During the week of 03 – 09 November 2016, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian at the entrance to the “Ofra” settlement, northeast of Ramallah and al-Bireh. Additionally, 6 Palestinian civilians, including a child and a photojournalist, were wounded in the occupied West Bank.
Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (oPt), during the reporting period, were as follows:
Israeli forces have continued to commit crimes, inflicting civilian casualties. They have also continued to use excessive force against Palestinian civilians participating in peaceful protests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the majority of whom were youngsters. During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian and wounded 6 others, including a child and a photojournalist, in the West Bank.
In the West Bank, in excessive use of lethal force, on 03 November 2016, Israeli forces guarding “Ofra” settlement, northeast of Ramallah, killed Ma’an Abu Qare’ (23) and kept his corpse in custody. The spokesperson of the Israeli forces claimed the aforementioned person attempted to stab Israeli soldiers at “Ofra” intersection, as a result, they opened fire at him. No local eyewitness was present in the scene to confirm or negate the Israeli claims.
In the context of excessive force used in peaceful protests against the annexation wall and settlement activities, 5 Palestinian civilians, including a child and a photojournalist, were wounded. Four of them, including the photojournalist, were wounded in Kufor Qaddoum weekly protest, northeast of Qalqilya, while the child was wounded in Ni’lin weekly protests, west of Ramallah.
On 09 November 2016, one of the Israeli soldiers patrolling Howarah main street, south of Nablus, opened fire at Mohammed Amer (32), from Tulkarm. As a result, he sustained 2 serious bullet wounds to the back and right hand. Israeli forces claimed that Amer attempted to stab an Israeli soldier.
In the Gaza Strip, in the context of targeting Palestinian fishermen offshore, on 03 November 2016, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Wahah shore, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles. A similar attack took place on 06 November 2016, however, no casualties were reported.
On 07 November 2016, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Sudaniya shore, west of Jabalia, north of the Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats. They chased a bout while spraying it with wastewater in an attempt to get it drowned. As a result, Mahmoud Abu Riyala (18) fainted because of the wastewater and the boat sustained damage. A similar shooting attack took place at approximately 06:30 on Wednesday, 09 November 2016, but neither casualties nor material damage were reported.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 72 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 11 others in occupied Jerusalem and its suburbs. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 83 Palestinian civilians, including 23 children and 4 women. Twenty-eight of them, including 13 children and 2 women, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem. Among the arrested was a whole family consisting of 8 members from al-Amari refugee camp, south of Ramallah.
On 06 and 07 November 2016, Israeli forces raided Dozan and al-Manar publishing houses in Hebron respectively. They also confiscated some of the contents and withdrew later.
In the Gaza Strip, on 09 November 2016, Israeli forces moved about 100 meters into the east of al-Qarara village, east of Khan Yunis, south of the Gaza Strip. They levelled lands along the border fence and withdrew later.
Creating Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem:
In the context of house demolitions, on 08 November 2016, the Israeli municipality demolished a house belonging to Eid family in Wad al-Jouz neighbourhood in occupied Jerusalem, under the pretext of non-licensing.
On the same day, the Israeli municipality demolished a house belonging to Ghanem Mostafa in al-Eisawiya village, northeast of occupied Jerusalem, under the pretext of non-licensing. It should be noted that the house was built 3 years ago.
Also on the same day, the Israeli municipality demolished parts of a house belonging to Mahmoud al-Hadra while al-Hadra self-demolished a garage he built in front of his house in al-Tour neighbourhood, east of Jerusalem’s Old City, under the pretext of non-licensing as well.
On 09 November 2016, the Israeli municipality demolished a carwash belonging to Maraqa family in Beit Hanina village, north of occupied Jerusalem. The family said the carwash belongs to 2 brothers and was built 4.5 years ago. The financial loss is estimated at NIS 200,000.
