West Bank, Occupied Territories (IMEMC) – Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the oPt continued during the reporting period (14 – 21 October 2015).
Israeli attacks in the West Bank & Gaza:
Shootings: With the ongoing silence of the international community towards the Israeli grave violations in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), Israeli forces continued to commit crimes against Palestinian civilians. The reporting period witnessed bloody days and blatant disregard by Israeli forces for the lives of Palestinian civilians. Moreover, Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against Palestinians participating in peaceful protests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Occupied East Jerusalem witnessed shooting incidents against all those suspected of attempting to stab Israeli soldiers and settlers. During the reporting period, Israeli forces, police officers and settlers killed 17 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children, and a Palestinian civilian succumbed to his injury. Fourteen of these civilians, including 4 children, were killed in the West Bank. Among the killed were 5 civilians, including a child, from occupied East Jerusalem and its suburbs and the others were from the Gaza Strip. Moreover, 324 Palestinian civilians, including 46 children, 3 journalists and 6 paramedics, were wounded in the Gaza Strip and West Bank; 179 of them, including 7 children, 2 journalists and the 6 paramedics, were wounded in the Gaza Strip and the remaining others were wounded in the West Bank.
In the West Bank, Israeli forces killed 14 Palestinian civilians, including 5 children. Five of these civilians, including a child, were killed in occupied East Jerusalem and its suburbs.
On Friday, 16 October 2015, Israeli forces deployed at the northern entrance of Hebron (Ras al-Joura) opened fire at Eyad Khalil al-Awawda (27), from al-Koum village, southwest of Hebron, after al-Awawda chased an Israeli soldier to stab him, as clashes were taking place between Palestinians and Israeli forces in that area. As a result, al-Awawda sustained several bullet wounds and fell to the ground. He was pronounced dead and his body was handed over to the Palestinian side later.
On the same day, an Israeli sniper stationed at Beit Foreek checkpoint, northwest of Nablus, opened fire at a Palestinian protestor near the checkpoint namely Ehab Jehad Yusef Hanani (19). Hanani was wounded by a bullet that entered the right side of the chest and settled in the heart. He was then transported to Rafidiya Hospital in Nablus, where doctors’ efforts failed to save his life. Doctors estimated that he was shot from a range of about 400 meters.
On 17 October 2015, in two wilful killing crimes, Israeli forces killed a boy and a girl from Hebron. According to PCHR’s investigations regarding the first crime, at approximately 11:00, Israeli forces stationed at a military checkpoint in the east of Hebron, opened fire at Bayan Ayman Abdul Wahab al-Esaili (16) and killed her.
At approximately 19:00, Israeli forces stationed at the military checkpoint “56” established at the entrance of the northern entrance of al-Shuhada Street in Hebron opened fire at Tareq Zeyad al-Natcha (16), from Khellet Hadhour in the south of Hebron, and killed him. Israeli forces claimed the Bayan attempted to stab a female Israeli soldier and al-Natcha stabbed an Israeli soldier. In both crimes, no eyewitnesses were present.
In another wilful killing crime, an Israeli settler killed a Palestinian youngster on the above-mentioned day under the pretext of stabbing attempt in Hebron. According to investigations conducted by PCHR, an Israeli settler opened fire at Fadel Mohammed Awad al-Qawasme (18), from al-Shaikh quarter in Hebron, and killed him.
On Tuesday, 20 October 2015, Israeli forces opened fire at Oday Hesham Mohammed Masalma (24), from Beit Awwa village, southwest of Doura, southwest of Hebron. Masalma was hit by bullets to the left leg and a bullet to the head, due to which he was killed. Israeli forces denied paramedicsaccess to the wounded for half an hour. It should be noted that the aforementioned person stabbed an Israeli soldier in the hand.
On the same day, Israeli forces stationed on the main road opposite to “Gosh Etzion” settlement, south of Bethlehem, opened fire at a Palestinian civilian vehicle. As a result, the driver, Hamza Mousa al-‘Amla (25), from Beit Oula village west of Hebron, was killed by several bullets. The corpse was taken by an Israeli military ambulance to an unknown destination. Israeli forces claimed that al-‘Amla had run down 2 settlers on the side of the road.
In new cold-blooded crime, Israeli forces killed on Tuesday evening two children from al-the al-Ja’bari family in the vicinity of “Kiryat Arba” settlement, east of Hebron.
On 21 October 2015, Israeli forces opened fire at a vehicle driven by Mohammed al-Shalalda (25), from Sa’ir village, east of Hebron, after he ran down 5 Israeli soldiers near Beit Ommar village, north of the city. As a result, he sustained several bullet wounds and was taken to Hadasa Hospital by an Israeli ambulance. His health condition is critical according to his family unlike the Israeli claim that he was killed.
In occupied Jerusalem, Israeli forces committed willful killing crimes based on suspicions. Those crimes were as follows:
On Wednesday, 14 October 2015, Israeli forces killed Basel Bassam Ragheb Seder (20), from Hebron, while he was walking in al-Amoud Gate area in the Old City, in East Jerusalem.
