Israeli forces continued with systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) for the week of 17 – 23 August, 2017.
Israeli forces killed a Palestinian child at Za’atarah Checkpoint, south of Nablus. 5 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian child in the West Bank and wounded 5 civilians, including a child, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Two of them were wounded in the West Bank, and the 3 others were wounded in the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip continued to chase the Palestinian fishermen in the sea.
In the West Bank, on 19 August 2017, Israeli forces killed Qotayabah Zahran (17) from ‘Alar village, north of Tulkarm. The abovementioned was walking near a bus station when an Israeli soldier shouted at him to stop. However, the soldier stationed inside the watchtower established at the checkpoint directly opened fire at Zahran and killed him. The Israeli forces claimed that the abovementioned child attempted to stab one of the Israeli border guard officers, who were securing the checkpoint, so he was neutralized.
In the same context, during the reporting period, Israeli forces wounded 2 Palestinian civilians after opening fire at them when the Israeli forces moved into Jenin refugee camp, north of the West Bank, to carry out an arrest campaign.
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, 3 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded. One of them was wounded with a live bullet to the shoulder while the two others were wounded after being directly hit with sound bombs.
Concerning attacks on fishermen, on 21 August 2017, Israeli gunboats sporadically opened fire at and chased Palestinian fishing boats, northwest of Beit Lahia village, north of the Gaza Strip. The shooting recurred in the abovementioned area on 22 and 23 August 2017.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 43 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, and 10 ones in Jerusalem. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 49 Palestinian civilians, including 14 children. Twenty seven of them, including 11 children, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem and its suburbs while two children were arrested during a peaceful protest in Qalqiliya.
Collective Punishment Policy:
As part of the Israeli forces’ collective punishment policy against the families of Palestinian civilians who are accused of carrying out attacks against Israeli soldiers or/and settlers. On 17 August 2017, Israeli forces blew up te first floor of a house belonging to the family of ‘Adel ‘Ankoush in Deir Abu Mesh’al, northwest of Ramallah. Asa result, the ground floor sustained severe damage as well as a nearby house. It should be mentioned that on 16 June 2017 the Israeli forces killed the above-mentioned civilian along with his two friends after a stabbing and shooting attack in occupied Jerusalem, resulting in the killing of an Israeli female soldier.
Efforts to create Jewish Majority in occupied East Jerusalem:
In the context of house demolitions, On 22 August 2017, Israeli Municipality bulldozers demolished a house belonging to ‘Abed al-Kareem Abu Sneinah in al-Bistan neighborhood in Silwan village, south of occupied Jerusalem’s Old City, for the 2nd time within one week. They then demolished the house. It should be noted that on Tuesday, 15 August 2017, the Israeli bulldozers demolished 2 houses belonging to Abu Sneinah family. Within one week, Abu Sinanh family along with activists managed to remove the rubble and re-built the house, but the Israeli forces again demolished the house. The Israeli authorities planned to demolish all the houses in al-Bostan neighborhood in favor of establishing “King Park” on its rubble.
Settlement activities and settler attacks
- In the context of house demolitions and notices, on 22 August 2017, Israeli forces moved into Kherbit Jub al-Theeb, east of Bethlehem. The Israeli forces surrounded Jub al-Theeb Primary School, which was built few days ago by GVC and funded by the European Union. The Israeli forces dismantled the school rooms built of tin plates and carried them to trucks. It should be noted that the Abovementioned School was built after al-Zawahra family donated a 5-dunum plot of land in Beit Ta’mour complex. However, the Israeli authorities notified the residents to stop the construction work in the school under the pretext of non-licensing as it is located in an area under the full Israeli control according to the Oslo Accords.
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 prayer on 18 August 2017, 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, and Kafer Qadoum village, northeast of Qalqiliyah. 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.
- At approximately 16:30 on the same Friday, Palestinian civilians organized a protest in the center of Qalqiliyah. They made their way to “Eyal” checkpoint established on the green line between Qalqiliya and Israel, northeast of the city. The protesters threw stones at the Israeli soldiers stationed there. The soldiers fired tear gas canisters and sound bombs at them and chased them. They arrested 2 civilians, including a child, namely Laith yusuf (16) and Ahmed ‘Adel al-Haj Hasan (22).
- At approximately 16:00 on the same Friday, 18 August 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 measures in occupied Jerusalem. A number 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 20:00 on the same day. As a result, a 20-year-old civilian, from al-Tuffah neighborhood, sustained a live bullet wound to the left shoulder; a 24-year-old civilian from Sheikh Redwan neighborhood in Gaza was hit with a tear gas canister to the back; and a 16-year-old civilian, from Jabalia, was hit with a tear gas canister to the chest.
