Friday, January 25, 2013

PCHR Weekly Report: 10 civilians, including 3 children, wounded by Israeli forces this week


For the full text of the report, click on the link below:
http://www.pchrgaza.org/portal/en/index.php?option=com_...d=183

International Middle East Media Center
 author by PCHR Gaza Report post
In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of 17- 22 January 2012, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) found that 4 civilians, including 2 children, were wounded in the northern and central Gaza Strip. 5 Palestinian civilians were wounded in al-Nabi Saleh and Kofur Qaddoum peaceful protests in the center and north of the West Bank. Also, in an Israeli invasion, a Palestinian child sustained severe wounds in Ayda refugee camp, north of Bethlehem.
Israeli soldiers attack non-violent demonstrators in Al Masara (image by PCHR)
Israeli soldiers attack non-violent demonstrators in Al Masara (image by PCHR)
Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip:

This week in Gaza, a 2-year girl was wounded by Israeli shrapnel while she was playing in front of her family's house in al-Salqa valley in the central Gaza Strip, in addition to 3 other civilians wounded by Israeli gunfire.

In the Gaza Strip, on 17 January 2013, 2 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded. The first one was wounded when the Israeli forces positioned along the border fence, east of Jabalya, opened fire at a group of civilians and farmers, who were 100 meters to the west of the fence. Five minutes later, the second person was wounded when the Israeli forces positioned along the border fence, north of Beit Lahia, opened fire at a group of civilians and farmers a few meters to the west of the fence. It should be mentioned that Palestinian farmers, following the truce signed between the armed groups and Israel after the latest offensive on the Gaza Strip, went back to the buffer zone, which is 300 meters along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, in order to carry out the decision made by the Israeli forces and to help farmers have access to their lands after being denied the use of them.

On 19 January 2013, a 2-year girl was wounded when the Israeli forces positioned along the border fence, east of Wadi al-Salqa village in the central Gaza Strip, opened fire at the agricultural lands. The girl was playing in front of her family's house that was 1,000 meters away from the fence.

On 21 January 2013, a Palestinian boy was wounded when the Israeli forces positioned on watchtowers, northwest of Beit Lahia, opened fire at some workers who were collecting plastic, gravel and firewood a few meters away from the fence. The Israeli forces claimed that they fired at a group of boys who attempted to damage the fence in the northern Gaza Strip. It should be noted that the Israeli forces had fired at farmers and gravel collectors in the vicinity of al-Shuhada' cemetery, east of Jabalya, but no casualties were reported.

In the context of targeting fishermen, the Israeli gunboats positioned off al-Waha resort, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats 6 times on 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22 January 2013. As a result, the fishermen were frightened and fled back to the shore for fear of being wounded or abducted. Neither material damage nor casualties were reported.

Israeli attacks in the West Bank:

The Israeli forces conducted 50 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank.

At least 37 Palestinian civilians, including 5 children, were abducted. 10 farmers, including 3 women and a mother with her baby in her arms, were abducted in eastern Yatta, south of Hebron. At least 5 Palestinian civilians were abducted at checkpoints in the West Bank.

In one example of this week's 50 incursions, on Thursday January 17th, an Israeli undercover unit in civilian clothes moved into Kofur Ra'i village, south of Jenin. They seized a small Mercedes truck carrying a Palestinian registration plate and abducted Jalal Jamal Raja Melhem, 26, an ex-prisoner and a member of the Islamic Jihad. The Israeli forces moved later into the village and surrounded and raided a house belonging to Belal Nabil Sa'id Diab, 27, a member of the Islamic Jihad. They damaged the contents of the house and abducted the aforementioned person. The Israeli forces raided houses of Mahmoud Matar Mohammed Melhem, 26, and Majdi Ma'moun Khalil Melhem, 26, members of the Islamic Jihad. They abducted them and transported the 4 abducted persons to an unknown destination. It should be noted that this incursion was conducted in the context of a large-scale arrest campaign against members of the Islamic Jihad in Jenin and Tubas.

In the context of efforts to create a Jewish Majority in the Occupied East Jerusalem, the Israeli forces continued to confiscate lands, demolish houses and built new settlement units. PCHR stresses that these measures come in the context of isolating East Jerusalem and annexing it to Israeli according to the Israeli policy that is in violation of the international humanitarian law. PCHR calls upon the international community to promptly take action and reiterates its call upon the High Contracting parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations under Article 1 of the Convention.

