israel’s war on Palestine’s food supplies: Gaza’s fishermen and farmers attacked from sea and air

Gaza’s fishermen and farmers attacked from sea and air

Crops on a farm in Gaza, severely damaged by herbicide sprayed by Israeli planes. B’Tselem investigated and published this photo, February 2016.

Israeli forces fire at Gaza fishermen, spray pesticides on Palestinian crops

By Ma’an
May 09, 2017

GAZA CITY — Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen off the coast of the besieged Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning, locals told Ma’an.

Fishermen said that Israeli forces shot at Palestinian fishing boats in two separate incidents off the northern coast of Gaza on Tuesday morning.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that they were looking into the reports.

Tuesday morning’s events came a day after Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian fisherman with live fire off the coast of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip.


Replacing the machine guns with water cannon. The navy does this when a boat has international observers in it. Filmed by International Solidarity Movement

Meanwhile, Gaza farmers told Ma’an that Israeli drones sprayed pesticides on Palestinian crops along the border with Israel in central and southern Gaza on Tuesday morning.

The pesticides, they said, damage crops in the area, which is Gaza’s main agricultural region.

The army spokesperson also said she would look into the case.

Earlier this year, Gazan farmers said that Israeli forces regularly sprayed weed killers on both sides of the border fence to guarantee a clear view of the area for the army.

However, Gaza Ministry of Agriculture agronomist Wael Thabet told Ma’an at the time that the chemicals could travel up to 1,200 metres through the air away from the buffer zone, burning crops and causing Palestinian farmers huge economic losses.

Palestinians who work near the Israeli-designated “buffer zone,” which lies on both the land and sea sides of Gaza, often come under fire from Israeli military forces, as the authorities have not made clear the precise area of the designated zone.


Encounter between Gaza fishermen and Israeli patrol boats

By Harriet Sherwood, Guardian
July 20, 2011 — just a short quote from her Tweets

One IDF boat just circling our boats about 50m away. Other boat a bit further away.

A lot of resources devoted to a few tiny fishing boats.

Sea is calm today – except our little bit. Backwash creating lot of waves. They keep sounding siren. But we have all cut engines.

I’m told that the point of the IDF continually circling us is to create continuous waves and noise. Makes fishing harder.

One fishing boat just been swamped by backwash. They are giving up and going back to port.

The photo below has been used many times in the last three years to illustrate Israeli naval vessels firing at fishing boats from Gaza. No date, no credit,but it appears to be what it says it is.

With Palestinians on Hunger Strike, British Medical Journal Devotes Whole Issue to Israel

[ Ed. note – Yesterday the British Medical journal The Lancet published a special edition devoted to “Israel’s achievements in health.” According to an executive summary on the journal’s website:

These five Lancet Series papers and accompanying comments outline Israel’s achievements in health and health care, towards a goal of attaining universal health coverage for an unusually diverse population. The papers explore Israel’s unique history, challenges, and accomplishments, and the religious and regional influences that have had an impact on health. The Series also offers an insight into existing collaborations and potential future opportunities, and outlines extensive recommendations to address the persisting inequalities between population groups, and to further strengthen health-care delivery systems.

The issue was probably timed around the 69th anniversary of Israel’s founding, but it’s publication date–May 8–coincides with day 22 of a hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners and moreover comes just as reports have surfaced that Israel is trying to recruit doctors to force-feed the prisoners in violation of medical ethics.

In fact, the prisoners, in response to reports about the planned force-feedings, have called for a “week of rage” against the Zionist state.

“Any attempt to force-feed any hunger-striking prisoner will be treated as an attempt to execute prisoners. We will turn these prisons into battle fields with our bodies, armed with our will and determination,” reads a statement put out by the prisoners.

You can go here to access an essay on why force-feeding prisoners is considered a violation of medical ethics, but a key paragraph from the article reads:

So, despite the doctor’s dilemma, if the prisoners are making rational, informed, and uncoerced choices to continue their hunger strike, then every international code of ethics, including that of the World Medical Association (WMA), supports the prisoners’ actions. The WMA Declaration of Tokyo states: “Where a prisoner refuses nourishment and is considered by the physician as capable of forming an unimpaired and rational judgment concerning the consequences of such a voluntary refusal of nourishment, he or she shall not be fed artificially” [3]. To ensure that the physician is making the correct determination, the WMA goes on to add, “the decision as to the capacity of the prisoner to form such a judgment should be confirmed by at least one other independent physician. The consequences of the refusal of nourishment shall be explained by the physician to the prisoner”

To give credit where credit is due, Israeli medical professionals have refused to participate in the force-feedings, and they have also called upon foreign doctors to refuse the Israeli government’s efforts at recruiting practitioners from abroad willing to violate the code.

But in addition to force-feeding, is it possible Israel may also start levying fines against hunger strikers? The following is reported by Ma’an News:

Head of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Qaraqe announced Monday that the committee had also decided to suspend payments it provides for prisoners so they can purchase items from the prison commissary where hunger strikers have been getting salt to balance their healths, after IPS [Israeli Prison Service] started to deplete hunger strikers’ accounts by 200 to 500 shekels ($55-140).

The same article says that the IPS has banned lawyer visitations for hunger-striking prisoners, and an additional article reports that hunger-strikers have been placed in solitary, transferred to other prisons, and undergone nightly cell raids and confiscation of personal belongings.

