PCHR Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the oPt (19 – 25 November 2015)

Occupied Territories (IMEMC) – Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the oPt continued during the reporting period (19 – 25 November 2015).

Israeli attacks in the West Bank & Gaza:

Shootings

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. Occupied East Jerusalem witnessed similar attacks. During the reporting period, Israeli forces and settlers killed 8 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children, in the West Bank, while 2 other civilians, including a child, succumbed to their injuries. Moreover, 121 Palestinian civilians, including 29 children, 2 young women and 2 journalists, were wounded. Thirty of whom, including 5 children and a journalist, were wounded in the Gaza Strip and the others were wounded in the West Bank. Concerning the nature of injuries, 100 civilians were hit with live bullets and 21 ones were hit with rubber bullets.

In the West Bank, killings committed by Israeli forces were as follows:

In new wilful killing crime committed on Thursday, 19 November 2015, Israeli forces killed Shadi Arafah (28), from Hebron, who driving his car near “Gosh Etzion” settlement compound, south of Bethlehem, at the same time when another Palestinian was opening fire at Israeli settlers. Following the killing of Arafah, Israeli forces declared that it was an accident.

On the same day afternoon, medical sources pronounced Mahmoud Elayan (19), from Anata village, northeast of occupied Jerusalem, dead of wounds he sustained earlier. The aforementioned person was seriously wounded on 11 November 2015, at the northern entrance of al-Bireh town. He was then referred to an Israeli hospital in West Jerusalem to receive the necessary medical treatment. He remained there until he succumbed to his injury. Elayan was hit with a hard object to the back of his head, due to which, the skull was fractured and parts of his brain were damaged.

On 22 November 2015, Israeli forces stationed in a watchtower at Hawarah checkpoint, south of Nablus, killed Ashraqat Qatanani (16), from Askar refugee camp, northeast of the city. Israel forces claimed that she attempted to stab 2 female settlers, who were near the checkpoint.

On the same day, a settler opened fire at Shadi Khsaib (31), from Ein Mesbah neighbourhood, in Ramallah, when the latter was passing through “Kfar Adumim” settlement intersection, east of occupied Jerusalem. As a result, Khsaib was killed. Israeli forces claimed that Khsaib was driving a taxi “attempting to run over 2 settlers at the intersection, but he could not. Therefore, he stepped out of the car holding a knife in an attempt to stab them. However, a settler opened fire at him and shot him dead”.

Also on the same day, Israeli forces deployed on the main road in front of “Gosh Etzion” settlement, south of Bethlehem, killed Esam Thawabtah (31), from Beit Fajjar village, south of Bethlehem. Israeli forces claimed that the aforementioned person stabbed a female settler and killed her. Thawabtah’s corpse was taken to an unknown destination.

On 23 November 2015, Israeli forces stationed at Hawarah checkpoint, south of Nablus, killed Alaa Hashash (16), from Askar refugee camp, northeast of Nablus. They claimed that he attempted to stab settlers at a bus stop. However, PCHR’s investigations refute the Israeli story, as the aforementioned child passed through the checkpoint in front of Israeli forces and was holding nothing with him. Moreover, no settlers were present at the bus stop then. Israeli forces also seriously wounded a Palestinian young woman, as she was sitting in her father’s car.

On the same day, an Israeli police officer opened fire at 2 Palestinian girl children namely Hadeel Awad (16) and Nourhan Awad (14), from Qalandia area, north of East Jerusalem. As a result, the first child was killed and the other was seriously wounded as they were shot from a close range. Israeli forces claimed that the 2 girls were fired at as they attempted to stab Israeli settlers with scissors on Jaffa Street in West Jerusalem.

Also on the same day, Israeli forces killed Ahmed Taha (20), from Qatannah village, northwest of occupied Jerusalem, while he was present in a gas station on road (443) between Jerusalem and Israel. The Israeli police stated that Israeli forces that were present in the area opened fire at a Palestinian, who killed a settler and wounded another.

On 25 November 2015, Israeli forces stationed at the western entrance of al-Fawar refugee camp, south of Hebron, shot dead Mohammed al-Shobaki (21) from the aforementioned camp after stabbing an Israeli soldier stationed at the entrance. As a result, he was hit with several bullets throughout his body and then taken to Hadassa Hospital in Jerusalem, where his death was shortly declared.

In the afternoon, medical sources in Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah declared the death of Ibrahim Dawoud (16) from Deir Ghassanah village, northwest of the city as he was wounded on 11 November 2015 at the northern entrance of al-Bireh. Dawoud is the second wounded person who succumbed to his wounds during this week among those wounded in the aforementioned day in the same incident.

During this week, 91 Palestinians, including 24 children, 2 girls and a journalist, were wounded. Six of whom, including a child, were wounded in occupied East Jerusalem and its suburbs while the rest were wounded in the West Bank Cities.

