Israeli soldiers injured, on Saturday evening, several Palestinians, including one who suffered life-threatening wounds, during protests across the eastern parts of the besieged and improvised Gaza Strip.
Medical sources said the soldiers shot four Palestinians with live fire, east of Jabalia in northern Gaza Strip, and east of al-Boreij, in central Gaza, and added that one of the wounded Palestinians suffered life-threatening wounds.
They also said that several Palestinians suffered the severe effects of teargas inhalation, east of Rafah, in southern Gaza strip, and received the needed medical attention.
Also Saturday, The Israeli Airforce fired a missile at a motorcycle carrying three Palestinians, injuring all three.
On Friday, Israeli forces killed two Palestinian civilians, identified as Nidal ‘Abdel Karim Ahmed Shatat, 29, and Jihad Munir Khaled Hararah, 24, and wounded more than 180 during protests at the Gaza-Israel border.
Also on Friday, Israeli navy ships fired live rounds at Palestinian fishing boats off the Gaza Coast, wounding three fishermen.
The Arab Human Rights Center in the Golan Heights condemned United States President Donald Trump’s tweet calling for the US to fully recognize Israel’s “sovereignty” over the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, saying it signals a major shift in US policy that runs contrary to facts, logic, and international law, while threatening stability across the Middle East.
Israel invaded and occupied the Golan during the 1967 war against Syria that led to razing 340 out of 345 native Syrian villages and farms, and the displacement of 95 percent of the region’s population, approximately 130,000 people, according to WAFA.
“Israel has illegally occupied the Syrian Golan ever since, systematically instituting policies that perpetuate the discrimination and oppression of the native Syrian population,” said Al-Marsad in a statement.
“Numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions have condemned Israel’s illegal occupation of the Syrian Golan, including resolutions 242 and 497. The US supported and voted in favor of both of these resolutions, signaling that it does not believe Israel’s seizure and asserted annexation of the Syrian Golan is legitimate.”
Al-Marsad said that international law is unequivocal in its outlawing of the acquisition of territory after its seizure through acts of aggression and the US has assertively supported this principle elsewhere around the globe.
It also said that Trump’s tweet claims that recognizing the occupied Syrian Golan as part of Israel is necessary for Israeli security and regional stability while in reality “the only threat to security in the occupied Syrian Golan is prolonged illegal occupation and US recognition of Israel’s claimed ‘sovereignty’ over the region.”
Al-Marsad denounced Trump’s tweet, stressing that US recognition of the occupied Syrian Golan as part of Israel would “validate systematic human rights abuses, glorify violations of international law, and cause a major shift in US policy that will destabilize the Middle East.”
The Palestinian Health Ministry in the besieged Gaza Strip has reported, on Sunday at dawn, that a young man died from serious wounds he suffered, on Saturday at night, after Israeli soldiers shot him in the northern part of the coastal region.
Dr. Ashraf al-Qedra, the spokesperson of the Health Ministry in Gaza, has reported that the Palestinian has been identified as Habeeb al-Masri, 24.
He added that the Palestinian was shot during a protest near the perimeter fence, east of Beit Hanoun in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, after the soldiers targeted many protesters with live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets and high-velocity gas bombs.
The Palestinian suffered a very serious injury after a soldier shot him with a live round in the chest, and was rushed to the Indonesian Hospital, in Jabalia, before he was moved to the Shifa Medical Center in Gaza city, due to the seriousness of his wounds.
Dr. al-Qedra said that, despite all efforts to save his life, the Palestinian succumbed to his wounds at dawn, Sunday. The soldiers also injured at least two other Palestinians with live fire and caused many to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.
Also at dawn, Israeli army drones fired missiles into several areas, east of Rafah, in southern Gaza, and east of the al-Boreij refugee camp, in central Gaza, causing damage.
The army claimed that the sirens were sounded in the Eshkol Regional Council of Settlements and added that some protesters flew flammable balloons which apparently exploded even before flying over the perimeter fence.
The United Nations Human Rights Council has voted to adopt a report accusing Israel of War Crimes committed against civilians during Gaza demonstrations.
The report was adopted with 23 votes in favor, 8 against and 15 abstentions. Despite the statements of UK foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, the UK abstained from voting against the adoption of the report.