And that’s where things stand now. Enter: The Lancet. You can go here to access the prestigious medical journal’s special issue, which is entitled, “Health in Israel.” One of the articles, an essay headlined “Medical Ethics in Israel: Bridging Religious and Secular Values,” contains the following passage:

Nevertheless, the law [of the state of Israel] also permits actual coercion of life-saving treatment upon an otherwise competent patient if the institutional ethics committee, after careful consideration, agrees that the patient would give his or her consent retroactively after treatment. Several court cases have now taken place to impose treatment on a non-consenting individual. In one case, the court mandated force-feeding a hunger-striking prisoner on the basis that in Israeli culture, human life takes precedence over human dignity. The ethics committee of the Israel Medical Association, by contrast, is opposed to force-feeding a hunger-striker because they consider it affront to autonomy and human freedom.

The article makes no mention of the current hunger strike.

Whether the editors at The Lancet were aware the strike is going on is unclear, though one would think that publishing an entire issue extolling “Israel’s achievements in health”–this at time when the Zionist government has designs on carrying out a gross violation of medical ethics–would be some cause for embarrassment.

The article below, published today by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, offers some insight why the Lancet’s management may have decided (or felt compelled) to venture into such a publishing foray at the present time. And just beneath the article you will find an RT report on the hunger strike, also just posted today. ]

***

British Medical Journal The Lancet Publishes Issue Devoted to Israel

JTA

The British medical journal The Lancet published a special issue on Israel three years after publishing an open letter that accused Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza.

The special issue, titled “Health in Israel: Progress and Challenges in a Region of Conflict,” was unveiled Monday in Tel Aviv. It was guest edited by A. Mark Clarfield of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and also staffed by Orly Manor of the Israel National Institute for Health Policy and Services Research and Zaher Azzam of the Rambam Health Care Campus.

The issue is part of The Lancet’s series of country analyses investigating progress toward universal health coverage, and explores the unique aspects of health and health care delivery in Israel. The papers, authored by academics and policymakers in Israel, offer constructive recommendations for strengthening the country’s health care system, improving health and addressing health inequalities in Israel.

In the August 2014 issue of the Lancet,

“An open letter for the people of Gaza” accused Israel of a “massacre” in Gaza during the war between Israel and Hamas, as well as “cruel” and “vicious war crimes.” Physicians, researchers and Israeli officials decried the letter, which was signed by several dozen Western doctors.

Dr. Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of the Lancet, visited Israel that October and then wrote in an editorial that he regretted publishing the letter and said,

“This schism helped no-one and I certainly regret that result. I have seen for myself that what was written in the Manduca et al letter does not describe the full reality.” He announced in that editorial that he would devote an issue to health care in Israel.

Horton said in a statement issued Monday,

“This Series was conceived in the aftermath of a tragic conflict in 2014 between Israel and Gaza, and following publication of a letter that divided world medical opinion about that conflict. Through the generous and courageous outreach of the authors of this Series, we have sought to show that medicine and science can be a bridge to a better understanding of complex and seemingly intractable geopolitical challenges. Our future commitment is to work intensively with both our Palestinian and Israeli colleagues to provide the foundations in one aspect of society for peace and justice.” 

In the wake of the Gaza letter, the journal issued new guidelines to deal with “submissions that lie at the difficult intersection of medicine and politics.”

***

israel’s war on Palestine’s food supplies: Israeli Navy Injures A Palestinian Fisherman In Northern Gaza

May 8, 2017 9:49 PM

Israeli navy ships attacked, on Monday evening, several Palestinian fishing boats in Gaza territorial waters, in Beit Lahia, in the northern part of the besieged Gaza Strip, wounding a fisherman.

Medical sources said the fisherman, identified as Mohammad Abu Ryala, suffered moderate wounds, and was moved to the Indonesian hospital, in northern Gaza.

The attack pushed the fishermen back to shore in fear additional Israeli escalation against them, and their boats.

The fishermen in Gaza are subject to daily Israeli assaults and violations, including many fatal attacks, and incidents that led to injuries, property damage and many abductions, in addition to the illegal confiscation of their boats.

Palestine news

Weekly report on israel’s terrorism against the State of Palestine (13 – 19 April 2017)

Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestine http://pchrgaza.org/en/?p=9042

Israeli forces continue systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt)

(13 – 19 April 2017)

 

  • Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian in southern Bethlehem in employment of deadly force.
  • 7 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children, were wounded in the West Bank.
  • Israeli forces continued to target the Gaza Strip border areas, but no casualties were reported.
  • Israeli forces conducted 39 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 2 limited ones in Jerusalem.
  • 40 civilians, including 19 children, were arrested in the West Bank.
  • 18 of them, including 12 children, were arrested in Jerusalem.
  • Contents of 3 bookshops for university services in Hebron were confiscated and the bookshops were closed.
  • Israeli forces continued their efforts to create Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem.
  • 2 houses in al-Mukaber Mount were demolished.
  • Hundreds of settlers stormed al-Aqsa Mosque in the Jewish holiday.
  • Israeli forces continued to target the Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip Sea.
  • Israeli forces turned the West Bank into cantons and continued to impose the illegal closure on the Gaza Strip for the 10th
  • Due to the Jewish Passover holiday, the Israeli authorities continued imposing a security closure on the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
  • Dozens of temporary checkpoints were established in the West Bank and others were re-established to obstruct the movement of Palestinian civilians.

