Palestinian Centre for Human Rights: Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
Summary for October 21 – 27, 2021
Israeli forces continued to commit crimes and multi-layered violations against Palestinian civilians and their properties, including raids into Palestinian cities that are characterized with excessive use of force, assault, abuse, and attacks on civilians, turning the West Bank into isolated blocks of land. This week, Israeli Defense Minister, Benny Gantz, designated six pioneering Palestinian civil society organizations as terrorist organizations, allegedly for affiliations with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), aiming to free Palestine and abolish the State of Israel. This is an obvious ploy to silence and end these leading organizations, who expose the occupation’s crimes, aim to prosecute them before the international criminal court, and support Palestinian people’s resilience.
The Israeli settlement expansion works continued on Palestinian lands and properties. Meanwhile, the Gaza Strip enters its 15th year under closure, exacerbating the humanitarian hardships across the territory.
Persecution of Palestinian civil society organizations and human rights defenders:
Israeli occupation authorities designated six pioneering Palestinian civil society organizations as terrorist organizations, allegedly for affiliations with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, aiming to free Palestine and abolish the State of Israel.
According to the Israeli decision the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Al-Haq, Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defense for Children International – Palestine, and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees are all terrorist organizations based on information supplied by NGO Monitor, a right-wing organization known to be anti-Palestinian.
These organizations are well known, each pioneering in their field with significant achievements over the course of their decades long work in the occupied Palestinian territory. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights condemns in the strongest terms the Israeli decision and asserts that it is an obvious ploy to silence and end these leading organizations, who expose the occupation’s crimes, aim to prosecute them before international justice, and support Palestinian people’s resilience. PCHR warns that the Israeli decision is an attempt to provide legal coverage to persecuting these organizations, targeting their personnel, and liquidating them.
Army shooting and violation of right to bodily integrity:
Soldiers shot and wounded 7 civilians in excessive use of force in the West Bank: 3 wounded in an army assault on Kufur Qaddoum weekly protest, Qalqilia; 2 others as soldiers protected a group of settlers attacking farmers in Ramallah; 1 wounded in Bidu; and another during an army incursion into Ya’bad, Jenin.
In the Gaza Strip, the Navy confiscated 2 rowboats and destroyed the contents of a third at sea. PCHR documented 6 incidents of the Navy shooting at fishing boats in the Gaza Sea, and two incidents of the army on agricultural lands in eastern Gaza.
Army incursions and arrests of Palestinian civilians:
The army carried out 94 incursions into the occupied West Bank. Those incursions included raids of civilian houses and shootings, enticing fear among civilians, and attacking many of them. During this week’s incursions, 61 Palestinians were arrested, including 7 children.
In the Gaza Strip, the army conducted a limited incursion into eastern Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.
PCHR documented 9 incidents:
Occupied East Jerusalem: 2 Palestinians forced to demolish their homes; another family forced to destroy an entire floor of their house in Wadi Joz. Razing and demolitions continue in al-Shuhadaa graveyard in Bab al Asbat.
Hebron: cease-construction notice served against a house, water well and sheep barn. Sit-in tent demolished in eastern Yatta. Four houses receive cease-construction notices in western Ethna.
Tubas: classrooms dismantled in al-Maleh in the Jordan valleys.
Ramallah: 4 shops destroyed in Dayr Qadis.
Ramallah: two farmers assaulted during olive harvest in Turmus Ayya; a vehicle set on fire and tires of three other vehicles punctured.
Salfit: shepherd assaulted and an attempt to steal his sheep in Jabel Natif.
Bethlehem: 25 olive tree seedlings uprooted in southern al-Masara.
Israeli closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement:
The Israeli occupation authorities continued to ban the entry of dozens of goods, including construction materials, in collective punishment measures against the Gaza Strip as the Israeli closure imposed on the territory entered its 15th year, without an end in sight that would fulfil Palestinians’ right to enjoy their economic, social, and cultural rights.
Meanwhile, occupation authorities continued to divide the West Bank into separate cantons with key roads blocked by the Israeli occupation since the 2000 Second Intifada -still closed to this date- and with temporary and permanent checkpoints, where civilian movement is restricted, and they are subject to arrest, especially at al-Karama border crossing, alongside the Palestinian-Jordanian border.
Attacks on civil society organizations and human rights defenders
On Friday, 22 October 2021, Israeli Defense Minister, Benny Gantz, designated six pioneering Palestinian civil society organizations as terrorist organizations. According to the Israeli decision the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Al-Haq, Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defense for Children International – Palestine, and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees are all terrorist organizations, affiliated with the leadership of the PFLP which aims to destroy Israel and free Palestine. The decision also claimed that these organization are run and operated by PFLP leaders and activists.
