Tabeb village, east of the city.
Israeli forces established (5) checkpoints all over the city.
On Friday, 24 June 2016, Israeli forces established 2 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Salfit and the northern entrance to Bruqin village, west of the city.
At approximately 23:30 on Saturday, 25 June 2016, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the northern entrance to Salfit.
At approximately 21:00 on Tuesday, 28 June 2016, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance to Kafel Hares village, north of Salfit. At approximately 21:50, they established a similar checkpoint at the entrance to Qarawet Bani Hasan village, west of the city.
At approximately 20:00 on Friday, 24 June 2016, Israeli forces established a checkpoint on the main road linking between Jenin and Nablus near the crossroad of Jabaa’ village, south of Jenin.
At approximately 00:00 on Thursday, 28 June 2016, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance to ‘Aranah village, north of Jenin.
At approximately 21:00 on Friday, 24 June 2016, Israeli forces established a checkpoint on the main road linking between Tulkarm and the villages in the north of Tulkarm known as (al-Sha’rawiyah) near the entrance to Qaffin village, north of Tulkarm while established a checkpoint near the entrance to Eastern Baqah village, north of the city.
- Settlement activities and attacks by settlers against Palestinian civilians and property
Israeli Forces Attacks:
- At approximately 10:00 on Wednesday, 29 June 2016, Israeli forces accompanied with a military jeep and the Construction and Organization Department in the Civil Administration moved into Kherbet Om al-Khair village, east of Yatta, south of Hebron. The administration employee handed two civilians two notices to halt the work in two houses built of tin plates (caravans). On 06 April 2016, the European Union donated those caravans along with other four to theKherba residents, whose houses were demolished by the Israeli authorities. The demolition notices were as follows:
- A 50-square-meter caravan belonging to Khalil Sulaiman al-Hathalin (78).
- A 50-square-meter caravan belonging to Mo’tasem Sulaiman al-Hathelin (28).
Eid al-Hathalin said that the administration employee (Carlos) handed two notices to halt the work and took photos of four other caravans, claiming that they were built near the area where the previous houses were demolished. Therefore, those caravans are under threat of demolition as well without notifying their owners or even allowing them to appeal the decision. It should be mentioned that the Israeli authorities demolished six houses under the pretext of building without a permit in the above mentioned Kherbah. As a result, 32 civilians became homeless, including 7 children.
- At approximately 11:30 on the same Wednesday, Israeli forces accompanied with a vehicle belonging to the Construction and Administration Department in the Civil Administration moved into al-Dairat village, north of Yatta, south of Hebron. The administration employee began photographing a number of houses and facilities after which he handed their owners demolition notices for the second time. The residents said that the Israeli forces had previously handed them notices to halt the work two months ago. These notices were as follows:
- An under-construction house built of concrete comprised of a 190-square-meter ground floor belonging to Suleiman Mahmoud al-‘Adrah.
- An inhabited house built of concrete comprised of a 190-square-meter ground floor, a 100-square-meter livestock barrack built of tin plates and a 150-cubic-meter water well belonging to Mousa Ismail al-‘Adrah.
- An under construction house built of concrete, and it is a ground floor with an area of 170 square meters belonging to Yusuf Mousa al-Jabarin.
- Under-construction Storehouses built of concrete, with an area of 140-square-meters belonging to Jabrin Mohammed Husain al-‘Amour.
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.