The UN report investigated the killings of 189 demonstrators, including 35 children, in Gaza, between the 30th of March and the 31st of December, 2018. The report concluded that Israel had committed serious violations of international law.
The report was instantly denounced as “biased” and “anti-Semitic” by Israel and its closest allies, according to Days of Palestine.
However, despite the slanderous comments against the UN by Israel, the report may now be taken to the International Criminal Court. The report calls for international arrest warrants to be handed out to the Israeli soldiers responsible, as well as individual sanctions to be applied to those guilty, for the illegal use of lethal force against unarmed demonstrators.
At least one Palestinian was shot an injured with a rubber-coated steel bullet as Israeli forces quelled the weekly and peaceful anti-settlement demonstration in the village of Kufr Qaddoum, to the east of Qalqilia, said a local activist.
Coordinator of the popular resistance committee in the village of Kufr Qaddoum, Murab Shtawi, said that Israeli forces violently suppressed demonstrators, who also rallied to protest Israel’s closure of the main road that has connected the village of Kufr Qaddoum with the city of Nablus since 2003.
Forces fired live and rubber-coated steel bullets as well as tear gas canisters at demonstrators, shooting and injuring a 19-year-old Palestinian with a rubber-coated bullet to the head, which necessitated his transfer to hospital for medical treatment.
Forces also attacked journalists who were covering the protests, including French Agency photographer Jaafar Ishtayeh , photographer with the Chinese news agency, Nedal Ishtayeh, and Palestine TV cameraman, Mohammed Innayeh. No injuries were reported, however.
“Before 2003, the residents of Kufr Qaddum would use a shorter road to the east in order to come and go to nearby cities and villages. However, as the settlements expanded so that they overwhelmed the road, it became closed for Palestinian use, said Addameer Human rights Association, according to WAFA.
The only alternative road is roughly six times longer than the previous route, disrupting the villagers’ ability to attend university, their jobs, and other vital aspects of their economic and social well being, noted Addameer.
”Three Palestinian deaths relating to the road’s closure occurred between 2004 and 2005,” it said. Although Kufr Qaddum’s Popular Resistance Committee took their case to the Israeli High Court in 2003, the legal status of the road remains unchanged, stressed Addameer.
After all legal appeals failed, villagers decided to organize weekly demonstrations in July 2011, a step that was met with violent suppression by Israeli forces.
More than 97% of the water pumped from the coastal aquifer, in the besieged Gaza Strip, does not meet the water quality standards of the World Health Organization (WHO), leading to the depletion of groundwater reserves, with the groundwater level in the coastal aquifer reaching 19 meters below sea level, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) and the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) said on Thursday, in a joint press release, on the occasion of World Water Day.
The joint statement said, “The amount of water extracted from the coastal aquifer for domestic use was 178.7 million cubic meters (MCM) in Gaza Strip in 2017; but this quantity is obtained via unsafe pumping that jeopardizes sustainability of the source knowing that the basin sustainable yield should not exceed 50-60 MCM a year.”
In the West Bank, where the Palestinians have been denied access by the Israeli occupation authorities to extraction from the Jordan River since 1967, which was estimated about 250 MCM, the quantity of Water pumped from Palestinian wells in the West Bank in 2017 was 86 MCM from eastern aquifer, western aquifer and north-eastern aquifer.
The statement added, according to Ma’an, that data showed that the percentage of the exploitation of surface and groundwater from available water in the year 2017 was high, with an average of 77%.
With scarce water and Israeli restrictions on access to resources, Palestinian cities are forced to purchase water from the Israeli water company “Mekorot.” In 2017, they purchased 83 MCM, which represented 22% of the water available in Palestine (375 MCM).
Additionally, 23.5 MCM of water were produced from Palestinian springs while 264.5 MCM are pumped from groundwater wells, and 4.0 MCM desalinated drinking water.
PCBS and PWA stressed that 62% of households use an improved drinking water source (piped into dwellings, protected dug well/ protected spring, rainwater, bottled water and public tab), and 95% in the West Bank and 11% in Gaza Strip. The decrease in the Gaza Strip was due to the deterioration in the quality of water extracted from the coastal basin.
As for the type of localities, these percentages were distributed to 58% in urban localities, 94% in rural localities, compared to 44% in refugee camps.
