Israeli violations of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory for the week of 11- 17 July, 2019.
74 Palestinian civilians injured; 24 of them were children, a woman, 2 journalists including a female, and a paramedic at the Great March of Return in the Gaza Strip.
5 civilians, including a child, injured in the West Bank.
- Shootings, i.e. killings and injuries
- At approximately 02:30 on Thursday, 11 July 2019, officers from the Israeli “Mista’arvim”undercover unit dressed like Palestinian civilians sneaked to al-Duheisha refugee camp, south of Bethlehem, driving 2 civilian vehicles with Palestinian registration plate. They raided and searched a house belonging to Sami Ismail al-Ja’fari (33) and then arrested him. Meanwhile, dozens of Palestinian children and youngsters gathered and threw stones and empty bottles at Israeli soldiers while the soldiers fired live and rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, 2 civilians were shot with live bullets to the lower extremities. They were taken to Al-Hussein Hospital in Beit Jala for treatment.
- At approximately 22:00 on the same Thursday, Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence with Israel, northern Beit Lahia in northern Gaza Strip, opened fire and arrested at Majed Mohammed Husein al-Shafei (44) after crossing the village. As a result, he sustained a live bullet to his lower extremities. According to field investigations, al-Shafei left his house in Jabalia approximately 21:30 on the same day and then disappeared. At approximately 11:00 on Friday, 12 July 2019, his brother Mazen received a phone call informing him that his brother is injured and detained by Israeli forces.
- At approximately 10:30 on Friday 12 July 2019, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israel, east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza Strip in the vicinity of a Palestinian border control point. The shooting continued for few minutes, but no casualties were reported.
- At approximately 06:30 on Saturday, 13 July 2019, Israeli gunboats stationed off Rafah Shore opened fire at Palestinian Fishing boats sailing within 6 nautical miles. The Israeli gunboats then surrounded one of the boats manned by Mohammed Isma’el Isma’el al-Bardawil (40) and his nephew, Ahmed Wael Isma’el al-Bardawil (16); both from al-Mawasi neighborhood, west of Rafah. The Israeli naval soldiers then ordered the fishermen to take off their clothes, jump into the water and swim towards the gunboat. They were arrested and their boat was confiscated. At approximately 18:00, Ahmed was released through Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing while Mohammed al-Bardawil is still under arrest and their fishing boat is still confiscated.
- At approximately 13:35 on Sunday, 14 July 2019, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israel, east of Khan Youni in southern Gaza Strip, opened fire at agricultural lands in eastern ‘Abasan village, west of the border fence. The shooting continued for few minutes, but no casualties were reported.
- At approximately 16:30 on Monday, 15 July 2019, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israel, east of Kahn Younis, in southern Gaza Strip, opened fire at eastern Khuza’ah village. The shooting continued for few minutes, but no casualties were reported.
- Also on Monday evening, Israeli forces opened fire at Fares Ahmed Mahmoud ‘Azem (34), when he was between Ramina and Bazaria villages, east of Tulkarm. As a result, he sustained a live bullet wound to the back, causing him internal bleeding in the lungs. ‘Azem was taken to Dr. Thabet Thabet Hospital in Tulkarm. Due to the serious injury, ‘Azem was transferred to Beilinson Hospital in Israel. An eyewitness stated that:
“At approximately 22:00 on Monday, 15 July 2019, I received a call telling me that a person from my village was wounded and screaming of pain and that the caller is trying to rescure him. I immediately headed to the site and knew that the victim is from Thanabeh village, carries an Israeli ID card and drives a vehicle with an Israeli registration plate. He was taken via an ambulance to Dr. Thabet Thabet hospital in Tulkarm and then transferred to Beilinson Hospital in Israel due to his serious injury.”
