This week, PCHR documented 224 violations of the international human rights law and international humanitarian law (IHL) by Israeli occupation forces (IOF) and settlers in the occupied Palestinian territory. This week witnessed an increase of Israeli violation regarding demolition and settlement activities in addition to settlers’ attacks and incursions. They were as follows:
As part of the Israeli shooting and excessive use of force:
In terms of excessive use of force, IOF wounded 45 Palestinian civilians, including 18 children and 3 women, on the 85th Friday of the Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege protest (GMR) in eastern Gaza Strip. IOF shot and injured 11 civilians with live bullets and shrapnel; 4 of them deemed in serious health conditions, in addition to targeting protestors’ upper body. As a result, many civilians injured despite the peaceful nature of the protests in the 5 encampments. Moreover, 7 shootings were reported by IOF at agricultural lands in the Gaza Strip; while 3 shootings were reported by the Israeli gunboats against the Palestinian fishing boats, east and west of the Gaza Strip; no casualties were reported. Furthermore, a civilian shot and injured in the lower part of his body and arrested while attempting to sneak into Israel via the border fence.
Under IOF incursions and house raids in addition to arresting Palestinian civilians: IOF carried out 121 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Those incursions included raids of civilian houses and shootings, enticing fear among civilians, arresting and/or injuring many others. During this week’s incursions, 76 Palestinians were arrested, including 8 children and 5 women. In the Gaza Strip, IOF carried out 2 incursions in eastern Khan Younis and northern Gaza Strip; no levelling works were reported.
Under the settlement expansion activities in the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, PCHR documented 12 IOF violations that included banning farmers from afforestation of their lands in Tulkarm and Kisan village, east of Bethlehem, claiming that these lands are confiscated by IOF; demolishing 2 residential tents; levelling works to expand ” Shvut Rachel” settlement established in lands of Jaloud village in Nablus; demolishing livestock barns, confiscating water tanks and an agricultural tractor in Tubas; demolishing 2 houses in Jerusalem; confiscating a bulldozer and digger; and demolishing 2 houses in Hebron.
PCHR also documented 10 settler-attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property, including puncturing vehicles’ tires, writing racist slogans in Jerusalem; attacking farmers in Bethlehem; writing racist slogans in Hebron; uprooting 300 olive trees in Bethlhem; throwing stones at vehicles in Nablus; setting fire in 2 vehicles in Qalqiliyah; attacking ‘Ain al-Helwas spring in Northern Jordan Valleys; raiding Solomon’s Pools’ archaeological site, south of Bethlehem; putting the “Menorah Lampstand” at the roof of Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron Old City; and cutting 35 olive trees in Ramallah.
In terms of the Israeli closure policy, on 19 December 2019, Israeli authorities decided to decrease the fishing area from 10 to 6 nautical miles off the Gaza Strip shores, before increasing it to 15 nautical miles in southern Gaza Strip shores starting from Tuesday morning, 24 December 2019. This comes in a time where the Gaza Strip still suffers the worst closure in the History of the Israeli occupation of the oPt as it has entered the 14th consecutive year, without any improvement to the movement of persons and goods, humanitarian conditions and bearing catastrophic consequences on all aspects of life. Furthermore, IOF uses Erez Crossing that is designated for movement of individuals as an ambush to arrest Palestinians who obtain permits to exit via Israel. Meanwhile, the West Bank is divided into separate cantons with key roads blocked by the Israeli occupation since the Second Intifada and with temporary and permanent checkpoints, where civilians movement is restricted and they are subject to arrest. In this week, IOF established 71 temporary checkpoints and arrested 4 Palestinians.
Violation of the right to life and to bodily integrity
- Excessive Use of Force against Protests in the Gaza Strip
On the 85th Friday, 20 December 2019, weekly protests were launched in eastern Gaza Strip, in solidarity with Hebron Governorate, which has been lately the target of Israeli settlement schemes. This Friday’s protest titled: “Hebron is a thorn in the way of efforts to create a Jewish majority”, resulted in the injury of 45 civilians, including 18 children, 3 women and a journalist.
The incidents were as follows:
- Northern Gaza Strip: demonstrations took place in northeast of Jabalia, and northern Gaza Strip. A few protesters threw stones at IOF stationed along the border fence. Israeli attacks resulted in the injury of 15 civilians, including 6 children, a woman and a journalist; one of them was deemed in serious condition: 3 civilians, including a child and 3 of them, including a girl and an elderly woman, were shot with live bullets and shrapnel; 11, including 3 children, were shot with rubber bullets; and a child was hit with a tear gas canister. The wounded journalist, Thair Khaled Fahmi Abu Rayash (24), was shot with a rubber bullet in his left leg. ‘Emad Fraij Mohammed Soboh (43), was deemed in serious condition after being shot with a live bullet that entered his back and exited his abdomen.
