Israeli forces continued with systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) for the week of 14- 19 September 2017.
7 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, while Israeli forces continued to target the border areas of Gaza, with no casualties reported.
During the reporting period, 7 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. Three of them were wounded in the West Bank while four others, including a child, in the Gaza Strip. Moreover, Israeli naval forces continued to chase Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Sea and target the border areas.
In the West Bank, on 15 September 2017, 2 Palestinian young men were hit with rubber-coated metal bullets in a protest organized by dozens of Palestinian civilians in the vicinity of a military watchtower established north of ‘Aidah refugee camp, north of Bethlehem. The demonstration was organised in protest at burying the corpses of 4 Palestinian victims detained in the Israeli cemeteries of numbers.
On 17 September 2017, a 20-year-old male was hit with a rubber-coated metal bullet to the right leg when the Israeli forces moved into Qalqliyia, in order to arrest Palestinian civilians.
In the Gaza Strip, border areas witnessed protests against the unjust closure imposed on the Gaza population. During these protests, Israeli forces used force against the protestors, particularly when dispersing them. As a result, 4 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded while participating in a protest organized in the east of Jabalia refugee camp, north of the Gaza Strip.
In the context of targeting Palestinian fishermen offshore, on 15 September 2017, Israeli gunboats sporadically opened fire at the Palestinian fishing boats, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, and chased them. The shooting recurred in the abovementioned area on 16 and 18 September 2017. No casualties were reported, but the Israeli naval forces arrested 2 fishermen who are also brothers and confiscated their fishing boat.
On 18 September 2017, Israeli gunboats sporadically opened fire at the Palestinian fishing boats, west of al-Sudaniyia shore, north of the Gaza Strip and chased them. The shooting recurred in the abovementioned area before midnight.
In the context of targeting the border areas, on 17 September 2017, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence opened fire at the agricultural lands in ‘Abasan village, east of Khan Younis. However, no casualties were reported.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 65 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, and 7 ones in Jerusalem. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 48 Palestinian civilians, including 8 children and a woman. Sixteen of them, including 3 children and a woman, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem and its suburbs.
Efforts to create Jewish Majority in occupied East Jerusalem:
As part of house demolitions, on 18 September 2017, Israeli Municipality vehicles demolished an under-construction residential apartment belonging to the sons of late ‘Issa Abed al-Fattah Matour under the pretext of non-licensing. The apartment is on the 2nd floor added to the house exiting before the occupation of Jerusalem, sheltering Issa’s Family of 20 members. Following the House demolition, the 1st floor was mostly damaged and became uninhabitable due to cracks in the walls and ceilings.
On 19 September 2017, the Israeli Municipality demolished a commercial facility belonging to Bashar Bader in Beit Haninah neighborhood, north of occupied East Jerusalem. The abovementioned facility is a car wash and showroom of 4 barracks. The Israeli forces also levelled the land, where the facility was established. Bader said that the court delayed the demolition decision to 28 September 2017, but he was surprised with the facility being raided and completely deolished.
Settlement Activities and Settlers’ Attacks against Palestinian Civilians and their property:
As part of settlers’ attacks, on 14 September 2017, Israeli settlers from “Bracha” settlement, south of Nablus, moved into Kafur Qaleel village, south of Nablus, and cut down 40 fruitful olive trees with automatic saws. Those trees which are one kilometer away from the settlement belong to Fathi Rasheed Mnsour and Jaser Abed al-Jabbar.
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. 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. 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 Strip’s economy. They also aim at imposing a complete ban on the Gaza Strip’s 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. 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 “cantons” 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
- Following the Friday, 15 September 2017, dozens of Palestinian residents from Hebron organized a demonstration in front of ‘Ali al-Bakaa’ Mosque in the city in protest against the Israeli authorities’ decision to build a municipality for settlers in Heron’s Old City. The participants raised Palestinian flags and chanted national slogans. When the protestors approached the old municipality building, dozens of Israeli soldiers moved towards them and pushed them back. They heavily fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters in the area to force the participants to withdraw. After a while, the participants withdrew from the area.
