Palestinian child was 150 metres from Gaza fence when killed by Israeli forces

Twenty-five Palestinians were injured in the 33rd week of protests along the Gaza-israel fence on 9 November, 2018

A Palestinian child was some 150 metres from the perimeter fence of the occupied Gaza Strip when he was killed by Israeli soldiers during protests on 8 February.

According to Defence for Children International – Palestine (DCIP), 16-year-old Hassan Nabil Ahmad Nofal had joined a group of youth participating in Great Return March protests around 3.30pm last Friday.

The group was standing around 150 metres from the fence when Israeli soldiers fired tear gas canisters directly at the youngsters; Hassan was struck on the right side of his head, fracturing his skull.

Taken to Al-Aqsa Martyrs hospital for emergency care, Hassan then underwent surgery in Shifa hospital, “where he remained in critical condition”, DCIP stated.

Dr Hazem Kahil, a neurosurgery specialist at Shifa hospital, told DCIP that the surgery was performed to stop a brain bleed, but Hassan was pronounced dead on 12 February.

READ: Israel forces kill 4 children in 2 weeks, NGO reports

“Tear gas canisters can become deadly weapons when they are fired and strike a child’s torso or head,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, head of DCIP’s Accountability Programme.

“Since the start of 2018, DCIP has documented five cases of Palestinian children who died after being struck in the head with Israeli-fired tear gas canisters”.

DCIP noted that Hassan is “among four children from the Gaza Strip and two further children from the West Bank to be killed by Israeli forces since the beginning of the year”.

(Source / 15.02.2019)

Israel’s Lieberman: Next confrontation with Gaza must be the last

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman speaks during a press conference at the Israeli Parliament on November 14, 2018 in Jerusalem, Israel [Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images]

Former Israeli defence minister Avigdor Lieberman speaks during a press conference at the Israeli Parliament on November 14, 2018 in Jerusalem, Israel

Former Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman yesterday warned that the next confrontation with the Gaza Strip must be the last.

“For nearly a year, since the [Great March of Return] started along the Gaza Strip border fence, the most volatile Israeli border [has been] the one it shares with the Gaza Strip,” Lieberman said. He then explained that the military intelligence assessment published on Wednesday- which indicated that Israel is likely to face a major escalation with the Palestinians in Gaza or the West Bank within the next 12 months – is consistent with his assessment over the past year.

Palestinians along the Gaza-Israel border reaffirm the ‘Right of Return’ and get shot by IOF - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

“The question now is not whether there will be another confrontation with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, but when will that happen,” he added.

Lieberman said he believed the Israeli government is responsible for “strengthening” the Palestinian resistance factions by not launching a war on the already-besieged Gaza Strip and by easing sanctions against it.

READ: Hamas asks UN to pressure Israel to commit to truce

According to Lieberman, the transfer of funds and fuel to the Gaza Strip and expanding the fishing area all contribute to strengthening Hamas at both the military and civilian levels, and increase popular support for it in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

“We must strike a hard and disproportionate blow on Hamas – completely break their willpower to continue to fight against us and destroy their belief that they could ever defeat us,” he added.

Meanwhile, Israel Hayom yesterday revealed a plan announced by the Chief of General Staff of the Israeli Army, General Aviv Kochavi, aimed at improving the Israeli army’s operational readiness in the Gaza Strip, at the expense of other sectors.

Gaza “will be the most explosive in the coming months” the newspaper quoted Kochavi as saying.

READ: Extent of Israel attacks on Gaza fishermen revealed

(Source / 15.02.2019)

Oxfam, Save the Children issue warning over withdrawal of Hebron monitors

Members of the Palestinian Youth Against Settlements (YAS) activists escort children on their way to school in Hebron, West Bank on 10 February 2019 [Mamoun Wazwaz / Anadolu Agency]

Members of the Palestinian Youth Against Settlements (YAS) activists escort children on their way to school in Hebron, West Bank on 10 February 2019

Oxfam, Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and Save the Children warned Thursday that “hundreds of civilians, including children, will see their safety put at risk by the withdrawal of international observers deployed in the city of Hebron”.

In a joint statement, the international NGOs condemned the Israeli government’s decision last month to decline to renew the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH).

According to the NGOs, the removal of the international observer force “threatens the already fragile security situation and risks contributing to a rapid decline in the city’s stability”.

Save the Children Regional Director, Jeremy Stoner, said: “Palestinian children attending schools near Israeli settler communities in Hebron have experienced threats and violence from settlers for years. The role of the TIPH and other international observers has been very important in reducing confrontations and ensuring children’s safety and access to education”.

READ: Israel had ‘every right’ to expel Hebron observers

“Just last week, we visited one of the schools in Hebron, and the headmistress told Save the Children that staff and students felt exposed and vulnerable without international observers accompanying the children,” he added.

Oxfam Country Director, Chris Eijkemans, said: “This move will exacerbate an already volatile situation, increase impunity for human rights abuses and put civilians in more danger. Decisions like this pave the way for further settlement expansion and annexation of Palestinian land. It is a dangerous green light for more violence and abuse of international law, making any prospect of a peaceful, just and lasting resolution for Palestinians and Israelis increasingly remote”.