In the same context, on 04 November 2016, Israeli municipality crews and forces moved into Selwan village, south of East Jerusalem. They photographed a number of residential and commercial facilities. They took photos also of streets in Wad Helwa neighbourhood in the village. Wad Helwa committee stated that Israeli forces distributed summonses to owners of certain facilities under the pretext of non-licensing.
In a serious development violating the right to practice religious rituals, Israeli forces informed the Mua’zzins of 3 mosques in Abu Dees village, east of occupied Jerusalem, to stop the Fajr Prayer’s call (Adhan) via loudspeakers. Moreover, they denied residents of western areas of the village access to Saladin mosque to perform the Fajr Prayer on 04 November 2016.
Settlement activities and settlers’ attacks against Palesitnian civilians and their property:
On 03 November 2016, Israeli forces demolished 3 commercial and industrial stores at the entrance to Beita village under the pretext of building with no license in area (C) according to Oslo Accords.
Restrictions on movement:
Israel continued to impose a tight closure of the oPt, imposing severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.
The illegal closure of the Gaza Strip, which has been steadily tightened since June 2007 has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli authorities impose measures to undermine the freedom of trade, including the basic needs for the Gaza Strip population and the agricultural and industrial products to be exported. For 9 consecutive years, Israel has tightened the land and naval closure to isolate the Gaza Strip from the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, and other countries around the world. This resulted in grave violations of the economic, social and cultural rights and a deterioration of living conditions for 1.8 million people. The Israeli authorities have established Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shaloum) as the sole crossing for imports and exports in order to exercise its control over the Gaza Strip’s economy. They also aim at imposing a complete ban on the Gaza Strip’s exports. The Israeli closure raised the rate of poverty to 38.8%, 21.1% of which suffer from extreme poverty. Moreover, the rate of unemployment increased up to 44%, which reflects the unprecedented economic deterioration in the Gaza Strip.
In the West Bank, Israeli forces continued to suffocate the Palestinian cities and village by imposing military checkpoints around and/or between them. This created “cantons” isolated from each other that hinders the movement of civilians. Moreover, the Palestinian civilians suffering aggravated because of the annexation wall and checkpoints erected on daily basis to catch Palestinians.
- Use of excessive force against peaceful demonstrations protesting settlement activities and the construction of the annexation wall
- At approximately 13:15, following the Friday prayer, Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international human rights defenders organized a protest in the centre of Kufor Qaddoum village, northeast of Qalqiliya, and then made their way to 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 live bullets, rubber-coated metal bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs at them. As a result, 3 protesters, including a photojournalist, were wounded. Moreover, Israeli forces arrested an elderly man, Nihad Mohamed Hussain (70), but released him at approximately 17:30 on the same day after the intervention of the Palestinian liaison. The photojournalist, Nidal Ishtaih (45), from Salem village, east of Nablus, was hit with a rubber-coated metal bullet to the side, the second civilian (45) was hit with a rubber-coated metal bullet to the back and the third one (27) was hit with a rubber-coated metal bullet to the thigh. It should be noted that Nidal works as a cameraman at the Chinese News Agency.
- Following the Friday prayer dozens of Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international human rights defenders organized protests in Bil’in and Ni’lin villages, west of Ramallah; and al-Nabi Saleh village, northwest of the city. Israeli forces forcibly dispersed the protests, firing live and rubber-coated metal bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs. They also chased the protesters into olive fields and houses. As a result, a 16-year-old male, from Ni’lin village, was hit with a rubber- coated metal bullet to the head and was then taken to Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah. Moreover, some of the protesters suffered tear gas inhalation while others sustained bruises as Israeli soldiers beat them up.
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.
Settlement activities and attacks by settlers against Palestinian civilians and property
- At approximately 02:00 on Thursday, 03 November 2016, Israeli forces accompanied with several jeeps and a bulldozer moved into Kawaza Well area at the main entrance to Beta village, branching from Nablus – Ramallah Street, south of Nablus. The bulldozer demolished 3 shops used for commercial and industrial purposes adjacent to Beta Central Mall (al-Hesbah) under the pretext of building in area (c) according to Oslo Accords without a license from the Organization and Construction Department of the Israeli Civil Administration. The demolitions were as follows:
- Kenanu Shop for selling plastic and cartons belonging to Esam Mahmud Qasem Najar, from Burin village.
