Israeli forces have continued with systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory for the week of 16 – 22 February, 2016. Three Palestinian civilians were wounded, including a child, in the West Bank.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces wounded 3 Palestinian civilians, including a child, in the West Bank. In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces also continued to chase Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Sea, wounding a fisherman.
In the West Bank, On 19 February 2017, Israeli forces wounded a Palestinian child in Bazaria village, northwest of Nablus when they opened fire from an Israeli military jeep at a number of students, who were on their way out of schools, without any reason.
On 20 February 2017, Israeli forces moved into al-Am’ari refugee camp, south of Ramallah, and wounded two civilians with bullets in the lower limbs.
In the Gaza Strip, in the context of targeting Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Sea, on 19 February 2017, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats and chased them. The shooting recurred on 19 and 20 February 2017. During the reported attacks, the Israeli naval soldiers arrested 5 fishermen; one of whom was wounded, and confiscated their boat along with the fishing net and equipment.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 65 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 72 Palestinian civilians, including 10 children and 4 women. Eighteen of them, including 7 children and 3 women, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem.
Efforts to create Jewish majority
In the context of house demolitions, On 20 February 2017, Israeli forces demolished a residential house (caravan) in al-Tebnah Bedouin Community in al-Kan al-Ahmar area, east of occupied Jerusalem. The 50-square-meter caravan sheltered Fatmah al-Tebnah (37) from ‘Arab al-Jahalin.
In the context of self-demolitions, on 17 February 2017, the family of Saleh Shweiki self-demolished their house in Beer Ayoub neighbourhood in Silwan village, south of Jerusalem’s Old City, upon a decision issued by the Israeli Municipality. The 80-square-meter house sheltered a family of 13 members, including 8 children.
On 18 February 2017, Mo’atasem Fayez Qara’in was forced to self-demolish his house in al-Mukaber Mount village, southeast of Jerusalem, upon the Israeli Municipality’s decision and to avoid paying the Municipality’s high demolition costs. The house was built 8 years ago on an area of 65 square meters.
In the context of demolition notices, on 19 February 2017, Israeli forces moved into al-Khan al-Ahamr Bedouin Community, east of Jerusalem, and handed the residents notices to demolish and evacuate 40 facilities, including houses, livestock barns, a school and mosque, under the pretext of building without a license.
On 22 February 2017, Israeli Municipality bulldozers demolished a residential house in “Tal’et Hezmah” area in Beit Hanina neighbourhood, north of occupied Jerusalem. The 120-square-meter house belongs to the family of Lo’ay Abu Romouz and sheltered his family of 7 members, including 5 children.
Settlement crimes and settlers’ attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property:
On 20 February 2017, Israeli forces uprooted an 8.5-meter drinking waterline between ‘Atouf village and Kherbet al-Hadidiyah in the northern Jordan Valley. It should be mentioned that the abovementioned waterline was donated by UNICEF and ACF and made of plastic pipes.
On the same day, Israeli forces confiscated a fuel pump belonging to Sabri Abu Mariah in Beit Zere’atah area, east of Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron. The owner was threatened in case he re-runs the fuel station.
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 2 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 65%. Moreover, the rate of unemployment increased up to 47% and youth constitutes 65% of the unemployed persons. Moreover, 80% of the Gaza Strip population depends on international aid to secure their minimum daily needs. These rates indicate 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
- Following the Friday prayer on 17 February 2017, dozens of Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international human rights defenders organized demonstrations in Bil’in and Nil’in villages, west of Ramallah and al-Nabi Saleh, northwest of the city; at the entrance to al-Jaalzone refugee camp, north of the city; and in Kafer Qadoum village, northeast of Qalqiliyah, protesting against the annexation wall and settlement activities. Israeli forces forcibly dispersed the protests, 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.
Arrests at military checkpoints:
- At approximately 16:00 on Saturday, 18 February 2017, Israeli forces arrested Nasir Talal al-Tubasi and Ahmed Fawzi al-Tubasi, both are 25 years old and from al-Rehiyia village, south of Hebron. Nasir and Ahmed were arrested after being detained at a checkpoint established at the southern entrance to Hebron “al-Harayiq”.
- On Monday, 20 February 2017, Israeli forces stationed at a military checkpoint arrested Ahmed ‘Imad ‘Awadallah (24), from al-Bireh, and then took him to an unknown destination.