NRC Deputy Regional Director, Maureen Magee, said: “Short of dismantling the system of closures, restrictions and checkpoints affecting Palestinians in Hebron, the Israeli government is responsible for ensuring the unhindered passage of civilians, including students and school staff, through checkpoints on their way to and from schools. Israel must ensure that schools are protected, safe places for children. We see from our work in Hebron’s schools how children are traumatised by harassment and violence. Left unchecked, this will leave long-lasting scars”.

READ: Israel planning for a second massacre in Hebron

(Source / 15.02.2019)

Bahrain FM: Confronting Iran is more important than Palestine

Bahrain's Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa in Manama, Bahrain on 27 October 2018 [STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images]

Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa in Manama, Bahrain on 27 October 2018

Confronting “the Iranian threat” is more important than dealing with the Israel-Palestine issue, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid Bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa said in a panel discussion at this week’s Warsaw Conference, the New Khaliji has reported.

The statements came to light in a video that was briefly uploaded to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official YouTube channel, before being quickly deleted yesterday. Believed to be filmed by an Israeli official, the video also featured Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel Al-Jubeir, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)’s Foreign Minister, Abdullah Bin Zayed, participating in the discussion.

“We have grown up saying that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the most important issue, and it must be resolved in this way or that, but in the final stages we have seen a greater challenge, the most serious in our modern history, the threat of the Iranian Republic,” Al-Khalifa can be heard saying.

“This is not about the Iranian people, but about the fascist religious regime in Iran, which we face every day,” Al-Khalifa reportedly says, adding that: “Iran smuggled weapons and explosives capable of wiping the Bahraini capital off the face of the earth.”

“This challenge [Iran] must be faced in order to devote [time] to other challenges. But it is this capital [Tehran] that is preventing us from solving it [the Palestinian issue] by forming a threat in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and even Bahrain,” he concludes.

READ: Pence, at summit, lashes out at Europeans over Iran

Also heard in the video was Saudi diplomat Al-Jubeir, who argued that in every place in the region Iran plays a devastating role, citing its support of Hamas in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Al-Jubeir can also be heard condemning Iran’s ballistic missile program, stating that Tehran must be punished for its actions until it promotes peace in the region.

The Warsaw Conference – held in the Polish capital this week – saw delegates from over 60 countries attend what was widely perceived as an attempt by the US to isolate Iran and gather support for Washington’s renewed sanctions against Tehran.

European powers, who oppose US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of a nuclear deal with Iran, were openly sceptical of the summit; France and Germany declined to send their top diplomats, while British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt left before Thursday’s main events. EU policy chief Federica Mogherini, who was a key player in the Iran nuclear deal, also did not attend the two-day conference due to scheduling issues, an EU official said, although US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Brussels today to meet with her.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo makes a speech during a conference devoted to peace and security in the Middle East in Warsaw, Poland on 12 February 2019 [Omar Marques/Anadolu Agency]

The conference was boycotted by Iranian ally Russia, with the Foreign Ministry stating on social media that the meeting “is a new US attempt to promote its unilateral geopolitical interests through initiatives that are presented as the opinion of the international community”.

Qatar also did not attend the meeting, with Former Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim describing it as the “Warsaw wedding ceremony”, seeming to refer to the growing public normalisation of ties between Israel and the Arab world. “I am not against normalization or against opening a relationship with Israel, but the relationship must be equal and not at the expense of Palestinian rights,” he said on Twitter.

READ: Hamas: Warsaw conference participants are ‘traitors’

(Source / 15.02.2019)

47th Friday of the Great March of Return in Gaza

Demonstrators demand end of Israeli embargo that has brought Gaza to verge of humanitarian catastrophe

Palestinian women use slingshot to throw stones to Israeli forces during Israeli forces' intervention to "Great March of Return" demonstration near Al Bureij Refugee Camp in Gaza on February 15, 2019. ( Hassan Jedi - Anadolu Agency )
Palestinians gather behind a barricade during Israeli forces' intervention to "Great March of Return" demonstration near Al Bureij Refugee Camp in Gaza on February 15, 2019. ( Hassan Jedi - Anadolu Agency )
Palestinian who got injured after Israeli forces intervention is being evacuated by health crews during "Great March of Return" demonstration near Al Bureij Refugee Camp in Gaza on February 15, 2019. ( Hassan Jedi - Anadolu Agency )
Palestinians are seen as Israeli forces intervene them with tear gas during a "Great March of Return" demonstration at Huzaa district of Khan Yunis, Gaza on February 15, 2019. ( Mustafa Hassona - Anadolu Agency )
A Palestinian man stands with a Palestinian flag as Israeli forces intervene demonstrators during a "Great March of Return" demonstration at Huzaa district of Khan Yunis, Gaza on February 15, 2019. ( Mustafa Hassona - Anadolu Agency )
Palestinians use sling shot to throw rocks as Israeli forces intervene them during a "Great March of Return" demonstration at Huzaa district of Khan Yunis, Gaza on February 15, 2019. ( Mustafa Hassona - Anadolu Agency )
Palestinians shout slogans as Israeli forces intervene protestors during a "Great March of Return" demonstration at Huzaa district of Khan Yunis, Gaza on 15 February 2019. [Mustafa Hassona - Anadolu Agency]

For the 47th week in a row, Palestinians on Friday converged along the Gaza-Israel buffer zone to take part in ongoing rallies against Israel’s decades-long occupation, Anadolu Agency reports.