‘Azem’s father said to PCHR’s fieldworker that:
“I received the news of my son’s injury and then headed to Israel to follow-up on his health condition. Doctors only informed me that his injury was serious and he suffers from bleeding in the lungs as the bullet penetrated his back to the lungs. We do not know how this happened to our son; he was probably visiting his in-laws in Ramin village. We are waiting until he wakes up to find out what happened with him.”
- At approximately 17:35 on Tuesday, 16 July 2019, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israel, east of Kahn Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, opened fire at ‘Abasan al-Kabirah. The shooting continued for few minutes, but no casualties were reported.
- At approximately 08:10 on Wednesday, 17 July 2019, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israel, east of Kahn Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Khuza’ah village. 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 10:00 on Thursday, 11 July 2019, Israeli forces backed by military construction vehicles and Israeli Civil Administration officers moved into Beit Ummer village in northern Hebron. They then stationed in Wadi al-Shaiekh neighborhood, where the Israeli Civil Administration officers handed Mohamed ‘Ali al-‘Alami a 96-hour demolition notice, under the pretext of non-licensing. Mohamed’s house was under-construction and built on an area of 150 square meters. On 17 April 2018, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the occupied Territory (COGAT), under the direct control of the Former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, issued a military order that makes it possible for Israeli forces to demolish Palestinian homes in Area C within 96 hours after delivering demolition orders. Under the order, COGAT excuses itself from informing Palestinian homeowners directly that their homes are slated for demolition and only requires demolition orders be placed “next to” targeted structures 96 hours before Israeli forces arrive to execute demolitions.
- At approximately 11:00, Israeli forces backed by military construction vehicles and Israeli Civil Administration officers moved into Kherbit Shabouqa in western Hebron, where they handed Amjad Nofal Sulimah a notice to demolish his 150-sqaure-meter barn under the pretext of non-licensing in Area C, and gave him until 24 July 2019 to challenge.
- At approximately 12:30 on Thursday, 11 July 2019, Israeli forces backed by military construction vehicles moved into ‘Izbit Salman in southern Qalqiliyia, and demolished an agricultural barrack belonging to Dawoud Mahmoud Yousef Ahmed under the pretext of non-licensing. Dawoud said to PCHR’s fieldworker: “I returned from France 3 months ago and my family told me that they found a notice in my land written on it “this is the second notice to demolish the agricultural barrack”. My family, who live in Qalqiliyia, told me that they did not see the first notice as they usually go there for picnic. On Thursday evening, 11 July 2019, our neighbors phoned and informed us that Israeli forces are demolishing the barrack in our land, so they went there and found the barrack was already demolished. We told both the Israeli and Palestinian Liaisons and they informed us that we could challenge the demolition.”
- At approximately 14:00 on Thursday, Israeli forces dismantled a sit-in tent established by the Wall and Settlement Resistance Committee in Wadi al-Humis neighborhood in Surbaher village, south of occupied East Jerusalem, protesting at the Israeli decision to demolish 12 residential buildings under the pretext of being near the annexation wall. Eyewitnesses said that Israeli forces attacked civilians staying in the tent and fired tear gas canisters at them. As a result, dozens of them suffocated due to tear gas inhalation, and agricultural crops were burned. It should be noted that the Israeli Supreme Court issued a decision to demolish 16 residential buildings, comprising of 100 apartments, few weeks ago under the pretext of being close to the annexation wall and pose a security threat. This gives the green light to the Israeli forces to demolish all buildings near the annexation wall in the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem. In 2003, the residents of Surbaher village submitted a petition against the annexation wall route, which passes in the center of their village, so the route was changed and the neighborhood was annexed within the wall.
