Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR): Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (oPt)
Summary for November 4 – 10, 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.
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 military commander in the oPt issued a military order classifying 6 Palestinian NGOs as “disallowed associations” as per the Defense (Emergency) Regulations of 1945 that was issued under the British Mandate. The new order allows the Israeli occupation to attack the organizations, adopt punitive measures against them, including closure of offices, confiscation and hampering funding resources, and assaulting/prosecuting staff members.
It was also discovered that the Israeli occupation conducted a systemic and confidential surveillance campaign targeting the cellphones of Palestinian human rights defenders and lawyers, gravely breaching their privacy and that of the victims they work with.
Army shooting and violation of right to bodily integrity:
Israeli forces killed one child and wounded 5 other Palestinians in excessive use of force in the West Bank. On 5 November, soldiers killed Mohammed Da’das (13) after shooting him in the abdomen near Deir Hatab village, eastern Nablus. Another civilian was wounded during clashes in Sobeih Mount in Nablus; 3 others, including 2 children, were wounded in 2 separate incidents in Ramallah; a fifth was wounded in Bethlehem
In the Gaza Strip, PCHR documented 4 Navy shootings at fishing boats in the Gaza Sea.
Army incursions and arrests of Palestinian civilians:
Israeli forces carried out 98 incursions into the 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, 56 Palestinians were arrested, including 4 children.
PCHR documented 9 incidents:
Occupied East Jerusalem: 10 families received evacuation notices targeting their apartment building in al-Tur neighborhood; a Palestinian was forced to self-demolish his apartment building in Beit Hanina, and another had to do the same to his house in Jabel al-Mukaber. also demolished a balcony in Beit Safafa, and internal walls inside a house in Wadi al-Joz.
Nablus: stone chains and country house demolished; more than 60 olive trees uprooted; water well buried, and a razing notice given against a street in Duma village.
Hebron: sheep barn and mobile home demolished in eastern Ethna.
Bethlehem: pesticides used on dozens of olive tree seedlings in Battir; 2 houses demolished in al-Walaja.
Hebron: farmers assaulted in Surif; children’s playground assaulted in Susiya; and civilians assaulted in Khrbet Sadet-a-Thala.
Bethlehem: farmers assaulted in eastern Tuqu.
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, causing an increasing humanitarian crisis implicating all aspects of life in the territory.
Meanwhile, 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.
Persecution of Palestinian civil society organizations and human rights defenders
On Sunday, 7 November 2021, Israeli military commander in the oPt issued a military order classifying 6 Palestinian NGOs as “disallowed associations” as per the Defense (Emergency) Regulations of 1945 that was issued under the British Mandate. The new order, which followed the Israeli Army Minister’s decision on 19 October 2021, to classify 6 Palestinian civil society organizations as terrorist organizations as per the Israeli counter-terrorism law of 2016.
The new order allows the Israeli occupation to attack the organizations, adopt punitive measures against them, including closure of offices, confiscation and hampering funding resources, and assaulting/prosecuting staff members. The organizations include: Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Al-Haq Law in the Service of Man, Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defense for Children International-Palestine, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees.
On Monday, 8 November 2021, Front Line Defenders revealed a systematic and confidential campaign to hack and surveille Palestinian human rights defenders and lawyers with spyware. Al-Haq issued a press statement where it clarified that they reached out to FLD on 16 October 2021 for suspicions that one of its staff’s iPhone is hacked. FLD’s technical investigations discovered that the suspected iPhone is bugged with the NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware since July 2021.
Al-Haq disclosed that both Citizen Lab and Amnesty International’s Security Lab each confirmed FLD’s analysis, and that out of at least 75 iPhones owned by human rights defenders and CSO staff, there are 5 other phones hacked, including those belonging to Ghassan Halaika: Field researcher and human rights defender working for Al- Haq; Ubai Al-Aboudi: Executive Director at Bisan Center for Research and Development; and Salah Hammouri: Lawyer and field researcher at Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association based in Jerusalem.
