In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of 05 – 12 June 2013, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) found that Israeli forces have continued to open fire at the Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip border area. A Palestinian worker was wounded, east of Khan Yunis in the south of the Gaza Strip. 5 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded during an Israeli incursion in al-Far’ah refugee camp, south of Tubas.
In addition, Israeli forces have continued to use excessive force against peaceful protesters in the West Bank. A protester was wounded during a peaceful protest in Bil’in village, west of Ramallah.
Israeli attacks in the West Bank:
Israeli forces conducted 67 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank this week, in which they abducted 51 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children. Among the abducted is Abdul Jaber Foqaha’, Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council for the Change and Reform Bloc.
In one example of this week’s 67 incursions, on Wednesday June 5th, at approximately 09:55, Israeli forces moved into al-Khader village, south of Bethlehem. They positioned themselves around schools in the Old Town. A number of students gathered and threw stones at the Israeli soldiers, who in response fired rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters. As a result, a number of students suffered tear gas inhalation and were treated on the spot. The Israeli forces abducted the student Hamza Mahmoud al-Wahesh (15) and took him to “Gosh Etzion” settlement, south of the city. When al-Wahesh’s father went to ask about his son, the Israeli forces released him after 2 hours.
Israeli forces established dozens of checkpoints in the West Bank. 7 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children, were abducted at checkpoints in the West Bank. One of the detainees is 12 years old.
On Wednesday, 05 June 2013, Israeli forces moved into al-Thagra area, near “Neve Daniel” settlement, south of al-Khader village, in the south of Bethlehem and destroyed an arbor under the pretext of not obtaining a permit.
On Thursday, 06 June 2013, Israeli forces handed a Yatta municipal employee a notice to halt work in a street that is being paved in Mothalath Zeif area, at the eastern entrance of Yatta, which is linked to Bypass Road (60), south of Hebron.
On Saturday, 08 June 2013, Israeli forces uprooted a tent in al-Jab’a area to the west of Sourif village, northwest of Hebron that was established by Palestinians, member of Popular Committees against the Settlement Activities and a number of international and Israeli human rights activists, under the name Kan’an village. Also on Saturday, Israeli forces bulldozed and closed an agricultural road, which leads to 50 dunums of farmlands in the area of Salem Valley, in the west of the village, with rocks and piles of dirt. The 50-dunum-land is planted with grapevines.
On Sunday, 09 June 2013, Israeli forces chased farmers and shepherds of the Hathaleen family while present in the surroundings of Kherbat Uml-Khair area to the east of Yatta, south of Hebron, under the pretext that these lands are confiscated and are restricted to them. It should be mentioned that the Israeli forces have been trying to evacuate the inhabitants of the area of the Hathaleen family for several years for expansion schemes of “Carmiel” settlement, which is established on the lands of the Uml-Khair.
Also on Sunday, Israeli forces denied farmers from Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron, access to their lands, which are located within the security fence of “Kermi Tsour” settlement, which is established on Palestinian civilians’ lands in the north of Hebron. The farmers waited for more than an hour before a soldier approached them and ordered them to leave at gunpoint. It should be noted that Israeli forces confiscated many agricultural dunums of Beit Ummar village and Halhoul for the expansion of the afore-mentioned settlement. In al-Buq’a area in the east of Hebron, Israeli forces placed a notice to halt construction works near an under construction water well, which is the property of Atta Abdel-Jawad Mohammed Jaber (44).
On Wednesday, 12 June 2013, Israeli forces bulldozed an occupied house and an under construction barrack in East Barta’a village, which is isolated from its Palestinian surroundings due to the construction of the annexation wall in the west of Jenin. The house is of two floors, each of 170 square metres, and is the property of Ahmed Omar Qubha (29), and the barrack is the property of Ali Mohammed Qubha (47).
Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip:
In the Gaza Strip, on 10 June 2013, Israeli forces stationed on watchtowers along the border fence, east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, opened fire at 3 brothers working as gravel collectors 80 meters away from the border fence. As a result, Amer Mazen Abu Hadayed (20) was wounded and taken to the European Gaza Hospital in Khan Yunis.