In a statement, Gaza’s National Authority for Breaking the Siege (NABS) urged the people of Gaza to take part in Friday’s demonstration, which was held under the slogan, “Gaza cannot be broken”.

“The Israeli occupation continues to provoke us by deploying snipers and troops armed with lethal weapons along the buffer zone,” NABS declared in a Friday statement.

READ: Palestinian child was 150 metres from Gaza fence when killed by Israeli forces

Israeli army spokesman Avichai Adraee, for his part, warned Palestinian protesters from approaching the buffer zone.

“For your own safety,” he tweeted, “stay away from the special security zone.”

Since Palestinians in Gaza began holding the rallies in March of last year, more than 250 protesters have been killed — and thousands more injured — by Israeli army gunfire.

Demonstrators demand the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.

They also demand an end to Israel’s 12-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its roughly two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.

(Source / 15.02.2019)

Israel’s anti-BDS strategy simply peddles more myths and lies

BDS

 By Dr Mohammad Makram Balawi

Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs has released a report called Terrorists in Suits: The Ties Between NGOs promoting BDS and Terrorist Organisations. The report has a sense of melodrama, especially its pictures of BDS activists pinned to a noticeboard with red pins connected by red thread, like a scene from a crime drama.

The man behind the report is Minister of Public Security and Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan; he clearly has a wild imagination. Names, places, dates, events, meetings and pictures are all jumbled together to present a scenario which is supposed to deter people from supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and wash away all of Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people. In doing so, it simply peddles more myths and lies.

Powerless Israel facing BDS - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Every pro-Palestine, pro-justice activist named in the report, it is alleged, is not what they seem. It quotes, for example, an Israel Supreme Court 2007 description of Shawan Jabarin, the General Director of Al-Haq Foundation, one of the oldest human rights organisations in the occupied West Bank, as a “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” character. Due to “significant security concerns”, the court backed the army’s decision to ban him from overseas travel. Khalida Jarrar, Deputy Director of Addameer rights group, is defined in the same way. She has been held under an administrative detention order since 2017 for her role as a senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and her alleged involvement in terrorist activities. Administrative detention allows Israel to keep people – always Palestinians – behind bars with neither charge nor trial on a renewable six-monthly basis.

READ: US federal judge dismisses lawsuit against BDS supporters  

One section of the Israeli report seeks to present an act of piracy on the high seas as some kind of heroic act against terrorists. When Israeli commandos attacked the Turkish-registered Mavi Marmara in 2010 the vessel was part of a convoy of ships taking humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza Strip. In international waters and with utter disregard for international law and human life the Israelis hijacked the convoy and killed nine Turkish activists — İbrahim Bilgen, Çetin Topçuoğlu, Furkan Doğan, Cengiz Akyüz, Ali Heyder Bengi, Cevdet Kılıçlar, Cengiz Songür, Fahri Yaldız, Necdet Yıldırım — and left a tenth, Ugur Suleyman Soylemez, so badly wounded that he died after being in a coma for four years. Israel eventually agreed to pay more than $20 million to the victims’ families. Israeli propagandists working for Erdan’s ministry still engage in the character assassination of these martyrs and distort the reality of that attack. Indeed, everyone who had anything to do with the Mavi Marmara convoy is still accused of “terrorism”, including the then head of Britain’s Palestine Solidarity Campaign Sarah Colborne, Ismail Patel of Friends of Al-Aqsa and leading Palestinian exiles Muhammad Sawalha and Zaher Birawi.

Allegations against such activists include appearing on Al-Aqsa TV channel, which belongs to Hamas; promoting freedom flotillas to break the Israeli siege of Gaza; calling for an end to arms sales to Israel; and arranging demonstrations in support of the Palestinians’ legitimate right of return and the Great March of Return protests. It is even enough, according to Erdan’s report, to have gone to Gaza to give humanitarian aid and moral support to the Palestinians. Describe Israel as an Apartheid state and you will be called a terrorist, even though it fulfils all of the criteria for such a description.

Throughout Terrorists in Suits… there is a brazen disregard for international law, UN resolutions and plain common sense, reflecting Israel’s contempt for the laws and conventions intended to protect vulnerable people and provide them with justice. Nowhere does the report give you any indication that its authors are even remotely aware of Israel’s brutal military occupation, to which the country’s courts and security agencies are in thrall. Indeed, it cites court judgements and reports by Shin Bet, the internal security agency, as if they are independent and completely impartial, which is nonsense. Any opposition or resistance to the illegal and belligerent occupation is ranked as terrorism, and woe betides anyone who thinks differently.

READ: Israel intelligence company pursued BDS activists

According to Erdan and his team, nobody is safe from such a damning indictment, whether civil society organisations, Palestinian factions, intellectuals or activists. The report claims that 42 leading NGOs out of nearly 300 international organisations promote the “delegitimisation of Israel” and the BDS campaign against the Zionist state. That alone, it insists, is a good enough reason to classify them as “terrorists” and discredit them and their admirable work. Such activism, in the eyes of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, is only acceptable when it favours Israel, otherwise, it is “terrorism”.

As US President George W Bush said post-9/11, “Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.” He left no room for the middle ground; that it is perfectly reasonable to be both against US militarism and terrorism. Israel has jumped onto this bandwagon, so either you are pro-Israel or you are a terrorist; you cannot be pro-justice if that justice will benefit the people of occupied Palestine. When I wonder, will Israel and its supporters wake up to the fact that peaceful pro-justice, pro-Palestine activists are not the problem, and that it is the Israeli occupation which is at the core of the matter?