- Around the same time, dozens of residents from Kherbet Qalqas, east of Hebron, organized a peaceful protest to reopen the road to the village that was closed 14 years ago. The resident had to take a bumpy road to reach the street that leads to the city. They raised banners demanding to open the road. Israeli force arrived at the area and fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the protestors. They also chased them into the olive fields. The Israeli forces arrested Taha Hamad Mohammed ‘Abas (22) and Suheib ‘Awni Abu Turki(19).
- Following the Friday praying, dozens of Palestinians organized a peaceful march which started from Abu Bakr Al-sedeeq Mosque in Aida camp, north of Bethlehem towards the military watchtower near the camp, protesting against Israeli authorities burying corpses of Palestinians detained by them in cemeteries of numbers. When the demonstration arrived in the vicinity of the military watchtower, the Israeli forces intensively fired live and rubber-coated metal bullets and gas canisters towards them. As a result, two young men were hit with rubber-coated bullets. The Aida refugee camp residents said that the Israeli forces intentionally fired gas canisters at the civilians’ houses; dozens suffered tear gas inhalation. Moreover, parts of a house belonging to Monther ‘Amirah, activist in the Polular Comittees, were burnt. It should be mentioned that on 13 September 2017, the Israeli Public Prosecution declared the burial of 4 Palestinian corpses in cemeteries of numbers for: Abd Al-Hameed Abu Srour from Aida camp, Mohammed Al-Tarayra and Mohammad Al-Faqeeh from Hebron, and Rami Ourtani from Nablus.
- Following the Friday prayer, dozens of Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international human rights defenders organized protests in Bil’in and Ni’lin villages, west of Ramallah; al-Nabi Saleh village, northwest of the city. Israeli forces forcibly dispersed the protesters, firing live and metal bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs. They also chased protesters into olive fields and between the houses. As a result, some of the protesters suffered tear gas inhalation while others sustained bruises as Israeli soldiers beat them up. Israeli forces also arrested an Israeli peace activist when they chased the protestors.
- At approximately 16:30 on the same Friday, 15 September 2017, dozens of Palestinian civilians gathered near the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, in response to calls for protests in the border area against the Israeli imposed closure on the Gaza Strip. Some of the young men set fire to tires and threw stones at the Israeli forces stationed along the abovementioned border fence. The soldiers fired live bullets, tear gas canisters and rubber-coated metal bullets at them. The clashes continued until approximately 19:30 on the same day. As a result, 4 civilians, including a child, were directly hit with tear gas canisters. They were transferred to the Indonesian Hospital in Jabalia. Medical sources classified as minor.
(PCHR keeps the name of the wounded civilians)
- House Demolition:
- At approximately 08:00 on Monday, 18 September 2017, Israeli bulldozers accompanied with Israeli Municipality vehicles demolished a residential apartment in Za’eem village, east of the city, under the pretext of non-licensing. Matour family said that the Israeli forces accompanied with Israeli Municipality crews raided their building in Za’eem village and evacuated all residents. They then demolished the 2nd floor without prior warning. The family also said that the 2-storey building belongs to the sons of late ‘Issa Abed al-Fattah Matour. The 1st floor, which shelters the 20 members of Issa Family, exited before the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem while the 2nd floor is under-construction. The family added that the 1st floor was completely damaged and became uninhabitable due to cracks in the walls and ceilings.
- At approximately 11:00 on Tuesday, 19 September 2017, the Israeli Municipality demolished a commercial facility in Beit Haninah neighborhood, north of occupied East Jerusalem. The abovementioned facility is a car wash and showroom and belonging to Bashar Bader. Bashar said that the Israeli police accompanied with Israeli Municipality crews and bulldozers raided the facility and demolished all the 4 barracks in addition to leveling the land. Bader also said that the court delayed the demolition decision to 28 September 2017, but he was surprised with raiding the facility and demolishing it completely.
