Israeli forces continued with systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) for the week of 30 March – 05 April 2017. Forces killed a Palestinian from Nablus in occupied Jerusalem, while 22 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children and a journalist, were wounded.The military continued to target the border areas in the Gaza Strip, but no casualties were reported.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian child from Nablus in Jerusalem’s Old City. Meanwhile, they wounded 22 other civilians, including 3 children and a photojournalist, in the West Bank. In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces continued to open fire at the farmers in the border areas.
In the West Bank, in a new crime of using excessive force, on 01 April 2017, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian child, Ahmed Ghazal (17), from Nablus, after stabbing settlers on al-Wad Street in Jerusalem’s Old City. They chased the abovmeentioned child, who fled towards the entry of a small building. The Israeli forces then fired around 25 bullets at him from a close distance, so Ghazal immediately died. Eyewitnesses emphasized that the shooting occurred immediately after they raided the building, so they could have arrested the child especially that the building is small and was completely surrounded. Moreover, there was only one exit.
In the same context, on 30 March 2017, 16 civilians, including 2 children, were wounded when dozens of Palestinian civilians and human rights defenders organized a peaceful protest commemorating the Earth Day in Salman Mount, south of Nablus, and planted olive trees in a land threatened of confiscation. Two of the wounded persons were hit with live bullets while the rest were hit with metal bullets.
On the same day, a 25-year-old civilian was hit with a bullet to the left thigh when Israeli forces moved into Tubas to carry out an arrest campaign. Therefore, a number of civilians protested against them.
On 31 March 2017, a 14-year-old child was wounded when Israeli forces stationed at the southern entrance to Ni’lin village, west of Ramallah, opened fire at him. They then arrested the child and took him to a hospital in Israel.
On the same day, Israeli forces wounded 3 civilians, including a photojournalist in Palestine TV while participating in Kafr Qadoum protest, north of Qalqilya.
On 05 April 2017, Akram al-Atrash (23) was hit with 3 bullets to the shoulder, hand and chest when Israeli undercover units dressed like Palestinians “Mosta’arbeen” sneaked into al-Dheishah refugee camp, south of Bethlehem to carry out an arrest campaign.
In the Gaza Strip, as part of targeting the border areas, on 03 April 2017, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip, east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, opened fire at the agricultural lands in al-Fokhari and Khuza’ah villages. No casualties were reported.
On 04 April 2017, Israeli planes sprayed crop-killing pesticides on the agricultural lands to the west of the border fence between Israel and Gaza Strip, northeast of al-Qararah village, east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. Farmers there emphasized that they saw small planes flying low in the area. The farmers added that those planes started spraying pesticides over 300-400 meters of the lands to the west of the fence before moving to the north to the eastern side of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 57 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 11 ones into occupied Jerusalem and its suburbs. During those incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 73 Palestinian civilians, including 16 children. Twenty-three of them, including 11 children, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem.
Creating Jewish Majority in Occupied East Jerusalem:
In the context of house demolitions, the Israeli Municipality vehicles demolished 3 residential facilities, walls and an agricultural room in Za’im village, east of the city, under the pretext of non-licensing. Those facilities are comprised of 3 buildings, which include 16 apartments; two of which were inhabited, 8 were ready for housing and 6 were under construction. Moreover, the bulldozers demolished an agricultural room and walls surrounding 3 plots of lands. It should be mentioned that the two inhabited apartments used to shelter 11 persons.
In the same context, Hafez al-Rajabi self-demolished his house on the same day in Beit Hanina village, north of East occupied Jerusalem, upon a decision by the Israeli municipality, in order to avoid paying the demolition costs to the municipality staff. The 120-square-meter house was built 15 years ago and sheltered a family of 7 members, including 4 children.
in the same context, Fayez and Soliman ‘Abdel Latif Ja’abis was forced to self-demolishe their houses in al-Mukaber Mount village, southeast of occupied Jerusalem, upon a decision by the Israeli municipality. The two houses were built on an area of 150 square meters 3 years ago and sheltered two families of 16 members, including 12 children.
