Israeli forces continued with systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) for the week of 17 – 23 May, 2018.
Israeli forces continued to use lethal force against peaceful Palestinian protestors in the Gaza Strip. Two succumbed to wounds sustained in the Great March of Return, in addition to another child in the West Bank.
35 Palestinian civilians, including 2 children and a journalist, were wounded in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
Israeli forces continued to use excessive lethal force against Palestinian civilians, who participated in peaceful demonstrations organized within the activities of the “Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege” in the Gaza Strip, which witnessed for the 8th week in a row peaceful demonstrations along the eastern and northern Gaza Strip border area. During the reporting period, the Israeli forces wounded 29 Palestinian civilians, including a journalist; 2 of those wounded are in serious condition. Meanwhile, 2 civilians succumbed to their wounds. In the West Bank, a child succumbed to his wounds while 6 Palestinian civilians, including 2 children, were wounded in separate incidents.
In the Gaza Strip, on 18 May 2018, thousands of Palestinian civilians participated in the Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege activities along the northern and eastern borders of the Gaza Strip. The Israeli forces used force against them, wounding 27 protestors, including a journalist. Moreover, during the reporting period, 2 other civilians were wounded, increasing the total number of those wounded to 29 protestors.
In the same context, medical sources at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, on 18 may 2018, declared the death of Mo’een al-Sa’ie (59), from al-Shati’ refugee camp, west of Gaza City, after he succumbed to his wounds. On 19 May 2018, medical sources at al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City declared the death of Mohammed ‘Alian (18) from al-Nussairat in the central Gaza Strip, succumbing to his wounds. Al-Sa’ie was previously wounded with a bullet to the chest to the east of Malakah square, east of al-Zaytoun neighborhood in eastern Gaza City while ‘Alian was wounded with a bullet to the head in eastern al-Bureij during their participation in the Great March of Return on Monday, 14 May 2018.
During the reporting period, Investigations and Field Observations by PCHR’s Fieldworkers Confirm the Following:
- Dozens of Israeli Forces’ snipers continued to position on the hills, behind the raised berms and in military jeeps along the border fence in front of the peaceful demonstrations in the eastern Gaza Strip.
- The youth gatherings increased near the border fence to burn tires and attempt to throw stones at the Israeli forces.
- The Israeli snipers deliberately and selectively opened fire at the participants in the peaceful demonstrations which included hundreds of civilians.
- The Israeli forces widely fired bursts of tear gas canisters and from drones, targeting the center of the demonstrations. In many cases those canisters targeted and directly hit civilians, causing them injuries.
- The demonstrations were as always fully peaceful, and PCHR’s fieldworkers did not witness weapons or armed persons even dressed in civilian clothes among the demonstrators, who were thousands of elderlies, women, children and entire families. All of them demonstrated near the border fence raising flags, chanting slogans and national songs, flying kites and burning tires.
- Ambulances of the Health Minstry in Gaza City were targeted, causing damage to them.
- Journalists were targeted with tear gas canisters, causing injuries among them.
- The Israeli unjustified and fallacious incitement against the peaceful demonstrations and encampments, perceiving the demonstration itself as danger. This hereby violates the right to peaceful assembly codified in all International instruments.
As part of targeting the border areas, on 20 May 2018, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of al-Amal neighbourhood, northeast of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at the border area. However, no casualties were reported.
On 22 May 2018, the Israeli fired an artillery shell at a border control checkpoint belonging to an armed group in eastern al-Bureij. However, no casualties were reported.
As part of targeting Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Sea, the Israeli forces continued to escalate their attacks against the Palestinian fishermen, pointing out to the ongoing Israeli policy of targeting their livelihoods. During the reporting period, PCHR documented 10 attacks against the fishermen, including 5 attacks in the north-western Beit Lahia and 5 in Western Soudaniya area, west of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip.
As part of the airstrikes, on 17 May 2018, Israeli drones and warplanes launched 10 missiles in 4 airstrikes against ‘Askalan military site and al-Saifnah building belonging to al-Qassam Brigades in the northern Gaza Strip. On 23 May 2018, the Israeli warplanes launched 6 missiles at Ahmed al-Ja’abari military site in eastern Tofah neighbourhood, causing damage to the sites. However, no casualties were reported.
On 23 May 2018, the Israeli warplanes launched 2 missiles at 2 boats prepared to welcome the anti-blockade flotilla in the Gaza Seaport, west of Gaza City, causing damage to both of them.
In the West Bank, on 23 May 2018, medical sources at al-Najah University Hospital in Nablus declared the death of ‘Oday Abu Khalil (15) from ‘Ein Siniya village, north of Ramallah, succumbing to his wounds. According to PCHR’s investigations, on 15 May 2018, the abovementioned child was wounded during his participation in a peaceful protest at the northern entrance to al-Bireh in commemoration of Palestinian Nakbah Day, against the relocation of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem and the Israeli crimes in the Gaza Strip.
