Israeli forces continued with systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) for the week of 28 February – 06 March 2018.
Soldiers killed a Palestinian farmer east of Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, while 12 shooting incidents targeting Palestinian fishing boats off the Gaza Strip Shore were reported.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian farmer namely Mohammed Abu Jame’a in the southern Gaza Strip and wounded 24 other civilians, including 4 children and a blind man in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In the Gaza Strip as well, the Israeli forces continued to chase Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Sea and target the border areas.
In the Gaza Strip, on 03 March 2018, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian farmer namely Mohammed Abu Jame’a (59). According to PCHR’s investigations, on the abovementioned day afternoon, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel near the military gate next to al-Najjar neighborhood in Khuza’ah village, east of Khan Younis, fired 2 bullets at the farmer, who was working in his land that is 200 meters away from the fence. As a result, he was hit with a bullet to the right thigh and then taken to the Gaza European Hospital in the city. At approximately 17:30, medical sources declared he succumbed to his injury.
Moreover, 16 Palestinian civilians were wounded, including 4 children, after the Israeli forces fired bullets and tear canisters at them directly during protests where the protestors threw stones at the soldiers stationed along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel. These demonstrations are organized in protest against the U. S. President’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and against the closure imposed on the Gaza Strip for the eleventh year.
As part of targeting fishermen in the sea, the Israeli forces continued to escalate their attacks against fishermen in the Gaza Sea, indicating to the on-going Israeli policy of targeting their livelihoods. PCHR’s fieldworkers monitored 12 shooting incidents; 6 in north-western Beit Lahia and 6 others in Western Soudaniyah, west of Jabalia.
As part of targeting the agricultural lands in the border areas, on 03 April 2018, the Israeli drones sprayed toxic pesticides at the agricultural lands that are 200-300 meters away to the west of the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel in the northern Gaza Strip. It should be mentioned that this is the first time the Israeli forces spray pesticides in this area under the pretext of burning the grasses in the buffer zone. These pesticides affected a number of lands and damaged areas of them.
As part of targeting the border areas, in addition to the killing of the farmer mentioned above, on 06 March 2018, Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of al-Maghazi, opened fire at the agricultural lands. However, no casualties were reported.
In the West Bank, on 28 February 2018, Israeli forces wounded 2 Palestinian civilians when the former moved into al-Am’ari refugee camp in the center of Ramallah and al-Bireh, to carry out an arrest campaign. A number of Palestinian children and young men gathered to throw stones at the soldiers, who immediately opened fire at them. As a result, the two Palestinian civilians were wounded.
On 02 March 2018, after civilians confronted a group of Israeli settlers who moved into the northern outskirts of Burin village, south of Nablus, under the Israel forces’ protection, the Israeli forces deliberately fired tear gas canisters at a house belonging to the family of Hasan ‘Awad. As a result, the family members and their guests suffered tear gas inhalation. Meanwhile, ‘Amer Qronfol accompanied with his wife Hadil al-Sa’ed carried their 6-month baby, ‘Obadah, and took him to the nearest ambulance. However, the Israeli soldiers fired a tear gas canister at them and then a sound bomb under their feet. Qronfol headed to al-Rahmah clinic in Nablus, where his baby and wife received first aid. The baby was then transferred to Rafidia Governmental Hospital to complete her treatment due to the suffocation.
Moreover, 5 Palestinian civilians were wounded after the Israeli soldiers stationed at the entrances to the Palestinian residential areas in the West Bank fired live bullets and tear gas canisters directly at them during protests and stone-throwing. These demonstrations are organized by Palestinian civilians in protest against the American President’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and against the Israeli settlement activities and land confiscations.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 82 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 6 similar ones into Jerusalem and its suburbs. During those incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 58 Palestinians, including 2 children and a woman, in the West Bank. Eight of them, including the woman, were arrested in Jerusalem and its suburbs. Those incursions are accompanied usually with forcing children, women and elderly people to stay outside their houses for hours or locking families in one room, preventing them to move in addition to other acts of harassment and use of police dogs in house raids.
During the reporting period, PCHR’s fieldworkers monitored 2 assaults by the Israeli soldiers against Palestinian schools. On 28 February 2018, Israeli soldiers deployed in Hebron’s Old City fired tear gas canisters at students of Ziyad Jaber Elemtary School in al-Nasara Valley, east of al-Ibrahimi Mosque, when the students were in the schoolyard. On 05 March 2018, Israeli forces moved into ‘Anata Elementary School for Boys in ‘Anata village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem and surprisingly fired tear ags canisters at the schoolyards. In both incidents, dozens of students suffer gas inhalation and others fainted.