The daily allocation per capita from consumed water for domestic purposes is 88.3 liters/capita/day in Palestine. The West Bank and Gaza Strip had the same rate in 2017.
There are some localities where the average per capita consumption does not exceed 50.4 liters per day, while this rate exceeds 150 liters per day in other localities such as Jericho.
Three American women were violently assaulted by Israeli occupation forces as they attempted to help a disabled woman at Al-Aqsa Mosque on Tuesday, despite showing soldiers their passports.
Virginia nursing student Nour Hawash, who is in Jerusalem on vacation, was taking photos with her mother and sister after midday prayers when Israeli occupation soldiers stormed the compound and started to evacuate the Dome of the Rock.
“Suddenly we heard these shots being fired and people just started running all over the place. We saw the IDF [Israeli soldiers], guns pointed, running, trying to chase people. So we just ran with everyone else to the side,” Nour said.
The number of Israeli troops in the courtyard quickly grew, from a dozen to between 50 to 100 soldiers; Nour also saw several Palestinian men being arrested.
“They were not letting anyone near the Dome of the Rock, they had surrounded it from all its doors,” the 21 year-old student says. “And there was an old lady being wheeled out as she was leaving the prayer area and she fell out of her wheelchair and she was unable to get back in. And I saw that a couple of women were trying to help her, but they were being shoved so I tried to go in as well.”
However, as Nour moved towards the elderly woman, she found herself shoved to the floor by an Israeli soldier, who cuffed one of her wrists and proceeded to sit on her to stop her from moving.
“That’s when like ten to 15 soldiers were holding me down with their feet, trying to get my other wrist in handcuffs. And I had pulled out my passport and I told her [the soldier] that I was an American citizen and she said ‘I don’t care about your ID’ and threw my passport to the side.”
Other soldiers then dragged Nour’s mother, Germeen Abdelkarim, away from her daughter and pushed her against the wall, handcuffing her, as younger sister Safa watched on frantically.
“My sister was going back and forth trying to get to us, but she was being physically pushed down to the ground, and punched and shoved, they pulled her scarf off and tried to choke with it so she couldn’t come near me,” Nour recalls.
After being held down for more than half an hour, an Israeli guard picked up Nour’s American passport from the ground and instructed the other soldiers to release her. Both her and her mother were violently shoved away, and pushed back from the Dome of the Rock close to the compound gates.
However, all the doors had been barred and the family were trapped near the entrance for an hour, neither able to access the mosque nor the rest of the Old City. Even after the gates were opened, the Old City was held under lockdown for a further three hours, before the women could return to their hotel.
Nour has contacted the US embassy in Jerusalem to inform them of the family’s treatment; whilst officials have said they would file a report of the incident, it is unlikely that any further steps will be taken to hold the soldiers responsible for the assault. Other than cuts and bruises, the women suffered no serious injuries.
Tensions have been rising in Jerusalem in recent weeks, after Palestinians re-entered the Al-Rahma Gate area of Al-Aqsa Mosque and performed prayers there for the first time in over 15 years. However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has affirmed that his government intends to close the gate once again, despite condemnation from Palestinian officials.
Last week, Israeli forces entered the Al-Rahma prayer area with their shoes on, in what was seen as a deliberate attempt to provoke Palestinian worshippers.
For Nour, whose mother is originally from Gaza, her experience is reflective of the reality Palestinian worshippers regularly face.
“We’ve always seen these things on TV and on Facebook, you’ve become numb to it. But actually experiencing it and witnessing the reality of the Palestinians is something completely different. It changed my perspective and honestly we are just scratching the surface of what they go through every day,” she concludes.
Under the status quo agreement on Jerusalem, Israeli forces are not permitted to enter Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is under the management of the Jordanian Waqf (religious endowment), or physically attack worshippers.
However, Israeli settlers regularly storm the compound in coordination with Israeli forces, performing rituals and pledging to destroy the mosque, whilst Muslim worshippers are harassed or barred from entering. Extreme settler groups have repeatedly called for increasing raids of the holy site, especially on significant Jewish holidays.
Israel forces stormed Ziad Jabber school, in Hebron, abducted a 10- year- old Palestinian child from inside his class, and physically assaulted the vice principal, guidance counselor and school janitor.
