In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, for the week of 20 – 26 February, 2014, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) found that during the past week, Israeli forces wounded 29 Palestinian civilians, sixteen of whom were wounded in the Gaza Strip and 13 who were wounded in the West Bank. Of the wounded were 5 children, 3 journalists, a human rights activist, a paramedic and a member of the Gaza Interior Ministry.
Mother and daughter walk through the ruins of their destroyed home, Silwan (PCHR photo)
In addition, Israeli forces conducted 4 shooting incidents along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel and 2 shooting incidents against fishermen in the sea.
Israeli attacks in the West Bank:
Israeli forces conducted 59 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank this week. 3 civilians were wounded. 41 civilians, including 6 children were abducted. Of the abducted were 4 employees from International Tadamun (Solidarity) for Human Rights in Nablus, including a woman.
In the West Bank, 13 civilians, including 2 children, a paramedic, a journalist and a human rights activist, were wounded; 10 of whom were wounded in peaceful demonstrations and the 3 others were wounded during an Israeli incursion in Nabi Saleh village, northwest of Ramallah, and Taqou’ village, southeast of Bethlehem.
In one example of this week’s 59 incursions, on Monday February 24th, at approximately 01:30 AM, Israeli forces moved into the west of Deir Estya, northwest of Salfit. They stopped Sharaf Dawood Mohammed ‘Ebeid (22), attacked him to take a photo of him. In addition, they detained his friend Ra’fat Emad Abdul Majid Diab (18) and released both of them later. At approximately 01:50, Israeli forces withdrew, neither house raids nor arrests were reported. Ra’fat Diab said to PCHR’s fieldworker: “At approximately 01:30 on Monday, 24 February, 2014, I was sitting with some friends near a supermarket on the main streets of Deir Estya village. I set up the fire as usual and was sitting together with my friends. One of our friends decided to go home, so I went with my friend Sharaf Ebeid to get him home. When we returned, we heard some people but saw nobody because it was dark. We kept walking. Suddenly, an Israeli soldier appeared out of the dark and caught us while we were walking in front of the supermarket. They detained me, obliged me to put my hands up and turn my face against the wall. After a while, they ordered me to go home, but started beating up my friend Sharaf with gun butts. They detained him for some time, took a photo of him and released him later. On the following day, Sharaf told me that he felt pain in the back. Israeli forces withdrew at 01:50, as shown in the surveillance camera of the supermarket.”
On 25 February, 2014, Israeli forces abducted 4 employees from the International Tadamun (Solidarity) for Human Rights in Nablus. They searched their houses and the organizations office and confiscated 6 computers and some documents.
Israeli forces have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians throughout the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Thousands of Palestinian civilians from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip continue to be denied access to Jerusalem.
As part of using military checkpoints and border crossings as traps to abduct Palestinian civilians, under the pretext they are wanted, Israeli forces abducted at least 2 civilians in the West Bank.
Israeli forces established dozens of checkpoints in the West Bank. At least 9 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children, were abducted at checkpoints.
Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip:
Israeli forces continued to open fire at border areas in the Gaza Strip. 16 civilians were wounded in separate shooting incidents. The wounded included 2 children, 2 journalists and a member of the Interior Ministry.
In the Gaza Strip, on 21 February, 2014, 12 civilians, including 2 children and a journalist, were wounded when Israeli forces opened fire at dozens of Palestinian civilians, east of Jabalia, in the northern Gaza Strip.
On the same day, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence near Sofa crossing, northeast of al-Shouka village, northeast of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, opened fire at 2 members of the Interior Ministry, who were about 300 meters away from the said fence.
On 22 February, 2014, 2 Palestinian civilians were wounded when Israeli forces moved into Nabi Saleh village, northwest of Ramallah.
On 24 February, 2014, a Palestinian civilian was wounded in Taqou’ village, southeast of Bethlehem, when Israeli forces moved into the village.
On 24 February, 2014, Israeli forces positioned along the border fence, east of Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, opened fire at agricultural lands, east of al-Qarara village, northeast of the city, but no casualties were reported.
