This week, PCHR documented 159 violations of the international human rights law and international humanitarian law (IHL) by Israeli occupation forces (IOF) and settlers in the occupied Palestinian territory.
As part of the Israeli violations of the right to life and bodily integrity:
In terms of excessive use of force, IOF killed 2 Palestinian civilians, including a child, and wounded 8 others in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. On 29 November 2019, IOF killed Fahd Mohammed al-Astal (16) and injured 7 other civilians, including 5 children, in use of excessive force against the protesters in eastern Khan Younis. The next day in the West Bank, Badawi Khaled Badawi Masalmah (18) was killed and 2 children were arrested after IOF opened fire at them when they were throwing stones at Israeli vehicles passing on the road between “Negohot” and “Shegav” settlements adjacent to Beit ‘Awwa village, southwest of Dura, southwest of Hebron.
Under IOF incursions and house raids, 92 incursions into the West Bank were reported. Those incursions included raids of civilian houses and shootings, enticing fear among civilians, arresting and/or injuring many others. During this week’s incursions, 74 Palestinians were arrested, including 12 children and a woman. In the Gaza Strip, IOF opened fire twice at the eastern Gaza Strip while they opened fire twice at the fishing boats off the Gaza Strip shore.
Under the settlement expansion activities in the West Bank, PCHR documented 8 IOF violations that included construction works interrupted in an agricultural road in Hebron; 40 olive seedlings uprooted, west of Salfit; an under-construction house demolished in Nablus; a construction vehicle demolished under the pretext of being built without license in Area (C) in disregard for the construction license the owner obtained from the Palestinian Authority; 2 water tanks destroyed in the Northern Jordan Valleys; a tin-plate dwelling dismantled in Hebron; and a cement mixer confiscated in Salfit. Moreover, the Israeli Defence Minister, Naftali Bennett, approved the construction of 31 new settlement units in the vegetable market area in the centre of Hebron’s Old City, noting that the market was seized and completely closed in 1994 following the Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre in Hebron as it was owned by the Hebron municipality and residents. As such, settlement outpost no. 21 would takeover Hebron city center and parameters.
PCHR also documented 3 settler-attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property, including burning a car and puncturing tires of 4 other cars in Ramallah in addition to attacking agricultural lands in Nablus and writing racist slogans on the walls.
In terms of the Israeli closure policy, the Gaza Strip still suffers the worst closure in the History of the Israeli occupation of the oPt as it has entered the 14th consecutive year, without any improvement to the movement of persons and goods, humanitarian conditions and bearing catastrophic consequences on all aspects of life. Furthermore, IOF uses Erez Crossing that is designated for movement of individuals as an ambush to arrest Palestinians who obtain permits to exit via Israel. During the reporting period, IOF arrested a Palestinian businessman from Rafah while on his way to Israel. Meanwhile, the West Bank is divided into separate cantons with key roads blocked by the Israeli occupation since the Second Intifada and with temporary and permanent checkpoints, where civilian movement is restricted and they are subject to arrest as 7 Palestinians were arrested this week only.
- Excessive Use of Force against Protests in the Gaza Strip
- At approximately 14:30 on Friday, 29 November 2019, at least 300 Palestinian civilians took part in the Great March of Return (GMR) camps in Khuza’a village, east of Khan Younis, despite that the GMR’s Supreme National Authority cancelled the protests that day. Dozens of civilians, including young men and children, approached the border fence, chanted national slogans and raised the Palestinian flags, while some protestors attempted to threw stones. IOF stationed along the border fence fired live and rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at the protestors. As a result, Fahed Walid Mohammed al-Astal (16), from Khan Younis, was deemed in critical health condition after IOF shot him with a live bullet in the abdomen. At approximately 15:08, al-Astal was transferred to Gaza European Hospital and he died shortly after his arrival at the hospital. Moreover, 7 civilians were shot and injured, including 5 children, after they were shot with live and rubber bullets and their injuries were classified as moderate.
PCHR documented 215 killings by Israel since the outbreak of the protests on 30 March 2018, including 47 children, 2 women, 9 persons with disabilities, 4 paramedics and 2 journalists. Additionally, 14,713 were wounded, including 3,696 children, 387 women, 253 paramedics and 218 journalists, noting that many of those injured had sustained multiple injuries on separate occasions.
