Israeli forces continued with systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), for the week of 10 â 16 May, 2018.
Israeli forces continued to use appallingly lethal force against Palestinian protestors in the Gaza Strip; 46 Palestinian civilians, including 7 children and a wheelchair-bound man, were killed; 2024 Palestinian civilians, including 328 children, 74 women, 20 journalists and 5 paramedics, were wounded; 62 Palestinian civilians, including 5 children and 2 women, were wounded in occupied the West Bank.
Israeli forces continued to use excessive lethal force against Palestinian civilians, who participated in peaceful demonstrations organized within the activities of the âGreat March of Return and Breaking the Siegeâ in the Gaza Strip, which witnessed peaceful demonstrations along the eastern and northern Gaza Strip border area. On Monday, 14 May 2018, on the eve of the 70thÂ anniversary of the Palestinian Nakbah, the Gaza Strip witnessed the activities of the Great March of Return early declared by the Supreme Authority of the Return, and ten thousands of Palestinian defenseless civilians participated, including women, young men, children and elderlies.Â On that day, the Israeli forces excessively and appallingly used lethal force against the peaceful protesters.Â As a result, dozens of Palestinian civilians were killed while hundreds were wounded; many of them sustained serious wounds, including a PCHRâs volunteer fieldworker.Â During the reporting period, the Israeli forces killed 46 Palestinian civilians, including 7 children and a wheelchair-bound man.Â Moreover, they wounded 2,024 Palestinian civilians, including 328 children, 74 women, 20 journalists and 5 paramedics; 135 of those wounded are in serious condition.Â In the West Bank, the Israeli forces wounded 62 Palestinian civilians, including 5 children, 2 women and 2 journalists, in separate incidents.
Investigations and Â Field Observations by PCHRâs Fieldworkers Confirm the Following:
As part of targeting the border areas, on 10 May 2018, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel opened fire at the landfill, east of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, and at the Palestinian shepherds and farmers, east of al-Bureij.Â However, no casualties were reported.
On 11 May 2018, the Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel opened fire at 2 security checkpoints belonging to the Palestinian Armed Groups, east of the central Gaza Strip.Â On 12 and 13 May 2018, the Israeli forces also targeted 2 border control checkpoints, east of al-Maghazi.
On 14 May 2018, Israeli forces fired 2 artillery shells at a border control checkpoint belonging to al-Qassam Brigades (Hams Militayr Wing) in eastern Islamic Martyrs Cemetery in the northern Gaza Strip.Â They recurred the shelling on 16 May 2018.Â As a result, the checkpoint sustained severe damage, but no casualties were reported.Â The Israeli forces also targeted 2 border control checkpoints with artillery shells in eastern al-Bureij and al-Maghazi, east of the central Gaza Strip, and recurred the shelling at the same checkpoints on 16 May 2018.
On 16 May 2018, the Israeli forces stationed along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel opened fire at the agricultural lands adjacent to the border fence, east of al-Naâaymah Street, and east of al-Amal neighbourhood, east and northeast of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip.Â However, neither damage nor casualties were reported.
As part of the airstrikes, on 12 May 2018, Israeli warplanes launched 5 missiles at the agricultural lands that are around 800 meters away from the western border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, northeast of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip.Â However, no casualties were reported.
On 14 May 2018, the Israeli warplanes, only ten minutes apart, launched 6 missiles at Palestine military site belonging to al-Qassam Brigades, northeast of Um al-Naser Bedouin village in the northern Gaza Strip.Â They also launched a missile at Bader Military Site and another at al-Bahriyah Site near al-Baydar resort, south of Gaza City.Â They also targeted another site, southwest of Gaza City.Â However, in all the bombings, no causalities were reported, but the sites sustained severe damage.
On the same day, the Israeli forces flied a black drone carrying a plastic bottle filled with benzene and an explosive device fixed to the bottle.Â The drone then dropped it on the tents of the March of return and Breaking the Siege in Eastern Abu Safiyah Hill, northeast of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip.Â As a result, the car tires used during the protests burnt.
In the West Bank, on 10 May 2018, 6 protestors were wounded, including a 17-year-old child, when the Israeli forces moved into Nablus to guard hundreds of settlers who arrived via dozens of buses to Josefâs Tomb to perform religious rituals.Â Thus, dozens of Palestinian children and young men protested against them.