A wide spread footage showed soldiers breaking into the school and taking the child from his class, to a military post by force. Later, he was released.
Ziad Jabber school, located in Jabber neighborhood adjacent to the Ibrahimi Mosque, in Hebron, in the south of the occupied West Bank, is under full control of Israel occupation authorities, according to Al Ray.
Israeli forces continued with systematic crimes, in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), for the week of 14 – 20 March, 2019.
Israeli warplanes launch dozens of airstrikes on the Gaza Strip for five hours. Two million Palestinians have become victims of collective punishment policy amid a tide of incitement at political and military echelons in Israel. Four Palestinian civilians, including 2 women and a child, were wounded, in addition to damaging a wedding hall, an office belonging to the Ministry of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs. Moreover, several houses sustained material damage. Three Palestinian civilians were killed and 12 others were wounded in different incidents in the West Bank. Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against peaceful protestors in the Gaza Strip.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces escalated their attacks on the Gaza Strip. In this week, the Israeli forces continued to use lethal force against Palestinian civilians participating in the Return and Breaking Siege March, which broke out in the Gaza Strip on 30 March 2019, where thousands have been killed and wounded. Moreover, Israeli forces continued to target the agricultural lands with artillery shells, tighten the closure for the 13th year, and chase fishermen in the sea. On Friday dawn, 15 March 2019, the Gaza Strip witnessed the most violent Israeli escalation in months, in which Israeli warplanes carried out dozens of airstrikes on various targets in the Gaza Strip. Two million Palestinians are victims of collective punishment policy amid a tide of incitement at political and military echelons in Israel. In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces wounded 23 civilians, including 7 children, 2 women, a paramedic, and a journalist. The injury of five of them, including a girl, were reported serious. Sixteen of them were wounded during the 25th boats rally for breaking the Siege along the Gaza Strip coastline, while 27 others were wounded due to airstrikes and shooting incidents at the border areas. In the West Bank, Israeli forces killed 3 civilians and wounded 12 others in different shooting incidents. Moreover, a child was wounded with a liv bullet by an Israeli settler.
In the Gaza Strip, on 15 March 2019, Israeli warplanes fired for five hours 52 missiles at 20 military sites located in various locations; some were in densely populated areas throughout the Gaza Strip. Targets were against civilian facilities, including a wedding hall and an office belonging to the Ministry of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs, which were completely damaged. The Israeli airstrikes resulted in the injury of 4 civilians, including a girl and 2 women. Moreover, two million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip lived in a state terror and fear due to the continuous Israeli airstrikes.
On 19 March 2019, an Israeli drone fired one missile at a group of civilians, east of al-Shawkah village, east of Rafah, and no injurie were reported.
In excessive use of lethal force against the peaceful protesters in eastern Gaza Strip, Israeli forces wounded 16 civilians, including 4 children, a paramedic and a journalist. All of them were wounded during the 25th boats rally organized on 19 March 2019 for breaking the Siege along the Gaza Strip coastline.
As part of targeting the Palestinian fishermen in the sea, on 20 March 2019, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Waha shore, north of Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within one nautical mile and chased them. As a result, fishermen were force to flee for fear of their lives and no casualties or damage to their boats were reported.
As part of targeting the border areas, on 14 March 2019, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israel, fired live bullets and flare bombs, east of al-Zanna area, east of Khan Younis. They later declared that they arrested five Palestinian civilians while attempting to sneak through the border fence.
On 16 March 2019, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israel, east of Deir al-Balah, opened fire at farmers in the eastern areas. As a result, the farmers were forced to flee fearing for their lives, and no casualties were reported.
On the same day, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israel, east of Deir al-Balah, opened fire at Palestinian shepherds.
On 17 March 2019, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence, east of al-Shawkah village, east of Rafah, opened fire at agricultural lands and no injurie were reported.
On 19 March 2019, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israel opened fire at Khaled ‘Abd al-Ra’ouf Abu Ghanima (21), from al-Sheja’ia neighborhood, east of Gaza City. As a result, Khaled was hit with a live bullet to the chest. According to PCHR’s investigations, Khaled was near the industrial zone (Karni) collecting gravel and stones using his cart to sell them. At approximately 08:30, he arrived at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, where his injury was classified as serious.