- At approximately 09:00 on Tuesday, 16 July 2019, Israeli forces backed by military construction vehicles and Israeli Civil Administration officers moved into Wadi al-Ghrouz area in eastern Hebron. Israeli soldiers were deployed in the area and the construction vehicles demolished a concrete pool used for irrigating plants under the pretext of non-licensing. The pool belongs to Zayid Nimer Mohamed al-Ja’bari (65), whose family attempted to stop the demolition, but Israeli border guard officers attacked and beat them. The Israeli border guard officers also attacked two photographers identified as ‘Abed al-Hafeez Daib ‘Abed al-Hafeez al-Hashlamoun (55), who sustained minor wounds in his hands and legs; and Mashhour Hasan Mahmoud al-Wahwah (34), who sustained minor bruises in his hand. Zayid al-Ja’bari said the Israeli authorities handed him a notice to stop construction works 3 months ago and handed him a demolition notice on 14 July 2019. Zayid was intending to file documents to the Israeli court for challenging the demolition.
- At approximately 16:00 on Tuesday, Israeli forces backed by military construction vehicles and Israeli Civil Administration officers moved into Khelet al-Foron area in eastern Hebron. The construction vehicles demolished a water well used for irrigating plants. The well belongs to Nayif No’man Shokri Da’nah, who was handed a demolition notice on 10 July 2019. It should be noted that the well was partially funded by the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture.
- At approximately 17:00 on Tuesday, Israeli forces backed by military construction vehicles and Israeli Civil Administration officers moved into Ghoween al-Foqah area in southern Hebron. The construction vehicles demolished a 100-sqaure-meter barrack built of concrete and tin plates and used for breeding livestock, under the pretext of non-licensing. The barrack belongs to Ahmed Mohamed Mousa Hawamdah (44), who was handed a 96-hour demolition notice on 03 July 2019, so there was no enough time to challenge the demolition.
- At approximately 04:00 on Wednesday, 17 July 2019, Israeli forces backed by military construction vehicles and Israeli Civil Administration officers moved into al-Khalilah neighborhood in al-Jeep village, northwest of occupied East Jerusalem. The construction vehicles demolished a 80-sqaure-meter garage and store belonging to Waddah Wasfi Abu Dayyiah, under the pretext of non-licensing. It should be noted that the garage and store were demolished for the 3rd time.
- In the same context, Israeli construction vehicles demolished a 900-sqaure-meter commercial barrack and a concrete floor belonging to al-Natshah family in Beit Haninah village, north of occupied East Jerusalem. The construction vehicles also demolished a 400-sqaure-meter car wash belonging to ‘Atiyah and Bakirat families in Surbaher vilolage, south of occupied Jerusalem.
- At approximately 13:00 on Wednesday, 17 July 2019, Israeli construction vehicles demolished 5 shops built 4 years ago on an area of 250 square meters in Abu Tayieh neighborhood in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, under the pretext of non-licensing. Eyewitnesses said that a large force of Israeli police officers and Special Forces accompanied with bulldozers moved into Abu Tayieh neighborhood, where they surrounded 5 shops belonging to Mohamed Hamdan al-‘Abasi. The shops were demolished after the Israeli Supreme Court refused a petition submitted by Mohamed’s lawyer. The eyewitnesses also said that the Israeli forces forcibly disperse the neighborhood’s residents from the area and beat them up. Meanwhile, the Israeli forces arrested Mahdi Hamdan al-‘Abasi after beating him. It should be noted that al-‘Abasi family headed to the Israeli Supreme Court in order to freeze the demolition order and license the shops, but it refused.
- Closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement of persons and goods
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 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.
- 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.
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 110 temporary checkpoint across the West Bank and arrested four Palestinian civilians. A civilian was arrested while returning via King Hussein Bridge.
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.
A 6-month research conducted by the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem (ARIJ), stated that Palestinians lose about 60 million hours of work per year, due to the checkpoints and restrictions imposed by the Israeli forces on Palestinian movement between the towns and villages of the West Bank. ARIJ estimated the loss at about $ 270 million per year, according to the wage of workers per hour, in addition to extra fuel consumption at about 80 million liters per year, estimated at $ 135 million. The consumption of this amount of fuel leads to an increase in carbon dioxide emissions, by about 196 thousand tons per year.
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