Israeli navy forces continued to pursue Palestinian fishermen in Gaza sea. On 05, 06 and 08 June 2013, Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats that were sailing within the 6 nautical mile limit off al-Waha resort in the north of the Gaza Strip. No casualties were reported. However, a fishing boat belonging to Taha Sa’dAllah (30) sustained damage and 2 fishing nets were torn by the Israeli navy forces.
In the same context, on 07 June 2013, Israeli navy forces abducted 2 fishermen from the central Gaza Strip, confiscated their boat and released them later at Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing.
Also in the Gaza Strip, on 11 June 2013, Israeli forces conducted a limited incursion in the east of Deir al-Balah in the central the Gaza Strip. They levelled lands and withdrew later. The second incursion was conducted on 12 June 2013, northeast of Gaza valley (Johr al-Deek).
Israel has continued to impose a total closure on the Occupied Palestinian Territories and has isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world. The illegal closure of the Gaza Strip, which has steadily tightened since June 2007, has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli authorities impose measures to undermine the freedom of trade, including the basic needs for the Gaza Strip population and the agricultural and industrial products to be exported. For 7 consecutive years, Israel has tightened the land and naval closure to isolate the Gaza Strip from the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, and other countries around the world. This resulted in a grave violation of the economic, social and cultural rights and a deterioration of living conditions for 1.7 million people. The Israeli authorities has established Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shaloum) as the sole crossing for imports and exports in order to exercise its control over the Gaza Strip’s economy that has been aggravating for years due to the shortage of imports. They also aim at imposing a complete ban on the Gaza Strip’s exports.
Israeli settlement activities:
Israeli forces have continued to support settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.
On Thursday, 06 June 2013, a group of settlers from “Bat Ayin” settlement, which is established on Palestinian lands in the west of Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron, cut and destroyed 20 3-year-old olive trees in Abul-Reish valley area, near the afore-mentioned settlement. It should be mentioned that this attack is the third of its kind to be carried out by settlers in al-Saliby’s land in 2013. Also on Thursday, a group of settlers from “Maon” settlement, established on Palestinian land in the east of Yatta attacked a group of farmers from the Awad family while working in their farmlands in Qwayweis and Um al-‘Arayes areas, in the east of the afore-mentioned area, and banned from working on their land at gunpoint.
On Thursday as well, dozens of settlers from “Najohout settlement,” which is established on Palestinian lands, in the south of Doura, southwest of Hebron, patrolled the streets of Kharsa valley area, under strict protection of the Israeli forces. No incidents were reported. And later on Thursday, a group of settlers, under the protection of Israeli forces, moved into Kufol Hares village, north of Salfit. The settlers chanted anti-Arab slogans and made graffiti in Hebrew inside the historical and religious landmarks, and on the houses of Palestinians as well, such as “Death to Arabs.”
On Tuesday, 11 June 2013, a number of settlers’ children from “Beitar Illit,” established on the lands of Houssan, Nahalin and Fouqin Valley villages, in the western countryside of Bethlehem, set fire in lands in Kherbat al-Deir area in the west of Nahlain village. As a result, approximately 10 trees and other crops caught on fire. The inhabitants of the village put out the fire.
Israeli attacks on non-violent demonstrations:
In the West Bank, Israeli forces continued the systematic use of excessive force against peaceful protests organised by Palestinian, Israeli and international activists against the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities in the West Bank. As a result, Amr Hesham Bernat (25) was wounded during a peaceful protest in Bil’in village, west of Ramallah, on 07 June 2013. Moreover, dozens suffered tear gas inhalation and others sustained bruises.
On 12 June 2013, 5 civilians, including a child, sustained bullet wounds when Israeli forces moved into al-Far’ah refugee camp, south of Tubas.