READ: Trump demands Omar resign over ‘anti- Semitic’ tweet

(Source / 15.02.2019)

Colonial Settlers Attack Nablus-area Village with Stones

15 Feb 5:44 AM

Extremist Israeli settlers attacked, on Thursday, the homes of Palestinians in the village of Asira al-Qiblia, southwest of occupied West Bank city of Nablus, according to a local official.

Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activities in the area, told WAFA that a number of extremist settlers, protected by a military escort, attacked Palestinian homes with stones, in the outskirts of the village.

This came hours after settlers carried out a similar attack on homes in the nearby village of Urif. There were no reports of injuries in the two attacks.

Settler violence against Palestinians and their property is routine in the West Bank, and is rarely prosecuted by Israeli authorities.

Similar attacks by Jewish settlers, in the past, has resulted in the killing of defenseless Palestinian civilians, as well as the injury of many others.

According to the Israeli rights group B’Tselem, “As the occupying force, Israel must protect the Palestinians in the West Bank. However, the Israeli authorities neglect to fulfill this responsibility and do not do enough to prevent Israeli civilians from attacking Palestinians, their property and their lands.”

(Source / 15.02.2019)

PCHR Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (07 – 13 February 2019)

15 Feb 7:11 AM

Israeli forces continue systematic crimes, in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), for the week of 07 – 13 February, 2019.

Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against peaceful protestors in the Gaza Strip. 2 Palestinian civilians were killed and another one succumbed to his wound in the Gaza Strip. 109 civilians, including 45 children, 5 women, 1 paramedic, and a journalist, were wounded in the Gaza Strip.

Shooting:

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 46th week along the eastern and northern border area of the Gaza Strip. They also continued to use armed force as well during the incursions into the West Bank.

In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces killed Hamza Mohamed Ishtawi (17), from al-Zaytoun neighborhood, and Hasan Eyad Shalabi (14), from Khan Yunis, while participating in the Return and Breaking Siege March, east of Gaza City and Khan Yunis. Eyewitnesses said that the civilians killed did not pose threat to the soldiers’ life and they were wounded while present in varying distances along the border fence with Israel. The civilians killed were among the peaceful demonstrators in the eastern border areas.

On 12 February 2019, medical sources at al-Shifa Hospital declared the death of  Hassan Nabeel Ahmad Nofal (16), from Nuseirat in the Central Gaza Strip. Hasan succumbed to wounds he sustained on Friday, 08 February 2019. It should be mentioned that he was directly hit with a tear gas canister to the head while participating in the Return and Breaking the Siege March, east of al-Bureij

Injuries in the Gaza Strip between 07-13 February 2019 According to the Governorate

GovernorateInjuries
TotalChildrenWomenJournalistsParamedicsCritical Injuries
Northern Gaza Strip24133000
Gaza City30111000
Central Gaza Strip1981003
Khan Younis1130110
Rafah25100001
Total109455114

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 8 incidents were adjacent to northern Gaza Strip Shore. As a result, a fisherman sustained minor wounds.

As part of targeting the border areas, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israel, opened fire 9 times at lands located in the border areas with Israel in the central of Gaza Strip and southern Gaza Strip. No casualties were reported.

Incursions:

During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 78 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During those incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 44 Palestinians, including 8 children, in the West Bank. The Israeli forces conducted at least 8 military incursions into Jerusalem, where they arrested 2 civilians and carried out 2 demolitions. In the Gaza Strip, the Israeli forces conducted 1 limited incursion in eastern Khan Yunis, south of the Gaza Strip. The owners of the demolished houses in the West Bank said that the Israeli forces confiscated large amount of money and gold from their houses and handed them a list of the confiscated items. They also ordered them to refer to the competent authorities.

Israeli Forces Continued to Create a Jewish Majority in East Jerusalem City:

  • As part of the Israeli house demolitions and notices, on 08 February 2019, Israeli forces ordered Ahmed Mahmoud ‘Abaidat to self-demolish his house and a shop under the pretext of non-licensing.
  • On 09 February 2019, Israeli forces ordered Tha’er Jamal Bkairat to self-demolish his 42-square-meter house, where 5 persons, including 3 children, live. It should be noted that Tha’er paid NIS 25,000 as fine during several years.
  • On 11 February 2019, the Israeli Municipality bulldozers in Jerusalem demolished a house belonging to Ahmed Maher Abu al-Haija in Jwaiza neighborhood, within the Municipal boundaries of Jerusalem, in al-Walja village.
  • On 12 February 2019, the Israeli authorities forced Sa’eed Sarhan, from al-Thawry neighborhood in Silwan, to self-demolish a 60-square-meter room used as a living and dining room.
  • On the same day, Israeli bulldozers demolished a 125-square-meter house belonging to Feryal Ja’abees in al-Sal’a, in al-Mokaber mount village.
  • On the same day, the Israeli Municipality bulldozers in Jerusalem demolished 2 apartments and a store belonging to Jamal Edkaik in Silwan village.

Israeli Forces continued their settlement activities, and the settlers continued their attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property

As part of the Israeli settlers’ attacks against the Palestinians civilians and their property, PCHR’s fieldworkers documented during the reporting period 5 attacks carried out by Israeli settlers.