- Shooting and other violations of the right to life and bodily integrity
- At approximately 16:00 on Thursday, 28 November 2019, Israeli soldiers heavily fired tear gas canisters at houses in al-Thuhor neighbourhood, south of Beit Ummer village, north of Hebron, adjacent to the “Karmi Tsur” settlement. As a result, a number of civilians suffocated due to tear gas inhalation. IOF claimed that they were attacked with stones in the abovementioned area.
- At approximately 09:00 on Friday, 29 November 2019, Israeli gunboats stationed northwest of Beit Lahia in northern Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire at a group of Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and chased them. They also fired a number of artillery shells near the boats. As a result, fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives; neither casualties nor material damage was reported.
- At approximately 11:40 on the same Friday, Israeli soldiers stationed adjacent to Far’oun village’s entrance, south of Tulkarm, fired live and rubber bullets at a number of Palestinian workers, who attempted to sneak into Israel for work. As a result, Ahmed Samer Matar (24), from Tulkarm, was shot with a live bullet to the left foot.
- At approximately 16:00 on the same Friday, IOF stationed along the border fence, northeast of Jabalia, northern Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire at the area adjacent to the border; no casualties were reported.
- At approximately 17:00 on the same Friday, dozens of Palestinian youngsters gathered at the entrance to al-‘Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, where IOF stationed at a military checkpoint, and threw stones at the Israeli military vehicles. The soldiers fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, a number of youngsters suffocated due to tear gas inhalation. The clashes continued for 2 hours; no casualties were reported.
- At approximately 20:00 on 30 November 2019, Israeli authorities declared the death of Badawi Khalid Badawi Masalmah (18) and arresting Mohammed Osamah Qasem al-Masalma (16) and Mohammed Ismail ‘Aqel Masalma (16) after shooting them while they were at road that links “Negohot” and “Sheqif” settlements, adjacent to Beit ‘Awa village, southwest of Hebron.
According to PCHR’s investigation, at approximately 18:20, 3 young men reached an agricultural land, linking between “Negohot” and “Sheqif” settlements established on confiscated lands, west of Durra. They attempted to threw stones at military vehicles passing by. When they approached the area, Israeli soldiers opened fire at them after they set a trap for them. As a result, Badawi Khalid Masalma (18) was shot with several live bullets while the 2 other children were detained in the area, while IOF back-ups arrived at the area and the soldiers banned the ambulances to reach the area. Half an hour later, the 3 young men were transferred from the area to a military camp at the entrance of “Sheqif” settlement, adjacent to the annexation wall, west of the city. IOF declared later that Masalma died and did not give any information about the other 2 children. After the news of Masalma’s death, dozens of Palestinian young men gathered in the area, set tires on fire near the military watchtower, and threw stones at Israeli soldiers stationed in the area. The soldiers responded with a barrage of sound bombs and tear gas canisters; no casualties were reported. IOF phone called the families of the detained children and informed them that their sons are arrested without giving other information. The Palestinian Liaison was informed that Badawi’s dead body will not be delivered to them.
- At approximately 09:50 on Sunday, 01 December 2019, Israeli gunboats stationed in northwest of Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire and chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles. As a result, fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives; no casualties were reported.
- At approximately 15:45 on Wednesday, 04 December 2019, IOF stationed along the border fence, east of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, fired tear gas canisters at agricultural lands, east of al-Qararah northeast of the city. As a result, farmers had to leave the area.
Settlement Expansion and settler violence in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem
- Demolition and Confiscation of Civilian Property for Settlement Expansion Activities
- At approximately 09:00 on Thursday, 28 November 2019, IOF and the Israeli Civil Administration backed by military construction vehicles moved into ‘Atous area in western Hebron. IOF were deployed in the area and Israeli Civil Administration officers informed the municipality employees to stop construction works in an agricultural road, which was planned by the Municipality to improve services provided for farmers in Area C.
- Around the same time, IOF moved into al-Mahajer area, west of Salfit, demolished retaining walls surrounding an 8-dunum agricultural land and uprooted 30 olive seedlings planted 3 years ago. The seedlings belong to the heirs of the deceased Mohamed Hasan Abu Yaseen.