 

 

Summary

Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the oPt continued during the reporting period (13 – 19 April 2017).

 

Shooting:

 

During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian man and wounded 7 others, including 3 children, in the West Bank. In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces continued to pursuit the Palestinian fishermen in the sea and open fire at Palestinian farmers at the border areas.

 

In the West Bank, on 19 April 2017, in employment of deadly force, Israeli forces killed Sohaib Mashahra (21), from al-Shaikh Sa’d village, southeast of occupied Jerusalem. The aforementioned person was killed when Israeli forces stationed at “Kufr Ezion” settlement, south of Bethlehem, opened fire at a car he was driving after the car hit an Israeli bus. Israeli forces claimed it was a deliberate attack targeting settlers, but photos of the scene shows it was likely a normal car accident.

 

During the reporting period, Israeli forces wounded 7 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children, using force against peaceful protests. On 14 April 2017, 2 children were wounded when Israeli forces opened fire at Kufor Qaddoum weekly protest, northeast of Qalqilya.

 

On the same day, 4 civilians were wounded to the lower limbs when Israeli forces erected a checkpoint at the intersection of Tamoun village, south of Tubas, and opened fire at the youngsters who gathered and throw stones at the Israeli soldiers.

 

On 15 April 2017, a Palestinian child sustained a bullet wound to the head when Israeli forces opened fire at Kufor Qaddoum weekly protest, northeast of Qalqilya.

 

In the Gaza Strip, concerning Israeli attacks on fishermen in the Gaza Strip sea, on 13 April 2017, Israeli navy forces opened fire at the Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 4 nautical miles, west of al-Sudaniya shore, north of the Gaza Strip. On the same day, Israeli gunboats opened fire at the Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 1.5 nautical miles northwest of Beit Lahia shore, north of the Gaza Strip. A similar attack recurred off al-Sudaniya shore on 14 April 2017 while 2 others recurred off Beit Lahia shore on 15 and 19 April 2017.

 

In the context of targeting the border areas, on 13 April 2017, Israeli forces stationed at the border fence, north of al-Sayafa area, northwest of the Gaza Strip, opened fire at agricultural lands adjacent to the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

 

On 18 April 2017, Israeli forces stationed at the border fence, east of Beit Hanoun village, north of the Gaza Strip, opened fire at the border area, however, neither casualties nor material damage were reported.

 

Incursions:

 

During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 39 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 40 Palestinian civilians, including 19 children. Eighteen of them, including 12 children, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem, while 4 other children were arrested while participating in a protest supporting the Palestinian prisoners in the vicinity of Ofer prison, west of Ramallah.

 

During the reporting period, Israeli forces raided 3 bookshops for university services in Hebron. They confiscated some of their contents and closed them. Israeli forces claimed these 3 bookshops “support terrorism.”

 

In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces carried out 2 limited incursions in the central and southern Gaza Strip. On 13 April 2017, Israeli forces moved into the east of Khuza’a village, east of Khan Yunis, south of the Gaza Strip. On 16 April 2017, they moved into the east of al-Bureij refugee camp, in the central Gaza Strip. In both incursions, Israeli forces levelled lands along the border fence.

 

Restrictions on movement:

 

Israel continued to impose a tight closure of the oPt, imposing severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.

 

The illegal closure of the Gaza Strip, which has been 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 9 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 grave violations of the economic, social and cultural rights and a deterioration of living conditions for 2 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. The Israeli closure raised the rate of poverty to 65%. Moreover, the rate of unemployment increased up to 47% and youth constitutes 65% of the unemployed persons.  Moreover, 80% of the Gaza Strip population depends on international aid to secure their minimum daily needs. These rates indicate the unprecedented economic deterioration in the Gaza Strip.

 

In the West Bank, Israeli forces continued to suffocate the Palestinian cities and village by imposing military checkpoints around and/or between them. This created “cantons” isolated from each other that hinders the movement of civilians. Moreover, the Palestinian civilians suffering aggravated because of the annexation wall and checkpoints erected on daily basis to catch Palestinians.

 

The closure imposed on the West Bank and Gaza Strip border crossings started on Sunday, 09 April 2017, until Tuesday dawn, 18 April 2017, due to the Jewish Passover.

 

Efforts to Create Jewish Majority

 

Concerning house demolitions, on 18 April 2017, the Israeli municipality vehicles demolished 2 mobile houses in Khellet Abed neighbourhood in al-Mukaber Mount village, southeast of the city. One of them belongs to the family of Ammar Salama Hadidon sheltering 7-member family and the other belongs to the family of Mohammed Amin Shqairat.

Details

 

  1. Incursions into Palestinian Areas, and Attacks on Palestinian Civilians and Property in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip

 

Thursday, 13 April 2017

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Bethlehem and stationed on al-Saff Street in the center of the city. They raided and searched a number of houses and then arrested Ibrahim Hani Hassan (27) and Anas Ismail ‘Obayat (25).

