This week, PCHR documented 183 violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law (IHL) by Israeli occupation forces (IOF) and settlers in the occupied Palestinian territory. They were as follows:
In terms of the IOF shooting and excessive use of force, IOF targeted 3 youngsters, aged between 17 and 18, after they infiltrated into Israel via the border fence, east of al-Maghazi refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, claiming they threw a bomb at the Israeli soldiers. IOF issued a statement saying the youngsters were shot and wounded while the Israeli media said that they were killed. Moreover, their families have not received any certain information revealing their fate to date.
In the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Ministry of Health declared on 19 Janaury 2020 the death of ‘Amer Manar Mohammed al-Hajjar (33) from al-Saftawi neighbourhood in Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip. Al-Hajjar was wounded with a bullet to his abdomen on 14 May 2018 during his participation in the GMR protests, northeast of Jabalia, and his injury was deemed serious at the time.
Furthermore, 11 shooting incidents were reported at the agricultural lands and 2 at the fishing boats at sea in the eastern and western Gaza Strip while no casualties were reported. For the second consecutive week, IOF aircraft sprayed Herbicides at the lands along the border fence, mainly in eastern Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. It should be noted that spraying herbicides caused damage to leafy crops at lands adjacent to the border fence, which caused heavy losses. Some farmers are deterred from planting their lands that are located near the border fence in fear of such attacks. IOF claim that they intend to eliminate grass and crops that impair vision in the areas adjacent to the border fence.
On Saturday, 18 January 2020, IOF deliberately opened rainwater dam gates for the third time towards the Palestinian lands, east of Gaza City, flooding hundreds of dunums of agricultural lands planted with wheat, barley and peas, according to the Ministry of Agriculture in Gaza. It should be noted that IOF opened the rainwater dams towards the Palestinian lands adjacent to the border fence in eastern Gaza city on Sunday and Thursday, 05 and 09 January 2020, flooding large tracts of crops and beehives in addition to poultry farms and greenhouses. The Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture said that 1000 dunums of agricultural lands were damaged, causing a loss of $300,000.
In the West Bank, IOF wounded 6 civilians, including a child; 4 were wounded in the Kufur Qaddoum weekly protest while the 2 others were wounded during the clashes between the Israeli police and Palestinian worshippers in al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem.
Under IOF incursions and house raids in addition to arresting Palestinian civilians: IOF carried out 109 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Those incursions included raids of civilian houses and shootings, enticing fear among civilians, arresting and/or injuring many others. During this week’s incursions, 82 Palestinians were arrested, including 9 children, 3 women and a journalist. The incursions also included confiscation of civilians’ vehicles and property under various pretexts.
Under the settlement expansion activities in the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, PCHR documented 10 demolitions, land razing and demolition notices by IOF, including levelling 2 streets in al-Walajah village, west of Bethlehem, demolishing a tent, confiscating a caravan, north of Beit Jala, demolishing a house under the pretext of building without a license, and school foundations. Furthermore, IOF gave out a notice to stop construction works in a house in Hebron and forced a civilian to self-demolish his house in Jerusalem. Moreover, the Israeli Magistrate’s Court issued a decision to vacate Naser al-Rajabi’s building in Batn al-Hawa neighbourhood in Silwan village in favour of “Atarit Cohanim” settlement society and gave out notices to vacate 9 other houses, claiming they are ramshackle in addition to a decision to demolish 3 residential houses in al-Humus Valley neighborhood in Jerusalem.
PCHR also documented 2 settler-attacks, including cutting 17 olive trees in Nablus and attacking a house in Hebron.
- Violation of the right to life and to bodily integrity
- Excessive Use of Force against Protests in the West Bank
- At approximately 13:30 on Friday afternoon, 17 January 2019, a peaceful protest took off in Kufur Qaddoum village, northeast of Qalqiliyah, and marched towards the village’s eastern entrance, which has been closed since 2003, allegedly for the security of “Kedumim” The protestors chanted national slogans, demanded an end for the occupation and its crimes against Palestinians. The protestors threw stones at the Israeli soldiers stationed behind sand berms and the latter responded with rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters. As a result, 3 civilians were injured, including a child, namely:
- Mohammed Nidal Ahmed ‘Aqel (23), was shot with a rubber bullet in the back;
- Nasser Darwish Baker Barham (50), was shot with a rubber bullet in the right leg; and
- Ahmed Bashar Eshtiwi (16), was shot with a rubber bullet in the right leg.