On the same day, an Israeli police officer serving in “Yasam” special patrol unit opened fire at Ahmed Fathi Mohammed Abu Sha’ban (23), from Ras al-Amoud neighborhood, east of the Old city in East Jerusalem, under the pretext that he attempted to stab an elderly Israeli woman in the central station in West Jerusalem. As a result, he was killed by several bullets.
On Saturday, 17 October 2015, Israeli forces shot dead Mo’taz Ahmed ‘Ewisat (16), from al-Mukaber Mountain area, south of East Jerusalem. Israeli forces claimed that the aforementioned child attempted to stab a number of Israeli Border Guard officers stationed at a temporary checkpoint established at the entrance of “Armon Hanatziv” settlement, south of East Jerusalem. However, the Israeli officers opened fire at him according to the Israeli radio.
On the same day, Israeli forces killed Omer Mohammed al-Faqih (23), from Qatna village, northwest of East Jerusalem. They opened fire at him under the pretext of attempting to stab an Israeli soldier at Qalandia military checkpoint, north of the city. Israeli soldiers opened fire at him again from a zero distance and left him bleeding to death.
On 21 October 2015, a female Israeli soldier opened fire at Mo’taz Attallah Qasem (22), from al-Eizariya village, east of occupied Jerusalem, under the pretext that he stabbed another female soldier near Jaba’ crossroads, northeast of East Jerusalem. As a result, he sustained several bullet wounds from a close range causing his death.
During the reporting period, 146 Palestinian civilians were wounded in the West Bank, including 39 children; 27 of whom were wounded in occupied East Jerusalem and the others in the West Bank.
In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces killed 3 Palestinian civilians and a fourth one succumbed to his wound. Moreover, they wounded 179 others, including 7 children, 2 journalists and 6 paramedics. Among the paramedics, 4 suffered tear gas inhalation.
On 16 October 2015, Israeli forces stationed at and around Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing, northwest of Beit Hanoun town in the north of the Gaza Strip, fired rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters at Palestinian young men, who were protesting on the road in between the Israeli and Palestinian sides of the crossing. As a result, Yehya Abdul Qader Jaber Arafat (24) was killed and 74 others were wounded, including 4 children, a journalist and 2 paramedics.
On the same day, Israeli forces stationed at the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel in Nahal Oz area, east of Gaza City, opened fire at Palestinian youngsters who threw stones at Israeli forces. As a result, Mahmoud Hatem Mohammed Hmaid (23), from al-Shati’ refugee camp, was killed by a bullet to the head, and 30 others were wounded, including 2 children.
On 20 October 2015, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israel, east of al-Bureij refugee camp, opened fire at a group of Palestinian civilians, who were in an agricultural field that is around 350 meters away from the aforementioned fence. As a result, Ahmed Sharif al-Serhi (30), from Deir al-Balah, was killed by 3 bullets to the chest, while two others were wounded. The Israeli Army Radio reported that the Israeli forces killed a Palestinian sniper and wounded two others.
On 16 October 2015, medical sources at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, declared that Shawqi Jamal Jaber Ebeid (36), from Ezbet Beit Hanoun, succumbed to his wound. It should be noted that Shawki sustained a bullet wound to the head on 09 October 2015, when he was in his work in a stone factory, 2,000 meters away from the border fence where there were clashes between Palestinian youngsters and Israeli forces, east of al-Shuhada cemetery in the east of Jabalia.
In the context of targeting Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip sea, on 18 October 2015, Israeli gunboats stationed off Khan Yunis shore in the south of the Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing 3 nautical miles off al-Waha resort, northwest of Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip.
On 19 October 2015, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Sudaniya shore, northwest of Beit Lahia town in the north of the Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 4 nautical miles.
Incursions: During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 76 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 14 ones in occupied East Jerusalem. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 166 Palestinians, including 35 children and a woman. Forty-four of these civilians, including 19 children and the woman, were arrested in East Jerusalem.
Among the arrested was Hassan Yousef Dar Khalil (61), member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), who was arrested from his house in Beitoniya town, west of Ramallah, and Ali Abdul Karim al-Eweiwi (24), a reporter at al-Rabe’a radio, who was also arrested from his house in Hebron.
In the Gaza Strip, on 14 October 2015, Israeli forces moved about 100 meters into Damra area, north of Beit Hanoun town in the north of the Gaza Strip. They levelled lands and opened sporadic fire, but no casualties were reported.
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 (KeremShaloum) 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.
As part of the collective punishment policy carried out by Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians, since Thursday, 01 October 2015, Nablus has been cordoned in a way similar to the cordon imposed on the same city in the beginning of al-Aqsa Intifada. PCHR’s fieldworker said that “Yetshar” bypass road, south of Nablus, and Beit Foreik checkpoint, east of the city, were completely closed. Moreover, they redeployed at the checkpoints of Howara, Jeet, al-Naqoura village, and Deir Sharaf valley around the city. Israeli forces stationed at those checkpoints humiliate the Palestinian civilians passing through the checkpoints.