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Qalqiliyah. They raided and searched a house belonging to Muhtadi Ma’zouz Dalal (25) and then arrested him.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into ‘Azoun village, east of Qalqiliyah. They raided and searched a house belonging to ‘Aref Ahmed Saleem (38) and then arrested

 

  • Around the same time, a group of Israeli undercover agents “Mosta’rebeen” dressed like Palestinian civilians sneaked into Rafidia neighborhood, west of Nablus, traveling in a civilian car with a Palestinian registration plate. Palestinian security officers found out they were “Mosta’rebeen”, so they took them to al-Junaid prison, west of the city. After coordinating with the Israeli forces, the latter moved into the abovementioned neighborhood in Nablus amidst heavily firing sound bombs. The Israeli forces took the Israeli undercover agents and then withdrew. No further incidents were reported.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Kharsa village, south of Dura, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Khaled Yusuf Talab al-Shahateet. The soldiers topped the roof, raised the Israeli flags and turned the house into a military observation point. The house is located in Matallah area on the road that connects Bypass Road (60) and “Negohot” settlement established on Palestinian lands, west of Dura.

 

  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into ‘Aydah refugee camp, north of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ismail ‘Elian and then arrested his son Amir (14).

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Beit Jala and stationed in al-Sahel Street. They raided and searched a house belonging to Steve Monther Matar (21) and then arrested.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into al-Tabaqah village, south of Dura, south west of Hebron, and stationed in al-Beid neighborhood. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ghaleb Badawi Hamdan (20) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 05:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Mazra’ah western village, northwest of Ramallah. They raided and searched a house belonging to Yahiya ‘Aqel Rabi’ (20) and then arrested him.
  • At approximately 05:00, Israeli forces moved into Ramallah. They raided and searched a house belonging to Wa’ad Rabah Foqahaa’ (20) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 07:00, Israeli forces accompanied with military jeeps moved about 100 meters into the eastern side of Khuza’a village, east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. The jeeps made their way along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel. They combed and leveled the lands adjacent to the abovementioned border fence for hours after which they redeployed along the abovementioned border fence.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, west of al-Sudaniyah area, west of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 4 nautical miles and chased them. As result, the fishermen were forced to flee for fear of their lives, but neither casualties nor material damages were reported.

 

  • At approximately 09:00, Israeli forces stationed in military watchtowers, north of al-Sefa area, northwest of Beit Lahia village in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire sporadically at agricultural lands adjacent to the border area. As a result, the Palestinian farmers were forced to leave the area for fear of their lives, but no casualties were reported.

 

  • At approximately 10:00, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, northwest of Beit Lahia village in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire sporadically at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within a nautical mile and half and chased them. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee for fear of their lives, but neither casualties nor material damages were reported.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (3) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Selwad village, northeast of Ramallah, Dura and Taramah village in Hebron.

 

Friday, 14 April 2017

 

  • At approximately 09:00, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, west of al-Sudaniyah area, west of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats and chased them. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee for fear of their lives, but neither casualties nor material damages were reported.

 

  • At approximately 17:30, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the crossroad of Tammun village branching to the east of Tubas – Nablus Street, south of Tubas. A number of young men gathered and threw stones at the Israeli soldiers. The Israeli forces fired live bullets, rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters at the young men in response. As a result, 4 civilians sustained live bullets to the lower limbs of their bodies and were taken to Tubas Hospital to receive medical treatment. Their injuries were classified as moderate (PCHR keeps the names of the wounded civilians).

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (3) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Ethna and Tarqumiya villages in Hebron.

 

Saturday, 15 April 2017

 

  • At approximately 08:00, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, northwest of Beit Lahia village in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire sporadically at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and chased them. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee for fear of their lives, but neither casualties nor material damages were reported.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (3) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Sebastia village, northwest of Nablus; Beit Ummer and al-Thaheriyah villages in Hebron.

 

Sunday, 16 April 2017

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Beit Sahour. They raided and searched a number of houses and then arrested Mahmoud Khalil Nabhan (24) and Mahmoud Husain (20).

 

  • At approximately 07:30, Israeli forces accompanied with 4 military bulldozers moved about 100 meters into the west of the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of al-Buraij in the central Gaza Strip. The bulldozers levelled the lands adjacent to the abovementioned border fence. The incursion continued until 13:00 after which the Israeli forces redeployed along the abovementioned border fence.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (3) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Hebron; al-Tabaqah village, south of the city and ‘Azoun ‘Etmah village, east of Qalqiliyah.

 

Monday, 17 April 2017

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Hebron and deployed in several neighbourhoods in the city. They raided and searched Mohammed Cultural Library in al-Jame’ah neighbourhood belonging to Mohammed Abdul Shaker Mohammed Tarshan from Tarqumiya village, west of the city. They opened the main door with special tools. After half an hour, the soldiers welded the library doors with oxygen and fixed a military decision to close it until 22 April 2017. They also left threat notices to shops’ owners that “support terrorism” in addition to a list of the confiscated items that included hard desks and USBs. However, the library’s owner denied being affiliated with any Palestinian faction and that he neither received a call or summons by the Israeli Intelligence Service.

 

At approximately 02:30, the Israeli forces moved into Wad al-Hariyah area and stationed near Palestine Polytechnic University. They raided and searched Husam Naser al-Deen Library belonging to Husam Mohammed Robin Naser Eden after opending the door with special tools. Before leaving the library, the Israeli soldiers welded the library door with oxygen and fixed a military closure decision until 04 May 2017 under the pretext of supporting terrorism. They also confiscated 20 USBs and a hard desk. After that, the Israeli forces moved into ‘Ein Sarah area near Hebron municipality. The soldiers also attempted to break the doors of al-Esraa’ Library belonging to ‘Ali Taher Abdul ‘Aziz Dandees, who has been working in the stationary for 30 years. One of the library owners living above the library opened the door of the library from which the soldiers confiscated debts notebook, 4 USBs and a hard desk. The soldiers then welded the library’s doors with oxygen and fixed a military decision to close the library until 04 May 2017. Husain Dandees, the son of the library’s owner, said to PCHR’s fieldworker that the Israeli forces raided and searched the abovementioned library on June 2014 and confiscated 4 PCs, DVR, papers of the lands owned by the family, account books and financial checks of about NIS 100,000. Husain added that they have not so far retrieved the money until the reporting period. He also said that the Israeli forces raided the abovementioned library in February 2017 and confiscated 2 cell phones, USBs and SIM cards.