According to Israeli allegations, the designation was the result of a collaboration between the Israeli Shin Bet and the National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing of Israel that started early this year.
Shooting and other Violations of the Right to Life and Bodily Integrity
Raed Syam stated that at approximately 17:30 a reconciliation meeting was scheduled between his family and neighbors in the area. As more than 20 persons were gathered in the house yard, they were shocked to see Israeli forces raid the area. Soldiers broke the front gate, and within moments, dozens of Israeli soldiers surrounded the house and assaulted all those inside, including women, children, and elderlies. Soldiers struck them with their rifle butts and sprayed pepper spray at them. They forced everybody to the ground in order to cover the Israeli intelligence forces as they broke into the house. They ransacked through the house, took down AC units to search them, and searched each of the vehicles parked in front of the house.
Syam pointed out that he requested the soldiers show him a search warrant, but they refused, assaulted him, and threatened to shoot him. They yelled at him, demanding that he present his Palestinian passport, but he denied having any identification documents issued by Palestinian authorities. They searched through his personal files. Syam said that soldiers assaulted his cousin, Alaa, who recently underwent a critical kidney surgery despite their pleads for them to stop; the soldiers did not care and continued to beat him more intensely as they said, “let him die.”
Syam mentioned that soldiers assaulted the women who were praying inside the house before pushing them out forcibly and putting them to the ground. Soldiers arrested Ibrahim M. Syam (72), Ibrahim R. Syam (26) Alaa A. Syam (42), Omar A. Syam (30). They were interrogated for several hours before release. All the arrestees suffered bruises and cuts in the face and entire bodies; no medical attention was provided.
The Fishermen Syndicate in Rafah stated that the Israeli naval forces confiscated two rowboats anchored at 7 nautical miles. The boats area used for lighting purposes as each holds a generators and at least 25 flashlights. The boats belong to Mohammed Omar al-Bardawyl (35) and Mohammed Adel al-Bardawyl (30). The Navy also fired at another rowboat, destroying two generators and 26 flashlights, property of Mohammed Adel al-Bardawyl.
Incursions and arrests
Thursday, 21 October 2021:
Friday, 22 October 2021:
Saturday, 23 October 2021:
Sunday, 24 October 2021:
Monday, 25 October 2021:
Tuesday, 26 October 2021:
Marwan al-Ghoul, director of Silwan Sports Club, confirmed that the events organized by Silwan sports club were in cooperation with the Palestinian National Theater (Hakawati), National Conservatory of Music and moving theater, with the sponsorship of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Al-Ghoul stated that he received a phone call from the Israeli Authorities to inform him to cancel the events which were scheduled to begin at approximately 10:00 on Tuesday, 26 October, and finish on Thursday evening. He added that the administrative board of the club refused to cancel the events because they did not receive any official decision. As soon as they started the first event in Abouna Ibrahim Monastery’s yard, they noticed soldiers stationing at the monastery’s gates without storming the place because the French consul participated in the event. Al-Ghoul stated that, as soon as the French consul left the monastery, the Israeli soldiers stormed the monastery’s yards wearing civilian clothes and handed him a summons to refer to al-Qishla investigation center. Furthermore, soldiers handed the director of the monastery a decision that bans any future events sponsored by the PA.
Al-Ghoul emphasized that when he referred to Moscovia Investigation Center, the Israeli Intelligence Services informed him that the Israeli Security Chief issued a decision that bans such events, claiming that they pose threat to the alleged Israeli sovereignty in occupied Jerusalem under the pretext that they were sponsored by the PA. Also, al-Ghoul highlighted that the events aimed to spread joy among children and students in the occupied Jerusalem, by performing music shows and theatre performances, in addition to evening shows special for families.
Wednesday, 27 October 2021:
Settlement Expansion and settler violence in the West Bank
a. Land razing, Demolitions, and Notices
Nader Jaber said that his father built the house in 1991 on an area of 92 sqms in Wadi al-Joz neighborhood. Jaber said that the Israeli municipality has haunted the family since 1998 and imposed fines on his mother after his father passed away. His mother has paid fines for 14 years, and although the Israeli municipality decided to exempt her from paying the fines as she was over 90 years old, it notified the family of demolishing the house after she passed away. Jaber said that his mother died in 2019 and the house had become a reunion for the 100 family members. However, authorities again haunted them and the Israeli court issued a final decision to demolish the house, forcing the family to self-demolish their house to avoid paying the demolition costs for the municipality or arresting any of the family members in case the municipal crews implemented the decision. Jaber stressed that the Israeli municipality has not given a construction license for tens of years specifically in this area, which is of a strategic location and connects many areas with each other.