On 18 May 2018, Mohammed Abu al-Hummus was wounded when the Israeli forces moved into al-‘Issawiya village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem, and dozens of Palestinian young men protested against them. The Israeli soldiers immediately fired rubber-coated metal bullets at the young men, wounding Abu al-Hummus and arresting him.
On 19 May 2018, a Palestinian civilian was wounded during his participation in the weekly Kafr Qaddum peaceful protest, northeast of Qalqilya, against the closure of the eastern entrance to the village for 15 years in favour of “Kadomim” settlement established on the village lands.
On 21 May 2018, 3 civilians, including 2 children, were wounded when Israeli forces moved into Jenin and surrounded a house to carry out an arrest campaign. A number of civilians gathered and protested against the Israeli soldiers who opened fire at the civilians, wounding the 3 above-mentioned civilians. On 23 May 2018, a civilian was wounded in Nablus in similar circumstances.
During the reporting period, medical staffs in “Assaf Harofeh” Medical Center near al-Ramlah in Israel announced the death of Palestinian prisoner ‘Aziz Mousa Salem ‘Eweisat (53) from al-Mukkaber Mount village, southeast of East Jerusalem, in suspicious circumstances. ‘Eweisat who was serving a 30-year sentence in prison was taken from al-Ramlah Prison to “Assaf Harofeh” Medical Center on 09 May 2018 after he had a stroke and underwent an open heart surgery in the next day in Tal Hashomer Hospital. He was then returned to “Assaf Harofeh”, where he stayed until his death was declared. The Palestinian Prisoners Center for Studies said to PCHR’s fieldworker that prisoner ‘Eweisat was beaten and maltreated by a group of jailers in “Eshel” Prison after the prison service claimed that he poured hot water on a jailer in the beginning of May. His family said that on 11 May 2018, they managed to visit ‘Aziz at Tel Hashomer Hospital for 2 minutes, where they noticed clear signs of exhaustion on him and that he was under the medication influence. They also noticed bruises and beating signs on his neck.
Israeli Settlement Activities and Settlers’ Attacks against the Palestinian Civivlians and their Property:
As part of the Israeli settlers’ attacks against the Palestinian civilians and their property, on 23 May 2018, a number of settlers cut 700 grapevines planted 15 years ago in the lands adjacent to the Bypass Road 60 in al-Marjamah area, north of Hebron, using electric saws. Those grapevines were planted on 9 dunums belonging to four farmers from Halhoul. It should be mentioned that a week ago settlers cut 400 grapevines in the area near the watchtower established in the area.
Palestinian Died in Suspicious Death Circumstance:
On Sunday evening, 20 May 2018, medical crews in “Assaf Harofeh” Medical Center near al-Ramlah in Israel announced the death of Palestinian prisoner ‘Aziz Mousa Salem ‘Eweisat (53) from al-Mukkaber Mount village, southeast of East Jerusalem. On 09 May 2018, ‘Eweisat was transferred from al-Ramlah prison to “Assaf Harofeh” Medical Center after he suffered a stroke and stayed there until his death was announced on the abovementioned day.
It should be mentioned that ‘Aziz ‘Eweisat was arrested on 08 March 2014 and sentenced to 30 years in prison after being condemned with planning to explode the gas pipeline of “Armon Hantsev” settlement established on the Palestinian lands of al-Mukaber Mount village. In the beginning of May, he had a stroke after being transferred from “Eshel” prison to “al-Ramlah” prison. Before the stroke, prisoner ‘Eweisat said to one of the prisoners that he was beaten and maltreated in “Eshel Prison under claims of pouring hot water on a prison official. On 09 May 2018, he underwent a heart catheterization, and his health condition deteriorated. After one day, he was taken to “Tel Hashomer” Hospital where he underwent an open heart surgery. The two day before his death, ‘Eweisat suffered multiple organ failure and was on medical ventilators in “Assaf Harofeh” hospital where he underwent an MRI which showed he suffered from severe inflammation and pulmonary hypertension “increased blood pressure within the arteries of the lungs.” in the left lung. The Prisoners’ Affairs Authority then called for urgently releasing ‘Aweisat for health reasons and determined a hearing on 25 May 2018 in the Magistrate’s Court in Ramla to consider the request.
