Israeli forces continued with systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) for the week of 13 â 19 July, 2017.
Israeli forces killed 3 Palestinian civilians in the West Bank. 3 Palestinian civilians from Um al-Fahm were killed in an armed clash inside al-Aqsa Mosque yards. 35 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as Israeli forces continued to target Gaza’s border areas with no casualties reported.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed 6 Palestinian civilians. Three of them were killed inside al-Aqsa Mosque yards in occupied Jerusalem, while the three others were killed in the central and southern West Bank. Moreover, Israeli forces wounded 37 Palestinian civilians, including a child, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Thirty two of them were in the West Bank and the 5 others, including a child, were in the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip continued to chase the Palestinian fishermen in the sea and to open fire at farmers in the border areas.
In the West Bank, on 14 July 2017, in excessive use of force, Israeli forces killed Baraâ Hamamda (18) and wounded 2 others during an Israeli incursion into al-Dheisha refugee camp, south of Bethlehem, for arrests.
On the same day, 3 Palestinian civilians from Um al-Fahm in Israel were killed when they entered al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, and opened fire at the Israeli officers. They exchanged fire, due to which, the 3 Palestinians were killed immediately while 3 Israeli police officers were wounded. Two of the Israeli officers were pronounced dead later.
On 16 July 2017, Israeli officers killed Ammar Ahmed al-Tirawi (34), who is wanted to the Israeli forces, when they moved into Kufor Ein village, northwest of Ramallah. Gunfire was heard from a poultry farm in the eastern side of the village, after which the Israeli forces withdrew. The village residents hurried to the said area and saw blood in a greenhouse and in the main street, but found no corpse. Moreover, Israeli forces arrested the victimâs cousin and kept in the corpse in custody.
On 18 July 2017, Israeli forces killed Raâfat Herbawi (29), from al-Karam valley neighbourhood, west of Hebron, after opening fire at his vehicle near Beit Aynoun intersection on bypass road (60). Israeli forces claimed that he attempted to deliberately run over a number of Israeli officers near the street. His corpse was taken by an Israeli military jeep to an unknown destination.
During the reporting period, in addition to the two wounded persons mentioned above, Israeli forces wounded 30 Palestinian civilians. Six of them sustained live bullet wounds, 17 sustained metal bullet wounds and 9 others were hit with sound bombs.
In the Gaza Strip, the border area witnessed peaceful protests against the illegal closure imposed on the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces used force against the protestors, as result, 3 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded. Two of them was hit with live bullets and one was hit with a tear gas canister.
On 16 July 2017, 2 fishermen were wounded when Israeli forces stationed in the sea opened fire at a fishing boat on board of which were 3 fishermen sailing within the allowed fishing limits off Khan Yunis shore, south of the Gaza Strip. The 2 fishermen were transported to Nasser Hospital to receive the necessary medical treatment. Their wounds were classified as moderate.
In the context of opening fire at the border area, on 13 July 2017, Israeli forces stationed at the border fence, east of Gaza Valley, opened fire at the shepherds and farmers in the area. However, no casualties were reported.
Concerning attacks on fishermen, on 15 July 2017, Israeli gunboats opened fire sporadically at the Palestinian fishermen, northwest of Beit Lahia village, north of the Gaza Strip. However, neither casualties nor material damage were reported. A similar attack recurred against the Palestinian fishing boats in the same area on 16 July 2017.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 58 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, and 8 others into Jerusalem and its suburbs. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 57 Palestinian civilians, including 5 children, 3 girls and a journalist. Twenty six of them, including 2 children and the 3 girls, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem and its suburbs.
Moreover, Israeli forces raided offices of Ramasat for TV services and Palmedia for media services in Hebron. They confiscated 4 hard disks from the first office and 6 others from the other.
Efforts to create Jewish Majority
Following the armed clash between the Palestinian civilians from Um al-Fahm and the Israeli officers in al-Aqsa yards on Friday morning, 14 July 2017, that resulted in the killing of 2 Israeli officers and the 3 Palestinians, dozens of Israeli intelligence and police officers and soldiers stormed al-Aqsa mosque and cordoned it off and denied the Palestinians access to the mosque. Moreover, they locked up allÂ the Islamic Endowmentsâ (Awqaf) officers inside rooms, confiscated their cell phones and referred some of them to interrogation. Israeli forces closed all entrances to the Old City with metal barriers. As an unprecedented measure, the Israeli authorities banned the Islamic Call to Prayer (Adhan) in al-Aqsa mosque until Sunday noon, 16 July 2017, after which they declared they would gradually reopen the mosque after erecting 9 metal detector gates Â at al-Asbat, al-Majles and al-Selsela gates. However, they kept the remaining gates closed. The Muslim worshipers refused since then entering the mosque through those detector gates.