(PCHR keeps the name of the wounded civilians)
- As part of the collective punishment policy adopted by the Israeli forces against the Palestinian civilians accused of carrying out attacks against Israeli soldiers or/and settlers, on Thursday dawn, 17 August 2017, Israeli forces demolished a house belonging to ‘Adel Hasan Ahmed ‘Ankoush in Deir Abu Mesh’al village, northwest of Ramallah. ‘Ankoush was killed by the Israeli forces on 16 June 2017.
According to PCHR’s investigation and eyewitnesses’ accounts, at approximately 02:00 on Thursday, 17 August 2017, Israeli forces backed by several military jeeps and an engineering unit moved into Deir Abu Mesh’al village, northwest of Ramallah. They then surrounded a 2-storey house belonging to the family of ‘Adel Hasan Ahmed ‘Ankoush. The house was built on an area of 150 square meters, sheltering 6 members, including 4 children. Many soldiers raided the second floor in the house while the engineering unit planted explosives inside and blew it up. As a result, the ground floor sustained serious damage in addition to a nearby house belonging to Mustafa Sobhi Far as the bedroom wall collapsed.
It should be noted that on 16 June 2017, the Israeli forces killed ‘Adel and two of his friends namely Bara’a Ibrahim Saleh ‘Ata and Osama Ahmed Dahdouh ‘Ata from Deir Abu Mesh’al village, after they carried out a stab and shooting attack against al-Sultan Suleiman Street at the northern entrance to Bab al-Amoud (Damascus Gate) in East Jerusalem. The attack caused the death of an Israeli female soldier. Moreover, the Israeli forces raided the houses of the 3 killed civilians on 17 June 2017 and orally informed them of the demolition decision of their houses after they took thir measurements.
Arrests at Military Checkpoints:
- At approximately 18:00 on Friday, 18 August 2017, Israeli forces stationed at a military checkpoint in Hebron, arrested Anas Ibrahim Mohamed Qat (21), from Madamah village, south of Nablus. Anas was on a trip with his family to Hebron. In the meantime, the Israeli forces stopped the family, checked their IDs and then arrested Anas.
- At approximately 07:30 on Monday, 21 August 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the intersection of al-Nabi Salah village, northwest of Ramallah. They stopped Palestinian vehicles and checked civilians’ IDs. In the meantime, they arrested Mohamed Faied ‘Arqoub (18), from Kafur ‘Ain village, northwest of the city.
- On Wednesday, 24 August 2017, Israeli forces, who were patrolling in the vicinity of Daniel settlement, south of al-Khadir village, south of Bethlehem, arrested 3 Palestinian civilians while they were at the southern entrance to the village. The arrested persons were identified as Reziq Shehadah Salah (44), Ashraf Mahmoud Salah (39), and Museed Suliman Salah (37).
Efforts to Create Jewish majority
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:
- Arrests and Incursions:
- At 01:00 on Thursday, 17 August 2017, Israeli forces moved into Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched houses from which they arrested Mohamed ‘Arafat Abu al-Hamam (19), ‘Odai Samer Abu Tayieh (19), and Abed al-Raheem al-‘Abasi (33).
- At approximately 02:00 on Friday, 18 August 2017, Israeli forces moved into Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mohamed Mansour al-‘Abasi (17) and arrested him.
- At approximately 10:00 on Saturday, 19 August 2017, Israeli forces moved into Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mohamed Hisham al-Qaq (22) and handed him a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Service in al-Nabi Ya’qoub police station, north of the city.
- At approximately 01:00 on Sunday, 20 August 2017, Israeli forces moved into al-‘Issawiyia village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched houses from which they arrested Mohamed Monther ‘Atiyiah (15), Mohamed Thaier Mahmoud (16) and Mahmoud Adeib Abu al-Humus (14).
- At approximately 02:30, Israeli forces moved into Hizmah village, northeast of occupied Jerusalem. They raided and searched houses from which they arrested Mohamed Fawzi al-Khatib (20), Abdullah Abed Rabu al-Khatib (21), ‘Ahed Salem ‘Askar (19), Ahmed Waheed al-Khatib(21), and Abdullah Ahmed al-Khatib(20).
- At approximately 13:00 on Sunday, Israeli forces handed al-Sheikh Nour al-Deen Ishaq al-Rajbi (54) a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Service in al-Maskobiyia police center in West Jerusalem, in order to question him. At approximately 08:00 on Monday, 21 August 2017, the Israeli forces arrested al-Rajabi when he attended al-Mascoubiyia center and questioned him. At approximately 22:00 on the same day, Nour al-Deen was released, but he was forcibly deported from al-‘Aqsa Mosque for one week. This summons handed to al-Sheikh al-Rajabi is the 3rd summons within one month. It should be noted that the Israeli forces previously arrested al Rajabi and beat him up in the vicinity of al-Asbat (Lion Gate).
- At approximately 00:00 on Monday, 21 August 2017, Israeli forces moved into Ras al-‘Amoud neighborhood, east of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched a house belonging to Abdullah Jamal Ma’arjah (17) and arrested him.