On 11 May 2018, 5 Palestinian civilians were wounded while participating in a sit-in in the Bab al-Rahmah Cemetery to remove parts of the fences lately established by the Israeli forces.Â During the sit-in, the Israeli forces supressed the participants using rubber bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs.Â As a result, 3 civilians sustained sound bomb shrapnel wounds and 2 others sustained rubber bullet wounds.
In addition to the above mentioned injuries, During the reporting period, 51 other civilians, including 4 children, 2 women and 2 journalists, were wounded after the Israeli forces opened fire at them and fired tear gas canisters directly during peaceful protests and stone-throwing at the Israeli soldiers stationed at the entrances to the Palestinian communities in the West Bank. Those demonstrations came in the light of demonstrations organized by Palestinian civilians in protest at Trumpâs decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the Israeli forcesâ ongoing settlement crimes, confiscation of Palestinian lands, and Israeli forcesâ crimes against the peaceful demonstrations organized by the Palestinians along the eastern borders of the Gaza Strip.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 91 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 7 similar ones into Jerusalem and its suburbs. During those incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 71 Palestinians, including 5 children, in the West Bank.Â Meanwhile, 52 civilians, including 8 children and 3 women, were arrested in Jerusalem and its suburbs; a number of them were arrested during the peaceful protests in the City.
In the Gaza Strip, on 13 May 2018, Israeli forces moved 100 meters into eastern alBureij in the central Gaza Strip, to level lands adjacent to the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel.
On 14 May 2018, Israeli forces conducted 3 incursions into east of Abu Reidah neighborhood, east of Khuzaâah, and east of âAbasan al-Jadidiah in eastern Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip; and eastern Abu Saifyah Hill, northeast of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip.Â The Israeli forces leveled lands and repaired the barbed-wire fence amidst sporadic shooting.Â As a result, 3 civilians, including a woman, were wounded.
On 16 May 2018, the Israeli forces moved 100 meters into al-Shawkah village, east of Rafah City in the southern Gaza Strip.Â They leveled and combed lands in the area before redeploying along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel.
Efforts to Create a Jewish Majority in East Jerusalem:
As part of the Israeli settlement expansion, house demolition notices and demolitions, on 10 May 2018, the Israeli authorities confiscated a plot of land in al-âIssawiyah village, northeast of occupied East Jeurasalem, under the pretext of using it for the public good.Â The plot of lands is 2 dunums and belongs to Mustafa Family.Â The Israeli municipality staffs closed the land and surrounded the land threatened to be confiscated with barbed wires so it would not be used by its owners.Â They pitched a banner written on which âHere will be established an education facility by Moria Company in favor of the neighborhood residents.â
As part of the Israeli settlersâ attacks against Palestinian civilians and property, on 13 May 2018, hundreds of settlers raided al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of East Jerusalem and performed mass prayers.Â They then sang and danced in circles and raised the Israeli flag amidst Israel forcesâ attacking the Islamic Endowments âAwqafâ officers and tightening on the mosque.Â The Islamic Endowments Department said that 1,042 settlers raided al-Aqsa Mosque during the morning raids via al-Magharbah Gate while the Israeli forces, police and senior officers intensively deployed in the mosque yards.Â It should be noted that the Israeli alleged Temple Institutions called their supporters for wide participation in mass raids of the mosque in coincidence with the commutation of the cityâs occupation according to the Hebrew calendar.Â In the afternoon, thousands of Israelis participated in the annual âFlag Dance Marchâ amidst Israeli tightened security measures isolating Jerusalemâs Old City, several neighborhoods and streets to secure the March.Â The settlers made their way from West Jerusalem streets passing by Hebron Gate and New Gate and then to Jerusalemâs Old neighborhoods via the Damascus Gate until they reached the Western Wall âBuraqâ.Â Groups of them marched towards the Herodâs Gate, Sultan Suleiman Street, and the Lionsâ Gate passing via Silwan village until they reached the Western Wall âBuraqâ., where the rituals and celebrations of âJerusalem Unification Dayâ were held.