The notices included the following:
1. A 3-storey house belonging to Ghanem Hussein al-Hreini;
2. A 70-cubic meter water well belonging to Fo’ad Fadel al-‘Amour; and
3. A sheep barn of shed cloth and a tinplate bathroom belonging to Ghandi Na’im al-‘Amour.
Soldiers surrounded al-Tahadi School, levelled and a confiscated a 150-sqm metal shed. The workers brought by the Civil Administration from private companies dismantled and confiscated 2 barracks of 25 sqms; one was used as a classroom and the other as a clinic, under the pretext of their presence in Area C.
Nader Jaber said that 2 days ago, the family self-demolished their deceased mother’s house that was built in 1991; it was a 92-sqm second floor, pursuant to the Israeli municipality’s decision and to avoid paying tens of thousands of shekels for the municipality crews’ demolition costs. Jaber explained that the family sent photos of the demolished second floor to the municipality, which ordered the family to demolish the first floor as well, giving them only 48 hours to demolish the 40-sqm residential room and its facilities or it will send the bulldozers to do so. Jaber stressed that his family was forced to self-demolish the first and second floors with hand tools like thousands of other Palestinian families who self-demolished their houses for fear of Israeli municipality’s prosecution.
‘Aramin said that his house was built in 2010 replacing his old family house, which was demolished by the Israeli municipality under the pretext of unlicensed construction. ‘Aramin added he has lived in his 90-sqm house with his wife and two children for 8 years, and the municipality started pursuing him around a year ago. Only few months ago, the Israeli court issued a final decision to demolish the house, without the possibility of appealing the decision, giving him until last August and then postponed the demolition until the end of October. ‘Aramin said that he had to self-demolish his house, fearing that the occupation municipality would send its crews to implement the decision and fine him with tens of thousands of shekels.
The facility’s owner, Ayman ‘Adnan Steih (44), said to PCHR’s fieldworker that,
“I was surprised in the morning with the army’s incursion into the village and closure of its streets. Soliders, accompanied with a military bulldozer surrounded my facility of four under-construction stores in the eastern side of the village and demolished it. I approached the soldiers trying to talk with them, but they shouted at me and fired sound bombs in the air to keep me away from the area. The Israeli authorities handed me a notice to demolish the facility last June, but I filed a complaint at the competent authorities, including Jerusalem Centre for Legal Aid. Although there was a lawful complaint, the army carried out the demolition without a prior warning, noting that the construction cost me around 170,000 shekels.”
Tens of outraged men and woman gathered to confront the Nature Authority workers but soldiers pushed and beat them as well as arresting 3 of the protesters after severely beating them. The arrestees were identified as Laith al-Shalabi, Mousa Khalaf and Nawwaf al-Salaymah.
‘Alaa Nabatah, an eyewitness said that soldiers assaulted the protesters and banned them entry into the cemetery. the army also fired sound bombs at them after performing al-Maghrib (sunset) prayer near the cemetery. Nabatah added that an Israeli female soldier beat her more than once when she was near her son’s grave in the cemetery.
It should be noted that the Israeli Magistrate’s court refused last week, a request applied by Jerusalem Cemeteries Committee to obtain a decision that would ban the Israeli municipality and Nature Authority from continuing the excavation works in the graves at al-Shuhadaa’ Cemetery near al-Yousifiya Cemetery near al-Asbat Gate. It should be noted that the Israeli police banned Mustafa Abu Zahrah, Head of the Islamic Cemeteries Committee in Jerusalem, from entering al-Yousifyah Cemetery for 10 days and handed him a map showing the path he should take in order to reach al-Aqsa mosque.
It is noteworthy that the al-Shuhadaa’ and al-Yousifyah cemeteries have been under systematic attack over the past years. the Islamic Cemeteries Committee resorted to the Israeli court and submitted documents proving that the cemetery belongs to the Islamic Endowments. At the time, the court issued a decision to ban any works in the cemetery, but after a while, a person was buried there; as a result, the grave was taken as an excuse to abolish the decision. In late July, the court’s judge responded to the Israeli municipality and Nature Authority’s request to resume razing the cemetery land after seven months of issuing a precautionary order to stop it. Al-Yousifiyah cemetery is one of the most famous Islamic cemeteries in Jerusalem. It is located to the north of Al-Asbat Gate and houses the graves of Palestinian families who live in Jerusalem. It also includes to the north al-Shuhadaa’ Cemetery, where the Jordanian soldiers martyred in 1967 are buried.
The notices included the following:
1. A 100-sqm house belonging to ‘Adnan Ibrahim ‘Awad;
2. An 80-sqm house belonging to Sa’diyah Ibrahim ‘Awad;
3. An under-construction 270-sqm house belonging to ‘Abdel Fattah Ahmed ‘Awad; and
4. An under-construction 170-sqm house belonging to Jamal Ahmed Nofal.
Israeli Settlers’ attacks on civilians and their property