Israeli forces continue systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) for the week of 09-15 March 2017.
A Palestinian civilian was killed in occupied Jerusalem, while 11 civilians, including 3 children, were wounded in the West Bank. Meanwhile, Israeli forces continued to target the border areas in the Gaza Strip.
During the reporting period, Israeli settlers killed a Palestinian civilian in occupied Jerusalem.Â Meanwhile, the Israeli forces wounded 11 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children, in the West Bank. The Israeli forces continued to chase Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Sea and open fire at farmers in the border areas.
In the West Bank, in new crimeÂ of using excessive force, on Monday, 13 February 2017, Israeli officers killed Ibrahim Mahmoud Matar (25), from al-Mukaber Mount, southeast of occupied Jerusalem. Israeli forces claimed that Ibrahim entered the Israeli police office in Lions Gate (al-Asbat), took a knife out and then stabbed 2 Israeli soldiers. After that, Ibrahim was shot dead by another Israeli soldier.
On 10 March 2017, Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian civilians, who were at the western entrance to Selwad village, northeast of Ramallah, and wounded 2 of them.
On 11 March 2017, a 16-year-old male was hit with a tear gas canister at his head, when Israeli forces raided Birzeit, north of Ramallah. Moreover, the Israeli forces fired live bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at Palestinian civilians.
On 11 March 2017, a Palestinian civilian was hit with a live bullet to the leg, when Israeli forces moved into Sabastiyia village, northwest of Nablus. During which, a number of Palestinian young men protested against them.
On 15 March 2017, 5 civilians, including 2 siblings, were wounded, when Israeli forces moved into al-Duhaisha refugee camp and al-Dawha village nearby, south of Bethlehem. One of whom was wounded as he was at the roof of his house in al-Dawhah village. when the woundedâs brother along with his 3 friends rushed to take him to the hospital, the Israeli forces opened fire at the car carrying them. As a result, 4 other civilians were wounded.
On the same day, a Palestinian worker, from al-âObaidiya village, east of Behtlthem, was wounded while he was near â Mazmouriyaâ checkpoint, east of the city, attempting to go to his work in occupied Jerusalem.
On the same day, Fatmah Jabrin âAye Abdul âAziz Taqatqah (16) from Sahlet âEid neighborhood in al-Fajjar village, south of Bethlehem, was shot by the Israeli forces. The Israeli forces claimed she attempted to carry out a ran-over attack in the intersection of âGush Etzionâ settlement complex, south of the city, but she was arrested.Â After that, Fatama was taken to âShaare Zedekâ Medical Centre in Jerusalem. Fatmahâs family refused the Israeli claims and said that she lost control of her vehicle.
In the Gaza Strip, in the context of targeting border areas, On 09 March 2017, ,Â Israeli forces stationed in the vicinity of âKissufimâ military site established along the border fence between the Gaza Strip an Israel, northeast of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, fired several artillery shells and opened fire at agricultural lands in al-Qararah and al-Salqa Valley areas, west of the abovementioned border fence amidst firing several flare bombs, but no arrests were reported.
In the context of targeting Palestinian fishermen in the sea, On 14 March 2017, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, northwest of Beit Lahia village in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and chased them. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee for fear of their lives, but neither casualties nor material damages were reported.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 80 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and its suburbs, and conducted 11 raids in occupied Jerusalem and its suburbs. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 80 Palestinian civilians, including 9 children and 4 women. Thirty five of them, including 5 children and 2 women, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem. Among those arrested was a Member representing Hamas in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) identified as Samira al-Halyqa (53).
In the Gaza Strip, on 15 March 2017, Israeli forces moved into the east of Gaza Valley (Johr al-Deek) in the central Gaza Strip. They leveled the lands adjacent to the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel after which they re-deployed along the border fence.
Creating Jewish Majority in Occupied East Jerusalem:
Concerning house demolitions, on Saturday, 11 March 2017, the Israeli Municipality obliged âArafat Qaraâeen to self-demolish part of his family house in Wadi Helwa neighborhood, south of the Old City, under the pretext of non-licensing. Al-Qaraâeen said that the part, which was demolished comprised of a 20-square-meter room used as a store built 2 years ago.
On 14 March 2017, Israeli forces accompanied demolished an under-construction residential building in al-âIssawiyia village, northeast of occupied Jerusalem. The 250-square-meters building, which was comprised of 2 floors, belongs to Majdi Mostafa.
On the same day, Israeli forces demolished a house in Silwan village, south of East Jerusalemâs Old City. The house belongs to Mohamed Abu Saleh and was comprised of 2 rooms built in an area of 50 square meters. It should be noted that Mohamed along with his family comprised of 3 members, were intending to live in the house soon.
In the context of imposing restrictions on Palestinian associations, on 14 March 2017, Israeli forces raided the Mapping and Survey Office of the Arab Studies Society- Orient House in Beit Hanina neighborhood, north of occupied Jerusalem.Â The police officers arrested the Office Director and maps and settlement expert, Khalil Tufakji, and took him to an unknown destination after confiscating his cell phone and some contents of the office.Â The Israeli police closed the office for 6 months upon an order from the Israeli Interior Minister, Gelad Ardan.
Settlement Activities and settlersâ attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property:
On 14 March 2017, Israeli forces confiscated a mobile house in Farosh Beit Dajan village. The house belongs to Tawfiq Abed al-Raheem Haj Mohamed, who works as Headmaster of the villageâs school. The abovementioned house was built on an area of 25 square meters and shelters 8 members, including 3 children. Moreover, the bulldozer demolished a vegetable stall located in the villageâs main street. The 30-square-meter stall belongs to Yaser Ibrahim Aub Murtada.
In the same context, on 10 March 2017, Israeli settlers, from âRhalimâ settlement, uprooted 143 olive trees from al-Sawiyia villagesâ lands, south of Nablus. The land belongs to Haytham Ahmed Mohamed Abu Kafanah and Suhail Abed al-Raheem Suliman. Both of them are from the abovementioned village.
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.Â 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.Â 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 Stripâs economy.Â They also aim at imposing a complete ban on the Gaza Stripâs 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.Â 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.
In the West Bank, Israeli forces continued to suffocate the Palestinian cities and village by imposing military checkpoints around and/or between them. This created âcantonsâ isolated from each other that hinders the movement of civilians. Moreover, the Palestinian civilians suffering aggravated because of the annexation wall and checkpoints erected on daily basis to catch Palestinians.
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.
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:
Suhail Abed al-Raheem Suliman, from the abovementioned village and whose land located near the Israeli settlementâs houses, said that around 3 olive trees were uprooted from his 6 dunums. He added that in 2003, the Israeli settlers uprooted all the trees planted in his dunums.
Recommendations to the International Community
PCHR emphasizes the international communityâs 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 Israelâs 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 â in the context of their natural obligation to respect and enforce the international law â to cooperate and act according to the following recommendations:
Chris Carlson is a student of religion at Mount Mercy University, United States, and has been a regular volunteer with the IMEMC since 2013. He assisted in providing extensive coverage of the 2014 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip and continues, into the present day, with the issues at hand. He can be reached via email at c h r i s @ i m e m c . o r g.