Settlement Activities and settlers’ attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property:
On 30 March 2017, Israeli forces levelled Palestinian lands belonging to the Deir Balout Municpality, west of Salfit. Local sources said that the Israeli municipality bulldozers levelled so far 20 dunums out of 72 dunums intended to be levelled. those lands belong to the families of Samarah, ‘Abdel Rahman and ‘Abdullah and were levelled for the interest of expanding “Arayel” settlement and its industrial area.
On 03 April 2017, Israeli forces uprooted 135 olive trees from Qana Valley lands belonging to the Deiristiya Municipality, northwest of Salfit, under the pretext that “they are obstacles in the Natural Reserve.” A 35-meter retaining wall was also demolished under the pretext of changing the area.
In the same context, on 27 March 2017, a group of settlers from Gel’ad settlement established on the Palestinian lands of Jeet village, northeast of Qalqilya, attacked farmers from the abovementioned village while plowing their land there.
- Use of excessive force against peaceful demonstrations protesting settlement activities and the construction of the annexation wall
- At approximately 12:00, on Thursday, 30 March 2017, on Earth day, dozens of Palestinian civilians and human rights defenders organized a peaceful demonstration. They moved from Madama village council and made their way to al-Qa’dat area in Suleiman Mount, south of the village, which is threatened of confiscation, as they carried olive seedlings. The civilians were surprised with the Israeli forces stationed on the top of the abovementioned mount, which is about 500 meters away from the land they intended to plant. When the civilians began planting the olive seedlings, the Israeli soldiers fired live bullets and rubber-coated metal bullets at them. As a result, 16 civilians, including 2 children, were wounded. Two civilians were hit with live bullets while the others were hit with metal bullets. Among those wounded were Dr. Ghassan Hamdan (54), Director of Medical Relief in Palestine in Nablus, sustained a metal bullet wound to the back; Derar Mohammed Husain Abu Omer (53), working in the Palestinian Agricultural Relief, was hit with a metal bullet to the right leg; Khaled Hasan Mohammed Soboh (59), official in Agricultural Relief, was hit with a metal bullet to the left leg sustaining fracture, Amin Mohammed Amin Nassar (12) sustained a metal bullet wound to the left leg and Hafeth Mohammed Hafeth Nassar (12) was hit with a metal bullet to the leg.
- At approximately 13:00 on the same day, dozens of Palestinian civilians, activists from the Hebron Defense Committee and International and Israeli human rights defenders organized a peaceful protest to plant trees in Wad al-Husain area, east of Hebron, on which the Israeli authorities established “Kiryat Arba” The protest was organized to commemorate the 41st anniversary of Earth Day. The protestors carried slogans titled “United against confiscation of lands in al-Jalil, al-Naqab and al-Muthalath”. The soldiers surrounded the area and attacked and beat the protesters, claiming that the abovementioned area was declared as a closed military zone. The Israeli soldiers then arrested 4 activists from the Popular Resistance and took them to a detention center in “Gush Etzion” settlement complex, south of Bethlehem. The arrested activists were identified as ‘Anan Samir Maswadah, an activist in the Hebron Defense Committee; Bade’I Mohammed Adeeb Duwaik, Coordinator of the “human rights Defenders” Gathering; Younis Mohammed ‘Arar, Head of the Palestinian Committee against the Annexation Wall in Hebron and Eshaq Abdul Hamid al-Khatib. It should be noted that the Israeli authorities informed the lawyers of the arrested activists that they were arrested on charges of being in a closed military zone.
- At approximately 12:40 on Friday, 31 March 2017, Palestinian civilians and International activists organized a protest in Kufur Qaddoum village, northeast of Qalqiliyah. They made their way towards the eastern entrance of the village in protest against closing that entrance since the beginning of al-Aqsa Intifada with an iron gate. When the protesters approached the entrance, Israeli forces fired rubber-coated metal bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs at them. As a result, 3 civilians were wounded, including Bashar Mahmoud Nazal Saleh (40), a photojournalist at Palestine TV Channel, sustained a metal bullet to the right leg. Moreover, several civilians suffered tear gas inhalation, and the Israeli bulldozers damaged the main water pipe of the village.