Shooting and other Violations of the Right to Life and Bodily Integrity
According to PCHR’s investigations, at approximately 16:50 on Friday, 05 November 2021, Israeli forces fired several bullets at a group of children who tried to throw stones at the Bypass Road, where there is the entrance to “Elon Moreh” settlement and Israeli forces’ camp at the entrance to Deir al-Hatab village, east of Nablus. As a result, Mohammed Amjad Da’adas (13) was hit with a bullet in the abdomen and fell on the ground. The children carried him around 400 meters away into the olive trees, and he was then taken by a civilian vehicle to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus. An ambulance met them in the way and took the wounded child to the hospital, where his death was officially declared. The child killed was a school student at Mohammed Amin al-Sa’di High School and lived in ‘Askar al-Jadeed refugee camp, northeast of Nablus.
An eyewitness said to PCHR’s fieldworker that since the olive harvest season started weeks ago, civilians who harvest olives face daily harassment by Israeli forces while children and youngsters gather to throw stones at the Bypass Road that is used by Israeli forces and settlers. An army patrol usually comes and fires teargas canisters at the children to disperse them from a distance of tens of meters.
However, on that day, Israeli forces fired several live bullets at 4 children, who approached the road to throw stones, killing one of them after shooting him in the abdomen.
PCHR’s investigations emphasize that the children did not pose any imminent threat or danger to the soldiers’ lives, and the latter unjustifiably opened fire at them in excessive use of force.
According to Mohammed Sbaitan, Chairman of Husan Village Council, the clashes erupted by the village’s eastern entrance where soldiers fired live and rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades at protesters. As a result, 18-year-old Moataz Mohammed Hamamra was shot with a bullet in the thigh and he was taken to hospital for treatment. Sbaitan added that soldiers arrested 16-year-old Mohammed Jamal Hamamra after ambushing a group of youngsters from the village who were heading towards the clashes area. The clashes happened as soldiers assaulted a protest against settlement expansion in the area. Sbaitan also said that soldiers attempted to arrest the injured Hamamra, but he was rescued by other Palestinians who pulled him from the Israeli soldiers and managed to transport him to hospital.
Incursions and arrests
Thursday, 04 November 2021:
Friday, 05 November 2021:
Saturday, 06 November 2021:
Sunday, 07 November 2021:
Monday, 08 November 2021:
Tuesday, 09 November 2021:
Wednesday, 10 November 2021:
Settlement Expansion and settler violence in the West Bank
a. Land razing, Demolitions, and Notices
Soliman Dawabashah, Head of Doma village Council, said:
“At approximately 03:00, I received a call from some telling me that a large military force moved into the village. I rushed to the area and found a force of 5 construction vehicles, 2 Civil Administration cars and 15 military SUVs surrounding the village from the 3 sides. They headed to al-Shakarah neighborhood’s praying hall and demolished it. Then, they headed to an agricultural house belonging to a Jerusalemite investor and demolished it and to a plot of land belonging to another investor from Jerusalem and completely razed it. They also handed a notice to demolish a street that was ready to be asphalted. Afterwards, they headed to a 3-storey house belonging to ‘Abdel Majeed ‘Abdel Hafeez Dawabsheh, so I immediately gathered a group of young men and headed to the house to make a human shield and protect it from demolition. The soldiers did not like that and pepper-sprayed us. I stayed there unconscious for 15 minutes due to the pepper spray and they then notified us again for more 7 days and withdrew. Now, we prepared all the necessary schemes to take the legal proceedings to prevent further demolition of property in the village, which is 18,000 dunums; 17,500 are located in Area C.”