On 20 January 2013, the Israeli forces started leveling Palestinian lands in Shu'fat village, northeast of Jerusalem. Local sources stated that these works were conducted for the benifit of road "21" that connects the center of the city with the settlements established around the city.

Israeli attacks on non-violent demonstrations:

In the West Bank, the Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against peaceful protests organized by Palestinians civilians and international and Israeli activists in protest of the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities in the West Bank. As a result, 6 Palestinians, including a child, were wounded; 3 of whom were wounded in al-Nabi Saleh weekly protest, northwest of Ramallah and 2 others were wounded in Kofur Qaddoum weekly protest, northeast of Qalqilia. The child was wounded at the northern entrance of Ayda refugee camp, north of Bethlehem.

During the reporting period, Israeli forces used force against peaceful demonstrations organized by Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders in protest at the construction of the wall and settlement activities in the West Bank. As a result, 6 Palestinians sustained injuries, including a child whose injury was described as critical. Dozens of demonstrators ALSO suffered from tear gas inhalation and some sustained bruises. PCHR keeps the names of the victims in fear of subjecting them to arrest by the Israeli forces.

On 19 January 2013, Israeli forces abducted 10 Palestinian farmers and activists, including three women and an infant who was with her mother, and transported them to Susyia Military Camp, southeast of Yatta, south of Hebron. This took place during a peaceful protest organized by Palestinian civilians, Israeli and international human rights activists and civilians against the Israeli land confiscating policy for settlement expansion.

Following the Friday Prayer on 18 January 2013, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders organized a peaceful demonstration in Bil'ein village, west of Ramallah, in protest to the construction of the annexation wall. The demonstrators gathered in the streets of the village, chanting slogans calling for national unity. The protesters aimed to stress the need to adhere to national principles and the right of return, to resist the occupation and to call for the release of all Palestinian prisoners. The protesters raised Palestinian flags and made their way towards the lands adjacent to the annexation wall. The Israeli forces had closed all ways and entrances to the village since early morning hours, to prevent Palestinians, journalists and international activists from joining the protest. Upon their arrival to Abu-Lemon reserve, they attempted to cross the separating fence, adjacent to the wall. The Israeli forces positioned behind the new wall on the western side fired rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the demonstrators. As a result, dozens of demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation and others sustained bruises.

Also following the Friday Prayer on 18 January 2013, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders organized a peaceful demonstration in Ne’lin village, west of Ramallah, in protest at the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities. The demonstrators moved towards areas of the annexation wall. Immediately, Israeli soldiers stationed in the area fired rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the demonstrators. As a result, dozens of demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation and others sustained bruises.

Around the same time on Friday, 18 January 2013, dozens of Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international human rights defenders gathered in 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, entitled: "On the Anniversary of the killing of Samir Ahmed Awad." The protesters walked towards the gate erected by Israeli forces near the entrance of the village, which leads to Palestinian lands that Israeli settlers from the nearby "Halmish" settlement are trying to seize. Israeli soldiers fired live and rubber-coated bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the protesters. As a result, dozens of demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation and others sustained bruises.

At the same time on Friday, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international human rights defenders gathered in Budrus village, west of Ramallah and al-Bireh, for a peaceful protest against the annexation wall and settlement activity. The demonstration was entitled: "On the Anniversary of the Killing of Samir Amed Awad." The demonstrators walked through the village streets and headed towards the wall. The Israeli forces closed the wall gates with barbwires, and when the demonstrators attempted to cross the wall to the lands behind it, the Israeli forces stopped them, so the demonstrators threw rocks at them. The Israeli soldiers fired tear gas canisters and rubber-coated metal bullets. As a result, 3 Palestinian civilians sustained bullet wounds; the first (50) sustained a bullet wound to the left leg; the second (25) sustained a bullet wound to the right thigh and the third (20) was hit in the head by a tear gas canister. Also, dozens of demonstrators suffocated from tear gas inhalation.

Also following the Friday Prayer, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international human rights defenders organized a peaceful demonstration in the center of al-Ma’sara village, south of Bethlehem, in protest at the ongoing construction of the annexation wall. As the protestors moved towards the gate of the village, the Israeli forces closed it to prevent the demonstration from gaining access to the confiscated land and attacked the participants; as a result, some demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation and others sustained bruises.