- Following the Friday prayer, dozens of Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international human rights defenders organized demonstrations in Bil’in and Nil’in villages, west of Ramallah, and in Nabi Saleh village, northwest of the city, protesting against the annexation wall and settlement activities. Israeli forces forcibly dispersed the protestors, firing live and metal bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs. They also chased the protesters into olive fields and between houses. As a result, many of the protesters suffered tear gas inhalation while others sustained bruises due to being beaten up by the Israeli soldiers.
Continued closure of the oPt
Israel continued to impose a tight closure on the oPt, imposing severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.
Israeli forces continuously tighten the closure of the Gaza Strip and close all commercial crossings, making the Karm Abu Salem crossing the sole commercial crossing of the Gaza Strip, although it is not suitable for commercial purposes in terms of its operational capacity and distance from markets.
Israeli forces have continued to apply the policy, which is aimed to tighten the closure on all commercial crossings, by imposing total control over the flow of imports and exports.
Israeli forces have continued to impose a total ban on the delivery of raw materials to the Gaza Strip, except for very limited items and quantities. The limited quantities of raw materials allowed into Gaza do not meet the minimal needs of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip.
Israeli forces also continued to impose an almost total ban on the Gaza Strip exports, including agricultural and industrial products, except for light-weighted products such as flowers, strawberries, and spices. However, they lately allowed the exportation of some vegetables such as cucumber and tomatoes, furniture and fish.
Israel has continued to close the Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing for the majority of Palestinian citizens from the Gaza Strip. Israel only allows the movement of a limited number of groups, with many hours of waiting in the majority of cases. Israel has continued to adopt a policy aimed at reducing the number of Palestinian patients allowed to move via the Beit Hanoun crossing to receive medical treatment in hospitals in Israel or in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel also continued applying the policy of making certain civilian traveling via the crossing interviewed by the Israeli intelligence service to be questioned, blackmailed or arrested.
- 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:
- In a new crime of excessive use of lethal force, on Saturday, 01 April 2017, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian child, from Nablus, after he carried out a stabbing attack against Israeli settlers on al-Wad Street in occupied Jerusalem’s Old City. According to PCHR’s investigation and eyewitnesses’ testimonies, at approximately 15:20, Ahmed Zaher Fathi Gazal (17) was walking on al-Wad Street on occupied Jerusalem’s Old City, and then attacked Israeli settlers with a sharp tool. He then fled towards a building comprised of medical clinics on the street. Israeli police officers along with Israeli border Guards chased Ahmed and then raided the building. They then fired around 25 live bullets at him, so he immediately died. Eyewitnesses confirmed to PCHR’s fieldworker that when the Israeli forces raided the building, they directly opened fire at the child, while they were able to arrest him, especially that the building is small, was completely surrounded, and does not has any other exits. It should be noted that the Israeli forces detained Ahmed’s corpse for over 2 hours in the building and then his corpse was taken via an ambulance.
- Following committing this crime, the Israeli forces closed the Old City and prevented civilians from entering or leaving. They also established checkpoints in the streets. In the meanwhile, clashes erupted between the Israeli forces and Palestinian young men near al-Qataneen market which leads to al-Wad Street. As a result, a Palestinian woman and man were wounded due to being beaten and pushed by the Israeli forces. Moreover, the Israeli forces stationed at al-Amoud Gate attacked Palestinian civilians, sprayed pepper spray at them and then forced them to evacuate the area. As a result, 3 Palestinian civilians suffered tear gas inhalation and burns, while Mohamed Kayid ‘Asilah (19) was arrested. Furthermore, the Israeli forces raided shops on al-Wad Street, checked the IDs of the shops’ owners and confiscated them. They then summoned them for interrogation in “al-Selselah Gate” police center. It should be noted that following the crime, the Israeli forces immediately confiscated surveillance cameras’ DVRs. A trader said that the Israeli forces forced them to close their shops and forced a pharmacy owner to close his pharmacy on al-Wad Street and prevented a patient from buying a medicine. Nasser Qaws, Director of the Prisoner’s Club in Jerusalem, said that around 20 traders were summoned for interrogation.
