Palestinian children take part in a protest demanding the release of prisoners in Israeli jails in Gaza city, on 29 November, 2016
As many as 95 per cent of Palestinian children arrested by Israeli authorities were tortured during detention, a new report said.
The Palestinian Ministry of Information said yesterday that the Israeli abuses against Palestinian children included beating, kicking, blindfolding and handcuffing them during detention as well as interrogating them without the presence of a lawyer or a family member, in violation of laws that prevent interrogating minors or extracting confessions from them by coercion.
According to the report, a majority of the Israeli violations against Palestinian children took place after midnight.
The report said the arrests are part of an intensive Israeli campaign targeting school children especially at checkpoints erected inside the occupied city of Jerusalem and at all entrances to Palestinian villages, towns, and camps in the West Bank.
Ola Awad, president of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), commemorated the upcoming anniversary of Land Day (March 30), by publishing a report on Thursday, demonstrating that Israeli theft of Palestinian land has persisted through the 43 years since it began,.
On March 30, 1976, Palestinians inside Israel protested against the Israeli government announcement of the seizure of 21,000 dunams (5,189 acres) of Palestinian land. The Israeli police violently suppressed the demonstrations, killing 6 young Palestinians, and injuring and arresting many others.
Every year, Palestinian citizens of Israel, and Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and abroad, commemorate Land Day with marches and remembrance. Land Day 2019 coincides with the one year anniversary of the Great March of Return demonstrations in Gaza, where Palestinians are demanding their right to return to the land that is now known as Israel, as well as an end to the 12 year blockade imposed on Gaza by Israel and Egypt. During 2018, 312 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in Gaza, including 57 children and 3 women, with nearly 30,000 injured over the same period of time.
The total area of historical Palestine is 27, 000 square kilometres, 85% of which is under Israeli military control. Therefore only 15% of the ancestral land is available for indigenous Palestinians to cultivate their land. According to the report, an increase in settlement activity was seen over the course of 2018, with the Israeli occupation approving the construction of 9,384 new housing units, as well as the establishment of 9 new settlement outposts.
According to the PCBS report, 7,122 trees were uprooted in 2018, with over one million trees destroyed by the Israeli occupation forces between the years 2000 and 2019. More Israeli violations against the Palestinian people include home demolitions, forced displacement of communities, and families, not to mention the daily incursions by Israeli forces into countless neighbourhoods across the West Bank.
The Palestinian Captive Movement, from inside Israeli jails, has announced the launch of an open-ended mass hunger strike in protest of the recent and vicious attacks on Palestinian prisoners, by Israeli authorities.
In a statement on Thursday, the Captive Movement urged all prisoners in Israeli jails to take part in the hunger strike, which was dubbed “The Battle of Dignity”, according to Days of Palestine.
The statement, which was signed by representatives of prisoners from Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah, the Popular Front and the Democratic Front, affirmed that the hunger strike was a necessary step to respond to Israel’s escalation of its punitive measures against the prisoners and its persistence in violating their rights.
Israeli forces continued with systematic crimes, in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), for the week of 21 – 27 March, 2019.
Israeli warplanes launched 82 missiles at 38 targets across the Gaza Strip. Several houses and civil facilities sustained material damage and dozens of civilians became homeless. Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against the peaceful protestors in the Gaza Strip. Two Palestinian civilians were killed in eastern Gaza City and al-Buriej camp. 195 civilians, including 56 children, 4 women, 3 journalists, and a paramedic, were wounded. The injury of two of them was reported as serious.
In the Gaza Strip, the Israeli forces continued to use lethal force against the participants in the peaceful protests organized along the Gaza Strip borders, which witnessed the peaceful protests for the 51st week along the eastern and northern border area of the Gaza Strip. They also continued to use force as well during the incursions into the West Bank. In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces killed 2 Palestinian civilians and wounded 205 others, including 57 children, 4 women, 3 journalists, and a paramedic. The injury of two of them was reported serious. Seven of the total number of injuries were wounded during airstrikes carried out by the Israeli warplanes at targets across the Gaza Strip as two fishermen were wounded in the Gaza Sea and a child was wounded after targeting the border areas. Meanwhile, the rest injuries occurred during the Return and Breaking Siege March. In the West Bank, Israeli forces killed a volunteer paramedic (17) and wounded 3 civilians in al-Dahisha refugee camp south of the West Bank.
In the Gaza Strip, during the 51st Friday of the Return and Breaking Siege March, Israeli forces killed 2 Palestinian civilians. The first one, Jehad Hararah (23), from al-Shuja’iyia neighborhood, east of Gaza City, died after being hit with a live bullet to the chest while participating in the demonstrations in Malaka square, east of Gaza City. The second one, Nidal Shatat (29), from al-Moghraqah village, south of Gaza City, died after being hit with a live bullet to the chest while participating in the demonstrations in eastern al-Buriej camp and present around 50 meters away from the border fence with Israel. These new violations come only hours after the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on accountability brought by Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). The vote had 23 states voting in favor, 8 against and with 15 abstentions, condemning Israel’s “apparent intentional use of unlawful lethal and other excessive force” against civilian protesters in Gaza. Thus, these incidents emphasize that the Israeli forces persist in its violation of the international humanitarian law and international human rights law.