Use of Force against Demonstrations in Protest against the U.S. Presidentâs Decision to Recognize Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel:
Continuing the demonstrations in protest against the U.S. President Donald Trumpâs declaration to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the U.S. Embassy to it, Palestinian civilians organized protests against the decision throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip. They further organized peaceful demonstrations where ten thousands of civilians participated, for the seventh Friday on a row, in commemoration of the 42ndÂ Anniversary of the Land Day in the Gaza Strip. The demonstrations were called as âThe Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege.â
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:
In al-Tour village, clashes erupted between Palestinian young men and Israeli forces. Local sources in the village said that Israeli undercover units arrested 3 protesters, including 2 children, and then took them to an unknown destination. The arrested persons were identified as Ameer Hazem al-Sayyad (16), Mohamed Khadir Abu al-Hawa (17), and Mostafa âAshayier (20).
Notices and House Demolition:
According to PCHRâs investigations and eyewitnessesâ statement, dozens of Palestinian young men from occupied East Jerusalem responded to calls for protecting Muslims graves in Bab al-Rahma Cemetery adjacent to al-Aqsa Mosque from the eastern side, and gathered at its entrance in spite of transferring it to a military zone by the Israeli forces. The Israeli forces closed the cemetery entrances and forcibly expelled the Palestinian civilians from the cemetery after beating them. The Israeli soldiers also forced the protesters to walk towards Silwan village, prevented them from passing through al-Maghariba Gate, and attacked them while walking on al-Turbah Street and at the village entrance. While the Israeli forces were suppressing the sit-in in the cemetery, many Palestinian young men and elderlies were wounded as 3 young men sustained sound bomb shrapnel wounds, including one directly hit to the face, and 2 other civilian were hit with rubber bullets. Moreover, 6 protesters were arrested after severely beating them. Those protesters were identified as âEmad al-âAbasi (28), Mahdi Qaraâqeen (27), Tareq al-âAbasi (26), Husam Hamodah (25), âEmad al-Qaisy (45), and Mostafa âAwad (28). Furthermore, the Israeli forces intentionally attacked press crews by beating and pushing them in addition to forcibly keeping them away from the sit-in in the Bab al-Rahmah Cemtrey. The Israeli forces fired rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at the press crews in order to obstruct their work. The Israeli forces also prevented them from taking photos and denied them access to the scene. The soldiers then chased the press crews and took photos of them.
It should be noted that the Israeli authorities have been attempting for years to confiscate parts of the cemetery in order to establish the âNational Parksâ project in the vicinity of the Old City. Within this project, the Israeli authorities built a path for Israeli settlers and tourists on the cemetery lands and prevented the burial in parts of it. It also cut part of it to build a street known as the âTurbah Streetâ. During the past days, the Israeli authorities attempted to set up steel fences in the vicinity of and on the graves. The Nature Authority and Municipality claim that the cemetery and hill lands are classified as âa national park and public open yards.â Under an organizational plan in the late 1990s, the classification of the land as âan Islamic Cemeteryâ was cancelled and the land has become an alienable property while all evidence and documents confirm that the cemetery is registered in (Tabu) in the name of Islamic endowments (Awqaf) and Husseini and Ansari lands. Moreover, the cemetery has been a property belonging to the Ministry of Endowment upon a decision by the Shariâa Court in Jerusalem since the 19th century.
Settlers attacksÂ against Palestinian civilians and property
The Israeli police deliberately imposed restrictions on the entry of Muslim worshipers to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the morning, detained their identities at the mosque gates, and prevented some of them from entering. Meanwhile, hundreds of Israeli settlers organized demonstrations at the mosque gates from the outside and on the Old Jerusalem streets, especially on al-Wad Street. During which, the settlers danced and sang in circles while other settler groups deliberately provocatively performed prayers at the al-Aqsa Mosque gates. Since the morning, the Israeli forces deployed on the Old City streets and at its entrances.
