Israeli forces continued with systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), for the week of 18 – 24 January, 2018.
Israeli forces continued to use excessive force in the oPt. A Palestinian was killed, 4 others were wounded, and 3 houses were leveled in a military operation in Jenin. 25 Palestinian civilians, including 6 children, 2 women, a journalist and paramedic, were killed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian in Jenin in the northern West Bank while a Palestinian prisoner died in the Israeli jails due to the medical negligence policy adopted by the Israeli forces against Palestinian prisoners in the jails. The Israeli forces also wounded 29 Palestinian civilians, including 6 children, 2 women, a journalist and a paramedic, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In the Gaza Strip, the Israeli forces continued to chase Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Sea and target border areas.
In the West Bank, On 18 January 2018, using disproportionate force, on Thursday morning, 18 January 2018, Israeli forces conducted a wide-scale military operation in Jenin and its suburbs targeting Ahmed Nasser Khalid Jarrar (22). Ahmed survived, but the Israeli forces killed his cousin and demolished 3 houses belonging to Jarrar family. The Israeli forces claimed that the killed civilian carried out a shooting attack on 09 January 2018, in the vicinity of Surrah village, southwest of Nablus, resulting in the death of a settler. During the operation, dozens of Palestinian young men gathered in the vicinity of the targeted houses and then threw stones and empty bottles at the Israeli forces. The Israeli forces immediately fired live bullets and rubber-coated metal bullets at them. As a result, 4 Palestinian civilians were wounded; the condition of one of them is serious.
On 20 January 2018, Palestinian prisoner in the Israeli jails, Husain ‘Atallah (57) from Nablus, who suffered cancer, died in Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Israel in circumstances that raise suspicion of deliberate medical negligence in the Israeli prisons. ‘Atallah was sentenced with 32 years in prison and spent 21 years of them in the Israeli prisons. While in prison, ‘Atallah was diagnosed with cancer in 5 parts of his body, in the lungs, spine, liver, and head. Despite the rapid deterioration of his health condition in his last days, the Israeli authorities refused the repeated calls to release him as a humanitarian case. ‘Atallah’s death sheds light on the deterioration of Palestinian prisoners detention conditions in Israeli jails and the punitive measures against them, particularly the medical negligence they are subject to.
On 23 January 2018, two Palestinian children were wounded when Israeli forces stationed at Za’atarah Cehckpoint, south of Nablus, opened fire at them. The two children were wounded to the lower limbs while they were crossing the checkpoint. The Israeli forces claimed that the children attempted to stab Israeli soldier.
On 24 January 2018, a 15-year-old child was superficially wounded to the right cheek when Israeli forces moved into Borqa village, northwest of Nablus, via its main entrance and a number of children and youngsters protested against them.
During the reporting period, the West Bank witnessed protests against the U.S. President’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. During the protests, the Israeli forces used force against the protesters, and the shooting to disperse the protests resulted in the injury of 12 civilians, including a child, a photojournalist and a paramedic. Five of them were hit with live bullets, and 7 sustained sound bomb shrapnel.
In the Gaza Strip, the border areas with Israel witnessed protests against the U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the U.S. Embassy to it. During the protests, the Israeli forces used force against the protestors. Due to opening fire to disperse the protests, 10 Palestinian civilians were wounded, including 2 children, with live bullets.
As part of targeting fishermen in the sea, on 20 January 2018, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Sudaniyah Shore, west of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats. The shooting recurred once in the above-mentioned area on 21 January 2018 and 3 times on 20 January 2018. On 20 January 2018, the gunboats opened fire at the Palestinian fishing boats offshore, west of Beit Lahia Municipality in the northern Gaza Strip. The shooting recurred in the same area on 21 January 2018. In all the shooting incidents, fishermen panicked and fled to the shore. Neither causalities nor damage to the boat was reported.
As part of targeting the border areas, on 22 January 2018, Israeli soldiers opened fire at the agricultural lands, east of Gaza Valley village near the eastern borders of the village. However, no casualties were reported in both incidents.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 74 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank while they conducted 8 incursions into Jerusalem and its suburbs. During those incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 79 Palestinian civilians, including 16 children and a woman, in the West Bank. Twenty-four of them, including 9 children and a woman, were arrested in Jerusalem and its suburbs. Among those arrested this week was Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) Member and former Palestinian Finance Minister, Dr ‘Omer ‘Abdel Razeq.