In excessive use of lethal force against the peaceful protesters in eastern Gaza Strip, Israeli forces wounded 195 civilians, including 56 children, 4 women, 3 journalists, and a paramedic. The injury of two of them was reported serious.
Injuries in the Gaza Strip from 20 to 27 March 2019 According to the Governorate
Northern Gaza Strip
Central Gaza Strip
As part of airstrikes, Israeli forces carried out dozens of airstrikes on various targets across the Gaza Strip. These airstrikes have been the most violent in recent months that have not spared civilians and displaced dozens of them. Palestinians in the Gaza Strip lived in a state of terror and fear due to the continuous Israeli airstrikes that targeted various locations; some were in densely-populated areas throughout the Gaza Strip. According to the documentation by PCHR’s fieldworkers, the Israeli warplanes launched 82 missiles at 38 targets across the Gaza Strip, including residential buildings and civil facilities, under the pretext of having security service offices underneath or near them. As a result, 7 Palestinian civilians sustained minor wounds due to the scattering glass and bricks following those airstrikes. During and after the airstrikes, dozens of civilians were forced to evacuate from their houses dreadfully in the cold weather at night, rendering 13 families comprised of 70 members, including 44 children and 14 women, homeless. In addition to the destruction caused by the airstrikes against the targeted locations and the damage caused to nearby houses and facilities, the resulting explosions caused panic and fear among civilians, especially women and children, as the explosions reminded them of the traumatic experiences they lived in the three offensives of 2008-2009, 2012, and 2014.
As part of targeting the Palestinian fishermen in the sea, the Israeli forces continued to escalate their attacks against the Palestinian fishermen, indicating the on-going Israeli policy to target their livelihoods. During the reporting period, PCHR documented 4 incidents were as follows: 2 incidents off Rafah Shore; one incident off Khan Yunis Shore, south of the Gaza Strip; and one incident off al-Waha resort shore, north of the Gaza Strip. These incidents resulting in the injury of a fisherman and his son, in addition to damaging their fishing boat.
As part of targeting the border areas, on 24 March 2019, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israel, east of al-Shawka, east of Rafah, opened fire at a number of Palestinian civilians, who were collecting aggregates. As a result, Mahmoud Fouad Salman al-‘Arja (14) was hit with shrapnel to the face.
Om 26 March 2019, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israel, east of al-Buriej refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian shepherds and no injuries were reported. The shepherds were forced to leave the area for fear of their lives.
In the West Bank, in new crime of targeting medical personnel, Israeli forces moved into al-Walijah neighbourhood in al-Dheisheh refugee camp, south of the West Bank, and killed a volunteer paramedic, Sajed Mizher (17) while treating injured protesters in the camp. The Israeli forces also wounded 3 other civilians.
Israeli authorities continued to create a Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem.
As part of the Israeli house demolitions and notices, on Tuesday morning, 26 March 2019, Ahmed Moussa al-‘Abassy (48) started to demolish his house in order to implement the Israeli Municipality decision. Ahmed said that the municipality issued a demolition decision in the middle of the past February under the pretext of non-licensing. Moreover, on Monday, 25 March 2019, the municipality staff raided Ahmed’s house in Ra’ss al-‘Amoud neighborhood in Silwan village, south of the old city, and ordered him to self-demolish his house within two weeks. As a result, Ahmed was forced to self-demolish his house to avoid paying the demolition costs. It should be noted that Ahmed started to build his 100-square-meter an under-construction house in October 2018.
As part of targeting social activities in the city, on Thursday, 21 March 2019, Israeli authorities prevented the holding of a Palestinian activity for Mother’s Day in the French Cultural Center in Jerusalem on Salah al-Deen Street in central occupied East Jerusalem. Eyewitnesses said that Israeli Intelligence officers accompanied with boarder guard officers raided the French Cultural Center, locked it down and prevented the invitees to enter to Jerusalem Girls Association’s activity in the center, under the pretext that it is funded and supervised by the Palestinian Authority (PA). Moreover, the eyewitnesses said that the Israeli forces fixed an order on the center’s gate to prevent holding the activity in the center or in any different place in Jerusalem. It should be mentioned that, over the past years, the Israeli authorities prevented several social and national activities under the pretext that they were funded by the PA.