On 08 February 2019, an Israeli force accompanied with an Israeli settler namely Leor Livy, tried to raid a house belonging to Ahmed Abu Srour (70), located in the vicinity of al-‘Aroub refugee camp, west of Hebron, adjacent to the Bypass Road “60”. They claimed that the house is attached to Beit al-Baraka facility land, which a settlement association claims that it bought it from its owners in 2008.

On 09 February 2019, Israeli settlers threw stones at civilians’ vehicles while they were passing on al-Dalb Valley road near Ras Karkar village, west of Ramallah, causing fear among civilians inside the vehicles.

On 10 February 2019, a group of Israeli settlers, who call themselves price tag group, threw stones at a house belonging to Romal Mohammed Hussain Shahour, Director of Al Haya Newspaper’s office located on the main street near Howara High School for Boys at Howara village’s northern entrance, southeast of Nablus.

On 12 February 2019, a group of Israeli settlers attacked Barakat ‘Ali Zohdy Abu Mohssen (25) in Kherbit al-Farisiyia in northern Jordan Valley. They beat and bruised him in the right hand, chest and legs before handing him to Israeli forces, who arrested his brother Loai (20), taking him to “Mkhola” settlement.

On the same day, dozens of Israeli settlers, from settlement outposts in Hebron’s Old City, carried out riots and chanted racists slogans against Palestinians on al-Shohadah Street and Tal al-Rameeda area. The settlers were under the Israeli forces’ protection.

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:

Gaza Strip:

On Friday, 08 February 2019, in the 46th week of the Return and Breaking Siege March, Israeli forces wounded 91 civilians, including 38 children, 2 women and a paramedic. The incidents were as follows:

  • Northern Gaza City: The Israeli shooting at Palestinian demonstrators resulted in the injury of 13 civilians, including 8 children. 5 of them were hit with rubber bullets and shrapnel, 5 were hit with rubber bullets and 8 were directly hit with tear gas canisters. The wounded civilians were taken via PRCS and Health Union Committee ambulances to the Indonesian Hospital and al-Awda Hospital, which belongs to Heath Union Committee.
  • Gaza Strip: The Israeli shooting at Palestinian demonstrators in the eastern Shuja’iyya neighborhood resulted in the killing of Hamza Mohammad Rushdy Eshtawy (17), from Zeitoun neighborhood in Gaza. Hamza was hit with a live bullet, when he was 200 meters away from the border fence with Israeli, resulting in his immediate death. Furthermore, 30 civilians, including 11 children and a woman were wounded. Among the wounded civilians, 8 were hit with live bullets, 10 with rubber bullets and 12 were directly hit with tear gas canisters.
  • Central Gaza Strip: The Israeli shooting and throwing tear gas canisters at Palestinian demonstrators, which continued until 17:30, resulted in the injury of 13 civilians, including 6 children and a woman. 4 of them were hit with a live bullet and shrapnel and 9 were directly hit with tear gas canisters. The wounded civilians were taken to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah, where the wounds of 3 of them were classified as serious, while the others’ wounds were classified between moderate and minor. Furthermore, several civilians suffered tear gas inhalation and many of them were taken to the hospital while the others were treated on the spot.
  • Khan Yunis: The Israeli shooting at Palestinian demonstrators in Khuza’a village, which continued until 17:30, resulted in the killing of Hassan Eyad ‘Abed al-Fattah Shalaby (14), from Hamad Town in Khan Yunis, as he was hit with a live bullet to the chest at approximately 15:50, while he was around 150-200 meters away from the border fence with Israel. He was declared dead at the Field Medical Point. Furthermore, 10 civilians, including 3 children, were directly hit with live bullets and tear gas canisters. Among the wounded civilians, there was Jehad Ahamd Mahmoud al-Hennawy (50), a paramedic at Civil Defense, who was hit with a tear gas canister to the left leg. Moreover, an ambulance belonging to Civil Defense was directly hit with a tear gas canister.
  • Rafah: The Israeli shooting at Palestinian demonstrators in al-Shawkah village, which continued until 17:00, resulted in the injury of 25 civilians. 3 of them were hit with live bullets and shrapnel, 6 with rubber bullets and 16 were directly hit with tear gas canisters. Among the wounded civilians, there were 10 children, whom their wounds were classified as serious. Furthermore, dozens of civilians, especially children and women, suffered seizures and tear gas inhalation. Many of them were taken to the Medical Point of the Camp and others to Abu Yusef al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah.
  • At approximately 17:50 on Sunday, 10 February 2019, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israel, east of the Return Camp, east of Abu Safia Hill, northeast of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire and fired tear gas canisters at a group of civilians that approached the border fence. The demonstrators fired homemade sound bombs, set fire and used loudspeakers as part of evening activities of March of Return and Breaking Siege. As a result, several demonstrators suffered tear gas inhalation and were treated on the spot.
  • At approximately 14:45 on Tuesday, 12 February 2019, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, and Israeli forces stationed along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, opened fire and fired sound bombs at dozens of Palestinian civilians who were at the Return camp along the border coastal, adjacent to adjacent to “Zikim”military base, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip. It should be noted that this is the 23thtime for Palestinian boats to sail for Breaking the Siege. The Israeli shooting at the Palestinian demonstrators, which continued until 17:15, resulted in the injury of 10 civilians, including 5 children and 3 women. 9 of them were hit with tear gas canisters and a child was hit with a live bullet. Moreover, dozens suffered tear gas inhalation.
  • At approximately 16:30, on Tuesday, 12 February 2019, dozens of Palestinian young men gathered in eastern al-Bureij, near the Return Camp. The demonstrators set fire to tires and tried to throw stones at the Israeli forces stationed on the top of sand berms along the border fence. The forces opened fire and fired tear gas canisters at the demonstrators, resulting in the injury of 5 demonstrators, including 2 children. 4 of the them were hit with live bullets, while the other was directly hit with a tear gas canister. The wounded civilians were taken to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah, where doctors classified the wounds of 2 of them, including a child, as serious, while the wounds of the others were classified between minor and moderate.
  • At approximately 18:00 of the same day, doctors at al-Shifa Hospital declared that Hassan Nabeel Ahmad Nofal (16), from Nuseirat in the Central Gaza Strip, succumbed to his wounds that he had on Friday, 8 February 2019. It should be mentioned that he was directly hit with a tear gas canister to the head, while participating in the March of Return and Breaking the Siege, east of al-Bureij. Meanwhile, he was taken to al-Aqsa Hospital and then taken to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza due to his serious health condition. He remained for treatment in al-Shifa Hospital ICU until he was declared dead.
  • At approximately 17:50, on Wednesday, 13 February 2019, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israel, east of the Return Camp, east of Abu Safia Hill, northeast of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire and fired tear gas canisters at a group of civilians that approached the border fence. The demonstrators fired homemade sound bombs, set fire and used loudspeakers as part of evening activities of March of Return and Breaking Siege. As a result, a 31-year-old male was hit with a tear gas canister to the right leg and was taken to the Indonesian Hospital, where doctors classified his wounds as minor. Furthermore, medical staff treated several demonstrators, who suffered tear gas inhalation on the spot.
  • Around the same time, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israel, east of al-Bureij in the Central Gaza Strip, fired live bullets and tear gas canisters at demonstrators, who were protesting there and setting fire to tires. As a result, a civilian was directly hit with a tear gas canister to his lower limbs.
  • At approximately 19:00 on the same day, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israel, near the Return Camp, east of Khuza’a, east of Khan Yunis, opened fire and fired tear gas canisters at a group of civilians that approached the border fence, set fire to tires, used laser lights and fireworks as part of evening activities of March of Return and Breaking Siege. As a result, Mohammad Samy Barbakh (21), a journalist at Barq Gaza Network, was hit with a tear gas canister to the right hand and his wounds were classified as minor. It should be mentioned that Mohammad was hit with a live bullet in the 4thFriday of the Return March. Furthermore, several demonstrators suffered tear gas inhalation.