Efforts to Create Jewish Majority in occupied East Jerusalem:
As part of house demolitions, on 06 March 2018, the Israeli municipality demolished a commercial facility in Beer Ayoub neighbourhood in Silwan village, south of the East Jerusalem’s Old City without any prior warning and under the pretext of building without a license. The facility’s owner said that the municipality’s staffs, police officers, and Special Forces moved into the neighborhood. They then deployed and raided his carwash and started confiscating the contents and demolishing the carwash. He added that the municipality staffs demolished the carwash once before and confiscated the contents.
Settlement Activities, Demolitions, and Settlers’ Attacks against Palestinian civilians and their Property:
As part of the Israeli settlers’ attacks against the Palestinian civilians and their property, on 05 March 2018, Israeli settlers from “Karayat Arbaa’” settlement, east of Hebron, started establishing a settlement outpost in the Palestinian lands in Beit ‘Aynoun area, which the Israeli authorities considered as “State Lands” with an area of 60 dunums. The Israeli settler placed 3 mobile houses and a water tank, raising the Israeli flags on them. All of that happened under the Israeli forces’ heavy guard and in presence of officers in the Construction and Organization department in the Israeli Civil Administration. It should be mentioned that these lands belong to ‘Eidah Family.
On 06 March 2018, a number of settlers attacked a bulldozer whose drivier was building an agricultural road for ‘Einabous village council, south of Nablus. The settlers broke the bulldozer windows and punctured the tires in addition to tearing up the hoses with knives. Moreover, the driver and a worker accompanying him sustained wounds after the settlers threw stones at them.
Use of Force against 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, 21 civilians, including 4 children and a blind man, were wounded. (This number does not include the number of those wounded during the incursions into the West Bank.) It should be mentioned that PCHR keeps the names of wounded persons in fear of arresting them. The demonstrations were as follows:
- Following Friday prayer on Friday, 02 March 2018, dozens of Palestinian civilians protested at the entrance to Beta village branching from Ramallah – Nablus Street. They set fire to tires, put barricades on the main street and threw stones and empty bottles at Israeli soldiers stationed at the village entrance. The Israeli soldiers heavily fired live and rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, a 20-year-old civilian was hit with a rubber bullet to the head.
- Following the end of the same Friday prayer, dozens of Palestinian civilians and International and Israeli human rights defenders organized protests in Ni’lin, Bil’in and Budrus villages, west of Ramallah, al-Nabi Saleh and al-Mazra’ah al-Gharbiah villages, northwest of the city. The Israeli forces used force to disperse the protestors by firing live and rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at them. They also chased the protesters into olive fields and between houses. As a result, a 25-year old civilian was hit with a rubber bullet to the hand and a 19-year-old civilian was hit with a tear gas canister to the head. They were transferred to Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah to receive medical treatment. Doctors classified their injury as moderate.
- Around the same time, dozens of Palestinian children and young men gathered at the northern entrance to al-Birah. They threw stones and empty bottles at Israeli soldiers stationed at “al-Mahkamah” checkpoint near “Beit Eil” settlement, north of the city. The Israeli soldiers fired live bullets and rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the protestors. As a result, a 20-year-old civilian was hit with a rubber bullet to the right foot, and a 22-year-old civilian was hit with a rubber bullet to the foot. They were transferred via an ambulance belonging to Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) to Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah to receive medical treatment.
- At approximately 01:30 on Friday, 02 March 2018, dozens of Palestinian youngsters made their way to the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel in the northern Gaza Strip. The youngsters approached the security fence and threw stones at Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence. The soldiers stationed in military watchtowers and in their vicinity at Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing, northwest of Beit Hanoun village, north of Buret Abu Samrah, north of the abovementioned village, and stationed in the east of the Islamic Cemetery, east of Jabalia, fired live bullets, rubber- coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters at the protestors. As a result, 6 civilians, including a child and blind man, were wounded. Five of them were hit with live bullets and one civilian was hit with a tear gas canister. The wounded civilians were transferred via a PRCS ambulance to the Indonesian and Beit Hanoun Hospitals to receive medical treatment. Doctors classified their injuries between moderate and minor.
- Around the same time, dozens of Palestinian civilians gathered in the vicinity of al-Sheja’eyah neighborhood, east of Gaza City. They made their way to the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel (near former Nahel Oz crossing). The protestors threw stones at Israeli soldiers stationed behind the border fence. The soldiers fired live bullets, rubber-coated metal bullets, and tear gas canisters at the protestors. As a result, a 24-year-old civilian was hit with a live bullet to the feet. He was transferred to al-Shifa’a Hospital to receive medical treatment.