The Palestinian civilians wounded in the West Bank were as follows:

In peaceful protests against Israeli policies: 75 Palestinian civilians, including 21 children and a girl, were wounded. Fifty-nine of them were hit with live bullets and 16 others were hit with rubber-coated metal bullets.

In peaceful protests against Israeli incursion: 6 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded. Five of them were hit with live bullets, and one was hit with a rubber-coated metal bullet. At the checkpoints and public roads: 2 Palestinian civilians were wounded. One of them was a girl who was hit with live bullets.

In peaceful protests against the annexation wall and settlement activities: 2 Palestinian civilians were hit with rubber-coated metal bullets.

Palestinian civilians wounded in occupied Jerusalem: 6 civilians, including a child, were wounded. Five of them were hit with live bullets and one was hit with a rubber-coated metal bullet.

In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces wounded 30 civilians, including 5 children and a journalist. Twenty-nine of them were hit with live bullets, and one with a rubber-coated metal bullet in addition to dozens who suffered tear gas inhalation.

In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces wounded 18 civilians. Sixteen of them, including 3 children and 2 journalists, were wounded in peaceful protests, while 2 fishermen were wounded in the sea. Eleven of the wounded were hit with live bullets, 3 were hit with rubber bullets and 4 were hit with tear gas canisters.

The Palestinian civilians wounded in the Gaza Strip were as follows:

North of the Gaza Strip: 2 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded; one of whom sustained a live bullet wound, and the other was hit with rubber-coated metal bullets. Gaza City: 14 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were hit with live bullets.

Central Gaza Strip: 10 Palestinian civilians, including a child and a journalist, were hit with live bullets. Khan Yunis: 4 Palestinian civilians, including 2 children, sustained live bullet wounds.

In the context of shooting incidents at the border area, on 20 November 2015, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip, east of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at the border area, but neither casualties nor material damage were reported. The shooting recurred in the same area on 21 November 2015.

On 25 November 2015, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, opened fire at the agricultural lands and residential neighbourhoods in Khaza’ah village to the west of the aforementioned fence. On 25 November 2015, the shooting recurred in the same area, but no casualties were reported.

Concerning targeting Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip Sea, at approximately 07:00 on Sunday, 22 November 2015, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Waha resort, west of Jabalia, north of the Gaza Strip, opened fire in the vicinity of Palestinian fishing boats and chased them. A similar shooting incident was reported on 23 and 25 November 2015, but no casualties were reported.

In the context of Israeli airstrikes, on 23 November 2015, Israeli warplanes raided a Palestinian training site, southwest of al-Bureij refugee camp, but no casualties were reported.

Incursions

During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 88 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 10 ones in occupied East Jerusalem. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 166 Palestinian civilians, including 35 children. Twenty-seven of these civilians, including 14 children, were arrested in East Jerusalem.

During this week, Israeli forces raided and searched Hebron Radio office in al-Dehdah area in the northern area of Hebron. One of its officers handed the Station Director a military order to shut down the station and confiscate its contents. The Israeli forces’ order says that the radio will be shut down for 6 months for “broadcasting incitement”.

In the Gaza Strip, on 25 November 2015, Israeli forces conducted a limited incursion in the border area, east of al-Shuhadaa’ Cemetery, east of Jabalaia in the northern Gaza Strip,a dn then headed to the southeast of the industrial area, east of al-Tufah neighbourhood, northeast of Gaza City. Neither causalities nor damages 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 (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.

Settlement activities

On 20 November 2015, group of Israeli settlers from “Talmoun” settlement established on the western side of the Palestinian lands confiscated from al-Mazra’ah al-Qebliyah village, northwest of Ramallah and al-Bireh, attacked a house belonging to Mohammed Soliman Abu Qare’a. The settlers threw stones at the glass of the balcony’s window overlooking the backyard and Molotov cocktails inside it. As a result, a plastic table in the balcony caught fire. On the same day, a group of settlers from “‘Immanuel” settlement established on the lands of Deiristaya, northwest of Salfit, attacked a Palestinian taxi cab driven by Malek Mahmoud Helmi Tuleib (35) from nearby Qeirah village causing severe damages to the car. On 22 November 2015, around 20 settlers from “Yitsahar” settlement and under the Israeli forces’ protect attacked Burin High Schoold for Boys established at the north-eastern of Burin village, south of Nablus. On the same day, settlers closed the main Tulkarm-Nablus Street near al-Tanib Factory and threw stones at Palestinian vehicles travelling on the Street.

Recommendations to the International Community:

Image Source: Adolfo Lujan, Flickr, Creative Commons

Image Source: Adolfo Lujan, Flickr, Creative Commons

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.