- At approximately 20:00 on Sunday, 19 January 2020, the Palestinian Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip declared the death of ‘Amer Manar Mohammed al-Hajjar (33), from al-Saftawi neighborhood in northern Gaza Strip, after succumbing to wounds he sustained during his participation in the Great March of Return protests. On 14 May 2018, al-Hajjar was deemed in a serious condition after being shot and injured with a live bullet in the abdomen that penetrated his left waist, northeast of Jabalia.
Al-Hajjar’s father, Manar, told PCHR’s fieldworker that after spending 9 in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), his son was transferred to Istishari Arab Hospital in Ramallah for surgeries. Afterwards, Al-Hajjar returned to the Gaza Strip and waited for the second medical follow-up at the hospital in Ramallah; however, Israeli authorities rejected his application for an exit permit. A year later, al-Hajjar’s health condition got worst, so he was sent to Egypt on 02 May 2019 where a retina was implanted in his chest and then returned to the Gaza Strip. After a while, al-Hajjar went to Egypt for follow-up, but his health condition was very serious, so he returned to the Gaza Strip. Al-Hajjar’s left kidney was removed. Al-Hajjar stayed at the Indonesian Hospital until his death was pronounced on 19 January 2020.
- Shooting and other violations of the right to life and bodily integrity
- At approximately 09:00 on Thursday, 16 January 2020, Israeli aircrafts sprayed herbicides on lands along the border fence, east of Khuza’ah village, east of Khan Younis. The spraying process continued for 2 hours as IOF aircrafts headed to the east of al-Qarara. These herbicides caused damage to the leafy crops in the area adjacent to the border fence, which led to heavy losses. Moreover, some farmers were unable to reach or implant their lands due to the repeated Israeli attacks. IOF claim that they want to eliminate grass and crops for security reasons in the area.
- At approximately 10:30 on the same Thursday, Israeli gunboats stationed northwest of Beit Lahia in northern Gaza strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and chased them. As a result, fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives. No casualties were reported.
- At approximately 13:45 on the same Thursday, Israeli soldiers stationed at “Kissufim”military site along the border fence, northeast of Khan Younis in southern Gaza Strip, opened fire at agricultural lands in eastern al-Qararah village, adjacent to the border fence. No casualties were reported.
- At approximately 05:40 on Friday, 17 January 2020, IOF raided al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They attacked worshippers while performing their prayer and fired rubber bullets to force them to evacuate the Dome of the rock area. As a result, 3 civilians shot and injured with rubber bullets and 7 others were arrested.
According to eyewitnesses’ statements, IOF raided al-Aqsa Mosque few minutes after dawn while thousands of worshippers, including men, women and children were at the mosque square. The eyewitnesses added that IOF patrolled the grounds and stationed all over it, surrounded the worshipers present at the roof of the Dome of the rock, chased and beat them with batons. IOF fired rubber bullets at the worshippers and forced them to leave the mosque through Bab Hetta. Eyewitnesses emphasized that IOF attacked civilians at the outside of Bab Hetta and arrested 7 and took them to a detention center in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. The arrestee were identified as Mohammed Jawdat al-Shawish (30), Ibrahim ‘Ali al-Natshah (24), Mohammed Abu Shushah (24), Khalid Saleem al-Shalabi (18), Jihad Mohammed al-Shalabi, Mansour Wafi al-Tawil (27), Jihad Mohammed al-Sahalabi (19) and Qusai Mohammed al-Jabarin.
- At approximately 08:25 on the same Friday, Israeli soldiers stationed in eastern Khan Younis in southern Gaza Strip, fired live bullets at agricultural lands in eastern Khuza’ah village, adjacent to the border fence. No casualties were reported.
- At approximately 14:25 on the same Friday, Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence, southeast of Khan Younis in southern Gaza Strip, fired tear gas canister at a group of civilians, who gathered near GMR camp in Khuza’ah village, adjacent to the border fence. No casualties were reported.
- At approximately 16:00, a number of Palestinian young men gathered at the western entrance to al-‘Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, and threw stones at Israeli soldiers stationed near the military watchtower adjacent to the camp, chased stone-throwers and fired at random sound bombs and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, a number of young men suffocated due to tear gas inhalation.