- On Wednesday, 22 February 2017, Israeli forces stationed at al-Jeep military checkpoint, northwest of occupied Jerusalem, arrested Laith Barakat, after posting on his Facebook page. Eyewitnesses said that the Israeli forces stopped Laith and checked his ID before arresting him.
- At approximately 17:00, Israeli forces arrested 3 Palestinian civilians, from Dura village, southwest of Hebron, after stopping them at a military checkpoint at the eastern entrance to the city. The arrested persons were identified as ‘Esam Badir Anu ‘Arqoub (18), Khalil Safi al-Haroub (19) and Ayham Jum’a Heijah (19).
- 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:
Arrests and Incursions:
- At approximately 01:30 on Thursday, 16 February 2017, Israeli forces moved into al-‘Issawiyah village, northeast of occupied Jerusalem. They raided and searched houses from which they arrested Mahmoud Mohamed Mostafa (13), Yunis Wisam Abu al-Humus (15) and Muhanad Ma’moun Abu ‘Asab (13).
- At approximately 03:00 on the same day, Israeli forces moved into Silwan village, south of occupied Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched a house belonging to ‘Atef Ibrahim Shayoukhi and arrested his daughter, Rawan (21), who was then taken to al-Maskoubiya detention facility in Jerusalem. It should be noted that Rawan is the sister of Ali Shayoukhi, who was killed on 11 October 2016 by Israeli forces in ‘Ain al-Louza neighborhood in Siwlan village.
- At approximately 02:30 on Tuesday, Israeli forces moved into Sho’fat refugee camp, north of occupied Jerusalem. They raided and searched houses, from which they arrested Hamza al-Malhi and Nadir al-Masri.
- On Monday, Israeli forces arrested Najeh Bakirat, Director of Sharia Education in the Islamic Endowments “Awqaf” Department; and Ikram al-Natshah along with her daughter Raghd, while they were heading to Jaffa after stopping two buses on Street No.1 in occupied Jerusalem. Amjad Abu ‘Asab, Head of the Prisoners’ families Committee in Jerusalem and who was in the scene, said that Israeli forces stopped two tour buses on Street No.1 in Jerusalem, and checked the drivers’ and passengers’ IDs. They then arrested Bakirat, al-Natshah and with her daughter. Abu ‘Asab added that the Israeli forces detained the two buses from 09:00 to 11:30, after chasing them from al-Mosrarah area to Street No.1. Abu ‘Asab clarified that the Israeli forces held the two divers’ licenses and prevented them from using their buses until Wednesday, 22 February 2017. Moreover, the Israeli forces summoned the drivers along with some women for interrogation.
- On Monday, Israeli forces arrested Basem al-Ashab (13) in al-Thawri neighbourhood and then took him to al-Maskobiyia detention centre, claiming that he threw stones at an Israeli settlers’ car.
- At approximately 02:00 on Tuesday, 21 February 2017, Israeli forces moved into al-‘Issawiyah village, northeast of occupied Jerusalem. They raided and searched houses, from which they arrested 5 civilians, including 3 siblings. They were then taken to al-Maskobiyia detention centre. The arrested persons were identified as Mohand (36), Samir (24) and Sami Anwar ‘Obaid (41), Shaheen ‘Eliyan (23), and Mohamed Kayed Mahmoud (24).
- On Tuesday, Israeli forces arrested 3 children in Silwan village, south of occupied Jerusalem’s Old City, claiming that they threw stones. The arrested persons were identified as Mo’men Sami Abu Sharekh (15), Wisam Rohi Da’nah (13) and Adam Mansour al-Reshq (24).
House demolitions and demolition notices:
- On Saturday, 17 February 2017, the family of Saleh Shweiki self-demolished their house in Bier Ayoub neighbourhood in Silwan village, south of occupied Jerusalem’s Old City, implementing the Israeli Municipality’s decision. Shweiki said that his family self-demolished their house to avoid destroying it over its contents and paying demolition costs estimated at NIS 80,000. He added that his family built the abovementioned house built of bricks and tin plates in 2009, and many demolition decisions were previously issued by the Israeli Municipality but then delayed. The Israeli Municipality issued the latest demolition decision “to demolish the house or the family will pay the demolition costs.” The house was built on an area of 80 square meters and sheltered around 13 persons, including 8 children.