Israeli Forces continued their settlement activities, and the settlers continued their attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property
As part of Israeli settlers’ attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property, PCHR’s fieldworkers documented 3 direct attacks were as follows:
On 21 March 2019, Hundreds of the Israeli settlers organized a demonstration starting from the closed Shuhadah Street and then heading to Tal al-Ramidah neighborhood, where they performed their religious rituals at al-Ibrahimi Mosque and chanted racist slogans against the Arabs.
On 25 March 2019, Israeli settlers wrote racist slogans and punctured the tires of 28 vehicles in the French Hill neighborhood, north of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. The vehicles belong to Abu Lail, Shanak, ‘Oda and ‘Obaidi.
On 26 March 2019, Israeli settlers attacked al-Khansa Primary Mixed School in Taqou’a village, southeast of Bethlehem.
Use of Force against Demonstrations in Protest against the U.S. President’s Decision to Recognize Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel:
Israeli forces continued its excessive use of lethal force against peaceful demonstration organized by Palestinian civilians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and it was named as “The Great March of Return and Breaking Siege.” The demonstration was in protest against the U.S. President Donald Trump’s declaration to move the U.S. Embassy to it. According to PCHR fieldworkers’ observations, the border area witnessed large participation by Palestinian civilians as the Israeli forces continued to use upon highest military and political echelons excessive force against the peaceful demonstrators, though the demonstration were fully peaceful. The demonstration was as follows during the reporting period:
At approximately 15:30 on Thursday, 21 March 2019, Israeli forces stationed on sand berms along the border fence with Israeli, opened fire and fired tear gas canisters at a group of Palestinian young men and boys gathered near the Return Camp, east of al-Buraij. As a result, a child was hit to the lower limbs and his injury was reported moderate.
During the 51st week of the March of Return and Breaking Siege activities, Israeli forces killed two Palestinian civilians and wounded 190 others, including 54 children, four women, three journalists and a paramedic. The incidents were as follows:
Gaza City: The Israeli shooting at Palestinian demonstrators, which continued from 15:00 until 18:00, resulted in the killing of Jehad Munir Khaled Harara (23), from al-Shuja’ya neighborhood, east of Gaza City. At approximately 16:50, Jehad was hit with a live bullet to the chest and at approximately 17:30, the medical sources announced his death. Moreover, 98 civilians, including 28 children and a journalist, were wounded. Seventy-one of them were hit with live bullets and shrapnel, 20 were directly hit with tear gas canisters and seven were hit with rubber bullets. The wounded journalist, ‘Ali Jadallah (27), who works as a photographer for Anadolu Agency, was hit with a live bullet shrapnel to the left hand.
Northern Gaza Strip: the Israeli shooting at Palestinian demonstrators resulted in the injury of 23 civilians, including five children, a woman, a journalist, and a paramedic. Seven of them were hit with live bullets and shrapnel and 16 were directly hit with tear gas canisters. The injury of two of them was reported serious. The wounded journalist, Mohammed Isma’il ‘Abdullah al-‘Athamna (20), who works as a freelance journalist, was hit with a live bullet to the left leg. The wounded paramedic, Youssof Ra’ed Youssof Abu Baid (22), who works as a volunteer paramedic for PRCS, was hit with a tear gas canister to the right hand.
Central Gaza Strip: The Israeli shooting at Palestinian demonstrators, which continued until 18:00, resulted in the killing of Nedal ‘Abd al-Karim Ahmed Shatat (29), from al-Moghraqa village, south of Gaza City. At approximately 17:20, Nedal was hit with a live bullet entered his left side of chest and exited the right side, while he was around 50 meters away from the border fence with Israel, east of al-Buriej Camp. At approximately 17:40, Nedal arrived as a dead body at al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah. Moreover, the shooting resulted in the injury of 32 civilians, including 15 children and two women. Fourteen of them were hit with live bullets and shrapnel and 18 were directly hit with tear gas canisters. The Israeli soldiers targeted in the vicinity of a field medical point and ambulances with tear gas canisters. As a result, a number of medical personnel sustained tear gas inhalation.
Khan Younis: The Israeli shooting at Palestinian demonstrators, which continued from 15:00 until 18:00, resulted in the injury of 28 civilians, including six children, a woman and a paramedic. Ten of them were hit with live bullets and shrapnel, 17 were directly hit with tear gas canisters and one was hit with a rubber bullet. The wounded journalist, Isma’il Farid Mohammed Abu ‘Amer (36), who works as a reporter at al-Aqsa Voice Radio, was hit with a tear gas canister to the left leg.
Rafah: The Israeli shooting at the demonstrators, which continued from 15:00 until 17:30, resulted in the injury of nine demonstrators. Three of them were hit with live bullets and shrapnel and six were directly hit with tear gas canisters.
At approximately 16:30 on Saturday, 23 March 2019, an Israeli drone fired two missiles at a group of Palestinian young men, who were around 400 meters away from the border fence with Israel, east of al-Buraij Camp in the Central Gaza Strip. As a result, three civilians were hit with shrapnel. It should be noted that two journalists sustained bruises. The wounded journalists were identified as Mahmoud Omar Mahmoud al-Loh (29), who works as a reporter for al-Sha’b Voice Radio, and Ahmed Bakr Mahmoud al-Loh (34), who works as a reporter for al-Rebat Voice Radio.