On the same day, Israeli soldiers stationed behind sand berms along the border fence with Israel, opened fire at Palestinian civilians, who were 70 meters away, west of the aforementioned border fence, east of al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. As a result, two children were hit with live bullets to the lower limbs and their injuries were classified as moderate.
On 30 March 2019, Israeli forces opened fire at agricultural lands, east of ‘Abasan and al-Qarrarah villages, east of Khan Yunis, south of the Gaza Strip.
In the West Bank, Israeli forces moved into Nablus to protect hundreds of settlers, who were going to perform their Talmudic prayers in “Joseph Tomb” in Balata al-Balad, east of Nablus. Fifteen minutes after the incursion, an Israeli infantry force covering behind buildings and stores at the entrance to the sub-road to ‘Amman Street opened fire at a Palestinian civilian car carrying two civilians identified as Raed Hashem Mohammad Hamdan (21) and Ziad ‘Emad Mohammad al-Noury (20), both from Nablus.Following that, the Israeli forces claimed that a speeding car opened fire at them on Amman Street, but no causalities were reported.Moreover, in an attempt to hide their crime, the Israeli forces confiscated the DVRs of the surveillance cameras in the nearby shops in the area.
On 20 March 2019, Israeli forces stationed at al-Nashash military checkpoint, south of Bethlehem, opened fire at a vehicle belonging to ‘Alaa’ Moahmmed Ghyatha (38). As a result, ‘Alaa’ was hit with a live bullet to the abdomen and taken to al-Yamam Hospital and he is in critical condition. Moreover, while civilians were evacuating passengers from the vehicle to relive them, Ahmed Jamal Mahmoud Mahmoud Manassra (26), from Fokin Valley village, west of Bethlehem, was hit with live bullets to the chest, shoulder and hand, immediately causing his death. According to PCHR’s investigations the two crimes were committed in cold blood.
In the same context, the Israeli forces wounded 12 civilians in different shooting incidents in the West Bank.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 114 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 5 other incursions into Jerusalem and its suburbs. During those incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 51 Palestinians, including 3 children and 2 women, from the West Bank, while 5 other civilians, including a woman, were arrested from Jerusalem and its suburbs.
In this week, Israeli forces imposed a collective punishment policy against over 80 thousand civilians, from Salfit. Following an attack against a site belonging to the Israeli forces at the intersection of “Ariel” settlement, north of Salfit, the Israeli forces declared the area as closed military zone, closed all the villages’ entrances, and prevented the residents from entering and exiting the villages. As a result, the residents were deprived of their right to live, work and movement for several days. The Israeli forces also conducted incursions against residential houses, shops, in addition to mal-treating civilians. Salfit includes around 20 residential compounds.
In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces backed by five military vehicles, moved around 100 meters into the west of the border fence with Israeli, east of Gaza Valley village (Johr al-Dik). The military vehicles leveled lands adjacent to the border fence. The incursion continued until 14:30 as the Israeli forces redeployed along the border fence.
Israeli authorities continued to create a Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem.
As part of the Israeli house demolitions and notices, Israeli Municipality vehicles demolished an under-construction building belonging to al-Razi Private School and then completely demolished it. The building was comprised of 2 floors built on an area of 1000 square meters. The schoolmaster Saleh ‘Alqam said that the demolished building belongs to his wife, who bought a plot of land located few meters away from the school in order to expand it. The school was built years ago, where 1500 students are studying in it. He also said that the building was built last year on an area of 1000 square meters, in addition to other facilities, before issuing the demolition order in last November by the Israeli authorities. Before starting to build the mentioned building, the school administration headed to the Israeli Ministry of Interior and Jerusalem Municipality to get a license, where they told them that the area belongs to UNRWA and the municipality does not get construction licenses. However, the Municipality issued an order to demolish the building.
In the same context, the Israeli Civil Administration staff handed a notice to the Palestinian Equestrian Club in Qalandia village, north of occupied East Jerusalem, to stop construction works under the pretext of non-licensing. The journalist Mahmoud ‘Awadallah said that the notice orders the owners of the club, which is built 2 years ago, to stop construction works and gives them until the beginning of next April to license the club.