- At approximately 01:00 on Monday, Israeli forces moved into al-‘Izariyia village, east of occupied Jerusalem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Hasan Ashraf Abu al-Reesh (17) and arrested him.
- At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into al-‘Issawiyia village, northeast of occupied Jerusalem. They raided and searched houses from which they arrested 4 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children. The arrested persons were identified as Mahmoud Adib Abu Humus (14), Mohamed Monther ‘Atiyiah (15), Mohamed Thaier Suliman (16) and Ali Hasan Muhasin (19).
- At approximately 02:30, Israeli forces moved into Badow village, northwest of occupied Jerusalem. They raided and searched houses from which they arrested Adham Mohamed Saleh Badwan and Saleh Kassab ‘Ayyash.
- At approximately 16:00 on Tuesday, 22 August 2017, Israeli forces raided and searched a house belonging to Mohamed Fahmi Faroukh in ‘Ain al-Louza neighborhood in Silwan village, south of occupied Jerusalem. They also arrested Mohamed’s daughter, Heba (15), and took her to an unknown destination. Fahmi Faroukh, Mohamed’s father, said that the Israeli forces accompanied with Israeli Intelligence officers and sniffer dogs raided his son’s house and prevented anyone from entering it. In the meantime, they beat up all the house residents. As a result, Mohamed’s wife sustained a toe fracture and was then taken to receive medical treatment. Moreover, the Israeli forces attacked Fahim’s grandchild, Yazan (14). Fahmi added that the Israeli forces damaged all the house contents and arrested his son, Mohamed, his grandchild, Heba, without showing either the search or arrest warrant.
- At approximately 01:30 on Wednesday, 23 August 2017, Israeli forces moved into Badow village, northwest of occupied Jerusalem. They raided and searched houses from which they arrested Yousef Khalid Dar al-Shaiekh, Ahmed Husain al-Shaiekh, Mohamed Falah al-Shaiekh and Abdullah Kamal al-Shaiekh.
- House Demolitions:
- On Tuesday, 22 August 2017, Israeli Municipality bulldozers demolished a house belonging to ‘Abed al-Kareem Abu Sneinah in al-Bostan neighborhood in Silwan village, south of occupied Jerusalem’s Old City, for the 2nd time within one week. Silwan village’s residents said that the Israeli forces accompanied with Israeli vehicles and Israeli Municipality crews moved into al-Bostan neighborhood, surrounded the under-construction house of Abu Sneinah family, and demolished it.
It should be noted that, on Tuesday, 15 August 2017, the Israeli bulldozers demolished 2 houses belonging to Abu Sneinah family. During one week, Abu Sinanh family along with activists removed the rubble and re-built the house, but the Israeli forces demolished the house again. The Israeli authorities planned to demolish all houses in al-Bostan neighborhood in favor of establishing “King Park” as since 2005, the Israeli authorities have distributed notices to residents. Over the past period, the residents were able to delay and abolish demolition orders through popular campaigns and legal proceedings. All the decisions are in effect now after the Israeli the municipality rejected all the plans submitted by the residents.
- Israeli settlers’ attacks against Palestinian civilians and property
- At approximately 19:00 on Tuesday, 22 August 2017, Israeli forces accompanied with around 30 military vehicles and mounted-crane trucks moved into Kherbit Jub al-Deeb, east of Bethelehm, which is located in Beit Ta’mour residential complex. The Israeli forces surrounded Jub al-Deeb Primary School, which was built of tin plates few days ago by GVC and funded the EU. The Israeli forces dismantled the tin plates and carried them to the truck. The Israeli forces stationed in the area until 00:00, during which, the village residents attempted to prevent the Israeli forces from stationing in the area. As a result, the Israeli forces fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the residents and then detained them in a far place until the military vehicles withdrew.
It should be noted that the Abovementioned School was built after Zawahra family donated a five-and-a-half-dunum plot of land in the centre of the Beit Ta’mour complex. The school administration was informed by the Israeli authorities to stop construction work in the school under the pretext of non-licensing. However, the project was completed, and six out of eight caravans were placed one day before the beginning of the new school year. Khirbet Jub al-Deeb is located in an area under the full Israeli control, so its residents should obtain permits from the Israeli Civil Administration to enable them to build and use the land for any purpose. This is considered impossible because of the impossible conditions imposed by the Israeli authorities in this regard, not to mention the Israeli Civil Administration’s policy of deliberately neglecting planning and developing the Palestinian villages located within the ‘C’ areas such as Jub al-Deeb to force its residents to leave voluntarily and move from their lands and villages to other areas. In the past years, the Israeli authorities have tightened their grip on the village residents to force them to leave, targeting three houses belonging to the residents under the pretext of non-licensing. Moreover, five other families left the village because they were deprived of their rights in the village and forced them to live in other areas. The rest of the village’s houses are still under threat because of non- licensing.
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.
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