- Gaza City: protests took part in Malaka area in eastern Gaza City. IOF shot and injured protestors with live and rubber bullets as well as tear gas canisters. As a result, a child was shot with a rubber bullet in the face.
- Central Gaza Strip: IOF stationed behind sand berms and in military SUVs along the border fence in eastern al-Buriej Camp fired live and rubber bullets as well as tear gas canisters at protestors. The shooting which lasted until 17:00, resulted in the injury of 6 civilians, including a woman and a child: 3 were shot with live bullets and 3 were shot with rubber bullets. The wounded were taken to al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah: Ibrahim Mahmoud Saleh Abu Khashab (24), was deemed in serious condition after being shot with a live bullet in his abdomen and admitted to Intensive Care Unit (ICU), while others’ injuries were classified between moderate to minor. Furthermore, dozens of protestors suffocated due to tear gas inhalation; some of them were treated on spot while others were taken to hospitals.
- Khan Younis: Hundreds civilians joined today’s protests in Khuza’ah area in eastern Khan Younis. Most of the protesters stayed in the encampment for the activities while only few dozens gathered near the border fence and attempted to throw stones and Molotov cocktails. IOF fired live and rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, 9 civilians, including 2 children and a woman, were shot with rubber bullets. Moreover, dozens of protestors suffocated due to tear gas inhalation.
- Rafah: hundreds of protestors gathered in eastern al-Shawka neighborhood while others remained at the protest encampment, where speeches and theatrical performances were performed. Dozens attempted to approach the fence and throw stones. IOF fired live and rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at protestors. As a result, 14 civilians, including 8 children, were injured; 2 were deemed in serious condition, including a child: 5 shot with live bullets, 5 with rubber bullets and 4 were hit with tear gas canisters. Those sustained serious wounds were identified:
- Hazem Khaled Abu Jaridah (20), who was shot with a live bullet in his neck and referred to the Gaza European Hospital.
- Basel ‘Abdul Raouf Salam al-Lolahi (15), who was shot with a live bullet upper his thigh.
- Excessive Use of Force against Protests in the West Bank
- At the end of Friday prayer on 20 December 2019, dozens of civilians carrying olive trees to implant them in al-Qubeyat area, which is threatened to be confiscated by IOF. Al-Qubeyat area is located near “Homesh” settlement that is unpopulated, northwest of Nablus. When the protestors approached the abovementioned area, a number of soldiers were waiting them. The soldiers dispersed the protestors by firing tear gas canisters at them and chasing them.
- Shooting and other violations of the right to life and bodily integrity
- At approximately 07:30 on Thursday, 19 December 2019, Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence in eastern Khan Younis, north of the Gaza Strip, fired a number of tear gas canisters at agricultural lands, northeast of the city. As a result, many farmers, the area residents and schools’ students suffocated due to tear gas inhalation. Abu al-‘Ala’a al-Ma’ari School for girls, which is about 1 kilo meter away from the border fence, was evacuated for few minutes.
- At approximately 09:15 on the same Thursday, Israeli gunboats stationed in northwest of Beit Lahia, in northern Gaza Strip, pumped water at a fishing boat that was moored at a distance of 2 nautical miles. The boat is owned by Zuhair Abdul Rahman Zuhair al-‘Amoudi (21), from al-Shati refugee camp, west of Gaza City. As a result, the boats sustained damage, including 6 searchlights, a generator, and a number of fishing nets in the area.
- At approximately 16:00 on the same Thursday, a number of Palestinian young men, gathered at the western entrance to al-‘Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, and threw stones at Israeli soldiers stationed at a watchtower located in the camp’s main entrance. The soldiers chased stone-throwers and fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters at them. No arrests were reported.
- At approximately 23:05 on the same Thursday, Israeli warplanes launched 2 missiles at an empty land in eastern al-Shoka village, east of Rafah in southern Gaza Strip. No casualties were reported.
- At approximately 07:50 on Friday, 20 December 2019, Israeli gunboats stationed northwest of Beit Lahia in northern of the Gaza Strip, chased and heavily opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles. As a result, fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives. No casualties were reported.
- At approximately 10:00 on the same Friday, Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence in eastern al-Shoka village, east of Rafah, fired tear gas canisters at a number of Palestinian shepherds. As a result, the shepherds suffocated due to tear gas inhalation and left the area.
- At approximately 21:00 on the same Friday, Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence, east of Deir al-Balah, opened fire at agricultural lands adjacent to the border fence. No casualties were reported.
- At approximately 08:30 on Sunday, 22 December 2019, Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence, east of al-Buraij, opened fire at agricultural lands adjacent to the border fence. No casualties were reported.