- At approximately 07:00 on Tuesday, 04 April 2017, the Israeli Municipality bulldozer demolished 3 residential facilities, a room and walls in Za’eem village, east of the city, under the pretext of non-licensing. Radi Abu Jamal, one of the demolished houses residents, said that a large force of Israeli soldiers and a bulldozer moved into the village, surrounded residential buildings and forced residents to evacuate. They then demolished the building. Radi added that the Israeli forces demolished a residential building comprised of 2 apartments belonging to Othman Abu Sbitan. He added that the Israeli forces also demolished an under-construction residential building comprised of 3 floors (6 apartments) belonging to Ayman al-Dayah. Moreover, they demolished a residential building comprised of 4 floors and 8 apartments belonging to Ahmed al-Shiber. The Israeli forces also demolished retaining walls of 3 lands belonging to al-Maqdisyia, al-‘Abasi, al-Natsha and ‘Alqam families. In addition, they demolished an agricultural room belonging to ‘Alqam family. Abu al-Jamal said that his 240-square-meter house rented from Othman Abu Sbitan was comprised of 2 apartments and sheltered 11 persons. It should be noted that the Israeli forces did not allow them to take their furniture out of the house and demolished the 2 apartments over their contents.
- In the same context, on Tuesday, Hafez al-Rajbi self-demolished his 120-square-meter house built 15 years ago in Beit Haninah village, north of occupied East Jerusalem. Hafez self-demolished his house to avoid paying demolition costs for the municipality. Linda al-Rajbi said that the Israeli forces summoned her husband last week and informed him to demolish his house before the Israeli Municipality crews demolish it and in this case he will pay the demolition costs ranging from NIS 200,000-250,000. Al-Rajbi added that her family was forced to rent a bulldozer to demolish their house, which was comprised of 3 rooms and their facilities and sheltered 7 members, including 4 children. She also clarified that her husband attempted to license the house during the last years and the Israeli Municipality fined him with NIS 100, which the family paid. The demolition decision was delayed many times before, after that, the Israeli Municipality decided to demolish it and not to license it.
- In the same context, two brothers, Fayiz and Suliman Abed al-Latif Ja’abees, were forced to self-demolish their houses in al-Mukaber Mount village, southeast of occupied Jerusalem. Fayiz said that the two houses were built 3 years ago on an area of 150 square meters. He added that 16 members, including 12 children, used to live in the houses. Fayiz also said that in November 2016, the Israeli Municipality issued a decision to demolish the two houses under the pretext of non-licensing. It should be noted that Fayiz and Suliman attempted to license their houses but in vain.
- Settlement activities and attacks by settlers against Palestinian civilians and property
- Israeli Forces:
- At approximately 13:00 on Thursday, 30 March 2017, Israeli bulldozer levelled 20 dunums belonging to Deir Balout municipality, west of Salfit. The Israeli authorities published an advertisement in an Israeli newspaper few months ago about its intention to confiscate 18 dumums from Khelit al-Za’faran area, northeast of the village, preluding to annex it to “Ariel” industrial area and expand “Ariel” settlement. Local sources stated that the Israeli bulldozers have so far demolished around 20 dunums out of 72 dunums which are intended to be demolished. On the same day, the lands’ owners, Samarah, Abed al-Rahman and Abdullah families, went to their lands and refused the leveling. After the the Israeli Liaison’s intervention, the Israeli forces stopped the leveling until the lands’ owners prove their ownership.
- At approximately 09:15 on Monday, 03 April 2017, Israeli forces uprooted around 135 olive trees from Wad Qannah lands belonging to Dirastiyia village, northwest of Salfit, under the pretext that they consttiute obstacles in the natural reserve. Moreover, they demolished a retaining wall under the pretext that they will change Wad Qannah’s milestones. After that, on 06 February 2017, the Israeli forces put two notices in the abovementioned area about uprooting 70 olive trees and damaging 70 meters of the retaining walls. The abovementioned property belongs to Moqbel Mohamed Shehadah ‘Awwad (40 olive trees); Abed al-Hameed Abed al-Kareem Diyab (35 olive trees); ‘Azam Mohamed ‘Aqel (20 olive trees); and Abed al-‘Azeez Abed al-Qadir ‘Aqel (40 olive trees and retaining walls).