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into al-‘Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Aysar Bilal Rabah Fdailat (20) and then arrested him.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into al-Thaheriyah village, south of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Hazem Khaled Khelaf and then withdrew, but no arrests were reported.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (5) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Sa’ir and Beit Oula villages in Hebron and Howarah village, south of Nablus.

 

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

 

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into Beit Fajjar village, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ayman Monther Thawabtah (21) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 04:30, Israeli forces moved into Ni’lin village, west of Ramallah. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to Suheib Fehmi Sorour (25) and Mustafa Khalil Sorour (22) and then arrested them.

 

  • At approximately 22:50, Israeli forces stationed in military watchtowers along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of Beit Hanoun village in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at the border area adjacent to al-Ahmer area, but neither casualties nor material damages were reported.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces stationed in the military watchtowers along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of Abu Safiyah area, east of Beit Hanoun village in the northern Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire at the border area. However, neither casualties nor material damages were reported.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (3) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Dura, Sa’ir and al-Burj villages in Hebron.

 

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Beit Ummer village, north of Hebron, and stationed in Abu Hashem and al-Bayyadah neighborhoods. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to Qusai Raed Abu Hashem (17) and Moayyad ‘Ayesh Abu Mariyah (17) and then arrested them. They also raided and searched a house belonging to Ahmed Khalil Abu Hashem (50) and handed him a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Service “Gush Etzion” settlement complex, south of Bethlehem.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces accompanied with several military jeeps moved into Abu al-Halawah crossroad area, south of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mustafa Mohammed ‘Abaido and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 07:00, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, northwest of Beit Lahia village in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and chased them. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee for fear of their lives, but neither casualties nor material damages were reported.

 

  • In a new crime of using lethal force, Israeli forces killed civilian Suheib Mashahrah (21), from al-Sheikh Sa’ad village, south east of East Jerusalem. The soldiers opened fire at a car driven by the abovementioned civilian at the intersection of “Kfar Etzion” settlement, south of Bethlehem, after his car hit an Israeli bus from the back. They claimed that Mashahrah attempted to carry out a run-over attack against a number of settlers, but the photos that were published on the accident showed it was a normal car accident. According to preliminary information about the crime, at approximately 16:00 on the same day, Suheib Mousa Mashhour Mashahrah (21) was returning from Hebron to his house in al-Sheikh Sa’ad village, southeast of East Jerusalem. When he turned around the intersection of the abovementioned settlement, his car hit an Israeli bus from the back as a group of settlers were waiting at the bus station. The Israeli soldiers, who were in the area, opened fire at the windshield and side glass of the car. As a result, the abovementioned civilian sustained several live bullets wounds throughout his body. He was then transferred by an Israeli ambulance to “Shaare Zedek” Medical Center in West Jerusalem, but he died upon arrival. The Israeli media said that a 60year-old Israeli civilian was wounded after he a Palestinian young man ran over him. He was transferred to “Shaare Zedek” Medical Center to receive medical treatment as his injury was classified as minor. The Israeli media also said that the soldiers opened fire at the car driver to neutralize him. However, the photos published showed that the car hit the bus from the back, but the car was badly damaged from the front, indicating that it was a normal accident and the driver has no intention to carry out a run-over attack.

 

Suheib’s brother, Dr. Mashhour Mashahrah, Assistant Professor at the Department of Arabic Language at Birzeit University, said to the media that an officer known as “Sameer” called him and ordered him to refer to Rachel Tomb, north of Bethlehem. When Mashhour informed the officer that he was on his way home, the officer told him to send one of his brothers. They found out later that the officer wanted them to identify their brother’s body. Mashhour added that his brother was returning home after visiting his married sisters. He also had an appointment with his mother to go to the market, refuting the Israeli claims.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (3) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: al-Shyoukh, Ethna and Tarqumiya villages in Hebron.

 

  • Use of excessive force against peaceful demonstrations protesting settlement activities and the construction of the annexation wall

 

West Bank:

 

  • At approximately 12:40 on Friday, 14 April 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 at them. As a result, Husam Khaldun Abed Abu Khaled (12) sustained a metal bullet wound to the back, and Ezz Eden Abdul Qader Eshtaiwi (12) sustained a metal bullet wound to the ear.

 

  • Following the Friday prayer, dozens of Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international human rights defenders organized demonstrations in Bil’in and Nil’in villages, west of Ramallah, and in Nabi Saleh village, northwest of the city, protesting against the annexation wall and settlement activities. Israeli forces forcibly dispersed the protestors, fired live and metal bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs. They also chased the protesters into olive fields and between houses. As a result, many of the protesters suffered tear gas inhalation while others sustained bruises due to being beaten up by the Israeli soldiers.

 

  • At approximately 17:30 on Saturday, 15 April 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 at them. As a result, a 17-year-old civilian sustained a metal bullet wound to the head.

