Israeli violations of human rights documented in the occupied Palestinian territory for the week of 4-10 July, 2019:
- West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem:
6 civilians injured;
55 civilians arrested, including 6 children;
75 incursions into Palestinian territory;
113 temporary checkpoints established;
100 demolition notices distributed in occupied East Jerusalem;
Settler attacks: 1500 olive trees burnt; 10 cars vandalized and tires punctured; and
4 water wells and a building foundation destroyed; a construction vehicle confiscated.
- Gaza Strip
88 civilians injured: 33 children; 7 women; 2 journalists and 2 paramedics at the Great March of Return; and
4 shootings against fishermen at sea and farmers in eastern Gaza
Shooting and other violations of the right to life and bodily integrity
- At approximately 07:30 on Friday, 05 July 2019, Israeli gunboats stationed northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, chased, opened fire and pumped water at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles. As a result, the fishermen fled fearing for their lives. No casualties or material damage was reported.
- At approximately 08:30 on Saturday, 06 July 2019, Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence east of al-Shawkah village, in the southern Gaza Strip, fired sound bombs at Palestinian farmers near Sofa military site, forcing them to leave the area.
- At approximately 02:20 on Monday 08 July 2019, Israeli forces moved into Qalqiliyah. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ahmed Taleb Eghbarah (38) amidst firing rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters. As a result, he was shot with a rubber bullet to the left leg and taken to Dr. Darwish Nazal Governmental Hospital in Qalqiliyah for treatment.
- At approximately 11:00 on Tuesday, 09 July 2019, Israeli forces stationed at Salem military checkpoint, west of Jenin, opened fire at Jalal Mahmoud Husein Jalghoum (50), from Jalqamous village, wounding him at the lower limbs and then arrested him. The Israeli forces claimed that he tried to throw a Molotov Cocktail at soldiers stationed at the checkpoint. He was taken to a hospital in Israel. It turned out later that Jalal suffers from psychological and mental illness.
- At approximately 08:00 on Wednesday, 10 July 2019, Israeli forces stationed off shore, west of al-Sudaniyah shore, west of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 4 nautical miles and chased them. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives, but neither casualties nor material damage was reported.
- At approximately 09:00 on Wednesday, 10 July 2019, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence, in eastern Khan Younis, opened fire at agricultural fields and Palestinian shepherds, east of al-Fukhari and Khuza’ah. The shooting continued for few minutes, but no casualties were reported.
- Settlement Expansion and settler violence in the West Bank including occupied East Jerusalem
- Demolitions and attacks on civilian property for settlement expansion
- At approximately 09:00 on Thursday, 04 July 2019, the Israeli Municipality staff backed by Israeli police officers moved into several neighborhoods in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. According to Fakhri Abu Diyab, Spokesperson of the Committee for Defending Lands and Facilities in Silwan village, the municipality staff distributed dozens of demolition notices to the residents of Wadi Qaddoum and al-Bostan neighborhoods, claiming that their houses are built on lands that belong to the Israeli Municipality. He added that these multi-story houses were built many years ago and their owners pay fines to the municipality. He also said that the municipality is planning to demolish 100 housing units in al-Bostan neighborhood in order to establish a new park. It should be highlighted that residents have exhausted all legal channels to defer the Israeli municipality from demolishing their houses over the course of the past 14 years.
- Around the same time, Israeli forces accompanied by officers of the Israeli Civil Administration and backed by military construction vehicles moved into Kherbit al-Dakika in southern Hebron and raided a natural reserve, where they uprooted hundreds of trees, demolished 4 wells and confiscated barbed wires, under the pretext of being a military training area.
- At approximately 11:00, Israeli forces backed by military construction vehicles and officers of the Israeli Civil Administration moved into Zaif area in southern Hebron. They raided a construction site belonging to ‘Issa ‘Ali Khalil Abu ‘Arram (40) and confiscated a truck as well as construction materials under the pretext of working near Bypass Road (60) without prior permission.
- At approximately 05:00 on Monday, 08 July 2019, Israeli forces backed by military construction vehicles and officers of the Israeli Civil Administration moved into al-Qatie’ area in northern Hebron. The military vehicles demolished the concrete foundations of a 140-sqaure-meters house belonging to Mohamed Khalil ‘Abed al-Fattah Sabarnah, under the pretext of non-licensing in area C. It should be noted that the Israeli authorities notified Mohamed to stop construction works on 07 April 2019, and handed him a 7-day demolition notice on 08 June 2019.
- At approximately 11:00, Israeli forces backed by military construction vehicles and officers of the Israeli Civil Administration moved into Kherbit Bani Dar in southern Hebron. Israeli soldiers were deployed in the area and the Israeli Civil Administration officers dismantled a 400-sqaure-meter barrack belonging to Hussain Ahmed al-Jamal (38) and confiscated it, under the pretext of non-licensing. The barrack was made of tin plates and used as a garage.
- At approximately 11:00 on Tuesday, 09 July 2019, Israeli forces backed by military construction vehicles and officers of the Israeli Civil Administration moved into Kherbit al-Bierouq in southern Hebron, where a 20-sqaure-meter agricultural room belonging to Rashid Suliman Abu Hadeed (93) was demolished under the pretext of non-licensing. In a sudden move, the Israeli authorities gave residents 4-day demolition notices, denying them sufficient time to challenge the decision within legal routes.
- At approximately 10:00 on Wednesday, 10 July 2019, Israeli forces backed by military construction vehicles and Israeli Civil Administration officers moved into al-Ras area in western Hebron, where a 200-sqaure-meter barrack belonging to Daib Mostafa al-Batran (40) was demolished under the pretext of non-licensing in Area C.