- At approximately 09:00 on the same Sunday, Israeli gunboats stationed northwest of Beit Lahia, northern Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire at a fishing boat that was moored at a distance of 1.5 nautical miles. The boat is owned by Fahed Zeyad Hasan Baker (43), from al-Shati refugee camp, west of Gaza City. As a result, 8 searchlights were broken.
It should be noted that this kind of boats is called “Felucca Boats”, which is uninhabited boat where lambs are installed on it to gather the fish around it to facilitate fishing. Fishermen usually leave these boats in the water. At approximately 16:00 on the same Sunday, fisherman Baker went to check the boat and found all the searchlights were damaged after Israeli naval forces opened fire at them.
- At approximately 07:30 on Monday, 23 December 2019, Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence in eastern Khan Younis, opened fire at a group of bird hunters, east of al-Farahin neighbourhood in ‘Abasan. As a result, bird hunters left the area fearing for their lives. No casualties were reported.
- At approximately 11:00 on the same Monday, Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence in eastern al-Buraij, opened fire at Sami Namer Salem al-Nabahin (32) when he attempted to sneak through the border fence to Israel. As a result, al-Nabahin was wounded in his lower extremities and arrested by IOF and taken to Soroka Medical Center for treatment. Al-Nabahin (32), from al-Buraij refugee camp, was interrogated at the hospital and released at approximately 16:00 on the next day evening via Erez crossing, north of the Gaza Strip.
- At approximately 19:30 on the same Monday, IOF stationed along the border fence fired flare bombs and artillery shells at the east of Wadi al-Salqa village, east of Deir al-Balah. No casualties were reported.
- At approximately 15:00 on Wednesday, 25 December 2019, a number of Palestinian young men gathered at the entrance to al-‘Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, and threw stones at Israeli military vehicles stationed near the military watchtower. Israeli soldiers chased stone-throwers between houses and fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, a number of young men suffocated due to tear gas inhalation. The clashes continued until 18:00 on the same day. The soldiers arrested Mohammed Mahmoud Jawabrah (18) and Jamal Nawaf Jawabrah (19).
Demolition and Confiscation of Civilian Property for Settlement Expansion Activities
- At approximately 10:00 on Saturday, 21 December 2019, IOF moved into Middle Mount area, southeast of Tulkarm. They prevented civilians from planting trees in their lands, claiming these lands were confiscated and forcing the farmers to leave the area at gunpoint.
The farmers had planted part of the lands with olive and forest seedlings as part of activities organized by the national factions in Tulkarm and local councils in the villages of al-Kafriyat and ‘Ezbet Shofah. Those activities came after the Israeli government announced seizure of 788 dunums of these lands in favor of a new industrial settlement area. According to this project, the agricultural area will turn into industrial and commercial areas where there are transportation, buildings, public institutions, car parking and roads for the new industrial settlement.
- On the same day morning, an Israeli military force moved into agricultural lands in Kisan village, east of Bethlehem. They prevented the lands’ owners from plowing their lands and forced them to leave after threatening to arrest them.
Hussein Ghazal, an activist, said that IOF moved into this 100-dunum land and the officer in charge informed the Palestinian farmers that they are only allowed to enter their lands if they refer to the Military Governance office in “Gosh ‘Etzion” settlement complex in order to obtain an entry permit. Ghazal said that IOF impose obstacles before lands’ owners, preluding to seize the lands as the settlers in the nearby settlements continuously chase and attack farmers; the latest was against farmer ‘Atallah Ibrahim ‘Abyat when settlers sic their dogs on him.
- At approximately 08:00 on Monday, 23 December 2019, IOF accompanied with Israeli Civil Administration officers and a construction vehicle moved into Kherbet Tana, northeast of Nablus. The construction vehicle demolished 2 residential tents of 50 square meters belonging to Hakam Zohdi Nasasrah and Yousif Fayez Nasasrah and confiscated their pillars. They then damaged the trees planted by the Ministry of Agriculture and the international and local organizations in Tana Nature Reserve, which is around 90 dunums and planted with 3000 forest trees.
- At approximately 08:30 on the same day, IOF accompanied with a construction vehicle moved into Khelet Abu Salah in the Northern Jordan Valley, east of Tubas. The construction vehicle demolished residential tents and sheep barns in addition to confiscating drinking water tanks, aiming to displace farmers.
Israeli Settler Violence
- At approximately 02:00 on Thursday, 19 December 2019, Israeli settlers moved into al-Khalaylah neighborhood, northwest of occupied East Jerusalem. They punctured the tires of Palestinian vehicles and wrote racist slogans on the walls threatening the Palestinian residents. Recently, the attacks by the “Price Tag” extreme groups against the Palestinian property repeated, especially burning vehicles and puncturing tires in Jerusalem.