The Palestinian Prisoners Center for Studies said to PCHR’s fieldworker that prisoner ‘Eweisat was beaten and maltreated by a group of jailers in “Eshel” Prison after the prison service claimed that he poured hot water on a jailer. On Monday, 07 May 2018, during ‘Eweisat transfer from al-Ramlah Prison, he said to another prisoner the details of attacking him by the jailers as he was transferred from the cell to the solitary confinement cells according to a clear deal between “Eshel” Prison Servie and the leaders of the Prisoners Movement on condition that they don’t attack him. That was after the Prison Service claimed that he poured hot water on a jailer causing him burns. ‘Eweisat also said that the Prison Service did not commit to the deal, rather a group of jailers attacked and brutally maltreated him. As a result, he suffered severe bruises in his eyes, mouth, teeth and throughout his body. The Palestinian Prisoners Center for Studies also mentioned that fatigue and exhaustion were clear on him as he was panting while he was sitting, and had breathing difficulty in addition to pains in the chest and sever mouth dryness.
‘Eweisat Family said that on 11 May 2018, they managed to visit ‘Aziz at Tel Hashomer Hospital for 2 minutes, where they noticed clear signs of exhaustion on him and that he was under the medication influence. They also noticed bruises and beating signs on his neck.
Use of Force against Demonstrations in Protest against the U.S. President’s Decision to Recognize Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel:
Continuing the demonstrations in protest against the U.S. President Donald Trump’s declaration to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the U.S. Embassy to it, Palestinian civilians organized protests against the decision throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip. They further organized peaceful demonstrations where ten thousands of civilians participated, for the eighth Friday on a row, in commemoration of the 42nd Anniversary of the Land Day in the Gaza Strip. The demonstrations were called as “The Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege.” The demonstrations were as follows during the reporting period:
- At approximately 15:30 on Friday, 18 May 2018, Palestinian protestors swarmed to the Return encampments established by the Supreme National Authority for the Great March of Return; 350 meters away from the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip, east of al-Buraij in the central Gaza Strip. A number of children and young men approached the border fence, set fire to tires and threw stones at Israeli soldiers stationed behind the border fence. The soldiers fired live bullets and tear gas canisters at the protestors and the participants’ gathering in the Return encampment. The clashes continued until the evening hours. As a result, 7 civilians were wounded. Five of them were hit with live bullets and 2 others were directly hit with tear gas canisters. The wounded were transferred via an ambulance belonging to the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) to al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah. Doctors classified their injuries between minor and moderate.
- At approximately 16:00, hundreds of civilians, including women and children within entire families started swarming into the demonstration yard in the Return encampment, east of Khuza’ah village in eastern Khan Younis to participate in the “Friday of loyalty to the martyrs and wounded” as named by the Supreme National Authority for the March of Return and Breaking the Siege. A number of civilians moved into the north of the camp, set fire to tires, chanted national slogans and raised flags. Some of them attempted to approach the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel. Israeli forces stationed behind hills and sand barriers and in military vehicles along the border fence sporadically and limitedly opened fire at the protesters and fired tear gas canisters at them and in the center of the camp. The shooting and teargasing sporadically continued for 3 hours. As a result, 4 civilians, including a journalist, were directly hit with tear gas canisters. The journalist wounded was identified as Bassam Mohammed Qasem Mas’oud (41), who works at Reuters News Agency, was hit with a tear gas canister to the chest as he was wearing a Blue Press-marked Vest. Ten minutes later, he was hit with a tear gas canister to the head.
- At approximately 16:30, Israeli forces stationed behind the border fence between the Gaza strip and Israel, east of Abu Safiyah Hill, northeast of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, fired live and rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at hundreds of civilians for the eighth Friday within the activities of “The Return March and Breaking Siege” upon a call from the Supreme National Authority. The protestors set fire to tires and threw stones from far distances at Israeli soldiers stationed behind sand barriers. The clashes continued until approximately 19:30. As a result, 5 civilians were wounded. Four of them were hit with live bullets and one civilian was directly hot with tear gas canister. The wounded civilians were transferred via ambulances belonging to PRCS, Medical Services, Union of Health Work Committees and the Ministry of Health to the Indonesian, al-‘Awda, and Kamal ‘Edwan Hospitals. Doctors classified their injuries between moderate and minor.
- At approximately 17:00, thousands of civilians gathered in eastern side of Malakah intersection, east of al-Zaytoun neighborhood, east of Gaza City, to participate in the “The Great March of Return” activities. They threw stones at Israeli soldiers stationed behind the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel. The soldiers fired live and rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, 6 civilians were hit with rubber bullets. They were transferred to al-Shifa Hospital. Doctors classified their injuries between moderate and minor.