At approximately 16:40 on Tuesday, 26 March 2019, Israeli forces stationed on sand berms along the border fence with Israel opened fire and fired tear gas canisters at a group of Palestinian young men and boys, who were near the Return Camp, east of al-Buraij. As a result, a 17-year-old child was hit to the lower limbs and his injury was reported moderate.
Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip:
On Monday and Tuesday, 25 and 26 March 2019, Israeli forces carried out dozens of airstrikes on various targets across the Gaza Strip. These airstrikes have been the most violent in recent months that have not spared civilians and displaced dozens of them after 10 days of a similar aggression. For 12 hours, two million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip lived in a state of terror and fear due to the continuous Israeli airstrikes that targeted various locations; some were in densely-populated areas throughout the Gaza Strip. Moreover, on Wednesday, 27 March 2019, Israeli warplanes fired missiles at other targets. According to the documentation of PCHR, the Israeli warplanes fired 82 missiles at 38 targets across the Gaza Strip, including residential buildings and civil facilities, under the pretext of having security service offices underneath or near them. As a result, seven Palestinian civilians were wounded due to the scattering glass and bricks following those airstrikes and reported minor. During and after the airstrikes, dozens of civilians were forced to evacuate from their houses dreadfully in the cold weather at night, rendering 13 families comprised of 70 members, including 44 children and 14 women, homeless. In addition to the destruction caused by the airstrikes against the targeted locations and the damage caused to nearby houses and facilities, the resulting explosions caused panic and fear among civilians, especially women and children, as the explosions reminded them of the traumatic experiences they lived in the three offensives of 2008-2009, 2012, and 2014. With this wide-scale tide of escalation, Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip found themselves again under disproportionate airstrikes, which fall under the Israeli collective punishment policy, after Israel had declared that two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip over northern Tel Aviv, wounding seven Israel.
The most prominent civilian facilities that were targeted were as follows:
– Targeting al-Multazem Insurance Company located in the ground floor of al-Ghazali Building. Al-Ghazali was comprised of 2 buildings on an area of 662 square meters and included 10 residential apartments next to the Municipality Park in Gaza City. The Israeli drones and warplanes targeted the building with 5 missiles after the Israeli Intelligence called the building’s owner and ordered him to evacuate. As a result, the nearby buildings sustained severe damage and four families of 29 members, including 19 children and women, were displaced.
– Targeting Hassounah 4-storey building, which include 8 residential apartments and whose warehouses were rented by the Internal Security Service, in western Gaza City. The Israeli warplanes targeted the building with 8 consecutive missiles after calling the residents and ordering them to evacuate. As a result, the building was completely destroyed, and nearby buildings sustained severe damage. Moreover, 9 families of 41 members, including 25 children and 9 women, were displaced.
– Targeting the office of Head of Hamas political bureau, Ismail Haniyah, in al-Naser neighborhood in Gaza City and completely destroying it with 4 missiles in addition to causing extensive damage to the nearby houses and facilities, including the Palestinian Association for Development and Reconstruction (PADR).
– Targeting the Khan Younis Seaport and so destroying 2 boats belonging to the Marine Police and causing severe damage to 6 fishing boats and nets.
Destroying Omar Ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Mosque, adjacent to a military training site belonging to al-Qassam Brigades on Khalil al-Wazir Street in the center of Beit Hanoun, which was targeted with seven missiles in successive airstrikes. Moreover, Etihad Beit Hanoun Sport Club’s facilities, adjacent to the site from the west, sustained damage. It should be noted that the mosque was built of tin plates and steel frames after targeting it several times by Israeli warplanes during the 2012 and 2014 offensives.
The rest of the targets varied between agricultural lands and sites belonging to the military wings of the Palestinian factions, causing damage to the nearby residential buildings.
Israeli settlers’ attacks against Palestinian civilians’ property
At dawn hours on Monday, 25 March 2019, Israeli settlers wrote racist slogans and damaged dozens of vehicles in the French Hill neighborhood known as al- Samar land, north of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. The residents of the French Hill said that, on Monday, while they were going to their work, they were surprised that their vehicles’ tires were punctured, in addition to writing racist slogans on one of the neighborhood’s walls and a house gate. Some of these slogans was “Revenge… We will not give up the Israeli blood”. They also said that the vehicles belong to Abu Lail, Shanak, ‘Oda and ‘Obaidi. Moreover, Israeli police took photos of the vehicles and erased the slogans, but the residents held the Israeli police responsible for the recurrent of similar attacks in the area as they do not punish the settlers and reveal them. It should be noted that this is the third attack in the area over the past five years.