- Around the same time, dozens of Palestinian young men made their way to the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel east of Khuza’a and ‘Abasan al-Kabirah and al-Jadidah villages, east of Khan Yunis, south of the Gaza Strip, in protest against the U.S President Donald Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The clashes continued in the area for hours during which the Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence and sporadically fired live bullets and tear gas canisters at the protestors and the area in the west of the border fence. As a result, 8 civilians, including 3 children, were hit with live bullets to their lower limbs. They were transferred to the Gaza European hospital, southeast of the city to receive medical treatment. Doctors classified their injuries as moderate.
- At approximately 14:00 on the same Friday, dozens of Palestinian youngsters made their way to the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of al-Burij refugee camp in the center of the Gaza Strip, in protest against the U.S President Donald Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The youngsters set fire to tires and then threw stones at the Israeli soldiers stationed behind sand barriers along the border fence. The Israeli soldier then fired tear gas canisters and live bullets at them. As a result, a 20-year-old civilian was hit with live bullets that entered and exited the lower limbs. He was taken via a PRCS ambulance to al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah and t hen transferred to Gaza European Hospital in Khan Yunis. Doctors classified his injury 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:
- Arrests and Incursions:
- At approximately 03:00 on Thursday, 01 March 2018, Israeli forces moved into al-‘Issawiyia village, northeast of occupied Jerusalem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Samer Anwar ‘Obaid (32) and then arrested him.
- At approximately 02:00 on Friday, 02 March 2018, Israeli forces moved into Hizmah village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Islam Salem al-Basha (27) and then arrested him.
- At approximately 02:30 on Friday, Israeli forces moved into al-‘Issawiyia village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched houses from which they arrested Thaier Muhassin (21), Nour Maher Muhassin (23) and Mohamed Darwish (19).
- At approximately 00:00 on Saturday, 03 March 2018, Israeli forces moved into Hizmah village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Seraj ‘Ali al-Khatib (21) and then arrested him.
- On Sunday, 04 March 2018, activist ‘Abeer Abu Khadir surrendered to al-Ramlah Prison to serve her 2-month sentence issued by the Israeli Magistrate and District Courts. Abu Khadir Family said that the Israeli court sentenced her daughters ‘Abeer with actual imprisonment for 2 months, lawyer Asala (27) to work for the Israeli authorities for 2 months, and Somoud (24) to volunteer for 300 hours. They also imposed on them a fine of NIS 7000 on charge of obstructing the police work and attacking a female police officer in 2011. The family added that the case continued for 6 years in the Israeli Courts, after which the Magistrate Court issued the sentence against 3 of their daughters. The family then filed an appeal before the District Court, which rejected the appeal. Abu Khadir family confirmed that her daughters were beaten by the Israeli forces in 2011 after the latter raided Abu Khadeir’s house to arrest ‘Abeer’s son, ‘Anan Abu Khadir (14), and then arrested them. It should be noted that ‘Abeer is wife of prisoner Naser al-Deen Abu Khadir, who is now serving a 16-month sentence in the Israeli jails. Moreover, ‘Abeer’s husband served over 15 years in the Israeli jails in several prior arrests.
- At approximately 04:30 on Monday, 04 March 2018, Israeli forces moved into al-Bostan neighborhood in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mohamed Mousa ‘Odah (30) and then arrested him.
- At approximately 11:00, Israeli forces raided ‘Anata Primary School for boys in the center of ‘Anata village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem. The Israeli forces then suddenly fired dozens of tear gas canisters at the school yard. As a result, dozens of students suffered tear gas inhalation and fainted. Deputy of Schoolmaster, ‘Emad ‘Eliyan, said that the Israeli forces fired a barrage of tear gas canisters without any justification, pointing out that all students suffered tear gas inhalation and then received first aid.
- House Notices and Demolitions:
- At approximately 07:30 on Tuesday, 06 March 2018, the Israeli Municipality bulldozers demolished a commercial facility in Bir Ayoub neighborhood in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, without a prior warning under the pretext of non-licensing. The facility’s owner namely Mohamed ‘Odah said that the Israeli Municipality Staff accompanied with Israeli police officers and special forces moved into Bir Ayoub neighborhood, raided his facility, confiscated its contents, and then demolished it. He also said the Israeli Municipality demolished his facility for the second time. It should be noted that the abovementioned facility was built of bricks 2 years ago; however, the Israeli Municipality demolished it a year ago and came again to demolish it. Moreover, the Israeli bulldozers demolished a fence surrounding ‘Odah family plot of land.