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.
Demonstrations in protest against the annexation wall and settlement activities
Arrests at military checkpoints:
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:
Unprecedented Measures against Al-Aqsa Mosque
Following the armed clash occurred in al-Aqsa Mosque yards, the Israeli authority ordered to close all the Mosque gates and the Old City entrances. It also fully imposed closure in the area and deployed dozens of Israeli soldiers in the mosque, its yards and roads leading to it. The Israeli police officers vacated all the Palestinian worshipers from the al-Aqsa Mosque yards and then locked them in theÂ QibliÂ (southern)Â mosque. They then raided the Mosqueâs rooms and banned the calls to prayer (Adhan). The Islamic Awqaf officers were prevented from entering the Mosque and around 58 of them were arrested. The Israeli police officers raided al-Motaharah area inside the Mosque and damaged its contents.
A Palestinian young man, who was stationed in al-Aqsa Mosque yards during the clash, said that the Israeli forces locked in theÂ QibliÂ (southern)Â mosque, searched them, checked their IDs, confiscated their cell phones and took some of them for investigation. Furthermore, the Israeli police officers raided the mosques and threw trash cans under the pretext of searching. The Islamic Endowments (Awqaf) Department confirmed the arrest of 58 of its officers. Firas al-Dibes, Public Relations and media officer at (Awqaf) Department, stated that the Israeli forces took them for interrogation in al-Muskubiya police center in West Jerusalem.Â The Israeli forces also arrested the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Mohammed Hussein, while performing the Friday prayer and arrested the former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, âAkrama Sabri, for few hours and then released them on bail of NIS 10,000 after questioning them.
Lawyer, Maâmoun al-Hasheem, said that the court extended the detention of 3 Islamic Awqaf officers to next Monday. These officers were identified as Ayman al-Khaldi, Majed al-Tamimi and Tareq Sandoqah. It should be noted that the Israeli Intelligence Service released all the arrested persons except the abovementioned officers. The arrested officers were questioned about the attack and filming it, in addition their cell phones were confiscated.
Dozens of Palestinian young men performed the Friday prayer in Jerusalemâs streets and at the entrances to al-Aqsa Mosque and Old City because al-Aqsa Mosque was closed and (Adhan) was banned. In al-âAmoud Gate area, the Israeli forces attacked Palestinian civilians present there, hit them, forcibly vacated the place and put iron barriers in the area to prevent the prayer. In the afternoon, Israeli forces arrested Rabah Abu Mizer and his two daughters Nirmeen and Aseel; his niece Asmaa; and Mohamed Abu Shosha from Jerusalemâs Old City. Moreover, Mohamed Jadallah, member of the National Labor Authority in Jerusalem, was arrested after raiding his house in Beit Safafa village. It should be noted that his arrest was extended in order to bring him before the court. Mohamed was accused of incitement.
Abdel al-âAzim Slhub, Chairman of Awqaf Council; and Wasif al-Bakri, Acting ChiefÂ JudgeÂ of Jerusalem and President of Sharia Court of Appeals in Jerusalem, stated that the Israeli forces searched the offices of the Islamic Endowments (Awqaf) Department, manuscript center and Islamic Museum, the office of the Acting Chief Judge, clinics and mosques. Abdel al-âAzim Slhub clarified that the Islamic Museum and the office of Acting Chief Judge contain historical archives, manuscripts and documents for Jerusalem going back to 800 years in history and other archives representing the political, popular and economical Jerusalemâs history.
The Israeli forces continued the closure of the Old Jerusalemâs gates and deployed dozens of Israeli soldiers in the area. They just allowed Jerusalemites to enter the city and checked their IDs before allowing them to enter. The Old City was almost empty, and all shops were closed. It should be noted that the Israeli forces obliged Palestinian traders in Sultan Suliman Street to close their shops and prevented the movement of public and private vehicles in streets adjacent to Old Jerusalemâs walls.
At approximately 19:00 on the same day, clashes erupted in âAin al-Louza neighborhoods in Silwan village, south of occupied Jerusalemâs Old City. The Israeli forces indiscriminately fired sound bombs, flare bombs and rubber-coated metal bullets at Palestinian young men, who threw Molotov cocktail and fireworks at Israeli forces and Israeli settlersâ vehicles. Moreover, the Israeli forces raided a house belonging to Jaber al-âAbasi and severely hit his two sons Mohamed (17) and Hatem (15).
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 10 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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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.