Notices and House Demolitions:
On Tuesday morning, 26 March 2019, Ahmed Moussa al-‘Abassy (48) started to demolish his house in order to implement the Israeli Municipality decision. Ahmed said that the municipality issued a demolition decision in the middle of the past February under the pretext of non-licensing. Moreover, on Monday, 25 March 2019, the municipality staff raided Ahmed’s house in Ra’ss al-‘Amoud neighborhood in Silwan village, south of the old city, and ordered him to self-demolish his house within two weeks. As a result, Ahmed was forced to self-demolish his house to avoid paying the demolition costs. It should be noted that Ahmed started to build his 100-square-meter an under-construction house in October 2018.
Settlement activities and attacks by settlers against Palestinian civilians and property
Israeli forces’ attacks:
At approximately 10:00, on Monday, 25 March 2019, Israeli forces backed by several military vehicles and a vehicle of the Israeli Civil Administration moved into al-Ras area, west of Ethna village, west of Hebron. An Israeli Civil Administration officer handed the houses’ owners two notices to stop construction work under the pretext of non-licensing. The first 100-sqaure-meter house belongs to Shehada Wajeeh al-Jeiawy (30) and the second 80-square-meter house belong to his brother Mahmoud.
On Thursday morning, 21 March 2019, Israeli forces locked down several neighborhoods in Hebron’s Old City and prevented Palestinian civilians from entering or exiting the neighborhoods in order to protect Israeli settlers’ Purim celebrations. Hundreds of the Israeli settlers organized a demonstration starting from the closed Shuhadah Street and then heading to Tal al-Ramidah neighborhood, where they performed their religious rituals at al-Ibrahimi Mosque and chanted racist slogans against the Arabs. The demonstration, which continued until 13:00, was under the Israeli forces’ protection.
Israeli settlers’ attacks:
At approximately 12:00, on Tuesday, 26 March 2019, Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian school in Taqou’a village, east of Bethlehem. Residents of the village said that dozens of settlers backed by Israeli forces organized a march near al-Khansa Primary Mixed School in Taqou’a. They gathered on the village’s main street and raised Israel’s flags, hindering the traffic. The village’s residents said that the Israeli settlers attempted to raid the school and attack students and teachers, but Palestinian young men and parents gathered and prevented the Israeli settlers from getting in the school.
Recommendations to the International Community
PCHR warns of the escalating settlement construction in the West Bank, the attempts to legitimize settlement outposts established on Palestinian lands in the West Bank and the continued summary executions of Palestinian civilians under the pretext that they pose a security threat to the Israeli forces. PCHR reminds the international community that thousands of Palestinian civilians have been rendered homeless and lived in caravans under tragic circumstances due to the latest Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip that has been under a tight closure for almost 11 years. PCHR welcomes the UN Security Council’s Resolution No. 2334, which states that settlements are a blatant violation of the Geneva Conventions and calls upon Israel to stop them and not to recognize any demographic change in the oPt since 1967. PCHR hopes this resolution will pave the way for eliminating the settlement crime and bring to justice those responsible for it. PCHR further reiterates that the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are still under Israeli occupation in spite of Israel’s unilateral disengagement plan of 2005. PCHR emphasizes that there is international recognition of Israel’s obligation to respect international human rights instruments and international humanitarian law. Israel is bound to apply international human rights law and the law of war, sometimes reciprocally and other times in parallel, in a way that achieves the best protection for civilians and remedy for the victims.
PCHR calls upon the international community to respect the Security Council’s Resolution No. 2334 and to ensure that Israel respects it as well, in particular point 5 which obliges Israel not to deal with settlements as if they were part of Israel.
PCHR calls upon the ICC this year to open an investigation into Israeli crimes committed in the oPt, particularly the settlement crimes and the 2014 offensive on the Gaza Strip.
PCHR Calls upon the European Union (EU) and all international bodies to boycott settlements and ban working and investing in them in application of their obligations according to international human rights law and international humanitarian law considering settlements as a war crime.
PCHR calls upon the international community 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 international community and United Nations to take all necessary measures to stop Israeli policies aimed at creating a Jewish demographic majority in Jerusalem and at voiding Palestine from its original inhabitants through deportations and house demolitions as a collective punishment, which violates international humanitarian law, amounting to a crime against humanity.
PCHR calls upon the international community to condemn summary executions carried out by Israeli forces against Palestinians and to pressurize Israel to stop them.
PCHR calls upon the States Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC to work hard to hold Israeli war criminals accountable.
PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fulfill their obligations under article (1) of the Convention to ensure respect for the Conventions under all circumstances, and under articles (146) and (147) to search for and prosecute those responsible for committing grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions to ensure justice and remedy for Palestinian victims, especially in light of the almost complete denial of justice for them before the Israeli judiciary.
PCHR calls upon the international community to speed up the reconstruction process necessary because of the destruction inflicted by the Israeli offensive on Gaza.