West Bank:

  • At approximately 10:00 on Saturday, 09 February 2019, a group of Palestinian civilians and the Israeli activists of Combatants for Peace organized a voluntary day to plant olive seedlings in the lands threatened by confiscation in Abu Sawda Mount area, south of Beit Fajar village, south of Bethlehem. Israeli forces arrived to the location, prevented the participants to plant the seedlings, and handed then a notice to evacuate the area under the pretext that it is a closed military zone. The participants spread out in the land and started to plant the seedlings, but the Israeli forces attacked them and heavily fired tear gas canisters at them, forcing them to leave after some of them suffered tear gas inhalation.
  • Efforts to Create A Jewish majority

Israeli forces escalated their attacks on Palestinian civilians and their property. They have also continued their raids on al-Aqsa Mosque and denied the Palestinians access to it:

Arrests and Incursions:

  • At approximately 04:00 on Sunday, 10 February 2019, Israeli forces arrested Adam Ma’moun Abu Riala (13), from al-“Aissaweya. Adam’s father said to the PCHR’s fieldworker that around 30 Israeli soldiers raided the house and arrested Adam. It should be noted that Adman was interrogated for 4 hours while he was alone in al-Maskoubya prison in occupied Jerusalem without being accompanied by anyone. Adam was released after a decision issued by the Israeli court in Jerusalem under the condition of open house arrest.
  • On Monday, 11 February 2019, Israeli forces arrested the imam of al-Aqsa Mosque Waleed Seyam, from Silwan village, while he was leaving the mosque, taking him to an unknown destination.

Notices and House Demolitions:

  • On 08 February 2019, Israeli forces moved into al-Mokaber Mount village in Jerusalem and forced Ahmed Mahmoud ‘Abaidat to self-demolish his house and a shop under the pretext of non-licensing. Ahmed said that his house was built on an area of 40 square meters and was sheltering 6 persons, including 4 children. Ahmed added that the shop was built on an area of 35 square meters and used for electronic equipment. It should be noted that this was the second demolition of Ahmed’s house during the past 5 years.
  • On 09 February 2019, Israeli forces moved into Sour Baher village in Jerusalem and forced Tha’er Jamal Bkairat to self-demolish his 42-square-meter house, where 5 persons, including 3 children, live. It should be noted that Tha’er paid NIS 25,000 as fine during several years. Tha’er said that the Israeli Municipality forced him to self-demolish his house or he will pay the demolition’s expenses estimated at NIS 80,000.
  • On 11 February 2019, the Israeli Municipality bulldozers in Jerusalem demolished a house belonging to Ahmed Maher Abu al-Haija in Jwaiza neighborhood, within the Municipal boundaries of Jerusalem, in al-Walja village. Ahmed said to the PCHR’s fieldworker that his house was built on an area of 140 square meters, where his family comprised of 7 persons, including 2 female children, live.
  • On 12 February 2019, the Israeli authorities forced Sa’eed Sarhan, from al-Thawry neighborhood in Silwan, to self-demolish a 60-square-meter room used as a living and dining room attached to the house. It should be noted that Sa’ed built the room 8 years ago. Sa’eed received a demolition notice on 16 January 2019, to self-demolish his 60-squre-meter room.
  • On the same day, Israeli bulldozers demolished a 125-square-meter house belonging to Feryal Ja’abees in al-Sal’a, in al-Mokaber mount village, where 6 persons including 4 children, live. It should be noted that the house was established a year and a half ago and the family was handed the demolition notice 6 months ago. It is worth to mention that Feryal along with her sons are living now in a tent provided by PRCS.
  • On the same day, the Israeli Municipality bulldozers in Jerusalem demolished 2 apartments and a store belonging to Jamal Edkaik in Silwan village. Jamal was aiming at giving one of the prepared apartments to one of his sons to live in it after getting married while the other apartment and the store are still under construction. The two apartments built on an area of 100 square meters, while the store built on an area of 20 square meters.

Settlement activities and attacks by settlers against Palestinian civilians and property

Israeli forces continued to target the areas in the West Bank classified as C according to Oslo Accord signed by the Israeli government and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the areas located in the vicinity of settlements and route of the separation wall in order to expel them from the Palestinian residents for the sake of settlement expansion.

Israeli forces’ attacks:

  • At approximately 03:00 on Monday, 11 February 2019, Israeli border guard officers backed by military vehicles and accompanied with 2 bulldozers moved into al-Jwaiza area in the vicinity of al-Walja village, southwest of Jerusalem, north of Bethlehem. The Israeli officers raided a house belonging to Najlaa Maher Abu al-Haija (43), where she lives with her family comprised of 7 members. They forced Najlaa and her family to leave the house claiming that there was a decision issued by the court to demolish the house under the pretext of non-licensing. After evacuating the house, the bulldozers started to demolish the 140-square-meter house. Two hours later, the Israeli force withdrew and left two rooms without demolishing them because bulldozers could not reach them. It should be noted that the Israeli authorities seized 155 dunums from the village’s lands, where two settlements were established on part of the village’s lands. The first settlements is “Har Gilo”, which was established in 1972 and shelter 365 Israeli settlers, while the second settlement was“Gilo”, which is established in 1981 and shelters 27569 Israeli settlers. Moreover, 246 dunums were confiscated for the Bypass Roads “436” confiscated in addition to 69 dumuns to the annexation wall. It should be noted that the annexation wall will isolate around 4171 behind it.  The village’s lands were classified as Area C, B, A according to Oslo Agreement. The Area B constitutes 03% while Area C constitutes 97%.

Mohamed Abu al-Haija said:

“At approximately 03:00, Israeli border guard officers raided our house after breaking the door and detained me along with my family members. They informed us that there is a decision to demolish the house. They forced us to leave the house and stand 150 meters away from it while some workers started to evacuate some of house’s contents and then the bulldozers began the demolition. On 18, October 2018, The Civil Administration handed us a house demolition notice. We submitted a request to the municipality of Jerusalem after paying NIS 20,000 in 2 instalments in order to reach the Court of First Instance to submit a petition after the demolition but the court reused our petition submitted by a lawyer during a session on 23 January 2019 so the court decided to demolish the house. “

  • At approximately 10:00 on Wednesday, 13 February 2019, Israeli force accompanied with a vehicle of the Israeli Civil Administration, a vehicle of the Water Utility “ Markot”,  2 bulldozers, and a truck, moved into al-Msafer area, east of Yatta, south of Hebron. The vehicles started to level the road sides leading to al-Msafer villages and remove pipes that provide the residential areas with water. They claimed that these pipes were set without a permission from the competent authorities.

Israeli settlers’ attacks:

  • At approximately 15:00 on Friday, 08 February 2019, an Israeli force accompanied with an Israeli settler namely Leor Livy, tried to raid a house belonging to Ahmed Abu Srour (70), located in the vicinity of al-‘Aroub refugee camp, west of Hebron, adjacent to the Bypass Road “60”. They claimed that the house is attached to Beit al-Baraka facility land, which a settlement association claims that it bought it from its owners in 2008. The settlers seized the land at the beginning of July 2018 under a tight Israeli forces protection and closed it. It should be noted that the land contains an old hospital and other buildings surrounding the hospital. Moreover, Ahmed’s family members tried to prevent the settler, who wanted to take the house’ measures, from reaching them. In addition, the Israeli soldiers attacked the family members and sprayed pepper-spray at Ahmed’s son ‘Abed al-Qader (27). The soldiers attacked ‘Abed al-Qader and then arrested him, taking him to an investigation center in “Gush Etzion” settlement, south of Bethlehem. It should be noted that at the beginning of October 2015, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz published on its website that Moshe Ya’alon, Former Defense Minister of Israel, said that he decided to annex the Christian Presbyterian Church building, located adjacent to the Bypass Road “60” to become a part of settlement Gafar Etzion Complex, south of Bethlehem. It is worth to mention that al-Baraka facility has been established 70 years ago. The facility provided treatment services for Tuberculosis patients until its closure in 1983. In August 2018, Israeli settlers demolished a 50-square-meter old building, where Ahmed Ibraheem ‘Abd Rabo Samour (60), and his sister Asmahan Samour (50) live for around 40 years. Ahmed was expelled from the land, where he was working as a guard.
  • In Saturday evening, 09 February 2019, Israeli settlers threw stones at civilians’ vehicles while they were passing on al-Dalb Valley road near Ras Karkar village, west of Ramallah, causing fear among civilians inside the vehicles.
  • At approximately 20:30 on Sunday, 10 February 2019, a group of Israeli settlers, who call themselves price tag group, threw stones at a house belonging to Romal Mohammed Hussain Shahour, Director of Al Haya Newspaper’s office located on the main street near Howara High School for Boys at Howara village’s northern entrance, southeast of Nablus. As a result, the windshield of Romal’s car was broken, in addition to the rear window of his brother Khaled’s car before Romal shouted at the settlers, which made them escape among olive trees surrounding the area.
  • At approximately 07:30 on Tuesday, 12 February 2019
  • At approximately 23:00 on Tuesday, 12 February 2019, dozens of Israeli settlers, from settlement outposts in Hebron’s Old City, organized a demonstration that was started from the entrance to Beit Hadassa  and then headed to al-Shohadah Street and Tal al-Rameeda area. The settlers were under the Israeli forces’ protection. The settlers chanted racist slogans calling for killing Arabs and expelling them out of their houses. Moreover, they attacked some civilians’ houses on al-Shohadah Street and heavily knocked their doors, causing fear and panic among the residents.
  • 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. PCHR calls upon the international community to condemn summary executions carried out by Israeli forces against Palestinians and to pressurize Israel to stop them.
  7. PCHR calls upon the States Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC to work hard to hold Israeli war criminals accountable.
  8. 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.
  9. PCHR calls upon the international community to speed up the reconstruction process necessary because of the destruction inflicted by the Israeli offensive on Gaza.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.

Fully detailed document available at the official website of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR)

(Source / 15.02.2019)

OCHA: 44 Palestinians Displaced by Israel in January

15 Feb 6:41 AM

In January, about 40 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished or seized by Israeli authorities — almost the same as the monthly average recorded in 2018 — displacing 44 people and otherwise affecting some 200 others, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territory said, in its monthly report.

In OCHA’s report on West Bank demolitions and displacement, one of the demolitions reportedly took place on punitive grounds, and the remainder occurred due to the lack of Israeli-issued building permits, which are almost impossible to obtain.

Over 70% of the structures targeted, this month, were in 11 communities in Area C of the occupied West Bank, which is under total Israeli military rule.

In one of them, in Beit Iksa, Jerusalem area, the livelihoods of 50 people were affected by the demolition of four animal structures, a cesspool and the walls surrounding one home, with losses estimated at over 1.25 million shekels (303,000 euro). Beit Iksa (app. 1,700 residents) is one of other “dislocated” Palestinian communities in the Jerusalem area that have been physically separated from the rest of the West Bank by the segregation barrier, but residents are not allowed to enter East Jerusalem.

In al-Simiya village, in the Hebron district of the southern West Bank, three tents provided by the Palestinian Ministry of Education, to serve as a school, were seized, affecting 45 children. This is the third time in four weeks that structures for this school have been seized.

In a joint statement issued on 30 January, the Humanitarian Coordinator and UNICEF expressed deep concern “by the high number of reported incidents of interference in or near schools in the West Bank, since the beginning of the school year.”

At Imreiha village, in the Jenin district of the northern West Bank, also in Area C, two structures funded by the European Union and its member states, including a home and a mobile latrine, were seized and as a result, four people were displaced.

In East Jerusalem, ten structures were targeted during January, less than the monthly average of 15 recorded in 2018. Additionally, a Palestinian refugee family became at heightened risk of forced eviction from its home, following an Israeli court ruling in favor of a settler organization claiming ownership over the land. The home is located in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, where the family was settled, with the support of the United Nations and the Jordanian government, in the 1950s. At least 870 Palestinians in East Jerusalem have pending eviction cases filed mainly by settler organizations.

Also, this month, the Israeli army blew up an apartment in the town of Yatta, in Area A, which is under full Palestinian control, on punitive grounds. The apartment was home to a Palestinian who stabbed and killed an Israeli settler, in September 2018, and was detained, after he was shot and injured.

(Source / 15.02.2019)

Imam of Al-Aqsa Mosque Sentenced to House Arrest

15 Feb 6:49 AM

An Israeli court, on Wednesday, sentenced the imam of Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque—the third holiest site in Islam—to house confinement.

An Israeli patrol kidnapped Imam Walid Seyam from his family home, on Tuesday evening, hours before an Israeli court ruled that he be subjected to house arrest until Friday.

On Tuesday, an Israeli intelligence unit stormed Seyam’s home in Jerusalem’s Old City and wreaked havoc on the building, before they dragged the imam to the Qishleh detention center, west of occupied Jerusalem, Days of Palestine reports.

(Source / 15.02.2019)