Dozens of Israeli soldiers attacked, on Monday evening, dozens of Palestinian detainees in Ofar Israeli prison, near Ramallah in the central West Bank, and fired many rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs and concussion grenades. They also hit the detainees with batons and used military dogs to attack them, wounding more than 100 detainees.
The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported that the soldiers began invasions and massive searches of the detainees’ rooms in the early morning hours on Monday, and assaulted many detainees, leading to protests by the imprisoned men.
The PPS added that the soldiers started firing rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs and concussion grenades, in addition to striking many detainees with batons and unleashing their dogs on them.
At least 100 detainees were injured, mainly after being shot with rubber-coated steel bullets from close range in their cells, before a number of them were moved to several Israeli hospitals.
Most of the wounded detainees were later return to the prison, while around twenty of them remained hospitalized fur further treatment.
At least three cells were burned during the Israeli invasions into them, possibly resulting from the firing of tear gas canisters at close range when the special prison forces stormed many of the cells.
The invasions into the cells came just one day after the soldiers stormed sections 17 and 15 of the prison, forcing the detainees out, and assaulted them while searching their rooms. There are approximately 1200 Palestinian political prisoners held at the facility.
The invasions and assaults were carried out by undercover Israeli soldiers from various units, including Dror, Metzada and Yamam units. The special forces targeted all ten sections of the prison, including the children’s branch.
The PPS stated that, in response to the invasions and assaults, the detainees have decided to send back their meals and barricade themselves in their cells. They are considering further measures, which could include a comprehensive hunger strike.
Furthermore, the PPS stated that this invasion and assault is the most violent in ten years, and warned that Israel might be planning further escalation against the detainees, under direct orders from Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.
It warned that such an escalation could lead to fatalities among the detainees, due to the excessive use of force by the soldiers, similar to what happened at the Negev Detention Camp in 2007, when the soldiers shot and killed a detainee, identified as Mohammad al-Ashqar.
The PPS called on various human rights groups, including the International Red Cross, to intervene and demand that Israel stop escalating their violations against the detainees.
Defense for Children International – Palestine submitted a joint report to United Nations investigators, last week, detailing Israeli forces’ killing of Palestinian children during mass protests in the Gaza Strip, conduct amounting to war crimes.
The 57-page report, drafted in collaboration with the Human Rights and Gender Justice Law Clinic (HRGJ) at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law, provides background and context to mass protests in Gaza, highlights Israeli forces’ unlawful killing of Palestinian child protesters, and details serious violations of international law by Israeli forces. The report was submitted to the UN Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), which was established during a special session of the UN Human Rights Council in May 2018.
The report notes, according to the PNN, that of the 56 Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces and settlers in the OPT during 2018, a total of 45 children were killed in the Gaza Strip since March 30, according to evidence collected by DCIP. In the overwhelming majority of cases, DCIP was able to confirm children did not present any imminent, mortal threat or threat of serious injury when killed by Israeli forces. The report concludes Israeli forces and officials are responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious violations of international law for the killing of Palestinian child protesters in Gaza.
“Israeli armed forces have regularly been implicated in widespread and systematic human rights violations against Palestinian children, yet systemic impunity is the norm,” said Brad Parker, Senior Adviser, Policy and Advocacy at DCIP. “The Commissioners must pursue accountability by analyzing alleged violations of international criminal law falling within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court and naming perpetrators.”
In order to challenge systemic and seemingly perpetual impunity and increase protections for children, DCIP and HRGJ strongly urged the Commission to analyze alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity, name specific perpetrators and assign criminal responsibility to higher-ranking Israeli armed forces’ members or other officials, where applicable.
Defense for Children@DCIPalestine: Israeli forces shot dead 14-year-old Othman Hilles today in Gaza. Video shows he posed no direct or mortal threat at the time he was killed. A live bullet struck him in the chest and exited through his back. #GazaReturnMarch
Due to the deteriorating human rights situation in the OPT, the UN Human Rights Council convened a special session on May 18, 2018 in Geneva. The council adopted a resolution creating an independent, international commission of inquiry to investigate all alleged violations of international law in the OPT in the context of mass protests that began on March 30, 2018.