PCHR calls for a prompt intervention to compel the Israeli authorities to lift the closure that obstructs the freedom of movement of goods and 1.8 million civilians that experience unprecedented economic, social, political and cultural hardships due to collective punishment policies and retaliatory action against civilians.
PCHR calls upon the European Union to apply human rights standards embedded in the EU-Israel Association Agreement and to respect its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights when dealing with Israel.
PCHR calls upon the international community, especially states that import Israeli weapons and military services, to meet their moral and legal responsibility not to allow Israel to use the offensive in Gaza to test new weapons and not accept training services based on the field experience in Gaza in order to avoid turning Palestinian civilians in Gaza into testing objects for Israeli weapons and military tactics.
PCHR calls upon the parties to international human rights instruments, especially the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), to pressurize Israel to comply with its provisions in the oPt and to compel it to incorporate the human rights situation in the oPt in its reports submitted to the relevant committees.
PCHR calls upon the EU and international human rights bodies to pressurize the Israeli forces to stop their attacks against Palestinian fishermen and farmers, mainly in the border area.
GAZA, PALESTINOW.COM — The total number of Palestinians killed since the beginning of the March of Return protests on the Gaza-Israel border one year ago is 273, including 51 minors and 5 women, according to a report by Abdullah Hourani Center for Studies and Documentation.
It said in a report published on the eve of the 1st anniversary of the protests, which coincides on March 30, that 30,000 Palestinians were injured, more than half of them from inhaling teargas fired by Israeli forces during the protests and were treated at the scene of the protests. In the meantime, others had to be moved to hospitals, including 4700 minors.
It also said that three paramedics were among those who were killed and 670 medical staff members were injured, adding that two journalists were also killed, while dozens were injured, stressing that Israeli soldiers deliberately target media and medical staffs.
The report noted that Israeli authorities still hold bodies of 11 slain Palestinians, considered it a clear violation of international law.
The 47th Friday of the Great March of Return – Gaza [Photo File]
By Bahaa Shammala
Why the Great Return March protests?
What’s happening now in Gaza connects directly to the 2014 Israeli assault, in the sense of that on May 14th in the last year when Israel massacred more than 60 Palestinians and injured more than a thousand others. All of the hospitals in the Gaza Strip said that May 14th, 2018 was worse than any single day in the 2014 war when Israel was bombing with F-16s warplanes and missiles. That’s the scale of what’s happening in Gaza now.
Why are Palestinians going to the border?
The Palestinians people are going to protest near the Israeli separation fence because they are under a medieval siege, where Israel’s
deal is offering Palestinians to die quietly or we’ll shoot you.
In 2017, at least 54 Palestinians died in Gaza waiting for permits to be allowed out of this ghetto by Israel for medical treatment; they couldn’t get out of Gaza, most of them were cancer patients and they died. The number of medical permits Israel issued hit the lowest level since statistics were recorded, so that’s the deal, you die quietly, or if you protest we will shoot you dead.
The Palestinians have decided that they don’t want to die a slow death. They chose to protest near the Israeli separation fence to demandtheir legitimate rights which were stolen from them by the Israeli occupation forces.
On May 30, 2018, the commemoration of Land Day, which marks the events of March 30, 1976, when Israeli police shot and killed six Palestinian citizens of Israel as they protested against the Israeli government’s expropriation of land, the High National Commission for Return and Breaking the Siege in Gaza called for Gazans to gather to call for the right of return to their lands occupied by Israeli occupation gangs in the 1948 war and to put pressure on the Israeli authorities to break the immoral siege imposed by them for more than 12 years.
Large Palestinian crowds gathered alongside the eastern frontier of the Gaza Strip to take part in the weekly march to break the ongoing Israeli siege every Friday.
Since the beginning of the Great March of Return protests, Israel killed more than 260 unarmed Palestinian civilians among them journalists, medics, civilians, and children, and injured more than 28,000 others with different injuries.
Israel justified its crimes to the International community that it maintains the right to defend itself as the most of the victims were members of Hamas movement. Thus, Israeli authorities gave the green light to its military troops to kill and target civilians who posed no imminent danger to them.
Israel’s claiming: we killed Hamas “terrorists”
In addition to claim that it defends itself, the only justification that Israel uses for killing the Palestinians people who took part in the Great March of Return protest was that they were members of Hamas movement.
Israeli repeatedly propagated that Hamas is about erasing Palestinian people’s agency. It’s about saying Palestinians are not autonomous, they can’t organize, they don’t have the same concerns, desires and yearnings as other people.
Suppose that is true, what does Israel want to convey ?
Israel tells us that Hamas’s political strategies are changing.
Israel tells us that Hamas embraced mass civilian protest.
Why would that be a bad thing?
About a year ago in May, Hamas issued a new charter where they talked about their political transformation, which was an enunciation of its political positions they had held for a number of years, and they put it in one document.