On 25 February, 2014, 2 civilians, including a journalist, were wounded during a demonstration organized by the Intifada Coalition in the vicinity of Nahal Oz crossing, east of al-Shuja’iya neighbourhood, east of Gaza City. A number of demonstrators threw stones at Israeli soldiers, who fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters in response.
In the context of targeting fishermen, on 20 February, 2014, Israeli navy forces opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats off Rafah shore, south of the Gaza Strip. Two missiles landed on a site belonging to the Palestinian National Security service, along the border fence between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. No casualties were reported. The site sustained minor damage.
On the same day, Israeli gunboats stationed off the shore northwest of Beit Lahia, in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at fishing boats sailing within a nautical mile.
3 Palestinian civilians were abducted at the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel. On Thursday evening, 20 February, 2014, Israeli forces stationed at the borderline with Israel, in the northern Gaza Strip, abducted the 3 Palestinian civilians while they were trying to pass the border in order to enter into Israel to work there. The 18, 19 and 20-year-old are all from Block 5 in Jabalia refugee camp. According to Yousif Fayyad, he lost his son ‘Atta and his nephew Mohammed on the aforementioned Thursday, and they did not come back home. They left in the early morning, and none knew where they were till he received a call on his cell phone from the Israeli police telling him that his son and his nephew were under arrest, after passing the northern borders of the Gaza Strip. He added that they were being held in Eshkol prison, and that they needed legal assistance. The family of al’Ajrami said that they received a call from the Israeli police telling them that their son is abducted by Israeli authorities and he is now in Eshkol prison, so they have to hire a lawyer for him.
Israel 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 of 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 has resulted in grave violations of the economic, social and cultural rights and a deterioration of living conditions for 1.7 million people. The Israeli authorities have 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. They also aim at imposing a complete ban on the Gaza Strip’s exports.
Israeli settlement activities:
Israeli forces continued to support settlement activities in the West Bank, and Israeli settlers continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.
Lands were demolished in Kofur al-Deek, west of Salfit, to expand a settlement outpost. Israeli forces continued issuing house demolition notices in area (C). Some settlers attacked Palestinian farmers in the north and south of the West Bank.
On 20 February, 2014, Israeli forces served civilians from Ezna village, west of Hebron, with 3 notices to halt construction work in their own structures, under the pretext of having no construction permit, in the areas classified as “C” according to the 1993 Oslo Agreement. The notices included an under-construction house and 4 barracks used for collecting scrap.
On 22 February, 2014, a number of settlers from “Beit ‘Ein” settlement, established on the Palestinian lands confiscated from the west of Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron, threw stones at and insulted Mohammed ‘Abdel Hamid al-Sleibi (78) and his sons while they were working on their land in Abu al-Rish area, west of the village. As a result, they were forced to flee fearing for their lives.
On the same day, a group of settlers from “Jel’aad” settlement attacked the residents of Jeet village, northeast of Qalqilya, after the residents planted olive seedlings in their lands adjacent to the aforementioned settlement. According to investigations conducted by PCHR, when farmers finished planting the seedlings, around 100 settlers attacked the farmers and chased them into the village. They smashed the windows of a house belonging to the family of Mohammed Yousif al-Sakhen, and the windows of a vehicle belonging to ‘Awni Nassar. They also attacked a vehicle belonging to Nasim ‘Abdel Qader al-Sedah and smashed its windows. They then raided a house belonging to the family of Sami Ahmed ‘Erman, attacking his family members with sticks who as a result escaped from the house.
At approximately 14:00 on the same day, a group of settlers under intensive protection of Israeli forces stormed the old city markets of central Hebron. The settlers threw stones at shops and verbally abused at the civilians. The old city in Hebron has recently witnessed increasing violations by settlers living in the outposts of “Beit Romamo” and “Beit Hadasa”, in front of Israeli forces and police.
On 23 February, 2014, a group of settlers headed by Baroukh Marzel from “Ramat Yishai” outpost established on the lands confiscated from Tal al-Ramidah neighborhood, in central Hebron, stormed the old city markets under heavy guard of Israeli forces. The settlers gathered near the intersection of al-Sahlah Street and attempted to stop the Palestinian workers from carrying out rehabilitation works in one of the shops belonging to Ghassan ‘Ezz al-Deen Abu Hadid.