- Settlement activities and attacks by settlers against Palestinian civilians and property
Israeli settlers’ attacks
- At approximately 14:00 on Friday, 02 March 2018, a group of Israeli settlers from “Bracha” settlement and “’Arousa” settlement outpost moved into the northern outskirts of Bureen village, south of Nablus, under the Israeli forces’ protection. The Israeli settlers threw stones at Palestinian civilians’ houses. As a result, a group of the village’s residents gathered and confronted the settlers. Meanwhile, the Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters and sound bombs at the residents. At approximately 14:30, the Israeli forces deliberately fired tear gas canisters at a house belonging to ‘Awwad Qasem ‘Awwad. It should be noted that the family members were staying in the house yard when the gas canisters fell over them. As a result, twenty-four of the family members, most of them were children, sustained tear gas inhalation. Among the wounded persons was an elderly man, Hasan Qoronfulah (65), who suffers from a heart disease. He was then taken via an ambulance to the hospital to receive medical treatment. After that, paramedics treated the wounded children and women, during which ‘Amer Hani Hasan Qoronfulah (24) along with his wife Hadeel Nazem al-Sa’ied (20) was carrying his 6-month baby ‘Obada to take him to the ambulance. In the meantime, the Israeli forces fired a tear gas canister and a sound bomb at them, causing fear among the family. After that, ‘Amer and his family headed to his car, which was 50 meters away from his house and went to al-Rahmah Clinic in Nablus, where the baby and his mother were treated. The baby was then referred to Rafidia Hospital to complete the treatment because the baby was suffering tear gas inhalation.
- At approximately 16:00 on Friday, dozens of Israeli settlers gathered on the bypass road in Taqou’ village, east of Bethlehem. They carried out provocative practices under the Israeli forces’ protection on occasion of Purim. After that, a number of Palestinian young men gathered and threw stones and empty bottles at the Israeli forces and settlers. The Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters and sound bombs at them. As a result, many civilians suffered tear gas inhalation.
- At approximately 13:00 on Monday, 05 March 2018, Israeli settlers from” Kiryat ‘Aba’’settlement, east of Hebron, started building a settlement outpost in Palestinian lands with an area of 60 dunums in Beit ‘Aynoun area. The Israeli authorities claimed that these lands are a state property. The Israeli settlers put 3 mobile homes and a water tank and to which they fixed Israeli flags. They also hanged a banner written on it “extending from “Kiryat ‘Arba’ settlement’. The settlers were under the Israeli forces’ protection and along with the Israeli Civil Administration officers. It should be noted that the dunums belong to ‘Edah family. Moreover, at the beginning of February 2018, the Israeli authorities levelled 4 dunums from the abovementioned lands, while the families, who were forcibly expelled from their lands by the Israeli forces, refused the leveling. In the same time, one of the family members was exposed to shooting by an Israeli settler. On 17 February 2018, a number of family members headed to their lands and planted around 50 olive trees. Few hours later, a vehicle carrying 2 settlers arrived at the area and then they uprooted the trees and stole them. The lands owners chased the settlers and took their trees from the vehicle. After that, the Israeli forces arrived, fired sound bombs at the residents, threatened them, and then arrested some of them. The arrested persons were then taken to an investigation center in “Gush Etzion” settlement, south of Bethlehem.
- At approximately 09:00 on Tuesday, 06 March 2018, ‘Ahed Taleb Mahmoud Hamad (25), along with worker ‘Emad Khaled Abed al-Hameed ‘Awwad, was driving his bulldozer to build an agricultural road in al-Khelah area in favor of ‘Ainabous Village Council, south of Nablus. At approximately 10:30, while ‘Ahed was building the road, he was surprised with a group of Israeli settlers from” Yitzhar”settlement established on the northern side of ‘Ainabous village, throwing stones at the bulldozer. The settlers broke the bulldozer’s windows, punctured the tires, cut the hoses with knives, and then wounding the driver and worker. After that, clashes erupted between the village residents, Israeli settlers and Israeli forces, who lately arrived at the area. The Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters and rubber-coated metal bullets at the residents. As a result, a 35-year-old civilian was hit with 2 rubber bullets to the left shoulder and chest and was then taken to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus. The settlers’ attacks led to wounding the two sons Baher (33) and Zafir Mahmoud Abdullah Rayan (24), and ‘Awwad Saber ‘Allan (18) after being thrown with stones to their heads. All of them were then taken to Rafidia Hospital to receive medical treatment.
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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