 

  • On Monday afternoon, 17 April 2016, hundreds of Palestinians organized a demonstration in solidarity with prisoners in the Israeli jails coinciding with the Palestinian Prisoner Day and prisoners starting hunger strike. The demonstration was organized by the factions and organizations in Bethlehem along with school and University students. The protestors made their way towards the northern entrance to Bethlehem as they raised flags and slogans supporting the prisoners in their hunger strike and calling upon the international community to support prisoners in their fair demands. When the protestors arrived at Checkpoint (300), north of the city, the soldiers fired tear gas canisters, sound bombs and rubber-coated metal bullets at them. As a result, many civilians sustained tear gas inhalation and fainted. They received medical treatment on the spot.
  • At approximately 14:30 on the same Monday, a number of young men organized a peaceful protest in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners, who went on a hunger strike, near the entrance of “Ofer” military camp established on Betounia and Rafat villages, west of Ramallah. The protestors threw stones and empty bottles at the Israeli soldiers, who fired sound bombs, tear gas canisters and rubber-coated metal bullets in response and chased them. They arrested 4 children namely Ahmed Ibrahim Turki (15), Mohammed Yahiya al-Sarafandi (17), Hassan Mohammed Zaid (14) and Osama ‘Orabi Nakhlah (15).

 

  1. Continued closure of the oPt

 

Israel continued to impose a tight closure on the oPt, imposing severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.

 

Gaza Strip

 

Israeli forces continuously tighten the closure of the Gaza Strip and close all commercial crossings, making the Karm Abu Salem crossing the sole commercial crossing of the Gaza Strip, although it is not suitable for commercial purposes in terms of its operational capacity and distance from markets.

Israeli forces have continued to apply the policy, which is aimed to tighten the closure on all commercial crossings, by imposing total control over the flow of imports and exports.

 

Israeli forces have continued to impose a total ban on the delivery of raw materials to the Gaza Strip, except for very limited items and quantities. The limited quantities of raw materials allowed into Gaza do not meet the minimal needs of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip.

 

Israeli forces also continued to impose an almost total ban on the Gaza Strip exports, including agricultural and industrial products, except for light-weighted products such as flowers, strawberries, and spices. However, they lately allowed the exportation of some vegetables such as cucumber and tomatoes, furniture and fish.

 

Israel has continued to close the Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing for the majority of Palestinian citizens from the Gaza Strip. Israel only allows the movement of a limited number of groups, with many hours of waiting in the majority of cases. Israel has continued to adopt a policy aimed at reducing the number of Palestinian patients allowed to move via the Beit Hanoun crossing to receive medical treatment in hospitals in Israel or in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel also continued applying the policy of making certain civilian traveling via the crossing interviewed by the Israeli intelligence service to be questioned, blackmailed or arrested.

 

 

Beit Hanoun (“Erez”) crossing, in the north of the Gaza Strip, is designated for the movement of individuals, and links the Gaza Strip with the West Bank.

 

Movement at Beit Hanoun (“Erez”) crossing

(12-18 April 2017)

 

Category 12 April 13April 14 April 15 April 16 April 17 April 18 April
Patients 42 27 1 39 72
Companions 38 23 1 36 67
Personal needs 4 15 6 15
Familiesof prisoners
Arabs fromIsrael 7 8 5
Diplomats 3
International journalists
International workers 11 62 6 3
TravelersAbroad 15 1
Business people 4 4 190
Business meetings
Security interviews
VIPs 1 4
Ambulances to Israel 4 1
Patients’ Companions 3 1

 

Israel has imposed a tightened closure on the West Bank. During the reporting period, Israeli forces imposed additional restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians:

 

  • Hebron: Israeli forces established (15) checkpoints all over the city.

 

On Thursday, 13 April 2017, Israeli forces established 4 checkpoints at the entrances to Beit ‘Awaa, Sa’ir and Beit Ummer villages and al-Fawar refugee camp.

 

On Friday, 14 April 2017, 2 checkpoints were established at the entrances to Ethna and Kharras villages.

 

On Saturday, 15 April 2017, Israeli forces established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to Ethna, Beit ‘Awaa and Tarama villages.

 

On Sunday, 16 April 2017, 2 similar checkpoints were established at the northern entrance to Hebron and at the entrance to Sa’ir village.

 

On Monday, 17 April 2017, 2 similar checkpoints were established at the entrances to Bani Na’iem and Samou’a villages.

 

On Tuesday, 18 April 2017, Israeli forces established 2 checkpoints at the entrance to al-Fawar refugee camp and at the entrance to Imrish village.

 

Ramallah and al-Bireh:

 

At approximately 19:30 on Friday, 14 April 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance to al-Nabi Saleh village, northwest of Ramallah. They searched civilians’ vehicles and checked their IDs. No arrests were reported.

 

At approximately 16:30 on Monday, 17 April 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance to al-Nabi Saleh village, northwest of Ramallah. They denied Palestinian vehicles’ access to the village. As a result, the Palestinian civilians were forced to take other roads.

 

Qalqiliyia: Israeli forces established (8) checkpoints all over the city.

 

On Thursday, 13 April 2017, Israeli forces established 4 checkpoints at the eastern entrance to Qalqilyia (established twice); at the entrance to Jinasafout village, east of Qalqiliyia;  and on the road between Jayyous and ‘Azoun villages, east of the city.