It should be mentioned that IOF always arrive at the scene, interrogate the Palestinian civilians and take their testimonies. However, the incidents are always recorded anonymously. The Price Tag groups include extreme settlers who carry out hostilities against the Palestinians in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem.
- On the same day morning, Israeli settlers moved into Kisan village, east of Bethlehem, and prevented the Palestinian farmers from plowing their lands. They forced the farmers to leave and attacked ‘Atallah Ibrahim ‘Abayat (53). They sic their dogs on him, and he was taken to Beit Jala Governmental Hospital to receive medical treatment.
Ahmed Ghazal, Deputy Head of the Kisan Village Council, said “settlers from “Evi Hanahel” settlement beat up the mentioned farmer and sic their dogs on him. As a result, ‘Abayat sustained various wounds and taken to Beit Jala Hospital for medical treatment.” Ghazal added that the settlers attacked ‘Abayat after he refused to obey their orders to leave his land for them, noting that such attacks recently recurred and shepherds have become afraid for their lives.
- At approximately 04:20, 2 settlers from Giv’at Ha’avot settlement outpost established on the lands of eastern Hebron arrived at the house of ‘Abdel Karim Mahmoud al-Ja’bari in al-Hussein Valley adjacent to the outpost and wrote racist slogans against Arabs signed by the “Price Tag” groups on 2 vehicles parked on the main road.
- At approximately 06:00, settlers moved into the lands al-Ghawit Valley area in al-Khader village, west of Bethlehem. They uprooted 300 olive trees and seized them.
The land’s owner, Hisham al-Barmil, said that he was surprised with a call from his neighbors telling him about what happened. He immediately headed to his 30-dunum land to see hundreds of the trees that were planted tens of years ago uprooted and seized by settlers. It should be mentioned that it was not the first attack by settlers on the area as 2 months ago they attacked plantings in the area, causing losses to the farmers.
- At approximately 15:30 on the same day, settlers from Yitsihar settlement established on the lands of Burin, Madma, ‘Asiret al-Qabilah and ‘Orif villages, southeast of Nablus, threw stones at the Palestinian cars traveling on “Yitsihar” Bypass Road and Madma Bridge near “Yitshar” settlement. As a result, the windshield of a bus belonging to Redwan Ma’arouf Hussein ‘Asayrah (58) was broken.
- At approximately 02:00 on Friday, 20 December 2019, settlers from “Havat Gilad” settlement moved into the southeastern area of Fre’ata village, north of Qalqilya. They set fire to 2 vehicles belonging to Saher ‘Abdel Rahim Rafiq Salim and Thaer Raed ‘Abdel Rahim Salim. They wrote racist slogans against Arabs on the floor and walls of a house belonging to Saher ‘Abdel Rahim Salim.
‘Abdel Men’em Shana’ah, Head of Fre’ata Village Council, said:
“At approximately 02:30 on Friday, 20 December 2019, one of the area residents called to tell me that the area and cars were on fire. I immediately headed to the area, where 2 cars parked in front of Saher Salim’s house were on fire, but we could not do anything. The Civil Defense arrived to extinguish the fire, and the area was full of racist slogans on the walls and floor of Saher Salim’s house. Next morning, we contacted the competent authority to tell them about what happened.”
- On the same day morning, settlers moved into the Northern Valleys area, east of Tubas. They started repairing ‘Ein al-Helweh Spring that is used by the Valleys’ farmers for drinking and irrigation. The farmers said that they were surprised with settlers’ repairing the spring, aiming to seize it and prevent civilians from using it.
- At approximately 10:00 on Saturday, 21 December 2019, around 100 armed Israeli settlers moved into ancient Solomon’s Pools, south of Bethlehem. They wandered with their dogs and bathed in the springs while others swam in one of the pools under the IOF protection. It should be mentioned that settlers come to the pools from time to time under the IOF protection and the area residents are afraid of the Israeli territorial appetites although the pools are located in Area “A” and many Palestinian projects are established there.
- At approximately 10:00 on Monday, 23 December 2019, Israeli settlers under the IOF heavy guard placed the “Menorah” lampstand on the roof of al-Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron’s Old City. This step is part of the settlers’ ongoing attempts to take over the mosque that started in 1994 when a settler carried out a massacre against the worshippers in the mosque.
- On the same day afternoon, Israeli settlers from “‘Aadi ‘Aad” settlement under the IOF protection cut and damaged 35 olive trees in a land belonging to Ratib Haj Na’asan in al-Seder area in al-Moghir village, northeast of Ramallah.
Nash’at Nas’asan (38) said that at approximately 15:30 on the same day he saw 10 settlers approaching the barbed wire surrounding the trees in al-Seder area. They destroyed it and then entered the land to cut the olive trees and damage the branches. They then fled away to their settlement.
(Source / 28.12.2019)