Israeli forces continued with systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), for the week of 24 – 30 November 2016.
Israeli soldiers killed a Palestinian child in the the northern part of occupied Jerusalem, while forces conducted 57 incursions into Palestinian communities across the West Bank, and one in the southern Gaza Strip. 68 civilians, including 19 children, were taken into Israeli custody.
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 child in Sho’fat refugee camp, north of occupied Jerusalem.
In occupied Jerusalem, in excessive use of lethal force, Israeli forces stationed at Sho’fat checkpoint, north of occupied Jerusalem killed a Palestinian child. Israeli forces claimed that he attempted to stab an Israeli security officer with a knife he hid under his clothes. However, PCHR’s investigations refuted this claim.
In the Gaza Strip, in context of targeting Palestinian fishermen in the sea, on 26 November 2016, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Waha shore, northwest of Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats and chased them. The shooting recurred on the dame day afternoon in the same area. It should be noted the fishing boats were sailing within 4 nautical miles and no casualties were reported. Moreover, similar attacks recurred on 27 and 28 November 2016 while fishing boats were sailing within 3 nautical miles. However, neither casualties nor damages to the boats were reported
During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 57 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 8 others in occupied Jerusalem and its suburbs. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 68 Palestinian civilians, including 19 children. Twenty-one of them, including 11 children, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem.
Among those arrest, Israeli forces arrested Dr ‘Azzam No’aman ‘Abdel Rahman Salhab (60), a PLC Member from the Change and Reform bloc affiliated with Hamas, and Anas Hatem Qafishah, who is the son of another PLC Member and arrested from his family house in Hebron .
In the Gaza Strip on 29 November 2016, Israeli forces conducted a limited incursion in al-Shokah village, east of Rafah City in the southern Gaza Strip. They levelled and combed the area in addition to establishing sand barriers in the area. They later redeployed along the border.
Creating Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem:
In the context of house demolitions, on 29 November 2016, Israeli municipality demolished with hand tools two rooms and 35-square-meter balcony located in the “Central neighbourhood” in the area in Silwan village, south of occupied Jerusalem’s Old City. The two rooms are part of a house belonging to al-Shyoukhi family that is comprised of 10 members. The house was built ten years ago.
On the same day, the Israeli municipality demolished a house in al-Mukaber Mount neighbourhood, southeast of the city, under the pretext of building without a license. The 110-square-meter house, which belongs to ‘Issam Khalaylah family, shelters 9 members, including 6 children.
Settlement activities and settlers’ attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property:
On 20 November 2016, Israeli forces distributed 12 notices to halt construction works for Palestinian families in Kherbet Um al-Khair, southeast of Yatta, south of Hebron, under the pretext of building without a license from the Israeli authorities.
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 Friday, 25 November 2016, dozens of Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international human rights defenders organized demonstrations in Bil’in and Ni’lin villages, west of Ramallah; al-Nabi Saleh village, northwest of the city and 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 houses. As a result, many 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.
House demolitions and demolition notices:
- At approximately 03:00 on Tuesday, 29 November 2016, the Israeli municipality partially damaged a house belonging to al-Shayyoukhi family in Selwan village, south of Occupied Jerusalem’s Old City, under the pretext of non-licensing. Mos’ab al-Shayyoukhi said to PCHR’s fieldworker that at approximately 03:00, Israeli border guard officers accompanied with special forces raided his family’s house in Selwan village in preparation for demolishing parts of the house with hand tools. He added that the municipality crews destroyed two rooms and a balcony of a 35 square meters with hand tools. Moreover, he said that his mother and siblings (10 members) has been living in the abovementioned house for 10 years. He also said that a year and a half ago Israeli municipality handed them an administrative demolition notice. However the Israeli municipality handed them a house demolition order now.
- At approximately 09:00 on Tuesday, 29 November 2016, Israeli municipality demolished a house belonging to ‘Esam Khalaylah in al-Mokaber Mount area, southeast of Occupied Jerusalem, under the pretext of non-licensing. ‘Esam said to PCHR’s fieldworker that at approximately 09:00, on the same day, Israeli vehicles surprised him and demolished his 110-square-meter house. It should be noted that 9 persons, including 6 children, live in the abovementioned building.’Esam added that all the family members would be forced to live in one room belonging to his uncle because of his inability to find a suitable house.
Israeli Settlers Attacks:
- On Sunday, 27 November 2016, 5 Israeli settlers assaulted Khalid ‘Amer ‘Aliyan (22) while returning from his work to his house in Surbaher village, south of Occupied East Jerusalem. As a result, Khalid sustained bruises throughout the body and his left shoulder was dislocated. He was then taken to Hadassah Hospital to receive medical treatment. ‘Esam’s brother, Mohamed, said that ‘Esam’s friend, who works with him in the same super market left work before ‘Esam. He told Mohamed that he saw Israeli settlers attacking ‘Esam with sticks. In the meantime, he attempted to defend ‘Esam and help him. The Israeli settlers then fled by private car. After that, ‘Esam’s friend called a PRCS ambulance to come quickly and help them. The ambulance arrived and took ‘Esam to Hadassah Hospital, where medical sources stated that ‘Esam sustained bruises throughout the body and his left shoulder was dislocated. Moreover, they told him that he needs to stay in the hospital for one week. It should be noted that Khalid is a former prisoner and was arrested last year in September. In addition, he was released in April after he served 7 months in Megiddo and Negev prisons.
- Settlement activities and attacks by settlers against Palestinian civilians and property
- On Monday, 28 November 2016, Israeli forces ordered 6 persons from al-Khadir village, south of Bethlehem, to stop building their houses, which are under construction. Ahmed Salah, Coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Annexation Wall and Settlements in al-Khadir village, said that Israeli forces accompanied with a crew from the Organization and Construction Department of the Israeli Civil Administration raided Um Rokba area, south of the village. They handed 6 persons notices to stop construction under the pretext of non-licensing. The abovementioned persons were identified as Nadir, Abdullah and Ibrahim Saleh Salah; Maher al-Rajabi; Anwar Mahmoud Rasheed; and Khadir Shaheen. It should be noted that Um Rokba area was exposed to Israeli forces’ attacks for years. For example, they prevented civilians from building by handing them notices.
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;
Detailed document available in full at PCHR’s official website.