Senan al-Khalafawi, one of the houses’ owners in the building under threat of confiscation, said that each floor houses 2 residential apartments; each of it is 135 sqms and includes 4 bedrooms, a kitchen, and a bathroom. Al-Khalafawi said that around 70 persons live in the building from 10 families: his family of 6, including 4 children, his brother’s family, Sa’id al-Khalafawi, of 10, including 6 children, Wael Bader family of 6, including 2 children, Ibrahim Joudah family of 5, including 3 children, Mousa Abu al-Halawah family of 5, including 3 children, al-Ghoj family of 11, including 2 children, and Mustafa ‘AShour family of 7, including 5 children, as well as the families of Ziyad Abu Sbeitan, Akram ‘Ashour and Mahmoud Abu Sbeitan. Al-Kalafawi added that the owners of the apartments have suffered for 9 years from the fines and demolition orders as the Israeli municipality imposed a fine of 75,000 shekels on each owner for unlicensed construction in addition to 83,000 shekels as a property tax, which all the apartments’ owners still pay.
Moreover, they pay tens of thousands of shekels for engineers and lawyers’ fees in their attempt to license the construction and postpone the demolition decisions at the Israeli courts. Al-Khalafawi said that the Israeli court issued on Thursday a final decision to evacuate the residents from their houses to demolish the building, giving them the choice to self-demolish it immediately or the municipality crews will do so and fine the apartments’ owners with 2 million shekels. Al-Khalafi added that self-demolition of the building is very hard and expensive and requires special demolition vehicles. If it was done with the normal tools, it would take a lot of time and cost each owner more than 50,000 shekels. Al-Ghazawi said that the lawyer of Hussein Ghanayem’s families appealed on Monday, 08 November, before the District Court against the demolition decision. However, the Israeli authorities issued 2 decisions: one forces the residents to pay 200,000 shekels in the court box within 2 days in order to give the apartments’ owners until the end of the month to carry out the demolition while the second says if the families did not pay the money within 2 days, the municipality’s vehicles will carry out the demolition as soon as possible, forcing the families to pay the fine, which is around 2 million shekels.
‘Ahed al-Nashashibi, who rents from the building owner, said that the 3-storey building was established 10 years ago on an area of 250 sqms, sheltering 10 members. Al-Nashashibi added that he rented the second floor 4 years ago to live with his family and then rented the first floor and paid 100,000 shekels to finish its construction and preparing it from inside so that his elder brother live in it. Al-Nashashibi said that the building’s owner, Hani Soliman, tried to license the building many times but the Israeli municipality refused under the pretext that it is adjacent to another building, which met the necessary area. He pointed out that the court rejected all the appeals Soliman filed against the demolition decision while the municipality imposed a construction fine and threatened him if he did not self-demolish the building, he will be fined with 150,000 shekels for the municipal crews’ demolition costs.
‘Aweisat said that he built a house in the third floor of his father’s 2-storey house. ‘Aweisat said that his father’s house is legal and licensed and he tried to get a construction license but it is almost impossible to get one and requires a lot of time and money that exceeds 1,400,000 shekels. ‘Aweisat added that he lives in the 85-sqm house with his wife and 2 daughters. ‘Aweisat added that the Israeli municipality has haunted him for a year and imposed on him a fine of 32,000 shekels for unlicensed construction. He said that the court issued a decision at the time to demolish the house and on 24 October, the court ascertained the decision and gave him 21 days to self-demolish it or the municipality crews will do so and fine him with 100,000 shekels for the demolition costs, forcing him to self-demolish.
Batir Mayor, Taysir Qatoush, said that Israeli forcessprayed chemicals at the crops in lands planted with olive seedlings on an area of 3 dunums in Marah Madour in the village. As a result, 70 olive seedlings were damaged belonging to Ghassan ‘Aweinah, under the pretext of planting them in Israeli lands.