Israeli Forces continued their settlement activities, and the settlers continued their attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property
As part of house demolitions, on 18 March 2019, Israeli vehicles stationed in Kherbit Um Nir and the digger demolished a water well used to irrigate the crops. The water well belongs to Fareed Za’al al-Jabbour and it was demolished under the pretext of non-licensing.
On 20 March 2019, Israeli forces backed by military vehicles and accompanied with a vehicle of the Israeli Civil Administration and a digger moved into Kherbit al-Tubah, east of Yatta, south of Hebron, which is classified within al-Masafer area. The Israeli soldiers deployed between civilians’ houses and the digger started to demolish a 50-sqaure-meter house built of bricks. This house belongs to Huda ‘Ali ‘Abed al-Rahman ‘Awad, where she and her 3 children live. The Israeli forces also confiscated a water tank and solar cells from the house.
As part of Israeli settlers’ attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property, PCHR’s fieldworkers documented 7 direct attacks were as follows:
On 15 March 2019, an Israeli settler opened fire at Ahmed ‘Odah Mazar’ah (7) while he was al-Baba Mount Community in al-‘Izariyia village, southeast of occupied East Jerusalem.
On 17 March 2019, a group of Israeli settlers, under the Israeli forces’ protection, attacked the eastern outskirts of ‘Asirah al-Qabaliyia village, south of Nablus. As a result, two civilians, including a child, were hit with stones to their heads and then taken to Rafidiyia Hospital in Nablus. Moreover, the settlers damaged three windows of ‘Abed al-Rahman Mohamed Ahmed’s house, in addition to damaging the windows and rear lights of a car belonging to Mohamed Ibrahim Mohamed Salman Makhlouf and the rear lights of his brother Majdi’s car.
On the same day, dozens of Israeli settlers gathered in the plain of Dir Sharaf village, at the intersection of “Shavei Shamron “settlement, west of Nablus. The settlers threw stones at a vehicle belonging to the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCO) , broke its windows and attacked its staff.
On 18 March 2019, Israeli settlers, from “Homesh“ settlement, northwest of Nablus, attacked with stones Palestinian civilians’ vehicles passing on Jenin-Nablus Street. As a result, Rawan Ihssan ‘Atah Ghubariyia (24), was hit with stones to the back, abdomen, right shoulder, and left leg; along with her brother Nizar (30), who was hit with a stick to his back. Both of them are from Kafiret village, south of Jenin.
On 20 March 2019, a group of Israeli settlers punctured the tires of 17 vehicles belonging to Palestinian civilians in Biter village, west of Bethlehem. They also wrote racist slogans on the vehicles. The village’s residents said that they were surprised with storming the village by the Israeli settlers and damaging 17 vehicles parked in front of their owners’ houses. They also said that the settlers wrote racist slogans on the vehicles and walls such as “ Price tag” “ Go away” “ You have no place on the lands of Israel”.
On the same day, a group of Israeli settlers, from “ Homish” settlement, northwest of Nablus, threw stones at a house belonging to Fadi Mahmoud Mas’oud Heijah, which is located on Jenin-Nablus Street. As a result, Fadi and his brother Rami’s cars were damaged.
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 14:45 on Tuesday, 19 March 2019, Israeli gunboats stationed in the sea and Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israel opened fire and fired sound bombs at dozens of Palestinian civilians, who were in the Return Camp along the coastal border, adjacent to “Zikim” military base, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip. Moreover, they opened fire and fired sound bombs at the boats of the 25th day for the rally of Palestinian boats to sail for Breaking the Siege and another group were swimming in the sea. As a result, 16 civilians, including four children, a paramedic and a journalist, were wounded. Three of them were hit with live bullets and shrapnel, and 13 were directly hit with tear gas canisters. The injury of three of them, including a girl, was reported serious, while the rest of them ranged between minor and moderate. The wounded paramedic, Mustafa Khaled Mustafa al-Masri (20), from Khan Younis, who works as a volunteer paramedic for Rowad al-Salam team, was hit with a tear gas canister to the head. Meanwhile, the wounded journalist, Tha’er Khaled Fehmi Abu Ryash (24), from Beit Lahia, who works as photographer for al-Shamal Online Network, was hit with a tear gas canister to the neck.
