In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of 22 June – 05 July 2017, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) found that Israeli forces continued systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian in Hebron. 18 Palestinian civilians, including 8 children, were wounded in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Israeli attacks in the West Bank:
During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian teenager.
In the West Bank, on 28 June 2017, Israeli forces killed Eyad Gaith (23), from Hebron. According to PCHR’s investigations, Israeli forces surrounded a number of houses belonging to Gaith family in Jouhar Mount, south of the city. Therefore the aforementioned person, who was carrying a rifle, ran away for fear of being abducted. While getting out of the family divan, Israeli forces with no warning opened fire at him and shot him dead to the head.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces wounded 15 Palestinian civilians, including 7 children. Five of them were hit with live bullets, 5 others were hit with gas canister shrapnel and 2 were hit with sponge-tipped bullets. The incidents were as follows:
On 28 June 2017, a 15-year-old male sustained a metal bullet wound to the hand during an Israeli incursion into Beit Ummer village, north of Hebron.
On 29 June 2017, a 15-year-old male sustained a sponge-tipped bullet wound to the chest while a 19-year-old male sustained a similar wound to the right hand during an Israeli incursion into Bil’in village, west of Ramallah.
On 30 June 2017, a 14-year-old male sustained a live bullet wound to the right side of the chest while another 15-year-old male sustained a live bullet wound to the left thigh during an Israeli incursion into Jenin. Israeli forces further demolished a memorial of the late Khaled Nazzal, member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP).
On the same day, a 22-year-old male sustained a bullet wound to the belly during his participation in Kufor Qaddoum weekly protest, northeast of Qalqilya.
On 02 July 2017, 6 Palestinian civilians were wounded, 3 of them sustained metal bullet wounds and the 3 others sustained gas canister shrapnel wounds, when Israeli forces assaulted the funeral procession of Ali Abu Gharbiya (24), from al-Sowana neighbourhood, east of Jerusalem’s Old City, who drowned in Lake Tiberias on Friday, 30 June 2017.
On the same day, a 14-year-old child sustained 2 live bullet wounds to the legs when Israeli forces moved into al-Mughair village, northeast of Ramallah.
On 04 July 2017, 2 children sustained live bullet wounds when Israeli forces moved into al-Fare’ah refugee camp, south of Tubas.
Israeli forces continued practicing the collective punishment policy. Collective punishment measures were imposed against the Palestinian civilians in Jerusalem and Deir Abu Mesh’al village.
Dozens of temporary checkpoints were established in the West Bank and others were re-established to obstruct the movement of Palestinian civilians. 15 civilians, including 2 children and a fieldworker at B’Tselem, were abducted at military checkpoints in the West Bank.
On 04 July 2017, three families in Deir Abu Mesh’al village, northwest of Ramallah, and a family in Silwad village, northeast of the city, received military demolition orders issued by the Israeli Commander in the West Bank. The first order was related to the demolition of houses belonging to the families of the 3 youngsters, who carried out an attack in Bab al-Amoud area in Jerusalem on 16 June 2017. The second order was related to the house belonging to the family of prisoner Malek Hamed (22), who carried out a run-over attack on 06 April 2017, near “Ofra” settlement.
Concerning house demolitions, the Israeli municipality in occupied Jerusalem obliged the family of Mohammed Ali Nasser Assi to self-demolish his house in al-Eisawiya village, northeast of the city, on 01 July 2017, it should be noted the house was built in 2008 and the family paid a fine of NIS 40,000.
On 03 July 2017, Mahmoud Fawaqa was obliged to self-demolish his 2 houses in Em Lesoun village, south of the city. The aforementioned person said the municipality obliged him to self-demolish the houses, otherwise, the municipality itself would demolish them and impose a fine of NIS 80,000.
On 04 July 2017, the Israeli municipality in Jerusalem demolished 3 houses in Beit Hanina neighbourhood, north of the city under the pretext of non-licensing.
On the same day, Israeli forces levelled a 2-dunum agricultural land and a livestock barrack in al-Za’yem village, east of East Jerusalem. They also cut off 120 olive and almond trees.
Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip:
In the Gaza Strip, the border area witnessed peaceful protests against the illegal closure imposed on the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces used force against the protestors, as result, 3 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded. One of them was hit with a live bullet and the two others were hit with tear gas canisters.
In the context of Israeli attacks against fishermen in the sea, on 27 June 2017, Israeli gunboats opened fire at and chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 4 nautical miles northwest of Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip. Soon after, the Israeli gunboats opened fire at fishing boats sailing off al-Sudaniya shore, west of Jabalia, north of the Gaza Strip. Similar shooting incidents recurred off Beit Lahia shore on 30 June and 01,02 and 04 July 2017, however, neither casualties nor material damage were reported.
Concerning attacks at the border area, on 29 June 2017, Israeli forces stationed in watchtowers at Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing, north of the Gaza Strip, opened fire at the border area, but neither casualties were reported among the shepherds nor material damage were reported.
On 27 June 2017, the Israeli warplanes fired 2 missiles at Martyr Abu Harb training site of al-Qassam Brigades in al-Nasser village, northeast of Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip. As a result, the site sustained material damage, but no casualties were reported.
Israeli settlement activities:
On 24 June 2017, a group of settlers moved into Termis’iya village, northeast of Ramallah, and cut off 10 olive trees in al-Dhuhairat area near the said village.
On 25 June 2017, the first day of Eid al-Fitr, a group of settlers cut off 30 olive trees in Burin village, south of Nablus. It should be noted the trees were planted in a land belonging to Belal Eid and is 500 meters away from the said settlement.