Demonstrations in protest against the U.S. President’s Decision to Recognize Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel:
Upon calls for demonstrations protesting against the U.S. President Donald Trump’s Presidential Decree 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. As a result, 22 civilians, including 3 children, 2 women a journalist and a paramedic, were wounded. Ten of them were hit with live bullets, 5 were hit with metal bullets, and 7 civilians were hit with sound bombs shrapnel (this number only incudes those wounded in Jerusalem and not those during the incursions into the West Bank.) It should be mentioned that PCHR keeps the names of wounded persons for fear of arresting them.The demonstrations were as follows:
- At approximately 12:40 on the same Friday, Palestinian civilians and International activists organized a protest in the center of Kufor Qaddoum village, northeast of Qalqiliyah near the eastern entrance to the village. When the protestors approached the entrance, Israeli forces fired live and metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, 3 civilians sustained metal bullet wounds to the lower limbs of their bodies.
- At approximately 15:30 on Saturday, 20 January 2018, Palestinian civilians and International activists organized a protest in the center of Kufor Qaddoum village, northeast of Qalqiliyah near the eastern entrance to the village. When the protestors approached the entrance, Israeli forces fired live and metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, Nasser Jamal ‘Abdo Hawash (42), paramedic in the Health Work Committees (HWC) sustained a metal bullet wound to the head.
- At approximately 13:00 on Thursday, 23 January 2018, dozens of Palestinian civilians protested at the northern entrance to al-Birah. They threw stones and empty bottles at the Israeli soldiers stationed at al-Mahkamah checkpoint established near “Beit Eil” settlement, north of the city. The Israeli forces used force to disperse them firing live and metal bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs at the protestors. As a result, a 19-year-old civilian sustained a metal bullet wound to the eye.
- At approximately 13:30 on Friday, 19 January 2018, dozens of Palestinian children and young men gathered near the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip, in the northern Gaza Strip. They approached the security fence and set fire to tires and threw stones at Israeli soldiers stationed along the abovementioned border fence. The soldiers stationed in military watchtowers in the landfill area, north of the Agriculture School, north of Beit Hanoun, fired live bullets, rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, 6 civilians, including a child, sustained live bullet wounds. They were taken by ambulances belonging to PRCS, Military Services and the Ministry of Health to the Indonesian and Beit Hanoun Hospitals. Doctors classified their wounds as moderate.
- Around the same time, dozens of Palestinian civilians gathered in the vicinity of al-Sheja’eya Neighborhood, east of Gaza city, and made their way to the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel (adjacent to former Nahel Oz Crossing). The protestors threw stones at Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence. The soldiers fired live bullets, rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, 4 civilians, including a child, sustained live bullet wounds. The wounded civilians were transferred by ambulances to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. Doctors there classified their injuries as moderate.
Efforts to Create a 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:
- Use of force against demonstrations protesting the U.S. President’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel:
- At approximately 15:00 on Saturday, 20 January 2018, dozens of Palestinian young men organized a protest on Salah al-Deen Street in the center of occupied Jerusalem. When the protestors gathered, Israeli forces immediately fired sound bombs at them and beat them up. Eyewitnesses said to PCHR’s fieldworker that the Israeli forces surrounded the protestors and then took photos of them via their cell phones. The protestors then chanted slogans for Jerusalem, during which the Israeli forces pushed and beat them in addition to firing sound bombs at them to disperse them. As a result, 7 civilians, including a child, 2 women and photojournalist Faiz Abu Rimilah, were hit with sound bomb shrapnel. All the wounded persons were treated on the spot by paramedics.
- Settlement activities and attacks by settlers against Palestinian civilians and property
Israeli forces’ attacks
- On Tuesday, 23 January 2018, Israeli forces accompanied with a vehicle of the Israeli Civil Administration moved into Beit Jala in Bethlehem. They then stationed in “Krimizan” area, where they raided a house belonging to Nasri Nimer ‘Abed Rabu family and then handed Nasri a notice to vacate a shed and demolish it under the pretext of non-licensing. Hasan Barijiyah, Member of the Wall and Settlement Resistance Comission in Bethlehem, said that the Israeli forces handed Nasri a notice to vacate a shed and demolish it, noting that he built the shed and annexed it to a cave, where he has lived for 20 years. Hasan added that Nasri aimed at protecting his 22-dunum land from confiscation. Nasri added that the Israeli forces demolished what he built in the same area 3 times in order to intimidate and displace him in addition to seizing his land in favor of settlement activities.
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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