It is noteworthy that the alleged temple organizations called on its supporters to extensively participate in the mass and intensive raids of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, coinciding with the commemoration ofÂ occupying the city (according to the Hebrew calendar). These organizations published on social media leaflets calling on settlers to raid the al-Aqsa Mosque in groups commemorating the so-called Jerusalem Day. The organizations also called on the settlers in the leaflets to achieve Record numbers this year through the number of settlers, who raid the mosque. In the afternoon, thousands of Israeli people participated in the annual âFlag Dance Marchâ amid tight security measures that isolated the Old City, several neighborhoods and streets of the city to secure the demonstration. The Israeli settlers started their demonstrations from the West Jerusalem streets, passing through al-Khalil and al-Jadeed Gates and then to the Old City shops and neighborhoods via al-âAmoud Gate, reaching al-Buraq Wall. A group of them were walking towards al-Sahira Gate, Sultan Suleiman Street, and al-Asbat Gate, passing through Silwan village and reaching the Buraq wall, where the rituals and celebrations of the so-called âDay of Jerusalem Unificationâ were held. During the demonstration, the participants raised Israeli and American flags and banners of the alleged temple, in addition to dancing and singing in circles. They also cursed the Arabs, Palestinians, and Prophet Muhammad and tried to harass the press crews by provocatively raising the flags in front of their cameras or standing in front of them.
Jerusalem Streets were almost empty of Palestinians because of the closures and the intensive deployment of the Israeli forces. Moreover, the Israeli police announced the closure of Wadi al-Joz Road from Abu Zahra intersection, al- Asbat Road from the cemetery road intersection, al- Sawwanah Road from al-Etfaâiyah intersection, Bab al-Amoud and al-Sahirah Gates area, Sultan Suleiman Street, and all the roads leading to Asbat Gate and the Old City, and al-Jadeed, al-Magharibah and al-Khalil Gates. At approximately 14:00, the Israeli forces set up metal detectors and closed streets with the police vehicles and buses, in addition to flying a helicopter in the village sky. The Israeli forces also chased anyone attempting to approach the streets adjacent to the Old City and prevented anyone from approaching in the vicinity of al-âAmoud Gate.
Hours before the demonstration, the Israeli forces vacated Bab al-âAmoud yard and then arrested the secretary of Fatah movement in Jerusalem, Shadi Mutawer, while a group of women were attempting to be present near al-Mosrrarah Street, overlooking Bab al-âAmoud. The Israeli forces beat and pushed them, in addition to confiscating Palestinian flags and forcibly dispersing them. Furthermore, the Israeli forces arrested over 10 Palestinians, including a woman and her daughter, from Jerusalem. Most of them were then released after detaining them for over 2 hours. Journalist Mohamed âAbed Rabbu, a reporter Voice of Palestine Radio, sustained bruises suffered a shoulder dislocation after beating and pushing him.
The Old City shopsâ owners said that they were forced to close their shops for fear of settlers stealing and damaging their goods, as they have been always subject to such practices in the previous years. They pointed out that the Old City residents in general are partially denied access to their houses until the end of the Flag March, which continued from the afternoon until the evening.
It should be noted that the Israeli settlers, under the Israeli forcesâ protection, cursed Palestinian civilians and press crews, who were present to encounter the settlersâ March despite their few numbers due to the Israeli measures and closures imposed by the Israeli police to secure the March.
Recommendations to the International Community
PCHR warns of the escalating settlement construction in the West Bank, the attempts to legitimize settlement outposts established on Palestinian lands in the West Bank and the continued summary executions of Palestinian civilians under the pretext that they pose a security threat to the Israeli forces. PCHR reminds the international community that thousands of Palestinian civilians have been rendered homeless and lived in caravans under tragic circumstances due to the latest Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip that has been under a tight closure for almost 11 years. PCHR welcomes the UN Security Councilâs Resolution No. 2334, which states that settlements are a blatant violation of the Geneva Conventions and calls upon Israel to stop them and not to recognize any demographic change in the oPt since 1967.Â PCHR hopes this resolution will pave the way for eliminating the settlement crime and bring to justice those responsible for it. PCHR further reiterates that the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are still under Israeli occupation in spite of Israelâs unilateral disengagement plan of 2005.Â PCHR emphasizes that there is international recognition of Israelâs obligation to respect international human rights instruments and international humanitarian law.Â Israel is bound to apply international human rights law and the law of war, sometimes reciprocally and other times in parallel, in a way that achieves the best protection for civilians and remedy for the victims.
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Christopher Carlson is a full-time student of Religious Studies at Mount Mercy University, USA. He has been with the IMEMC since 2013. (firstname.lastname@example.org)