Efforts to create a Jewish majority: Following the Israeli cabinet’s decision to isolate the Arab neighborhoods in response to the “attacks” in the city, the Israeli forces started imposing a cordon on the villages and neighborhoods of occupied East Jerusalem by closing their entrances with cement blocks and establishing checkpoints and iron barriers in the streets and main roads.
On 14 October 2015, Israeli forces started implemting the policy of isolating the neighborhoods of the city from each other, and erecting iron barriers and checkpoints in the streets, especially in the Old City and its markets. They tightly closed the entrances and streets leading to al-Sawana, al-Jouz Valley, Sour Baher, Jabal al-Mukaber Mountiain, al-Eisawiya, Silwan and Ras al-Amoud areas. Thus, they deliberately disrupt life in the occupied city, obstruct civilians’ movement and increase their daily suffering.
In the same context, on 16 October 2015, Israeli forces imposed additional restrictions in East Jerusalem. They established iron barriers and denied the Palestinian young worshipers entry to the Old City to perform prayers in al-Aqsa Mosque. As a result, hundreds of Palestinians below 40 performed al-Fajr and al-Dhuhur prayers in the streets and near the Old City gates.
In the context of settlement activities and seizing control over Palestinian houses, on Sunday, 18 October 2015, Israeli forces fixed cement walls in Jabal al-Mukaber village, southeast of East Jerusalem, as part of the annexation wall to isolate the Arab neighbourhoods in the village from “Arom Hanatziv” settlement. Israeli forces declared that the wall is mobile and could be moved when necessary.
On Monday morning, 19 October 2015, “Ateret Cohanim” settlement organization seized control over 2 houses belonging to the Abu Nab family in Batn al-Hawa neighbourhood in Silwan village, south of the Old City in East Jerusalem.
Settlement activities and attacks by settlers against Palestinian civilians and property:
Israel has continued its settlement activities in the oPt, a direct violation of international humanitarian law, and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.
· In a wilful killing crime, with the assistance of Israeli forces, an Israeli settler killed a Palestinian young man, on Saturday, 17 October 2015, under the pretext of alleged stabbing in Hebron. According to PCHR’s investigations, at approximately 08:00, an Israeli settler opened fire at and killed Fadel Mohammed Awad al-Qawasme (18), from al-Shaikh neighbourhood in Hebron, who was present in the area between the entrance of al-Shuhada Street and Bab al-Daboya checkpoint in the city. A video posted on social media showed the settler with two Israeli soldiers, as the settler was trying to attack al-Qawasme who was lying on the ground. Half an hour later, al-Qawasme was transported by an Israeli ambulance to an unknown destination. In addition, the reason why al-Qawasme was present in that area has been unknown.
· At approximately 19:00 on the above-mentioned day, a group of Israeli settlers attempted to kill a Palestinian driver, Soboh al-Sha’ar (33), from al-Tour neighorhood, east of East Jerusalem, near “Mode’een Elite” settlement, west of Ramallah, while he was present in his workplace as a bus driver in “Egged” Transportation Company. Al-Sha’ar said to a PCHR fieldworker that he was surprised by a group of armed settlers knocking the door of the bus so harshly. They were chanting racist slogans against the Arabs. He added that he did not open the door and called the police after they threatened to kill him. When the Israeli police arrived, the settlers claimed that he attempted to run down one of them, but he refuted their claims.
It should be noted that about 100 Arab “Egged” bus drivers from Jerusalem and working on Mode’een Elite – Jerusalem Street had declared suspending their work due to the provocative practices and violations committed by settlers. The bus drivers stated that about 40 Jerusalemite drivers working in West Jerusalem were being subjected to provocative practices and violations by settlers, in addition to falsified stories they claim. They stressed that they would return to their work after receiving protection from the company and Israeli police.
· At approximately 02:00 on Tuesday, 20 October 2015, a group of Israeli settlers moved into the western entrance of Deir Estia village, northwest of Salfit. They burnt tires and swore at the Arabs. The mosques warned that settlers were present in the area, due to which Palestinian civilians gathered at the abovementioned entrance and confronted them. The settlers were supported by 5 Israeli military vehicles. Moreover, an Israeli bulldozer arrived and place cement cubes to close the village. The settlers withdrew by bus under the protection of Israeli forces that withdrew.
· At approximately 13:30 on the same day, a group of Israeli settlers moved into the same village, for the second time. They also burnt the Palestinian flag while cursing and attacking Palestinian vehicles passing by.
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:
1. 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;
2. 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;
3. 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;
4. 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;
5. 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; 6. 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;
7. 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;
8. 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;
9. 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;
10. 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;
11. 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;
12. 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;
13. 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, including info on protests, patrols and border crossings available at the official PCHR website.
Made available through IMEMC.