- On Saturday, 18 February 2017, Mo’atasem Fayiz Qara’in was obliged to self-demolish his house in al-Mukaber Mount, southeast of occupied Jerusalem, implementing the Israeli Municipality’s decision and avoiding demolition costs. Mo’atasem said that he along with his relatives self-demolished the house after receiving several administrative demolition notices from the Israeli Municipality during the last period; the first of which was at the beginning of the last year. He added that the Israeli Municipality hands over administrative demolition notices without mentioning the name of the house owner, but in the last time, it summoned one of Mo’tasem’s relatives and threatened the relative to pay the Municipality’s demolition costs estimated at NIS 50,000, if he did not obey the orders. Therefore, Mo’atasem was forced to self-demolish his house to avoid paying the demolition costs and protect his relative from any further Israeli arbitrary measures such as accusing him of not having a building license. Mo’tasem also said that the 65-square-meter apartment was built 8 years ago and comprised of one room, kitchen and bathroom.
- On Sunday, 19 February 2017, Israeli forces accompanied with Israeli Civil Administration crews moved into al-Khan al-Ahmar, east of occupied Jerusalem. The crews gave notices to 40 facilities, including houses, livestock barns, a school and mosque, in order to be demolished and evacuated under the pretext of non- licensed building. The recent demolitions in the Bedouin Community, east of occupied Jerusalem, came after the E1 Plan of 1999 was approved, as around 12,000 dunums were confiscated in favor of the settlement expansion and projects.
- On Monday, 20 February 2017, Israeli forces accompanied with Israeli Civil Administration crews and a bulldozer moved into al-Tebnah Bedouin Community in al-Khan al-Ahmar, east of occupied Jerusalem. The bulldozer demolished a 50-square-meter caravan, where Fatma Mousa Ali al-Tabna (37) lived. The caravan was donated by the Humanitarian Aid and Civil Rights Organization and its owner was given a notice two years ago.
- At approximately 05:00 on Wednesday, 22 February 2017, a large force of Israeli soldiers accompanied with Special Forces, the Israeli Municipality crews and a bulldozer moved into Tal’et Hezmah area in Beit Haninah neighborhood, north of occupied Jerusalem. The Israeli forces surrounded a house belonging to Loai ‘Awni Mahmoud Abu Ramouz, forced its residents to leave and then vacated some of its contents. After that, the bulldozer completely demolished the 120-square-meter house, which was built 7 years ago and sheltered 7 members, including 5 children. Abu Ramouz said that the Israeli forces raided the house and pushed him. They then pointed their firearms at him and prevented his family from taking their contents out of the house. He added that the Israeli Municipality Court held a session 2 weeks ago and issued a decision to demolish the house. Abu Ramouz intended to challenge the demolition decision, but he was surprised with the house raid and demolition. He said that he attempted to license his house but in vain. The Israeli Municipality Court fined the family twice before with NIS 80.000, and the family paid it. It should be mentioned that the house is located near the Main Street No.1, which separates Beit Haninah neighborhood houses from “Pisgat Zeev” settlement, where settlement expansion and construction is carried out on an ongoing basis.
Settlement activities and attacks by settlers against Palestinian civilians and property
- At approximately 14:20 on Friday, 17 February 2017, Israeli forces moved into Sabastiyia village, northwest of Nablus, to guard two buses were carrying Israeli settler students. The Israeli soldiers stationed in al-Athar area, where the students stayed for 2 hours. The Israeli soldiers withdrew after the students left the village.
- At approximately 07:30 on Monday, 20 February 2017, Israeli forces accompanied with a jeep belonging to the Israeli Civil Administration and 2 bulldozers moved into al-Hadidiyah area in the Northern Jordan Valley. The bulldozers damaged a waterline between ‘Atouf village and Kherbit al-Hadidiyia. It should be noted that the waterline was donated by UNICEF and A. C. F and comprised of plastic pipes This is the second time this waterline being demolished in one month.
- At approximately 11:00 on the same day, Israeli forces accompanied with a vehicle belonging to the Israeli Civil Administration moved into Beit Z’ertah area, east of Bait Ummer village, north of Hebron. The Israeli vehicle stationed in front of a Fuel Station belonging to Sabri Zamel Ahmed Abu Maryyiah, from Hebron. The Israeli soldiers deployed in the area, while the Israeli Civil Administration’s officers confiscated a diesel pump from the station, under the pretext of working without a license. The Israeli officers threatened the station’s owner if running the pump again.
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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