On 25 February, 2014, Israeli forces accompanied by an officer from the Construction and Organization Department in the Israeli Civil Administration served Rami Shehadah ‘Asi (26) from Beit Loqaya village, southwest of Ramallah, with a notice bearing number 160428 to halt construction works in a 200-square-meter barrack built of bricks and shaders and roofed with tin. The barrack is used as a popular café.
On 26 February, 2014, Israeli forces leveled Palestinian lands belonging to Mesleh Nayef Soliman al-Deek in Kafr Deek village, of the Deir Abu Sam’aan area, west of Salfit, in order to establish a road to the “Lishim” outpost. Civilians managed to force Israeli bulldozers to stop temporarily working, after skirmishing with the Israeli forces. Israeli forces have been leveling the area for four years. However, in the evening of the aforementioned day, Israeli bulldozers leveled this land in order to annex it to the aforementioned outpost. The owners of the targeted lands in that area previously headed to the Israeli courts to submit the papers proving their ownership; no decision has been issued in this regard.
Israeli attacks on non-violent demonstrations:
Israeli forces used excessive force against peaceful demonstrations organised by Palestinian civilians, international and Israeli human rights defenders in protest against the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities in the West Bank. As a result, 2 civilians, including a paramedic, were wounded during Bil’in weekly protest. Moreover, a number of demonstrators suffered tear gas inhalation and others sustained bruises as they were beaten up by Israeli forces.
In the same context, 8 Palestinian civilians, including 2 children, a journalist and a human rights activist, were wounded during peaceful demonstrations organized at the entrance of al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah; Selwad village, northeast of the city; and the centre of Hebron.
Following the Friday Prayer, 21 February, 2014, dozens of Palestinian civilians, with international and Israeli human rights defenders organised a peaceful demonstration in Bil’in, west of Ramallah, in protest of the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities. Demonstrators took the streets raising the Palestinian flags, heading to the liberated territories near the annexation wall. Israeli forces had closed all the entrances of the village since the morning, in order to prevent Palestinian and international activists and journalists from participating in the demonstration. Demonstrators marched adjacent to the cement wall and tried to cross the fence before Israeli forces which are stationed behind the wall, in the western area, and a large number of soldiers deployed along it, fired live bullets, tear gas canisters, rubber-coated steel bullets, sound bombs and skunk water at them, chasing them into the olive fields. As a result, dozens of demonstrators suffered tear gas inhalation, and others sustained bruises as they were beaten by Israeli soldiers. In addition, 2 civilians, including a paramedic, were wounded. Paramedic Mohammed Ahmed Yassin (24) was hit by a gas canister to the belly and a 20-year-old male sustained a bullet wound to the right side of the head.
On the same day, dozens of Palestinian civilians organised a peaceful demonstration in the centre of Ni’lin village, west of Ramallah, in protest against the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities. Demonstrators took the streets and headed to the annexation wall. Israeli forces closed the gates of the wall with barbed wire and prevented the demonstrators from crossing to the land behind it, before they responded by throwing stones. As a result, many civilians suffered tear gas inhalation and bruises as they were beaten by Israeli soldiers.
Around the same time, dozens of Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international human rights defenders organised a peaceful demonstration, in protest of the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities in Nabi Saleh village, southwest of Ramallah. Demonstrators took to the streets raising Palestinian flags and chanting slogans against the occupation and in support of the Palestinian unity resistance, and then headed to the lands that the settlers are trying to gain by force near “Halamish” settlement. Israeli forces closed all the entrances of the village, since morning, to prevent Palestinian and international activists and journalists from participating in the demonstration. When they arrived on the land, demonstrators were met by live bullets, tear gas canisters, rubber-coated steel bullets, sound bombs and skunk water and were chased into the village. As a result, many civilians suffered tear gas inhalation and bruises due to being beaten up by Israeli soldiers.