- At approximately 09:15 on Thursday, IOF accompanied with the Israeli Civil Administration and military construction vehicles moved into ‘Asirah village, north of Nablus. They stationed in al-Sraiej area where they demolished Mo’amer Mohamed Rashid Hamadna’s 2-storey house. The house was built on an 320 area of square meters 2 years ago. Hamadna received a notice to stop construction works in his house on 10 July 2019, noting that IOF confiscated and detained a bulldozer from the construction site for 35 days and fined Hamadna of NIS 6,500 in detention fees. It should be noted that Hamadna obtained a construction license from ‘Asirah Municipality and has documents from the Palestinian Land Authority proving that the plot of land where the house was built is in Area B which falls under PA jurisdiction according to the Oslo Accords. Hamadna stated that the Israeli notice classified his land in Area C, which requires an Israeli license for construction and the PA license is not relevant. Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC) held 2 hearings in Beit Eill Court to stop this decision and license the house, however it ruled in favor of the demolition on 13 October 2019. Hamadna appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court to stop demolition, but he was shocked when IOF raided his house and demolished it before the hearing.
- At approximately 06:30 on Tuesday, 03 December 2019, IOF backed by military construction vehicles moved into Tubas in northern Jordan Valley and bulldozed 2 water wells used for agricultural purposes; the first well belongs to Tubas Association while the second belongs to ‘Adnan Mukhaibar Mujali Sawaftah. It should be noted that the first well fed 5 residential communities.
- At approximately 09:00 on Tuesday, IOF and the Israeli Civil Administration backed by military construction vehicles moved into Dir al-Shams area in Hebron. The Israeli Civil Administration officers dismantled Emtiyaz Khalil Ahmed Za’areer (29)’s 70sqm tin-plate house, loaded it on a truck and confiscated it and handed Ms. Za’areer a list of confiscated items and a notice to stop construction works. They gave her 7 days to settle legal matters with competent authorities. It should be noted that the house was built a month ago.
- At approximately 20:30 on Tuesday, IOF raided a cement factory belonging to ‘Izz al-Deen Meri’ in Salfit’s Qarawet Bani Hassan village. They confiscated a cement mixer under the pretext of being in Area C.
- In the same context, the Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett issued a decision to start building 31 new settlement units in vegetable market area in the center of Hebron which was closed since 1994. In 2017-2018, the settlers’ attacks increased against Palestinians living in the closed area, which is surrounded by 20 military checkpoints. IOF also continue their attacks on shop owners to force them to close their shops or sell them to settlers.
- At approximately 07:00 on Wednesday, 04 December 2019, Israeli bulldozers demolished residential and agricultural facilities in Abu Nowaar and Abu Hendy Bedouin Communities, southeast of occupied East Jerusalem, to implement settlement plan “E1”. The representative of Abu Nowaar Bedouin Community, Abu ‘Emad al-Jahaleen, said that Jerusalem Municipality staff accompanied with bulldozers moved into the community under tight IOF protection. They demolished 2 houses and dismantled an agricultural barrack before confiscating it. After that, IOF moved into Abu Hendy Bedouin Community and demolished 2 houses under the pretext of non-licensing. The Israeli government seeks to displace the Palestinian Bedouin communities in order to establish a settlement project called Israel-1E, which aims at separating the southern West Bank from its center and maintaining control of Jerusalem.
- Israeli Settler Violence
- At approximately 02:30 on Friday, 28 November 2019, Israeli settlers, from “Rimonim“ settlement, which is established in the southern side of al-Tiba village, northeast of Ramallah. The settlers burned Roland Baseer’s (36) vehicle. They also vandalized houses and walls with racist slurs against Arabs and Muslims.
- On Friday, Israeli settlers, from “Rahalim“ settlement, which is established on the northern lands of al-Sawiyia village in Nablus, cut 30 olive trees planted 30-40 years ago from Mohamed Yousef Suliman’s land. On Tuesday, 26 November 2019, the settlers cut 30 other olive trees from the same land.
- At approximately 04:25 on Friday, Israeli settlers moved into Dir ‘Ammar village, west of Ramallah. They punctured the tires of 4 vehicles and vandalized them with racist slurs against Arabs and Muslims. Head of the Village Committee, Hasan Rushdi, said that the attack occurred in “al-Maghshi” area, which is located in the outskirts of the village. The affected vehicles belong to Ibrahim Mohamed Badha and Khamis Badha.
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