- Israeli settlers’ attacks against Palestinian civilians and property
- On Thursday, 14 September 2017, Israeli settlers from “Bracha” settlement, south of Nablus, moved into Kafur Qaleel village, south of Nablus, and cut down 40 fruitful olive trees with automatic saws. Those trees, which are one kilometer away from the settlement, belong to Fathi Rasheed Mansour and Jaser Abed al-Jabbar. Mansour said that the Israeli settlers cut down 20 olive trees of 70 from his 3-dunum plot of land. He is also afraid that the settlers would cut down the other trees, as he along with other civilians saw the Israeli settlers wandering in the same land on the same day, but chased and expelled them from his land. He also added that about 20 olive trees out of 300 were cut down from a 25-dumun plot of land belonging to Abed al-Jabbar.
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 Council’s 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. 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 Israel’s unilateral disengagement plan of 2005. PCHR emphasizes that there is international recognition of Israel’s obligation to respect international human rights instruments and international humanitarian law. 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.
- PCHR calls upon the international community to respect the Security Council’s Resolution No. 2334 and to ensure that Israel respects it as well, in particular point 5 which obliges Israel not to deal with settlements as if they were part of Israel.
- PCHR calls upon the ICC in 2017 to open an investigation into Israeli crimes committed in the oPt, particularly the settlement crimes and the 2014 offensive on the Gaza Strip.
- PCHR Calls upon the European Union (EU) and all international bodies to boycott settlements and ban working and investing in them in application of their obligations according to international human rights law and international humanitarian law considering settlements as a war crime.
- PCHR calls upon the international community to use all available means to allow the Palestinian people to enjoy their right to self-determination through the establishment of the Palestinian State, which was recognized by the UN General Assembly with a vast majority, using all international legal mechanisms, including sanctions to end the occupation of the State of Palestine.
- PCHR calls upon the international community and United Nations to take all necessary measures to stop Israeli policies aimed at creating a Jewish demographic majority in Jerusalem and at voiding Palestine from its original inhabitants through deportations and house demolitions as a collective punishment, which violates international humanitarian law, amounting to a crime against humanity.
- PCHR calls upon the international community to condemn summary executions carried out by Israeli forces against Palestinians and to pressurize Israel to stop them.
- PCHR calls upon the States Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC to work hard to hold Israeli war criminals accountable.
- PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fulfill their obligations under article (1) of the Convention to ensure respect for the Conventions under all circumstances, and under articles (146) and (147) to search for and prosecute those responsible for committing grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions to ensure justice and remedy for Palestinian victims, especially in light of the almost complete denial of justice for them before the Israeli judiciary.
- PCHR calls upon the international community to speed up the reconstruction process necessary because of the destruction inflicted by the Israeli offensive on Gaza.
- PCHR calls for a prompt intervention to compel the Israeli authorities to lift the closure that obstructs the freedom of movement of goods and 1.8 million civilians that experience unprecedented economic, social, political and cultural hardships due to collective punishment policies and retaliatory action against civilians.
- PCHR calls upon the European Union to apply human rights standards embedded in the EU-Israel Association Agreement and to respect its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights when dealing with Israel.
- PCHR calls upon the international community, especially states that import Israeli weapons and military services, to meet their moral and legal responsibility not to allow Israel to use the offensive in Gaza to test new weapons and not accept training services based on the field experience in Gaza in order to avoid turning Palestinian civilians in Gaza into testing objects for Israeli weapons and military tactics.
- PCHR calls upon the parties to international human rights instruments, especially the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), to pressurize Israel to comply with its provisions in the oPt and to compel it to incorporate the human rights situation in the oPt in its reports submitted to the relevant committees.
- PCHR calls upon the EU and international human rights bodies to pressurize the Israeli forces to stop their attacks against Palestinian fishermen and farmers, mainly in the border area.