- At approximately 00:40 on Saturday, 18 January 2010, Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence, east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza strip, fired tear gas canisters at Palestinian shepherds, east of al-Fukhari village, adjacent to the border fence. No casualties were reported.
- At approximately 14:25 on the same day, Israeli soldiers stationed “Kissufim” military site along the border fence with Israel, northeast of Khan Yunis, opened fire at agricultural lands in al-Qararah village, adjacent to the border fence. No casualties were reported.
- At approximately 15:30 on the same day, Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence, east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza Strip, fired live bullets at agricultural lands near the GMR camp. No casualties were reported. At approximately 18:40, IOF fired flare bombs in the sky of the abovementioned area; neither casualties nor material damage was reported.
- At approximately 08:30 on Sunday, 19 January 2020, Israeli soldiers stationed in “Kissufim” military site, northeast of Khan Younis in southern Gaza strip, fired live bullets at agricultural lands in eastern al-Qararah village, adjacent to the border fence. At approximately 18:40, the shooting recurred twice. No casualties were reported.
- At approximately 13:30, dozens of Palestinians, from Beit Ummer village, north of Hebron to, went to funeral procession of a civilian and headed to the Islamic Cemetery at the village eastern entrance adjacent to the bypass Road ( 60) where IOF established a military point. When civilians left the cemetery, an Israeli infantry unit patrolled ‘Asidah village area. A number of Palestinian young men threw stones at IOF, who responded with sound bombs and tear gas canisters. As a result, a number of civilians suffocated due to tear gas inhalation. IOF also chased stone-throwers at the village entrance and arrested 3 young men, including a child, namely Reda Mahmoud Saleh Abu ‘Ayash (14), ‘Atef Ahmed Hamdan al-‘Alami (22), and Jihad Yusuf Ibrahim Hamdan al-‘Alami (23). The detainees were taken to a detention center in “Gush Etzion” settlement, south of Bethlehem.
- At approximately 20:30 on Monday, 20 January 2020, Israeli gunboats stationed adjacent to Khan Younis shore in southern Gaza Strip, opened fire at the vicinity of Palestinian fishing boats. They also fired flare bombs in the sky of the area. As a result, fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives. Neither casualties nor material damage was reported.
- At approximately 20:30 on Tuesday, 21 January 2020, Israeli soldiers opened fire at 3 Palestinian civilians, including a child, and fired flare bombs in the sky, after they crossed the border fence in eastern al-Maghazi camp in the central Gaza Strip. Those civilians were identified as Mohamed Hani Mis’ied Abu Mandeel (17), Salem Zowaid Howaishel al-Na’ami (18), from al-Maghazi camp, and Mahmoud Khaled Mahoud Sa’ied (18), from Dir al-Balah.
IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman said: “We just identified 3 terrorists who crossed the security fence from Gaza into Israel. After our soldiers arrived at the scene, the terrorists hurled an explosive device at them. In response, our soldiers opened fire at the terrorists. Hits were identified.”
However, there were no immediate official statement from the Palestinian Ministry of Health confirming or denying the killing of the 3 civilians, while ssocial media and the Israeli media reported on the killing of the three boys inside the border fence, and the IOF’s decision to keep their bodies.
The families of the three boys told PCHR’s fieldworker, that they had not been informed by any official authority of the death of their children, and that all the information they had was from social media. They indicated that they had lost contact with their children on Tuesday evening, and they had not yet returned home. The families of the three boys confirmed that they went on Wednesday 22 January 2020, to the office of the Palestine Red Crescent Society to inform them about the incident. The PRCS said that no credible information is available about their fate.
It should be noted that the three boys are students in Shuhada al Maghazi Secondary School.
- At approximately 15:00 on Wednesday, 22 January 2020, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Sodaniyia shore, west of Jabalia in northern Gaza Strip, chased and opened fire at Palestinian fishing boat sailing within 3 nautical miles. As a result, fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives. No casualties were reported.
- At approximately 16:15, IOF stationed along the border fence in al-Farta area in northern Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire at border area, adjacent to the border fence. No casualties were reported.