Hamas refuses very clearly any notion that the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis is religious. They say; we are not against the Jewish religion or Jewish people; we just fight the Zionists, and we fight Israel because they’re colonizing and occupying us, so it shows clearly that Hamas adopts the anti-colonial nature of the Palestinian struggle.
Hamas says that we believe resistance is a right for any occupied people, but it’s up to Palestinians to decide how to exercise that resistance and they may choose different means, even while not renouncing the right of resistance.
This clearly shows , that Hamas takes exactly the position of Nelson Mandela which is that they may or may not choose armed resistance, but that they do have the right to choose any legitimate means of struggle. So if Hamas embraces different strategies, why would that be a bad thing?
Meanwhile, many liberals such as Thomas Friedman called upon Palestinians to embrace the tactics of Gandhi, which introduced to the world the concepts of ahimsa (nonviolence) and satyagraha (peaceful civil disobedience).
So, why wouldn’t the world welcome Hamas if it was the one who called for the peaceful Great March of return protests?!
Palestinians in Gaza, 70 percent of them refugees denied their right to return home, marked Land Day in 2018 with a massive march, bringing tens of thousands and even more to the colonially-imposed “border” and its associated “fence.” They demanded not only an end to the suffocating siege under which they have suffered for over a decade, progressively intensifying and persisting through three devastating wars. They also brought to the forefront the core of the Palestinian struggle for liberation: the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and lands confiscated by Zionist colonization. It is a struggle that belongs not only to the Palestinians in Gaza, but to all Palestinians around the world, especially those in the refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and those Palestinians dispersed even further from their homeland.
For organizing in a mass, collective demonstration highlighting this most fundamental Palestinian right, these demonstrators have faced brutal repression and killing for nearly one year. Medics, journalists, children, elders and people with disabilities have been shot down in cold blood by Israeli occupation forces as they protested for their right. And despite the killing, they have persisted and remained, marching each Friday to claim their rights in an uprising that has inspired people around the world, and especially Palestinians, with a clear commitment to achieving their goals: return and liberation.
Indeed, the Israeli occupation state has repeatedly attempted to pressure Palestinians into stopping the marches, through continuing and intensified siege, military attack and brutal military might. Despite the impunity Israeli officials enjoy and the unparalleled support they receive from the U.S. government and other world powers, the reality of Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity has perhaps never been so clear, as was recently affirmed in a new report by an independent commission of the UN Human Rights Council.
In the context of the fragmentation of Palestinians, the Great March of Return, on Land Day, has once again highlighted that the Palestinian struggle is one struggle – from Palestinian citizens of Israel in ’48 Palestine, to those in Jerusalem, in the West Bank, in the Gaza Strip, in Jordan, in the camps in Lebanon and Syria and everywhere around the world in exile and diaspora. To this number must also be added the nearly 6,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, who through continued struggle inside the prisons continue to confront the siege and isolation imposed upon them as well.
Palestinians killed by occupation forces in the Great March of Return, have – like those shot down in extrajudicial executions and assassinations in the West Bank – had their bodies imprisoned by the Israeli occupation in an attempt to extort political concessions from Palestinians. In addition, participants from the demonstrations have themselves been kidnapped and imprisoned inside Israeli jails. Palestinian refugees who continue to be denied their right to return to their homes and lands may enter Palestine ’48 only when shackled, bound, tortured and imprisoned by the colonizing power that has confiscated that land.
Every uprising and act of resistance inside Israeli prisons is part of the same struggle against siege and isolation that the Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege represents. The Gaza Strip itself is often described as an “open-air prison,” the siege another form of colonial torture and isolation akin to that imposed on Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. The struggle to break the siege is a struggle to break all of the sieges encircling Palestinians, from the ever-intensifying racist campaigns of discrimination and exclusion in Palestine ’48, the ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem, the raids, killings and colonial settlements in the West Bank, the isolation of Palestinian refugees in the camps, the criminalization and repression of Palestinian activism worldwide.
Since 30 March 2018, the Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed that Israeli occupation forces have killed 266 people, including 50 children, six women and one elderly man. 30,398 people have been injured, 16,027 seriously enough to be hospitalized. The hospitalized Palestinians include 3,175 children and 1,008 women. During the demonstrations, 6,857 Palestinians have been shot with live bullets and another 844 with rubber-coated metal bullets. 1,503 were shot in the head and neck, 7,731 in the legs and 732 in the chest and back; 136 Palestinians have gone through amputations as a result. (This reflects another version of the infamous policy of Israeli commander “Captain Nidal” in shooting and disabling the Palestinian youth in Dheisheh and Aida refugee camps near Bethlehem.)
Medics Razan al-Najjar, Abdullah al-Qati and Musa Abu Hassanein were killed by occupation forces and 665 more were injured; 112 ambulances were damaged. Two journalists, Yaser Murtaja and Ahmed Abu Hussein, were killed and 347 more were wounded.