 

On Friday, 14 April 2017, Israeli forces established 2 checkpoints at the eastern entrance to Qalqiyilia; and at the entrance to al-Fonouq village, east of the city.

 

At approximately 22:45 on Saturday, 15 April 2017, Israeli forces established similar checkpoint at the eastern entrance to the city.

 

At approximately 20:00 on Sunday, 16 April 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint in the center of ‘Azoun ‘Itmah village, southeast of Qalqailyia.

 

Jericho: Israeli forces established (5) checkpoints all over the city.

 

At approximately 19:30 on Friday, 14 April 2017, Israeli forces established a similar checkpoint at the southern entrance to Jericho. They searched civilians’ vehicles and checked their IDs.

 

At approximately 22:30 on Monday, 17 April 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the southern entrance to Jericho. They searched Palestinians’ vehicles and checked their IDs.

 

Nablus:

At approximately 16:30 on Saturday, 13 April 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at al-Naqoura village’s intersection, northwest of Nablus. They stopped Palestinian vehicles and checked the passengers’ IDs. No arrests were reported. In the midnight, the Israeli forces closed the checkpoint, so the Palestinian civilians took other roads. It should be noted that the abovementioned intersection connects between Nablus and Jenin.

 

Tubas:

At approximately 19:30 on Friday, 14 April 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint near al-Nakheel restaurant between ‘Aqbah and Tubas, northwest of the city. At approximately 11:00 on Saturday, 15 April 2017, Israeli forces established a similar checkpoint at Tamoun village’s intersection, south of Tubas.

 

Arrests at military checkpoints:

 

  • At approximately 17:00 on Tuesday, 18 April 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at Qafeen village’s entrance, north of Tulkarm. They stopped civilians’ vehicles and checked their IDs. At approximately 18:30, they arrested Raied Ibrahim Tawfiq Harsha (20).

 

  • On Wednesday, 19 April 2017, Israeli forces stationed at a checkpoint established at Hezmah village’s entrance, northeast of occupied Jerusalem, arrested Mohamed Sameer ‘Ayish Ikhliyil (38), from Beit Ummer village, north of Hebron. Mohamed was arrested while returning from his work in occupied Jerusalem.

 

  • Efforts to Create Jewish majority

 

Israeli forces escalated their attacks on Palestinian civilians and their property. They have also continued their raids on al-Aqsa Mosque and denied the Palestinians access to it:

 

Arrests and Incursions:

 

  • At approximately 10:00 on Friday, 14 April 2017, Israeli forces moved into Sho’fat village, north of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched houses from which they arrested Ihab Naser al-Tarhi (14) and Ali al-Salhi (12).

 

  • Following the Friday prayer, Israeli forces arrested 14 Palestinian civilians, including 10 children, in occupied East Jerusalem’s neighbourhoods. They were arrested when they were on their way out from al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City. PCHR keeps the names of the arrested persons.

 

  • At approximately 02: 00 on Sunday, 16 April 2017, Israeli forces moved into Qutnah village, northwest of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Kamel Ahmed Shamasnah (41) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 00:00 on Tuesday, 18 April 2017, Israeli forces moved into Bab Hatah neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched a house belonging to Saleh al-Fakhouri (60) and arrested him.

 

Houses Demolition:

 

  • On Tuesday, 18 April 2017, the Israeli Municipality’s bulldozers in occupied Jerusalem demolished 2 residential facilities in Khelit Abed neighbourhood in al-Mukaber Mount, southeast of occupied Jerusalem, without a prior warning, under the pretext of non-licensing. The two facilities belong to ‘Amar Hadidoun and Mohamed Shoqairat.

 

‘Amar Hadidoun said that his house was built in 2011 and shelters 7 persons, including 5 children. He added that his house is a caravan, which he placed on his land after his house was demolished in 2009. ‘Amar’s family was not home when the bulldozers demolished the house.

 

Mohamed Shiqairat said that the Israeli Municipality’s bulldozers demolished his house which he placed on his land a month ago. The house cost around NIS 100,000 and was comprised of 2 rooms, kitchen and bathroom. He added that he intended to live with his family comprised of 10 members, clarifying that the Israeli Municipality demolished his house a year ago.

 

  • On Wednesday, 19 April 2017, Israeli forces accompanied with the Israeli Municipality’s crews moved into al-‘Issawiyia village, northeast of occupied Jerusalem. They demolished the doors of agricultural and commercial facilities in the village. Mohamed Abu al-Humus, Member of the Follow-up Committee in the village, said that the Israeli bulldozers removed 5 doors of a car wash and 4 farms. They also hang up 3 demolition notices, vacated 4 facilities and demolished wires surrounding a plot of land. The abovementioned facilities belong to the families of Dari, Mostafa, Adkidek, Abu Sininah and Abu Riyalah.

 

  • Settlement activities and attacks by settlers against Palestinian civilians and property

 

Israeli forces:

 

At approximately 10:00 on Wednesday, 19 April 2017, Israeli forces accompanied with a vehicle of Israeli Civil Administration moved into Sha’b al-Sair area, south of Beit Ummer village, north of Hebron. They then stationed in a stone quarry belonging to YouseF Abed al-Hamdi Abu ‘Aiyash (50) and handed him 2 summonses to stop working in the quarry, which he built 18 years ago. The Israeli forces also confiscated a digger and bulldozer belonging to Mohamed Hasan al-Barbarawi.