The “Great March of Return” civilian demonstrations began in the Gaza Strip on March 30, 2018 in protest of Palestinian refugees’ inability to return to properties lost during events surrounding the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 and also to demand an end to Israel’s 11-year near total closure of the Gaza Strip. These mass civilian protests, which have taken place weekly in the area along the Israeli-installed Gaza perimeter fence or near the Mediterranean shore, have drawn large and diverse crowds of demonstrators, including women, children, and elderly people.
While Israeli authorities have selectively opened their own investigations into several incidents occurring since March 30, 2018, Israeli authorities have persistently failed to impartially and independently investigate alleged violations of its armed forces in accordance with international standards.
Children affected by armed conflict are entitled to special respect and protections under international law, but Israeli armed forces have consistently violated these protections through indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks that result in the unlawful killing and maiming of children amounting to war crimes, according to evidence collected by DCIP.
A new short, ‘snapshot’ report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) offers a view of the casualties in the besieged Gaza Strip since the beginning of the Great Return March and the end of the year. According to the report 254 Palestinians were killed and 23 603 injured by Israeli occupation forces in the besieged Gaza Strip since the Great Return March started on March 30th and December 31st 2018. Of the dead, 206 were adult males and 2 were adult females, while 46 were minors – of them 44 were boys and 2 were girls. Of the injured 16 519 are adult men and 1437 are adult women, while 5183 are underage boys and 464 are underage girls. 6744 people suffered injuries from live ammunition and 741 from missiles, artillery shells and equivalents. The worst month in casualties was May when 80 people were killed and 5981 were injured by Israeli occupation force. Israel’s own casualties in the same period were 2 dead and 52 injured. FEATURED PHOTO from the Great Return March demonstration on Friday January 18th. SOURCES:Humanitarian snapshot: casualties in the context of demonstrations and hostilities in Gaza | 30 March – 31 December 2018Over 250 Palestinians killed, 23,000 injured in March of Return protests in Gaza – report#GazaReturnMarch #GreatReturnMarch #NoWayToTreatAChild #OCHA
The Internationalt Forum Middle East Group organized an information sharing action in Copenhagen on Monday, 21 January as part of the International Week of Action to Free Ahmad Sa’adat. Following on an earlier event raising funds to support Palestinian prisoners’ advocacy, the event included the distribution of flyers and literature about the case of Ahmad Sa’adat, the imprisoned General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and his fellow nearly-6,000 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails.
The participants distributed hundreds of flyers to passers-by amid a rainy, snowy evening. Despite the winter weather, activists reported that the information was very well-received by people on the streets, especially on Blågårdsgade, where the participants gathered.
They also distributed information about the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign and the boycott of Israel. One campaign involving many activists in Denmark and across Europe is the campaign to boycott the Eurovision Song Contest so long as its finals continue to be scheduled in apartheid Israel. Organizers across the continent are participating in creative actions, petition campaigns and protests, urging that the final series be moved.
A number of prominent artists have pledged to boycott the contest so long as it continues its complicity with colonialism in occupied Palestine. On Sunday evening, 20 January, activists in France took action on stage on France 2, amid a “Destination Eurovision” promotional program, urging boycott of the event:
After distributing flyers, they lit torches and marched through the streets of the Nørrebro area of Copenhagen with signs reading “Free Ahmad Sa’adat” and sharing slogans: “Fight imperialism and Zionism, Boycott Israel, Free Palestine!”
The protest came as part of the international events marking the 17th anniversary of the political leader’s arrest by deception by the Palestinian Authority on 15 January 2002. He was imprisoned by the PA for four years under U.S. and British guard, part of its security coordination with the Israeli occupation. In March 2006, shortly before newly elected PA officials were to be sworn in, Israeli occupation forces violently attacked the PA’s Jericho prison where Sa’adat and his comrades were held; the U.S. and British guards moved aside in advance to support the attack, in which two Palestinians were killed by the Israeli forces. Today, Sa’adat is serving a 30-year sentence in Israeli occupation prisons.
As Israeli elections approach, politicians have competed with one another to urge harsher repression and violations against the prisoners. Gilad Erdan, the Israeli minister over the Israel Prison Service – who also is responsible for the apartheid colonial state’s global anti-BDS campaign – has launched a string of attacks on the prisoners, cutting their water supply and confiscating thousands of books.