Following the Friday Prayer, 07 June 2013, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders organised a peaceful demonstration in Bil’in village, west of Ramallah, in protest at the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activity and in commemoration of the 1967 war. The demonstrators marched through the streets of the village, chanting slogans calling for national unity, raised Palestinian flags and made their way towards the lands adjacent to the annexation wall. Israeli forces had closed all entrances to the village since the early morning to prevent Palestinians, journalists, and international activists from joining the protest. The demonstrators walked along the wall and attempted to breach it. Israeli forces stationed behind the western side of the wall, and dozens of soldiers who were deployed along the route of the wall, fired live ammunition, rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs, tear gas canisters, and waste water at the demonstrators, and chased them across olive fields. As a result, Amro Hisham Bernat (25) was hit in the right leg by a tear gas canister. Furthermore, the shooting of tear gas canisters at the demonstrators caused fire in a tract of land that is planted with olive trees.
Also, following the Friday Prayer, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders organised a peaceful demonstration in Ni’lin village, west of Ramallah, in protest at the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities. The demonstrators made their way towards the annexation wall. Israeli forces closed the wall gate with barbed wire and, when the demonstrators attempted to access the lands behind the barbed wire, they were stopped by Israeli soldiers. The demonstrators threw stones at the Israeli soldiers who responded with live ammunition, rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs, and tear gas canisters, and chased them across fields of olive trees as far as the outskirts of the village. As a result, dozens of demonstrators suffered tear gas inhalation and others sustained bruises.
Around the same time on Friday, dozens of Palestinian civilians, and Israeli and international human rights activists gathered at the Martyrs Square in Nabi Saleh village, northwest of Ramallah, to hold a weekly peaceful protest against the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities. The protesters walked towards Palestinian lands that Israeli settlers from the nearby “Halmish” settlement are trying to seize. From the morning, Israeli forces had closed all entrances to the village to prevent Palestinians, international activists, and journalists from joining the demonstration. Upon their arrival in the area, Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition, rubber-coated bullets, sound bombs, and tear gas canisters, chased the demonstrators into the village and sprayed them and civilian houses with waste water. As a result, dozens of Palestinians suffered from tear gas inhalation and others sustained bruises. The firing of the tear gas canisters caused a fire in a tract of land which is planted with olive trees. Also, Israeli forces abducted two brothers, from the neighbouring Deir Nezam village, while they were in a supermarket in al-Khawaja station and took them to Ofer prison in the southwest of Ramallah. At approximatel 00:00 on Monday, 10 June 2013, they were released on a bail of 2000 Israeli shekels each. The abducted persons are: Tamim Ahmed Faraj Mezher (19); and Mo’men Ahmed Faraj Mezher (19).
Following Friday Prayer, dozens of inhabitants of al-Mas’ra village, south of Bethlehem, international and Israeli human rights activists, and activists in the Popular Resistance Committees gathered for the weekly peaceful demonstration against the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activity. The demonstration was also organized in protest to the construction of a school for settlers in the south of Bethlehem. It started outside Shomou’ Cultural Centre in the centre of the village. The participants carried Palestinian flags, roamed the streets of the village. Upon their arrival to the village’s entrance, Israeli forces, backed-up by Israeli police and border guards, fired tear gas canisters at them in order to disperse them. Many demonstrators suffered due to tear gas inhalation.
At approximately 13:20 on Friday, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international human rights defenders organised a peaceful demonstration in the centre of Kufor Kadoum village, northeast of Qalqilya, in protest at the continuous closure of the eastern entrance of the village which has been ongoing since the outbreak of al-Aqsa Intifada. Israeli soldiers denied them access to the gate and fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters; as a result, many demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation.
Recommendations to the international community:
Due to the number and severity of Israeli human rights violations this week, the PCHR made several recommendations to the international community. Among these were a recommendation that the Parties to international human rights instruments, especially the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to pressure Israel to comply with their provisions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and to compel it to incorporate the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in its reports submitted to the concerned committees;
In addition, the PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fulfil their obligation to ensure the application of the Conventions, including extending the scope of their jurisdiction in order to prosecute suspected war criminals, regardless of the nationality of the perpetrator and the place of a crime, to pave the way for prosecuting suspected Israeli war criminals and end the longstanding impunity they have enjoyed.