- At approximately 17:00 on Wednesday, IOF moved into Dir Nizam village, northwest of Ramallah. They surrounded and raided the village council office in the central of the village. Belal al-Tamimi, Head of the village council, was beaten with gun butts while he was in the office and taken to the military vehicle. IOF searched him and interrogated him before releasing him half an hour later. Al-Tamimi sustained minor wounds throughout his body. When IOF moved into the village, dozens of Palestinian young men gathered and threw stones and Molotov Cocktails at the soldiers, who fired a barrage of tear gas canisters and sound bombs at them. No casualties were reported. Moreover, IOF arrested Omar ‘Abed al-Ghafer al-Tamimi (38) and took him to an unknown destination.
- 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 05:00 on Thursday, 16 January 2020, IOF construction vehicles demolished 2 streets in Khelet al-Khour neighborhood in western Bethlehem. IOF handed Waleed Moahmed al-Atrash a notice to demolish retaining walls and a door in his 600-sqaure-meter agricultural land, in addition to uprooting all crops without giving any reasons.
- At approximately 06:00, IOF demolished a tent and confiscated a caravan property of Mohamed Mousa Zarinah in Bir’ounah area in northern Beit Jala, under the pretext of non-licensing. Zarinah said that a military force attacked and demolished the tent, which was established months ago and sheltered his family. He clarified that the force confiscated a caravan placed in his land and sheep. The family became homeless after their tent was demolished for the 6th It should be noted the family’s house was previously demolished by IOF.
- At approximately 09:00, IOF accompanied with Israeli Civil Administration officers and backed by military construction vehicles moved into al-Rafi’iyia village in southern Hebron. They demolished Hussain Moahmed Salam Rab’i’s 80-sqaure-meter house nunder the pretext of non-licensing. The house sheltered 10 people, including 6 children. It should be noted that the Israeli authorities handed Rab’i a notice to stop construction works and demolish his house. They also ordered him to license the house in the Construction and Licensing Department of “Beit Eill” settlement. A verbal altercation occurred between IOF and civilians during the demolition. As a result, IOF arrested Mohamed Eyad Mohamed Rab’i(18) and Zakria Hitham Jebreel Rab’i (18), and took them to an unknown destination. Furthermore, IOF fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters to disperse the civilians, who suffocated due to tear gas inhalation.
- At approximately 13:00, IOF accompanied with the Israeli Civil Administration officers and backed by military construction vehicles moved into Kherbet Bireen in eastern Hebron. The soldiers were deployed at the village entrance while the construction vehicles destroyed 640 square meters of a school’s concrete foundations (under construction). Four days ago, the Israeli authorities handed construction workers at the building site, a 96-hour notice under the pretext of non-licensing, so there was no time to challenge before the Israeli Courts.
- At approximately 16:00 on Friday, 17 January 2020, ‘Ammar Nassar implemented the Israeli Municipality decision and self-demolished his house in al-Mokaber Mount area, south of occupied East Jerusalem, under the pretext of non-licensing. Nassar said that the municipality staff came into his house and ordered him to self-demolish his house. They gave him until Tuesday to implement the demolition, otherwise they would do it and bill him. Nassar clarified that his 60-sqaure-meter house sheltered 6 people, including 4 children, and was built 8 years ago. He added that his brothers Maher and Mohammed implemented the municipality decision and demolished their houses 2 weeks ago. The three brothers and their families became homeless in the cold weather.
- On Sunday, 19 January 2020, the Israeli Magistrates Court issued a decision to vacate Naser al-Rajbi’s building in Batern al-Hawa neighborhood in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, in favor of “Ateret Cohanim” settlement Association. “Ateret Cohanim” Settlement Association claimed that Yemeni Jews own the land on which the building is constructed.
Baten al-Hawa Committee said that in 2016 the Israeli Magistrates Court judge rejected Al-Rajabi family’s objection to the judicial notices they it received from “Ateret Cohanim,” and since then the family has been fighting to prove their ownership of the land and the 3-apartment building that sheltered 16 people, including children, elderlies, and persons with disabilities. The committee clarified that the last court hearing was in September 2019 and the court issued a decision in favor of “Ateret Cohanim” Settlement Association, which had obtained the right to run the properties of the Jewish Society that claims ownership of the land in 2001, and has been sending notices to the neighborhood’s residents since September 2015 to vacate. 84 Palestinian families received notices to vacate their homes. The committee explained that al-Rajabi family’s building is located within the settlement expansion scheme to take over 5 dunums and 200 square meters of Al-Hara Al-Wusta neighborhood in Batn al-Hawa area, divided to 6 plots of land (73, 75, 88, 95, 96, 97) as the Association alleges that Yemeni Jews own the lands since 1881. “Ateret Cohanim” Settlement Association claims that the Israeli Supreme Court recognized the ownership of Jews from Yemen over the land; however, the local committee asserts that residents bought these lands decades ago and have the official papers to support their claim.