- Israeli Settlers:
- At approximately 17:00 on Saturday, 01 April 2017, Israeli settlers from “Bracha” settlement sneaked into Bureen village, south of Nablus to the northern outskirts of the village, under the Israeli forces’ protection. A number of Palestinian young men gathered and threw stones and empty bottles at them. The Israeli forces fired live bullets and tear gas canisters at the protesters to disperse them. The Israeli forces along with the Israeli settlers later withdrew from the village and no more incidents were reported.
- At approximately 10:00 on Friday, 31 March 2017, Israeli settlers under the Israeli forces’ protection moved into Kherbit al-Koum village, west of Dura, southwest of Hebron. They performed their Talmudic rituals in the archaeological palace located in the village belonging to the Palestinian Tourism Authority. After that, the Israeli settlers withdrew from the village and no attacks against Palestinian families were reported.
Recommendations to the International Community
PCHR emphasizes the international community’s position that the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are still under Israeli occupation, in spite of Israeli military redeployment outside the Gaza Strip in 2005. PCHR further confirms that Israeli forces continued to impose collective punishment measures on the Gaza Strip, which have escalated since the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections, in which Hamas won the majority of seats of the Palestinian Legislative Council. PCHR stresses that there is international recognition of Israel’s obligation to respect international human rights instruments and the international humanitarian law, especially the Hague Regulations concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land and the Geneva Conventions. Israel is bound to apply the international human rights law and the law of war sometime reciprocally and other times in parallel in a way that achieves the best protection for civilians and remedy for victims.
In light of continued arbitrary measures, land confiscation and settlement activities in the West Bank, and the latest 51-day offensive against civilians in the Gaza Strip, PCHR calls upon the international community, especially the United Nations, the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention and the European Union – in the context of their natural obligation to respect and enforce the international law – to cooperate and act according to the following recommendations:
- PCHR calls upon the international community and the United Nations 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 United Nations to provide international protection to Palestinians in the oPt, and to ensure the non-recurrence of aggression against the oPt, especially the Gaza Strip;
- PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to compel Israel, as a High Contracting Party to the Conventions, to apply the Conventions in the oPt;
- PCHR calls upon the Parties to international human rights instruments, especially the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to pressurize Israel to comply with their provisions in the oPt, and to compel it to incorporate the human rights situation in the oPt in its reports submitted to the concerned committees;
- PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fulfil their obligations to ensure the application of the Conventions, including extending the scope of their jurisdiction in order to prosecute suspected war criminals, regardless of the nationality of the perpetrator and the place of a crime, to pave the way for prosecuting suspected Israeli war criminals and end the longstanding impunity they have enjoyed;
- PCHR calls upon States that apply the principle of universal jurisdiction not to surrender to Israeli pressure to limit universal jurisdiction to perpetuate the impunity enjoyed by suspected Israeli war criminals;
- PCHR calls upon the international community to act in order to stop all Israeli settlement expansion activities in the oPt through imposing sanctions on Israeli settlements and criminalizing trading with them;
- PCHR calls upon the United Nations to confirm that holding war criminals accountable in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a precondition to achieve stability and peace in the regions, and that peace cannot be built on the expense of human rights;
- PCHR calls upon the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council to explicitly declare that the Israeli closure policy in Gaza and the annexation wall in the West Bank are illegal, and accordingly refer the two issues to the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Israel to compel it to remove them;
- PCHR calls upon the international community, particularly the UN, in light of its failure to the stop the aggression on the Palestinian people, to at least fulfil its obligation to reconstruct the Gaza Strip after the series of hostilities launched by Israel which directly targeted the civilian infrastructure;
- PCHR calls upon the United Nations and the European Union to express a clear position towards the annexation wall following the international recognition of the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders, as the annexation wall seizes large parts of the State of Palestine;
- PCHR calls upon the European Union to activate Article 2 of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, which provides that both sides must respect human rights as a precondition for economic cooperation between the EU states and Israel, and the EU must not ignore Israeli violations and crimes against Palestinian civilians;
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