Notices and House Demolitions:
At approximately 11:00 on Tuesday, 19 March 2019, Israeli forces accompanied with the Israeli Municipality staff and 3 military vehicles moved into Sho’fat refugee camp, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem, through its main entrance. The Israeli forces deployed on the main street and surrounded an under-construction building belonging to al-Razi Private School and then completely demolished it. The building was comprised of 2 floors built on an area of 1000 square meters. The schoolmaster Saleh ‘Alqam said that the demolished building belongs to his wife, who bought a plot of land located few meters away from the school in order to expand it. The school was built years ago, where 1500 students are studying in it. He also said that the building was built last year on an area of 1000 square meters, in addition to other facilities, before issuing the demolition order in last November by the Israeli authorities. ‘Alqam added that before starting to build the mentioned building, the school administration headed to the Israeli Ministry of Interior and Jerusalem Municipality to get a license, where they told them that the area belongs to UNRWA and the municipality does not get construction licenses. However, the Municipality issued an order to demolish the building. ‘Alqam pointed out that the demolition led to end the school day due to raiding the school and topping its roof. He said that the new building was supposed to be a primary school and kindergarten. About 400 students were enrolled in al-Razi school for the next academic year.
On Tuesday, the Israeli Civil Administration staff handed a notice to the Palestinian Equestrian Club in Qalandia village, north of occupied East Jerusalem, to stop construction works under the pretext of non-licensing. The journalist Mahmoud ‘Awadallah said that the notice orders the owners of the club, which is built 2 years ago, to stop construction works and gives them until the beginning of next April to license the club. ‘Awadallah said that the club is located in area classified as Area C, where the Israeli authorities refuse to give licenses in it. He also pointed out that the notice was part of the Israeli attack on the village through confiscating lands, preventing construction works and demolishing houses whether in lands classified within the municipality boundaries or the area classified as “C “. Awadallah said that the village faces a real urban crisis as the Israeli authorities only allow civilians to build in the center of the village on an area of 150 dunums.
Israeli settlers’ attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property
At approximately 14:00 on Friday, 15 March 2019, an Israeli settler opened fire at Ahmed ‘Odah Mazar’ah (7) while he was al-Baba Mount Community in al-‘Izariyia village, southeast of occupied East Jerusalem. Dawoud al-Jahaleen, the Secretary of Fatah Movement in ‘Arab al-Jahalin Community, said that the child was hit with a live bullet to the hand by an Israeli settler when he was playing along with other children in the area. Dawoud denied that the child was wounded with suspicious object. He added that the child was taken to an emergency center in Abu Dies village and then to al-Maqased Hospital in al-Tour neighborhood in Jerusalem. It should be noted that “Maaleh Adumim“ is located few meters away from al-Baba Mount Community.
Settlement activities and attacks by settlers against Palestinian civilians and property
Israeli forces’ attacks:
At approximately 10:00 on Monday, 18 March 2019, Israeli forces backed by military vehicles and accompanied with a vehicle of the Israeli Civil Administration and a digger moved into Kherbit Um Nir, south of Yatta. The Israeli vehicles stationed in Kherbit Um Nir and the digger demolished a water well used to irrigate the crops. The water well belongs to Fareed Za’al al-Jabbour and it was demolished under the pretext of non-licensing.
At approximately 10:00 on Wednesday, 20 March 2019, Israeli forces backed by military vehicles and accompanied with a vehicle of the Israeli Civil Administration and a digger moved into Kherbit al-Tubah, east of Yatta, south of Hebron, which is classified within al-Masafer area. The Israeli soldiers deployed between civilians’ houses and the digger started to demolish a 50-sqaure-meter house built of bricks. This house belongs to Huda ‘Ali ‘Abed al-Rahman ‘Awad, where she and her 3 children live. The Israeli forces also confiscated a water tank and solar cells from the house.
Around the same time, Israeli forces backed by military vehicles and accompanied with a vehicle of the Israeli Civil Administration and a bulldozer moved into Kherbit al-Halawa, east of Yatta, south of Hebron. The Israeli soldiers deployed between civilians’ tents. The bulldozer demolished three tents were as follows:
a residential tent built with stone chains, sheds and steel angles and belongs to ‘Ali Mohamed ‘Ali Abu ‘Arram;
a 20-sqaure-meter residential tent built with sheds and wood and belongs to Hussain ‘Ali Abu ‘Arram; and
a tent built with sheds and used as a mosque.