On 28 June 2017, a group of settlers from “Ytshar” settlement, south of Burin village, south of Nablus, set fire to the southern mountain of the village. Dozens of dunums caught fire before the civil defence crews arrived.
Israeli attacks against non-violent demonstrations:
Following the Friday prayer on 23 June 2017, dozens of Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international human rights defenders organized a protest in Bil’in and Ni’lin villages, west of Ramallah; al-Nabi Saleh village, northwest of the city, in protest against the annexation wall and settlement activities. Israeli forces forcibly dispersed the protests, firing live and metal bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs. They also chased protesters into olive fields and houses. As a result, some of the protesters suffered tear gas inhalation while others sustained bruises as Israeli soldiers beat them up.
At approximately 14:30 on Friday, 30 June 2017, Palestinian civilians and International activists organized a demonstration in the center of Kufur Qaddoum village, northeast of Qalqiliyah. They made their way towards the eastern entrance to the village in protest against closing that entrance since al-Aqsa Intifada with an iron gate. When the protestors arrived at the abovementioned entrance, the Israeli forces heavily fired metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters. As a result, a 22-year-old civilian sustained a metal bullet wound.
Following the Friday prayer, dozens of Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international human rights defenders organized a protest in Bil’in and Ni’lin villages, west of Ramallah; al-Nabi Saleh village, northwest of the city, in protest against the annexation wall and settlement activities. Israeli forces forcibly dispersed the protests, firing live and metal bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs. They also chased protesters into olive fields and houses. As a result, some of the protesters suffered tear gas inhalation while others sustained bruises as Israeli soldiers beat them up.
At approximately 14:30 on Friday, 23 June 2017, dozens of Palestinian civilians gathered few meters away from the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, in response to calls for protests in the border area against the Israeli-imposed closure on Gaza. A number of the young men set fire to tires and threw stones at the Israeli forces stationed along the abovementioned border fence. The soldiers fired live bullets, tear gas canisters and rubber-coated metal bullets at them. The clashes continued until approximately 19:00 on the same day. As a result, 3 civilians, including a child, were wounded. They were transferred to the Indonesian Hospital in Jabalia. Their wounds were classified as moderate. The wounded civilians were identified as :
Mohammed Zohair Sarhan Zaqoul (31) from Jabalia. He sustained a live bullet wound to the right leg;
Shadi ‘Ammar Mohammed Ma’rouf (26) from Beit Lahia. He was hit with a tear gas canister to the left hand; and
Abdullah Fayez Abdul Latif al-Shalfouh (17) from Jabalia. He was hit with a tear gas canister to the face.
At approximately 16:30 on Sunday, 02 July 2017, dozens of Palestinian young men made their way to the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of al-Buraij in the northern Gaza Strip, in response to calls for protests in the border area against the Israeli-imposed closure on Gaza. A number set fire to tires and threw stones at the Israeli forces stationed along the abovementioned border fence. The soldiers fired live bullets, tear gas canisters and rubber-coated metal bullets at them. The clashes continued until approximately 19:00 on the same day. As a result, a number of the civilians sustained tear gas canisters and received medical treatment on the spot.
At approximately 17:00, dozens of Palestinian young men gathered near the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of Khuza’ah village, east of Khan Yunis. They set fire to tires and raised flags and banners, condemning the Israeli closure on the Gaza Strip. A number of the young men approached the abovementioned border fence and threw stones at the Israeli forces stationed there. The Israeli soldiers fired live bullets and tear gas canisters for an hour and a half around the protestors to disperse them. As a result, a number of the civilians sustained tear gas canisters.
Recommendations to the international community:
Due to the number and severity of Israeli human rights violations this week, PCHR made several 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 10 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.
Washington Post: Israel sues heirs of Palestinian ‘lone wolf’ attacker, seeking compensation
A statement from the Jerusalem prosecutor said: “This lawsuit, which stems from a terrorist incident in which soldiers were murdered, is designed to recover the expenses incurred in events of this kind to the state’s coffers, as well as sending a clear message that the state will also settle accounts on a civil level with the perpetrators of hostile acts.”
“In light of the fact that the [terrorist] caused the damage, his legal heirs are the ones who need to bear it and indemnify the state for it,” according to the statement.
This lawsuit was filed two weeks ago and another is set to be filed in the near future suing a different family whose relative perpetrated an attack, the office said. It would not go into further details.
“It is important not to look at this through a legal lens but through a human one, the question is when a person does such a thing, should his family pay for his actions?” said Yair Nehorai, legal director of Rabbis for Human Rights, an Israeli human rights organization. “There is no question that the state does not need the money but they believe it will prevent other people from doing the same thing. It comes from the same root as demolishing people’s homes.”
Nehorai said the case is symptomatic of hopelessness within the intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which has led both sides to take such steps to get a sense of justice.
“They are using the legal system to find a solution or resolution to the conflict,” he said.
“I think the situation could get out of control, creating a circle of litigation on each side,” said Israeli human rights lawyer Eitay Mack.
“State prosecutors see it only one step, they don’t look to the future,” he said. “In Israel, they can be a bully, they can control the courts and the law and limit the possibility of Palestinians being able to sue the state, but it will open a new front depending on political will in the U.S. and Europe and how much they want to open their jurisdiction.
“Israel should be aware that a lot of Palestinians have dual citizenship,” he said. “This is a legal time bomb for Israel, and they triggered it with this lawsuit.”
Ruth Eglash is a reporter for The Washington Post based in Jerusalem. She was formerly a reporter and senior editor at the Jerusalem Post and freelanced for international media.
Sufian Taha contributed to this report.