- On the same day, the Israeli Municipality handed eviction orders to the owners of 9 residential houses in Hosh al-Nirsat area in Bab al-Selselah neighborhood and al-Qermi neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, to vacate their houses under the pretext that their houses are on the verge of collapse due to cracks in the walls. Residents of the Bab al-Silsilah neighborhood affected by the eviction orders, said that several days ago cracks appeared in the walls of the neighborhood’s facilities, and water flowed from the floors, which caused them to collapse. The residents explained that the Israeli excavations under the Old City are the reason for the deterioration of the infrastructure in the neighborhood, especially the water network. The residents added that the municipality staff fixed 7 eviction orders on houses in the Bab al-Silsilah neighborhood, claiming that the buildings are dangerous and must be closed immediately. The municipality staff gave the residents 30 months to restore the buildings, and if the restoration decision is not implemented, financial fines will be imposed on them in accordance to the “Dangerous Buildings” Law of 1981. Next day, two other notices were hanged in al-Qarmi neighborhood. The notified families were: (Abdin, Salaymeh, Zahedah, Slima, Rishq, and Shweiki). These families are comprised of 67 members.
The residents pointed out that about (26) families and (3) shops are under the threat of receiving eviction orders by the Israeli Municipality, because their houses sustained damage. The residents affirmed their rejection of the eviction orders and leaving their houses, stressing their deep fear of transferring the ownership of their houses to the settlers. They also emphasized that the Israeli municipality evaded its responsibilities to restore their houses and repair the old water networks, which were heavily damaged by the Israeli excavations under the Old City.
- At approximately 09:00 on Monday, 20 January 2020, IOF accompanied with the Israeli Civil Administration officers and backed by military construction vehicles moved into Wad Jehish area in southern Hebron. They handed Hisham Khalil Salama Nawaj’ah (33) a notice to stop construction works in his 35-square-meter house built of bricks, under the pretext of non-licensing.
- On the same day morning, the Israeli Supreme Court issued a decision to demolish 3 residential facilities in Wadi al-Humus neighborhood, south of occupied East Jerusalem, under the pretext of being near the annexation wall established on the village lands. The Committee of Wadi al-Humus neighborhood stated that the Palestinian Ministry of Local Government licenses the residential facilities, which are threatened to be demolished, as most of the buildings are located in Area “A” that is under the Palestinian Authority control according to the Oslo Accords. The facilities belong to Na’im al-Atrash, Mohammad Abu Tair, and Naeem Eliwa, noting that the Israeli authorities demolished 10 residential buildings near the wall in July 2019, according to Military Order (80/11) which prohibits construction works near the annexation wall regardless of the land classification, and whether it is in Area A or B, according to the Oslo Agreement.
- Israeli Settler Violence
- On Friday, 17 January 2020, Israeli settlers, from “Rehlim” settlement, which is established in northern al-Sawiyia village, southeast of Nablus, attacked Palestinians’ lands in al-Wad area, which is classified as Area C according to Oslo Accord. The settlers cut 17 olive trees, property of ‘Abed al-Raheem Mohamed Yousef, which was planted 8-10 years ago.
- At approximately 23:00 on Saturday, 18 January 2020, Israeli settlers, under the tight IOF’s protection, moved into Jaber neighborhood in eastern Hebron. The settlers threw stones at Fawaaz Zaraqou’s house and cursed his wife and son. After that, IOF intervened and dispersed them from the area. Ni injuries were reported. Suzan Zaraqou said to PCHR’s fieldworker that: “I saw settlers walking on the street with IOF while I was in the balcony. When settlers approached my house, they cursed me and my son Mohamed (17) without any intervention from the IOF. After that, the settlers threw stones at us. I brought a camera and photographed them, meanwhile, the IOF intervened and dispersed them.”
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