Despite this great price, Palestinians are continuing to march to break the siege, to win freedom for all, from the prisons to the camps to the streets, fields and shores of Gaza (where fishers and farmers risk death or imprisonment to ply their trade and support their families and communities.) They continue to march, most centrally, for their right to return home, for liberation for Palestine.
This weekend, we urge you to answer the calls for solidarity – to join the marches, events and demonstrations taking place around the world, to echo the calls of Palestinians from inside the prisons of the Israeli occupation and the open-air prison in Gaza for an end to the siege and for the right to return.
A list of events and activities is below. We know this list is not fully comprehensive, and we urge people to send their additional events and actions to us on Facebook or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join your local events and join in the uprising that Palestinians in Gaza have been leading for the past year – continuing over 100 years of anti-colonial Palestinian resistance.
Writing in Haaretz on March 24th the Israeli journalist Amira Hass revealed another extrajudicial execution of injured Palestinians by Israel’s occupation forces’ soldiers. On March 4th Israeli occupation soldiers shot and killed two young Palestinian men, Amir Mahmoud Daraj(20) and Yousef Raed Anqawi(24), in the West Bank village of Kufr Nimeh after their car had hit two Israeli occupation forces’ members, causing them moderate injuries, before colliding with an armoured personnel carrier that had suffered a malfunction and was stranded on the road. The incident took place at 03:30 am in a very bad weather, it was still dark, there was heavy fog which limited visibility even more and the road was wet and slippery after rain. The men were on their way to work in a bakery. Israeli occupation claimed that the incident was ‘a car ramming attack’ and paraded ‘a confession’ it was claimed had gotten from the only survivor, Haytham Basel Alqam(20), who suffered injuries from the crash itself and was not shot. Hass reveals that the ‘confession’ was result of him being put in jail in presence of Arab collaborators who pretended to be fellow prisoners and who had apparently manipulated him. More importantly Hass reveals that Israeli occupation had not told that all the shots fired by occupation forces’ members had come after the incident, and except one, minutes after it. One shot came 10 seconds after the car had hit the armoured personnel carrier. The next six shots came 4 minutes and 30 seconds later, then 20 seconds later came two more shots, then 30 seconds after those came one, final shot. This tells a story of extrajudicial executions – a double murder of the victims, who were painted as ‘terrorists’ by Israel’s occupation forces, who claimed that they had thrown previously ‘firebombs’. Instead the real story is one of a war crime which Israel’s occupation forces and regime are trying to hide: A brutal killing of two young men, with the survivor destined to be imprisoned while murderers in occupation uniforms will stay free, their impunity an example for others to follow. (Source / 29.03.2019)
Israel’s occupation forces killed a teenage volunteer paramedic near Bethlehem on the occupied West Bank on the morning of Wednesday March 27th. SHOT WHILE TRYING TO REACH WOUNDED The shooting took place after Israel’s occupation forces’ troops had invaded the al-Deheisha refugee camp and had clashed with local youths, wounding 3-4 of them and abducting three people. Sajed Abed al-Hakim Mezher, aged 17 or 18, was shot in his abdomen with a live bullet by Israeli occupation soldier at 06:00 am while he was running to reach a wounded person. Metzher was wearing his medic’s uniform and a reflective vest when he was hit. A fellow paramedic witnessed Mezher’s shooting: “There were clashes, people were throwing stones, and four had been wounded. He ran to help someone and got shot. I was right behind him. He thought he had been hit in the leg. But there was no blood because it was the abdomen.” Mezher was evacuated to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries. He was still conscious near the end and was able to raise his hand and made a victory sign with his fingers. His funeral took place in the afternoon in Bethlehem. MARTYR OF THE INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN MOVEMENT According to his family, he is “martyr of the international humanitarian movement”. The Mezhers lost his 15-year-old cousin Arkan Tha’er Mizhir on July 22nd 2018, when he was shot in chest by Israeli occupation soldier in the al-Deheisha camp. Sajed’s father said that he ‘begged’ his son not to go, but Sajed had answered that he was trained to help in situations like the one they had and that his medical uniform would protect him: “I begged him not to leave, I told him that the soldiers wouldn’t care if he was wearing a medical vest or not, but he insisted on going. He thought they wouldn’t shoot someone wearing a medical vest. He told me that he cannot abandon the wounded at this moment, saying he was trained to provide humanitarian aid at times like this. He told me not to worry and that he was protected under international law wearing his official uniform… but he was still shot and killed.” The local head of WHO in the occupied Palestinian territories, Dr Gerald Rockenschaub lamented Sajed Mezher’s killing: “We are saddened by this tragic loss. Health workers provide critical care and save lives. Their protection must be ensured. Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with Sajed’s family and our colleagues at PMRS.”