- Al-Badawi Restaurant belonging to Mohammed Abdul Rahman Badawi Oudah, from Hawarah village.
- A property belonging to Abdula Ghafer Nour Eden Salamah from Beta village. The municipality demolished the property over the equipment inside.
- At approximately, 16:30, Israeli forces moved into al-Zawiyah village, west of Salfit. They raided and searched a house belonging to Khaled Abdul Ghafer Raddad. They handed him a notice to halt the work in his house under the pretext of building without a license from the Organization and Construction Department of the Israeli Civil Administration because it was in Area (c) according to Oslo Accords.
- At approximately 08:30 on Sunday, 06 September 2016, Ref’at Salamah Husain Mardawi (65), his wife Fatmah (60), son Mohammed (34) and cousin Jamal Mardawi (45) went to their lands in al-San’ah area in the vicinity of “Eli” settlement, west of Qaryout village, southeast of Nablus, according to the announced coordination giving access to these lands for 3 days starting from the abovementioned day. Marawdi and his family arrived to the main street at the entrance to the abovementioned settlement where there were about 25 farmers from his village. They all were waiting at the settlement entrance until the Israeli soldiers, police and the settlement guards allow them to go to their lands for the olive harvest. When the farmers gathered, the settlement guard ordered the men to give thier ID cards to be checked. Twenty-five minutes later, a soldier called Ref’at and his son Mohammed and informed them they were banned the entry to the settlement for security reasons. It should be noted that the abovementioned civilian owns 27 olive trees in his land and this was the first time he was not allowed to enter his land.
- At approximately 09:00 on Monday, 07 November 2016, Israeli forces accompanied with an Israeli Civil Administration vehicle and a crane moved into al-Maghaier area, west of al-Samou’ village, south of Hebron. The soldiers deployed in the area and confiscated a caravan with an area of around 20 square meters and a water tank belonging to Mohammed Kahlil Abu Qabitah, who was building a poultry farm.
Israeli Settlers Attacks:
- On Saturday, 05 November 2016, a number of Israeli settlers moved into a 12-dunum land planted with olives in Wad al-Beer al-Nattash area in al-Janiyah village, 2 kilometres away from “Neriah” settlement, west of Ramallah, and attacked a number of Palestinian farmers.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR’s fieldworker, at approximately 08:30, 5 Palestinian civilians from al-Janiyah village arrived at the abovementioned land they own to harvest the olives. The 5 persons were identified as Saber Barakat Ali Abu Fakhidah (35), Saiel Barakat Ali Abu Fakhidah (60) and his son Sa’ad (34), Hasan Barakat Ali Abu Fakhidah (41) and Mohammed Ahmed Ali Abu Fakhidah (25). At approximately 12:35, they were surprised by around 15 to 20 settlers aging between 20 and 30 years old wearing civilian clothes and masks around them. They were holding sticks and iron pipes. A settler said in Hebrew to the farmers:”We will kill you.” They then attacked the farmers and beat them until Saber and Hasan Abu Fakhidah fainted. The settlers fled away. The injured were transferred to Palestine Medical Complex to receive medical treatment. Examinations showed that Saber sustained deep wounds in the head due to which he needed 20 stiches. As for Hasan, he suffered a fracture in four of the lower front teeth, wounds in the mouth, and bruises in the right leg in addition to a wound to the right hand that needed 5 stiches.
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 obligation 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 on 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 UN General Assembly to transfer the Goldstone Report to the UN Security Council in order to refer it to the International Criminal Court in accordance with Article 13(b) of the Rome Statute;
- PCHR calls upon the United Nations to confirm that holding war criminals 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, 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;
Fully detailed document available at the official PCHR website.