- After 25 years of legal battles between Siyam family and al-Elad Settlement Association over property rights of an estate in Wadi Helwa neighborhood in Silwan village, Israeli courts gave a verdict in favor of the settlement. On Wednesday, 10 July 2019, Israeli soldiers forcibly evicted the family, and emptied the estate, while settlers attacked the Palestinian villagers. On 07 July 2019, the Israeli Supreme Court refused a petition filed by Siyam family to freeze and delay the decision issued by the District Court in late June. The eviction was carried out before the scheduled Supreme Court session to decide on the land’s ownership, noting that Siyam family provided documents proving their claim to the land.
- Israeli Settler Violence;
- At approximately 02:00 on Sunday, 07 July 2019, Israeli settlers moved into the western neighborhood of ‘Ortah village, southeast of Nablus. They attacked and punctured 10 tires of Palestinian civilians’ vehicles, in addition to vandalizing houses and vehicles with racist slurs (A complete list of damage available).
- At approximately 14:15 on Wednesday, 10 July 2019, a group of Israeli settlers, from “Yitzhar” settlement, set fire to civilians’ lands in Bureen and Hawarah villages, south of Nablus. As a result, at least 1500 fruitful olive trees were burned in Karm sleem, al-Romana and al-Kharnaq areas. The Chairman of Bureen village Council said that the Israeli forces used a firefighting helicopter to extinguish the fires.
- Closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement of persons and goods
The Gaza Strip
As the Israeli closure of the Gaza Strip enters its 14th consecutive year this July, severe restrictions on the freedom of movement of persons and goods enhance the de facto separation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
The implications of the continued closure policy have been catastrophic for the economic, cultural and social rights of the Gaza Strip population. As a result, unemployment rates have reached over 52%, 72% among the youth (15 – 24). According to the Household Expenditure and Consumption Survey, released by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) in 2018, more than half of its population (2 million) are poor (53%) and approximately 68% are food insecure.
The most significant implications of the continued Israeli closure of the Gaza Strip are:
- Movement of goods and persons to and from the Gaza Strip is restricted on all three functioning crossings: Rafah border crossing, under Egyptian control; Beit Hanoun “Erez” checkpoint and Karm Abu-Salem Commercial Crossing, under Israeli control.
- The Rafah Border Crossing operates only 5 days a week with severe limitation on travel of persons (300 travelers/day).
- Beit Hanoun checkpoint, designated for the movement of persons, is under severe restrictions for exit and entry of the Gaza Strip. Only limited categories are issued Israeli permits to cross the checkpoint after an exhausting and lengthy security process that may subject civilians to the threat of arrest and often blackmail by Israeli forces.
- Karm Abu-Salem crossing, designated for the movement of goods, bans the export of Gaza Strip products, except for agricultural goods. Also, Israeli forces continue the 12-year ban on the import of 118 goods considered as “dual-use items.”  While Israeli authorities announced on Friday, 05 July 2019, that 18 of the banned dual-use items would be allowed into the Gaza Strip; the operating officers at Karm Abu-Salem crossing denied receiving new instructions in this regard.
- Electricity crisis: with power cuts of at least 12 hours a day, the electricity crisis continues to haunt the Gaza Strip and paralyze all sectors of life, including health, education, the economy and the environment. According to the Gaza Power Authority, the Strip needs at least 500 megawatts of electricity for normal use during this time of the year; however, only 195 megawatts are available (120 from Israel and 75 from the local power plant).
- Naval blockade: Israel continues to restrict movement within the Gaza Sea, primarily on fishing. Despite imposing a 15-nautical-mile restricted fishing area, Israeli forces launch daily attacks on fishermen while at sea even within 1 – 6 nautical miles, including shootings, arrests and confiscation of fishing boats and equipment. It also restricts the import of necessary fishing equipment.
This week, Israeli forces denied the Rafah Services football team from going to the West Bank via Beit Hanoun Checkpoint for the Palestine Football Championship 2018-2019 final. The game was postponed indefinitely pending permits for the players.
The West Bank including occupied East Jerusalem
Israeli forces continue to strangle West Bankers with continued restrictions on their freedom of movement, especially with frequent checkpoints between governorates. Currently, 92 permanent military checkpoints exist along the connecting roads between West Bank governorates, some of which have permanent military presence and others are staffed irregularly. Some of these checkpoints act as a terminal into Israel, even though they are located within Palestinian territory.
It should be highlighted that Israel continues to corporatize and privatize its occupation of the Palestinian territory by contracting military security corporations who operate checkpoints with fully armed civilian guards; yet, they act under the umbrella of the Ministry of Defense.
Israeli occupation’s presence in the West Bank is not limited to permanent checkpoints, as temporary checkpoints are haphazardly erected across the territory on a daily basis. These temporary checkpoints impede traffic between Palestinian cities, with illegal searches of civilian vehicles and long wait times. These temporary checkpoints are used to ambush civilians as hundreds of arrests are reported at these checkpoints annually.
This week, Israeli forces established 113 temporary checkpoint across the West Bank and arrested four Palestinian civilians.
Additionally, with the ongoing closure of 30 key roads in the West Bank, Palestinian’s’ freedom of movement is heavily restricted especially in areas adjacent to the illegal Israeli settlements.
Israel allows holders of West Bank IDs (men over 55 and women over 50) to access East Jerusalem without a pre-issued permit; nonetheless, they have to undergo security checks.
In terms of the movement of Palestinians to and from the occupied territory via King Hussein Bridge, Israeli forces continue to impose security measures that threaten the well being of civilians by forcing them to go through a body-search machine that subjects them to harmful radiations. It is also a common practice to arrest civilians at the crossing or deny them travel.
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