Israeli violations of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory
12 – 18 September 2019
- Palestinian Woman killed at Qalendia Checkpoint at the northern entrance to occupied East Jerusalem, claiming she attempted to stab an Israeli soldier.
- Great March of Return in Eastern Gaza Strip: 78 civilians injured, including 34 children, a woman and a journalist.
- During 82 incursions into the West Bank: 49 civilians arrested, including 8 children and 2 women.
- 2 limited incursions and 7 shooting incidents reported in the border area, east of the Gaza Strip.
- 5 water wells destroyed and 250 olive trees and 120 forest trees levelled in northern Jordan Valley; a house, agricultural rooms and a street demolished in al-Walajah village, northwest of Bethlehem.
- 64 temporary checkpoints established in the West Bank, where 4 Palestinian civilians were arrested.
- Israeli border crossings with the Gaza Strip closed for one day, and a Palestinian arrested at Erez Crossing, north of the Gaza Strip.
During the reporting period, PCHR documented 165 violations of the international human rights law and international humanitarian law (IHL) by Israeli forces and settlers in the occupied Palestinian territory.
As part of the Israeli violations of the right to life and bodily integrity, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian woman, who was not identified, at Qalendia Checkpoint at the northern entrance to occupied East Jerusalem, and wounded 78 civilians, including 34 children, 2 women and a journalist at the Great March of Return in the Gaza Strip.
In a new crime of excessive use of lethal force, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian woman at Qalendia Checkpoint at the northern entrance to occupied East Jerusalem on Wednesday, 18 September 2019. The Israeli forces claimed that the victim attempted to stab one of the Israeli soldiers. Meanwhile, a footage published on social media showed one of the Israeli forces shooting at a woman who was few meters away from them and not posing any threat to their lives. Therefore, the soldiers could have used less lethal force and arrested or interrogated her.
As part of the Israeli incursions and house raids, Israel carried out 82 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, and raided civilian houses, attacking and enticing fear among residents in addition to shooting in many incidents. As a result, 49 Palestinians were arrested, including 8 children and 2 women. In the Gaza Strip, the Israeli forces carried out 2 limited incursions into eastern Rafah and Khan Younis and levelled agricultural lands along the border fence. Meanwhile, 7 shooting incidents were reported at the agricultural lands, east of the Gaza Strip; mostly in eastern Khan Younis.
Under the settlement expansion activities in the West Bank, PCHR documented 6 violations, including destroying 5 water wells, uprooting 250 olive trees and 120 forest trees, and demolishing a barrack and a caravan in the northern Jordan Valley, east of Tubas, in addition to a house, an agricultural room, retaining walls and a street in al-Walajah village, northwest of Bethlehem. Further, as part of the settlers’ attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property in the West Bank, the Israeli settlers carried out 3 attacks at the Palestinian civilians and their property in the West Bank.
In terms of the Israeli closure policy, the Gaza Strip still suffers the worst closure in the History of the Israeli occupation in the oPt as it has entered the 14th consecutive year, without any improvement to the movement of persons and goods and ongoing isolation of the Gaza Strip from the West Bank and the rest of the world. Meanwhile, the West Bank is divided into separate cantons with key roads blocked by the Israeli occupation since the Second Intifada and with temporary and permanent checkpoints, where civilians’ movement is restricted and others are arrested.
- Violation of the right to life and to bodily integrity
- Excessive Use of Force against the Great March of Return in the Gaza Strip
The 74th Great March of Return took off in eastern Gaza Strip on Friday, 13 September 2019, titled “Erase the Oslo Accords from Our History,” which coincided with the 26th anniversary of the Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). The Israeli attacks resulted in the injury of 78 civilians, including 34 children, a woman and a journalist.
The incidents were as follows:
- Northern Gaza Strip: At approximately 16:00 on Friday, 13 September 2019, hundreds of civilians marched towards the central tent of the Great March of Return (GMR) in Abu Safiyah area, northeast of Jabalia, north of the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces stationed behind sand berms and in military vehicles along the border fence, fired live and rubber bullets as well as teargas canisters at a number of protesters, who threw stones at them. As a result, 15 civilians injured, including 5 children: 6, including 2 children, were shot with live bullets and their shrapnel; 3, including 2 children, were hit with tear gas canisters; two of the were children; and 6 were shot with rubber bullets, including a child.
- Gaza City: at approximately 17:00 on Friday, hundreds of civilians marched in eastern Malakah area, east of Gaza City. Speeches, theatrical performances and other segments were performed at the protest central encampment. Dozens of protestors approached the fence and threw stones with slingshots at Israeli soldiers. The activities continued until 19:00 on the same day. Despite the peaceful nature of the demonstrations, Israeli forces directly stationed along the border fence fired live, rubber bullets, and tear gas canisters at the participants. As a result, 11 civilians injured, including 5 children: 5 were shot with live bullets; 4 were shot with rubber bullets and 2 were directly hit with tear gas canisters.