At approximately 11:30, Israeli forces backed by military vehicles and accompanied with a vehicle of the Israeli Civil Administration and a digger moved into Kherbit Moghayir al-‘Abeed, east of Yatta, south of Hebron. The digger demolished a 60-sqaure-meter residential tent and a 40-squre-meter barrack built of tin plates and used for breeding livestock. The tent and barrack belong to Nuzha Shehadah Makhamrah.
Israeli settlers’ attacks:
At approximately 14:30 on Sunday, 17 March 2019, following the attack carried out near “Ariel” settlement, south of Salfit, a group of Israeli settlers, from “Yatizhar” settlement moved into the eastern outskirts of ‘Asirat al-Qabaliyia village, south Of Nablus, under the Israeli forces’ protection. The settlers stationed in the vicinity of Bir ‘Asirah area, under Solman Mount, and then threw stones at Palestinian civilians’ houses. As a result, two civilians, including a child, were hit with stones to their heads and then taken to Rafidiyia Hospital in Nablus. Moreover, the settlers damaged three windows of ‘Abed al-Rahman Mohamed Ahmed’s house, in addition to damaging the windows and rear lights of a car belonging to Mohamed Ibrahim Mohamed Salman Makhlouf and the rear lights of his brother Majdi’s car. The wounded civilians were identified as Nimer Fathi Nekem ‘Asayirah (28), who was hit with a stone to the head; and Jameel Naser Rashid ‘Asayirah (17), who was hit with a stone to the head as well.
At approximately 19:00, dozens of Israeli settlers gathered in the plain of Dir Sharaf village, at the intersection of “Shavei Shamron “settlement, west of Nablus. The settlers threw stones at a vehicle belonging to the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCO) , broke its windows and attacked its staff, who left the area and went back to the company in Nablus. The company vehicle was carrying many persons identified as:
Raied ‘Abed al-Wahad Thulth (46), from Beit Ebah village, west of the city, who sustained wounds to the head;
Nash’at ‘Adel Suliman Dowikat (62), from Balatet al-Balad village, east of the city, who sustained wounds to the head; and
Samer Hamdi Abu al-Hayyat (56), from Nablus, who was sitting on the rear seat and sustained wounds throughout his body.
All the wounded persons were then taken to the Arab Specialist Hospital in Nablus.
On Sunday, dozens of Israeli settlers gathered on Wadi al-Dolb Road, near Ras Karkar village, west of Ramallah. The settlers threw stones at Palestinian civilians’ vehicles while passing on the street, causing fear among the vehicles’ passengers.
At approximately 12:30 on Monday, 18 March 2019, Israeli settlers, from “Homesh“ settlement, northwest of Nablus, attacked with stones Palestinian civilians’ vehicles passing on Jenin-Nablus Street. As a result, Rawan Ihssan ‘Atah Ghubariyia (24), was hit with stones to the back, abdomen, right shoulder, and left leg; along with her brother Nizar (30), who was hit with a stick to his back. Both of them are from Kafiret village, south of Jenin. This incident occurred when Nizar parked on the road side, near the entrance to the mentioned settlement to urinate. When he stopped his car, stepped out of it and hide behind a rock, he was surprised with 2 settlers attacking his car. His sister stepped out of the car and fled towards him. The settlers pursued them and attacked them with stones and sticks. Nizar and Rawan returned to the vehicle and then fled towards Nablus.
On Wednesday, 20 March 2019, a group of Israeli settlers punctured the tires of 17 vehicles belonging to Palestinian civilians in Biter village, west of Bethlehem. They also wrote racist slogans on the vehicles. The village’s residents said that they were surprised with storming the village by the Israeli settlers and damaging 17 vehicles parked in front of their owners’ houses. They also said that the settlers wrote racist slogans on the vehicles and walls such as “ Price tag” “ Go away” “ You have no place on the lands of Israel”.
At approximately 22:00 on Wednesday, a group of Israeli settlers, from “ Homish” settlement, northwest of Nablus, threw stones at a house belonging to Fadi Mahmoud Mas’oud Heijah, which is located on Jenin-Nablus Street. As a result, Fadi and his brother Rami’s cars were damaged.
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.