Mohammed Hussein Abu al-Teen said that he was surprised in the morning with more than 7 military jeeps accompanied with demolition vehicles moving into the vicinity of family houses in ‘Ein Jweizah area. They started demolishing his house and his nephew’s, Tariq Naser Abu al-Teen in addition to a big tent belonging to his nephew, Ahmed Abu al-Teen. Mohammed Abu al-Teen said that the army demolished his nephew’s house 2 months ago, and he rebuilt it with the help of the villagers. However, the army did not allow him to stay in it for a long time. Abu al-Teen said that each house is 70 sqms and his nephew’s house shelters 8 individuals while he lives with his wife, 2 daughters, his son and his wife. Abu al-Teen said that the demolition was carried out suddenly as he appealed before the Israeli court against the demolition decision but did not receive any decision or notice in this regard. Abu al-Teen said that his family suffered a lot from the Israeli authority’s oppression as they demolished more than 4 houses for the family in ‘Ein al-Jweizah more than 3 times in the last years. Abu al-Teen said that the family only owns this land in the area, where the occupation bans construction in it.
Mohammed Salman said that Israeli forces moved into al-Safeh area in Beit Safafa and closed the roads leading to his house. They demolished the house’s 40-sqm balcony. He said that IOF demolished on 17 August the outside part of the kindergarten that he owns and is adjacent to his house under the pretext of unlicensed construction.
‘Aydah Jaber said that soldiers raided the house in the morning without a prior warning and expelled the house’s tenant, As’ad Dweik and his family of 8 members. They demolished the inside walls and destroyed the contents. Jaber said that the house belongs to his son, Mahmoud Jaber, who is a prisoner in Beersheba Prison and sentenced for 32 months. She added that the family built the house 20 years ago on an area of 90 sqms and her son intended to live in it after being released. Jaber added that soldiers did not hand her a demolition decision or notice to evacuate the house and she asked the municipality officers to give her time to self-demolish the house instead of paying the municipal demolition costs of 100,000 shekels.
As’ad Dweik, the tenant, said that soldiers raided the house while he was having breakfast. He was surprised with them knocking on the door and telling him of the demolition decision. The municipality officers cut off the electricity and water from the house and took out the furniture within 10 minutes. They demolished the inside walls and destroyed the kitchen and bathrooms with hand tools as the vehicles could not reach the house. Dweik added that he lived in the house with his family of 8 for a year, and due to the sudden demolition decision, he lost a lot of furniture. He said that authorities gave Jaber family until 17 November to self-demolish the house completely or they would send their crews again to carry out the demolition.
b. Setters’ Attacks against Palestinian Civilians and their Property
Director of Teqoa village, Taysir Abu Mefreh, said that settlers under army protection attacked Palestinians who were harvesting olives from their lands in eastern Teqoa and tried to expel them with force. Abu Mefreh said that the area is located within Area “A” and away from the surrounding settlements. He said that the civilians confronted the army and settlers and managed to expel them. Abu Mefreh mentioned that this attack was not the first of its kind for settlers and soldiers against the farmers during the olive harvest season. Three days ago with the presence of the Ambassador of South Africa to the PA, soldiers attacked several volunteers and farmers while harvesting olives in the village lands near Tekwa’a settlement. Soldiers arrested Monther ‘Amirah, Head of the Coordination Committee to Confront Settlement and Occupation in the West Bank and coordinator of Faz’ah Campaign to Support farmers in Olive Harvest. They also detained photojournalist Akram al-‘Amour and activist Mousa Abu Mefreh for some time.
Yousif Makhamrah said to PCHR’s fieldworker that;
“Three settlers along with their sheep and led by settler Yitzhak Sahaz Man, who owns “Havat Man” Farm near the “Havat Ma’on” settlement outpost, stormed the area near Khirbet Sada al-Tha’lab, where 11 Palestinian families live, to go to a water well used by the residents for their daily needs. As soon as I arrived with a group of residents and activists, we were attacked by settlers with stones and sticks. They hit me on my hand, and my wife and other activist were wounded as well. Soldiers arrived and declared the area as a closed military zone, and allowed the settlers to water their sheep from the well. My wife and I were taken to Yatta Governmental Hospital by a Palestinian ambulance that arrived at the area.”