Following the Friday prayer, Palestinian civilians and international activists organised a peaceful demonstration in the centre of Kufor Qaddoum village, northwest of Qalqilia, and headed towards the eastern entrance of the village, in protest at the continued closure of the entrance with an iron gate since the beginning of the Aqsa Intifada (2000). Clashes erupted between the demonstrators and Israeli forces who fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters to prevent them from reaching the aforementioned gate. As a result, dozens of demonstrators suffered tear gas inhalation and others sustained bruises as they were beaten by Israeli soldiers.
On Friday, 21 February, 2014, dozens of children and young men gathered at the southern entrance of al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah. They were about 300 meters away from the fence of “Beit Eil” settlement. Israeli forces stationed in the area fired live ammunition, rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters. As a result, 3 civilians, including a child, were wounded. In addition, dozens of civilians suffered tear gas inhalation. A 21-year-old male sustained a bullet wound to the right leg, a 20-year-old male sustained a bullet wound to the right leg and a 16-year-old was hit by a gas canister in his right hand.
On the same day, dozens of Palestinian young men gathered at the western entrance of Selwad village, northeast of Ramallah, on the road between Selwad village and Yabrod village near Street (60) to throw stones at the aforementioned street. As a result, Israeli soldiers stationed in the area fired live ammunition, rubber-coated metal bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs at them, chasing them to the village. A 23-year-old male sustained 2 bullet wounds to the back of the head and right side of the pelvis as a result.
At noon, dozens of Palestinian civilians, activists of the Youth Forum against Settlement Activity and other human rights activists gathered in front of ‘Ali al-Baka’ mosque, in the center of Hebron, for a demonstration calling for the opening of Shuhada Street, which has been closed since 1994, following the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre of 1993, committed by Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein against Muslim worshipers. The demonstrators headed towards the entrance of Shuhada Street. Israeli forces fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters and abducted 2 demonstrators.
In the meantime, a group of youngsters threw stones at Israeli soldiers in the Tale’t al-Zaheda and Bab al-Zawiya areas. In response, the Israeli soldiers fired rubber-coated metal bullets, live-bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, 4 civilians were wounded: Mousa Mahmoud Abu Hashhash (59), researcher at B’Tselem, sustained a bullet wound to the head; Abdul Ghani al-Natcha (34), journalist at Palmedia agency, sustained a bullet wound to the face; a 19-year-old male sustained 2 bullet wounds to the left leg and right hand; and a 17-year-old male sustained a bullet wound to the left leg. Al-Shuhada’ street has been closed for 5,000 Palestinians since the Ibrahim Mosque massacre in 1994.
Journalist Abul Ghani al-Natcha said to PCHR’s fieldworker: “I was standing at the entrance of Beersheba street, opposite to al-Shuhada’ street. I fixed my camera on the tripod and put on a press vest, helmet and a muzzle. At approximately 17:30, Israeli forces started firing gas and smoke canisters in the area and withdrew towards a checkpoint erected at the entrance of al-Shuhada’ street. When the demonstration ended, I took off the muzzle. In the meantime, Israeli soldiers were present about 15 meters away from me. I heard a gunshot and something hit me in the face, near my left eye. I was pushed 2 meters backwards, as a result, and fell to the ground. I fainted and then woke up in Hebron hospital. The doctors stitched the wound, but still I cannot see with my left eye.”
Mousa Abu Hashhash, researcher at B’Tselem, said to PCHR’s fieldworker: “I was standing near clock square. I put on a long vest with B’Tselem logo on it and held a camera. I tried to cross the street, heading to the other side, but I heard a gunshot. I felt something had hit me in the left side of my head. Blood was covering my head. I was taken to Hebron hospital, where they examined me and stitched the wound.”
Recommendations to the international community:
Due to the number and severity of Israeli human rights violations this week, the PCHR has made several recommendations to the international community. Among these were a recommendation that the international community and the United Nations 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. In addition, the PCHR calls upon the United Nations to provide international protection to Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and to ensure the non-recurrence of aggression against the Occupied Palestinian Territories, especially the Gaza Strip
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