- At approximately 17:00 on the same Friday, hundreds of Palestinian civilians swarmed to the Return encampment established by the Supreme National Authority for the Great March of Return and Breaking Siege, east of al-Shwakah village, east of Rafaj in the southern Gaza Strip, around 300 meters away from the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel. The protestors raised the Palestinian flags, chanted national slogans, set fire to tires and flew paper kites. A number of them approached the border fence and threw stones at Israeli soldiers. The soldiers stationed behind sand barriers fired live bullets at the protestors. The clashes continued until approximately 19:30. As a result, 5 civilians were hit with live bullets. The wounded civilians were taken to field hospitals in the camp and then transferred to Abu Yusuf al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah city and Gaza European Hospital in Khan Yunis. Doctors classified 2 civilians’ injuries as serious as one of them had his leg amputated.
- At approximately 14:30 on Saturday, 19 May 2018, hundreds of Palestinian civilians gathered into the eastern side of Malakah intersection, east of al-Zaytoun neighborhood, east of Gaza City to participate in the activities of “The Great March of Return and Breaking Siege”. They threw stones at Israeli soldiers stationed behind the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel. The soldiers fired live bullets, rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, a civilian was hit with a live bullet to the right hand. He was transferred to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City and doctors classified his injury as moderate.
- At approximately 12:00 on Tuesday, 22 May 2018, Israeli forces stationed behind the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel adjacent to the Retrun encampment, east of Khuza’ah village, east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, opened fire at a 20-year-old civilian from Khuza’ah. As a result, he was hit with 2 live bullets to the legs while he was at the vicinity of the Return encampment. The wounded civilian was transferred to Gaza European hospital to receive medical treatment. Doctors classified their injuries as moderate.
Two Civilians Succumbed to Their Wounds:
- At approximately 23:00 on Friday, 18 May 2018, medical sources at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City announced the death of Mo’een Abdul Hamid Mohammed al-Sa’ie (59) from al-Shati’ refugee camp, west of Gaza City succumbing to his previous wounds. According to PCHR’s investigations, Mo’een was hit with a live bullet to the chest during his participation in the Great Return March on Monday, 14 May 2018, east of Malakah intersection, east of al-Zaytoun neighborhood, east of Gaza City.
- At approximately 10:15 on Saturday, 19 May 2018, medical sources at al-Quds Hospital announced the death of Mohammed Mazen Ibrahim ‘Elian (18) from al-Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip succumbing to his wounds. Mohammed was hit with a live bullet to the head in eastern al-Buraij during his participation in the Million-People March of Return on 14 May 2018. He was admitted to al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah and then was transferred to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City due to his serious injury. Mohammed’s parents later transferred him to al-Quds Hospital where his death was announced.
- At approximately 16:30 on Saturday, 19 May 2018, a group of Palestinian civilians moved from Kufor Qaddoum village, northeast of Qalqiliyah, to the eastern entrance to the village, which has been closed for 15 years in favor of the entrance to “Kedumim” settlement established on the village lands. The protestors chanted national slogans demanding end of occupation, condemning the U.S President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital Israel and condemning the Israeli forces’ crimes against Palestinian protestors along the eastern border of the Gaza Strip within “The Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege” activities. The protestors set fire to tires, threw stones at Israeli soldiers stationed behind sand barriers. The soldiers fired live and rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, a 2-year-old civilian was hit with a rubber bullet to the left hand. On Friday afternoon, 18 May 2018, a similar demonstration was organized at the abovementioned entrance. As a result, many civilians suffered tear gas inhalation.
Settlement activities and attacks by settlers against Palestinian civilians and property
Israeli forces’ attacks
- At approximately 11:00 on Tuesday, 22 May 2018, Israeli forces accompanied with a vehicle of the Israeli Civil Administration moved into Sha’b al-Botum area, east of Yatta, south of Hebron. They handed 4 notices to stop construction works under the pretext of non-licensing in areas classified as area (C). The notices were as follows:
- A 30-square-meter residential room belonging to Isma’il Ishaq Jabareen;
- A 25-square-meter residential room and a 50-square-meter barrack built of tin plates belonging to Mohanad Isma’I Jabareen;
- A 30-square-meter residential tent belonging to Mohamed ‘Abed Jabareen; and
- A 30-square-meter clinic built with shed and steel pillars.
Israeli settlers’ attacks
- On Wednesday, 23 May 2018, a group of Israeli settlers cut with automatic saws around 700 grapevines planted 15 years ago in lands adjacent to bypass road (60) in al-Murajimah area, north of Hebron. Those grapevines were planted in 9 dunums belonging to 4 farmers, from Halhoul village. It should be noted that the Israeli settlers cut 400 grapevines a week ago in an area near a military watchtower established in the area. The affected farmers were identified as:
- Isma’il ‘Ataa Hasan Karjah: 200 grapevines.
- Maher Isma’il ‘Ataa Karjah: 200 grapevines.
- Yunis ‘Ali Ahmed Abu ‘Arish: 100 grapevines.
- Waleed ‘Abed al-Razaq Dehidel: 200 grapevines.
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 11 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 this year 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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