In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of 15 – 21 December 2016, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) found that Israeli forces continued systematic crimes in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. A Palestinian child was killed and another was wounded in Beit Rima village, northwest of Ramallah. A Palestinian civilian was wounded in Silwan village, south of occupied Jerusalem.
Israeli attacks in the West Bank:
In the West Bank, in excessive use of deadly force, on 18 December 2016, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian child in Beit Rima village, northwest of Ramallah, when the latter was participating in a protest against the Israeli forces that moved into the village. The protest did not pose any threats to the life of soldiers. During the shooting, a 19-year-old civilian was wounded with a bullet to the shoulder.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR’s fieldworkers, at approximately 22:00 on Saturday, 17 December 2016, Israeli forces accompanied with 19 military jeeps moved into Beit Rima village from the south-eastern side of the village where they patrolled in the streets. A number of young men gathered adjacent to Abu Baker Mosque in the central city. They closed the roads by stones and containers and set fire to the tires. The Israeli soldiers immediately fired live bullets and tear gas canisters at the protesters in response. In the midnight, about 25 soldiers patrolled and moved into the center of the village, so the protesters threw stones at them. At approximately 01:10 on Sunday 18 December 2016, the soldiers heavily and randomly fired live bullets at them. As a result, Ahmed Hazem Zaidan (17) sustained a live bullet wound in the left side of the chest. He was transferred via a civilian car to Martyr Yasser Arafat Hospital to receive medical treatment, but he died upon arrival. It should be noted that the abovementioned child is the son of Hazem ‘Ata Zaidan, who served a 15-year sentence in the Israeli jails and was released only3 months ago. The shooting also resulted in the injury of a 19-year-old civilian with a live bullet in the shoulder.
Israeli forces conducted 54 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 9 ones in occupied Jerusalem. 78 civilians, including 28 children and 2 women, were abducted. Forty of them, including 18 children and the 2 women, were abducted in occupied Jerusalem.
Israeli forces continued their efforts to create Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem. In the context of house demolitions, on 19 December 2016, Israeli municipality bulldozers demolished a car shop belonging to ‘Adnan Harhash in al-Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood. The shop established in 2006 is comprised of a 50-square-meter hall and a 110-square-meter office in the second floor. Moreover, two cars were confiscated.
The Israeli Nature Authority staffs accompanied with Israeli forces fixed 10 banners in different parts of al-Rahmah Gate Cemetery adjacent to al-Aqsa Mosque to prevent burials in parts of the cemetery under the pretext that they are “national gardens.”
Also in the West Bank, Israeli forces continued to isolate Palestinian cities and village by imposing military checkpoints around and/or between them. This created “cantons” isolated from each other that hinders the movement of civilians.
Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip:
In the Gaza Strip, in the context of targeting Palestinian fishermen in the sea, on 18 December 2016, Israeli gunboats stationed off Khan Younis shore in the southern Gaza Strip heavily opened fire in the vicinity of Palestinian fishing boats sailing within the allowed fishing area. A similar attacked occurred on the same day off Jabalaia shore in the northern Gaza Strip. The fishermen sailed back fearing for their lives. Neither casualties nor material damage were reported.
In the context of targeting the border areas, Israeli forces stationed in the eastern side of al-Bureij in the central Gaza Strip fired 3 artillery shells at a Palestinian checkpoint belonging to Palestinian armed groups. However, no casualties were reported, but the checkpoint sustained damages.
The illegal closure of the Gaza Strip, which has been steadily tightened since June 2007 has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli authorities impose measures to undermine the freedom of trade, including the basic needs for the Gaza Strip population and the agricultural and industrial products to be exported. For 9 consecutive years, Israel has tightened the land and naval closure to isolate the Gaza Strip from the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, and other countries around the world. This resulted in grave violations of the economic, social and cultural rights and a deterioration of living conditions for 2 million people. The Israeli authorities have established Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shaloum) as the sole crossing for imports and exports in order to exercise its control over the Gaza Strip’s economy. They also aim at imposing a complete ban on the Gaza Strip’s exports. The Israeli closure raised the rate of poverty to 65%. Moreover, the rate of unemployment increased up to 47% and youth constitutes 65% of the unemployed persons. Moreover, 80% of the Gaza Strip population depends on international aid to secure their minimum daily needs. These rates indicate the unprecedented economic deterioration in the Gaza Strip.
Israeli settlement activities:
On 17 December 2016, Israeli soldiers protecting settlers, who raided Baten al-Hawa neighbourhood in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem, wounded a Palestinian civilian. Altercations erupted between Palestinian children and young men from one side and a number of settlers from the other side.
Israeli attacks on non-violent demonstrations:
Israeli troops engaged in an excessive use of force against peaceful demonstrations protesting settlement activities and the construction of the annexation wall
Following the Friday prayer on Friday, 16 December 2016, dozens of Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international human rights defenders organized demonstrations in Bil’in and Ni’lin villages, west of Ramallah; al-Nabi Saleh village, northwest of the city; and Kafer Qadoum village, northeast of Qalqiliyah, protesting against the annexation wall and settlement activities. Israeli forces forcibly dispersed the protests, firing live and metal bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs. They also chased the protesters into olive fields and between the houses. As a result, many of the protesters suffered tear gas inhalation while others sustained bruises as Israeli soldiers beat them up.
Recommendations to the international community:
Due to the number and severity of Israeli human rights violations this week, the PCHR made several recommendations to the international community. Among these were a recommendation that the United Nations and the European Union 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.
In addition, 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.