At approximately 12:15 on the same Friday, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international human rights defenders organized a peaceful demonstration in the center of Kuffor Kadoum village, northeast of Qalqilya, in protest to the continuous closure of the eastern entrance of the village since the outbreak of al-Aqsa Intifada. The demonstrators moved towards the entrance of the village. Immediately, Israeli forces, stationed in the surroundings of the steel gate established at the entrance, fired tear gas canisters and rubber-coated metal bullets. As a result, two Palestinian civilians sustained bullet wounds; the first (36) sustained a bullet wound to the right thigh and the second (44) sustained a bullet wound to the back. Dozens of demonstrators also suffered from tear gas inhalation. It should be mentioned that the number of tear gas canisters and sound bombs fired by the Israeli forces exceeded a few hundreds.

At approximately 14:30 on the same Friday, dozens of children and teenagers gathered at the eastern entrance of 'Ayda Refugee Camp, north of Bethlehem. They threw stones at the Israeli soldiers stationed on the watchtower in the vicinity of Bilal Bin Rabah Mosque (Rachel's tomb), north of the city. Following that, the Israeli forces stationed at the main entrance of the camp and fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the protesters, and then opened fire at them. As a result, Saleh Ahmed al-'Amaryn (15) sustained a bullet wound to the head. He was transported to Beit Jala Public Hospital for treatment; however, he was transported later to Hadassah Medical Center where his condition was described as critical.

At approximately 07:30 on Saturday, 19 January 2013, dozens of Palestinian civilians, Israeli and international human rights activists and civilians from Qwaiqis village, east of Yatta, south of Hebron, gathered for the organization of a peaceful protest against the Israeli land confiscation policy for settlement expansion. The demonstrators marched in the streets of the village, chanting for national unity. They later headed to the farmlands threatened by confiscation in Um al-Arayes area, east of Yatta. Upon their arrival at the area, the Israeli forces attacked the peaceful demonstration, under the pretext that the area was a closed military zone. The Israeli soldiers severely beat the demonstrators and abducted 10 of the farmers and human rights activists, including 3 women and a baby who was with her mother.

Israeli settlement activities:

Israel has continued settlement activities in the West Bank, and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.

37 residential tents were damaged and confiscated in al-Maleh area in the northern Jordan Valley, due to which 115 persons became homeless. 6 houses and a water well were demolished and new demolition notices were issued in Hebron. The settlers uprooted 60 olive seedlings in areas south of Bethlehem.

On 17 January 2013, the Israeli forces used bulldozers to demolish tents that offered shelter to 12 families of 115 members in al-Maleh area, east of Tubas, in the northern Jordan Valley. Moreover, the Israeli forces demolished stockyards belonging to the abovementioned families.

On the same day, settlers uprooted 40 olive seedlings in Housan village, west of Bethlehem.

On 19 January 2013, a 200-member infantry unit moved into al-Maleh area for the second time. They damaged 37 tents that were given to the same families in the area. 14 tents of them were provided to the families by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

On the same day, a group of settlers from "Sidi Boaz" settlement outpost, south of Bethlehem, uprooted 20 olive seedlings in Ein Qessis area.

On 21 January 2013, the Israeli forces demolished an agricultural room inhabited by Mosa Ibrahim Abu 'Eram, in addition to a water well in She'eb al-Maghara area, east of Yatta village, south of Hebron.

On the same day, the Israeli forces demolished an under-construction house in al-Rifa'iya area, east of Yatta village.

On the same day, 4 tin-made houses in al-Rahwa area, south of al-Daheriya village in the south of Hebron, were demolished.

In the same context, on 20 January 2013, the Israeli forces submitted notices to 6 Palestinians in Wad al-Naqi area, west of Ethna village in the west of Hebron, to suspend their work in 3 houses and 3 barns under the pretext of not having obtained construction license from the Israeli authorities.

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 High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention comply with their legal obligations detailed in Article 146 of the Convention to search for and prosecute those responsible for grave breaches, namely war crimes.

Also, the PCHR calls for the immediate implementation of the Advisory Opinion issued by the International Court of Justice, which considers the construction of the Annexation Wall inside the West Bank illegal.