- Central Gaza Strip: at approximately 15:00, hundreds of civilians, including women, children and families, took part in the eastern Bureij refugee camp protests; tens of them gathered adjacent to the border fence at a range varying between 3 – 300 meters. A number of protestors approached the fence and threw stones with slingshots at Israeli soldiers. The Israeli soldiers, reinforced with several military SUVs, fired live and rubber bullets in addition to teargas canisters at them. As a result, 28 civilians were wounded, including14 children and a journalist: 13 were shot with live bullets and their shrapnel, 10 was shot with a rubber bullet and 5 were hit with tear gas canisters. The wounded freelance journalist, Zakaria Rawhi Bkair (24), from al-Maghazi, was hit with a rubber bullet to the left hand.
- Khan Younis: hundreds participated in Khuza’ah protests. Tens approached the border fence, set tires on fire, attempted to throw stones and firecrackers, set tires on fire, and raised Palestinian flags in addition to chanting national songs. Israeli forces fired live and rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at protesters, wounding 8 civilians, including 2 children and a woman: one of them was hit with shrapnel; 2 were hit with rubber bullets and 5 were hit with tear gas canisters. The wounded woman, Sabreen Ismail Ibrahim al-Najjar (42), sustained minor wounds after being hit with a rubber bullet to the head. Sabreen was previously injured on 16 August 2019.
- Rafah: hundreds participated in the eastern Shokah protests, where folklore songs and speeches were held. Dozens approached the border fence and threw stones and fireworks at the shielded Israeli soldiers, who responded with live and rubber bullets and teargas canisters against the protestors. As a result, 16 civilians were injured, including 8 children; one child deemed in extremely critical condition: 10 were shot with live bullets and their shrapnel and 6 were shot with rubber bullets. Ahmed Naji Sa’ed Abu Qamar (17) sustained serious wounds after being shot with a live bullet to the head.
- Shooting and other violations of the right to life and bodily integrity
- At approximately 18:10 on Thursday, 12 September 2019, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence opened fire at agricultural lands, east of Khuza’ah village, east of Khan Younis. The shooting continued for half an hour; no casualties were reported.
- At approximately 08:00 on Friday, 13 September 2019, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence opened fire at agricultural lands, east of Khuza’ah village, east of Khan Younis. The shooting continued for half an hour; no casualties were reported.
- At approximately 08:40, Israeli forces stationed in “Kissufim”military site along the border fence opened fire at agricultural lands in eastern al-Qararah, east of Khan Younis. The shooting continued for about 15 minutes; no casualties were reported.
- At approximately 10:15 on Saturday, 14 September 2019, Israeli soldiers stationed at the border fence between Gaza and Israel, east of al-Shoka, eastern Rafah, opened fire at agricultural lands. No casualties were reported.
- At approximately 22:30 on Saturday, 14 September 2019, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence opened fire at agricultural lands in eastern Khuza’ah village, east of Khan Younis. The shooting sporadically continued for few minutes; no casualties were reported.
- At approximately 09:10 on Sunday, 15 September 2019, Israeli forces along the border fence fired live bullets and sound bombs at agricultural lands and shepherds in eastern al-Fukhari village, east of Khan Younis. The shooting sporadically continued for few minutes; no casualties were reported.
- In a new crime of excessive use of lethal forces, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian woman at Qalandiya checkpoint at the northern entrance to occupied East Jerusalem. Israeli forces claimed that a woman attempted to stab a solider. A recorded videotape was published on news websites and social media where a soldier shot the woman, who was few meters away, before she approach him or pose any danger to the soldiers’ lives. Therefore, Israeli forces could have used a less lethal force against the woman like arresting her and investigate with her.
According to PCHR’s investigations and eyewitnesses’ statements, at approximately 06:00 on Wednesday, 18 September 2019, a Palestinian woman arrived at Qalandiya checkpoint in early morning and walked through the vehicles lane rather than the pedestrian lane and she seemed hesitant as if she lost her way. The soldiers then opened fire at the woman, who was few meters away from the soldiers, though she did not pose any threat to their lives. As a result, she was shot with a live bullet and was left to bleed for a long time before a Megan David Adom (MDA) ambulance transferred her to Hadassah Hospital in Western Jerusalem, and succumbed to her wounds shortly after arriving to the hospital. Israeli media claimed that a woman in the fifties arrived at the checkpoint and attempted to stab a border guard’s officer. The woman was naturalized after being shot and deemed critical. The Palestinian Ministry of Health did not declare the woman’s name or mentioned any details about her, but only mentioned her death after her arrival at the hospital. Israeli authorities also did not declare the dead woman’s name until the reporting period.
- At approximately 21:15 on Wednesday, 19 September 2019, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence opened fire and tear gas canisters at agricultural lands in eastern ‘Abasan al-Kabirah, east of Kham Younis. The shooting continued for few minutes; no casualties were reported.
Settlement Expansion and settler violence in the West Bank including occupied East Jerusalem
- Demolition and Confiscation of Civilian Property for Settlement Expansion Activities
- At approximately 07:00 on Thursday, 12 September 2019, Israeli forces backed by several military vehicles and a vehicle of the Civil Administration moved into Kherbet ‘Atouf and Ras al-Hahmar, southeast of Tubas. They demolished 5 water wells and bulldozed 250 olive trees that were planted 4-7 years ago, in addition to 120 forest trees. The fence surrounding these lands was also demolished. The attacked lands, and demolished property, belong to:
1- Rashid Mostafa Bani ‘Owda: a water well, 100 olive trees and a fence.
2- Morshed Rashid Bani ‘Owda: a water well, 50 olive trees and a fence.
3- Hussni Mostafa Bani ‘Owda: a water well and 100 olive trees.
4- Hussain Mostafa Bani ‘Owda: a water well.
5- ‘Abed al-Latif Mohamed Basharat: a water well.
6- Um Kbaish Reserve: 120 forest trees and a fence surrounding the land.
- On Monday, 16 September 2019, Israeli forces demolished a residential house, agricultural rooms and retaining walls, and bulldozed a road in al-Walajah village, northwest of Bethlehem, under the pretext of non-licensing. Khader al-A’raj, a member of village council, said that an Israeli force reinforced with several military construction vehicles moved into al-Walajah village and stationed in ‘Ain Jowizah and Khelet al-Hour areas. The Israeli military vehicles then demolished a 2-story residential house belonging to Mostafa ‘Abed Rabbu. Furthermore, 2 agricultural rooms, property of Halimah al-‘Arj, were demolished, in addition to retaining and concrete walls. Additionally, a road connecting the mentioned areas with other neighborhoods was bulldozed. Al-‘Araj pointed out that the ongoing demolition operations in the village aim at displacing its residents which is part of the Israeli ethnic cleansing policy. It should be noted that over 30 houses were destroyed in al-Walajah village and 180 others are threatened to be demolished under the pretext of non-licensing. The Israeli authorities seek to annex ‘Ain Jowizah and Khelet al-Hour areas to Jerusalem Municipality boundaries.
- At approximately 09:30 on Wednesday, 18 September 2019, Israeli forces backed by a bulldozer and a vehicle of the Israeli Civil Administration moved into Kherbit ‘Atouf in northern Jordan Valley. The bulldozer demolished a 50-sqaure-meter barrack built of tin plates and a 20-sqaure-meter caravan belonging to Rami Mohamed Nimer Qalawlah in Al-Jadida village, southeast of the city. It should be noted that the barrack and caravan were designated for workers, guards and equipment storage. Another Israeli force moved into a nearby plot of land in Kherbit Ras al-Ahmar, where they confiscated an excavator belonging to Mowafaq Fakhri Daraghma, and arrested his brother, Moayad (29).
- Israeli Settler Violence
- At approximately 14:00 on Saturday, 14 September 2019, a group of Israeli settlers, under the tight Israeli forces’ protection, moved into Tarousa area, west of Dura in southern Hebron, where they performed prayers and later withdrew.
- At approximately 15:30 on Saturday, a group of Israeli settlers moved into Kafur Laqif village, east of Qalqiliyia. The settlers attacked Ibrahim Ameen Jaber’s house and attempted to raid it, but they could not because its door and windows were tightly locked. Jaber said to PCHR’s fieldworker that: “a friend phoned and told me that he saw a group of Israeli settlers raiding my house at the entrance to the village. I quickly headed there and called the Israeli police while I was on my way. I told the police officer that they should come and intervene or I will not hesitate to defend my property come what may. When I arrived at the area, I saw 4 young settlers attempting to enter the house. Meanwhile, the Israeli military forces arrived and took the settlers in order to protect them. This was not the first settler attack, as they previously caused damage to the water network and pipes as well as electricity wires. As a result, we were forced to move into another house in the center of the village due to the ongoing settlers’ attacks. The settlers then left the area under the Israeli forces’ protection.”
- On Monday, 16 September 2019, a group of Israeli settlers sneaked into the northern entrance to Doma village “al-Howmah area”, southeast of Nablus. The settlers wrote slogans against Arabs on a wall belonging to Murad Ahmed Dawabsha’s house. They also punctured his vehicle tires before their withdrawal. It should be noted that Doma village is exposed to the ongoing and recurrent Israeli attacks. The most prominent of these attacks was the crime of burning Sa’d Dawabsha’s house on 31 July 2015 killing his wife and their infant child.
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