 

Israeli Settlers:

 

  • On Thursday, 13 April 2016, dozens of Israeli settlers raided al-Aqsa Mosque’s yards in occupied Jerusalem’s Old City. It should be noted that they raided the mosque’s yards in order to celebrate the Jewish Passover under the Israeli forces’ protection.

 

Firas al-Dibs, the Spokesperson of Public Relations Officer at the Islamic Endowments (Awqaf) Department, said that in the morning around 252 Israeli settlers raided al-Aqsa Mosque via al-Magharebah Gate while in the afternoon 77 Israeli settlers raided the mosque under the Israeli forces’ protection. The settlers tried to perform their religious rituals during their tours in the yards; some of those settlers lied on the ground, and then the Palestinian guards took him out of the area. After the Israeli settlers ended their tours and left the mosque, they headed towards al-Silsilah Gate, where they danced, sang and hang posters written on it, “Ascending to the Temple Mount.” Moreover, the settlers performed their religious rites at al-Silsilah and al-Katanin Gates, where they received explanations about the “alleged temple.” Thousands of settlers also performed another prayer called” Temple priestly blessing” in al- Buraq yard, coinciding with the third day of the Passover. The Israeli forces closed several streets and roads in Jerusalem, especially which lead to al-Buraq yard. They also deployed in the city’s streets and at al-Aqsa Mosque’s gates. The Israeli soldiers obstructed the arrival of worshipers to the mosque.

 

  • At approximately 17:30 on Saturday, 15 April 2017, a group of Israeli settlers from the “Arosa” settlement, south of Nablus, raided civilian houses in the outskirts of Burin village. The Israeli settlers threw stones at Palestinian houses under the Israeli forces’ protection. A number of Palestinian young men gathered in an attempt to expel the settlers from the village and threw stones at them. In the meantime, the Israeli soldiers fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the village residents. As a result, fire broke out in the settlement, and the civil defence crews managed to control the fire before the settlement was engulfed in flames.

 

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.

 

  1. PCHR calls upon the international community to respect the Security Council’s Resolution No. 2334 and to ensure that Israel respects it as well, in particular point 5 which obliges Israel not to deal with settlements as if they were part of Israel.
  2. PCHR calls upon the ICC in 2017 to open an investigation into Israeli crimes committed in the oPt, particularly the settlement crimes and the 2014 offensive on the Gaza Strip.
  3. PCHR Calls upon the European Union (EU) and all international bodies to boycott settlements and ban working and investing in them in application of their obligations according to international human rights law and international humanitarian law considering settlements as a war crime.
  4. PCHR calls upon the international community to 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.
  5. PCHR calls upon the international community and United Nations to take all necessary measures to stop Israeli policies aimed at creating a Jewish demographic majority in Jerusalem and at voiding Palestine from its original inhabitants through deportations and house demolitions as a collective punishment, which violates international humanitarian law, amounting to a crime against humanity.
  6. PCHR calls upon the international community to condemn summary executions carried out by Israeli forces against Palestinians and to pressurize Israel to stop them.
  7. PCHR calls upon the States Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC to work hard to hold Israeli war criminals accountable.
  8. PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fulfill their obligations under article (1) of the Convention to ensure respect for the Conventions under all circumstances, and under articles (146) and (147) to search for and prosecute those responsible for committing grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions to ensure justice and remedy for Palestinian victims, especially in light of the almost complete denial of justice for them before the Israeli judiciary.
  9. PCHR calls upon the international community to speed up the reconstruction process necessary because of the destruction inflicted by the Israeli offensive on Gaza.
  10. PCHR calls for a prompt intervention to compel the Israeli authorities to lift the closure that obstructs the freedom of movement of goods and 1.8 million civilians that experience unprecedented economic, social, political and cultural hardships due to collective punishment policies and retaliatory action against civilians.
  11. PCHR calls upon the European Union to apply human rights standards embedded in the EU-Israel Association Agreement and to respect its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights when dealing with Israel.
  12. PCHR calls upon the international community, especially states that import Israeli weapons and military services, to meet their moral and legal responsibility not to allow Israel to use the offensive in Gaza to test new weapons and not accept training services based on the field experience in Gaza in order to avoid turning Palestinian civilians in Gaza into testing objects for Israeli weapons and military tactics.
  13. PCHR calls upon the parties to international human rights instruments, especially the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), to pressurize Israel to comply with its provisions in the oPt and to compel it to incorporate the human rights situation in the oPt in its reports submitted to the relevant committees.
  14. PCHR calls upon the EU and international human rights bodies to pressurize the Israeli forces to stop their attacks against Palestinian fishermen and farmers, mainly in the border area.

 

Weekly report on israel’s terrorism against the State of Palestine (23-29 March 2017)

Source

Israeli forces continue systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt)

 

  • Israeli forces killed a Palestinian child in al-Jalazone refugee camp and a woman in occupied Jerusalem.
  • 9 Palestinian civilians, including 2 children, were wounded.
  • Israeli forces continued to target the border areas in the Gaza Strip, but no casualties were reported
  • Israeli forces conducted 51 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank.
  • 57 civilians, including 14 children and 3 young women, were arrested in the West Bank.
  • 25 of them, including 8 children and two young women, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem and its suburbs.
  • Among those arrested were 10 of al-Aqsa guards.
  • Israeli forces continued their efforts to create Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem.
  • Israeli forces forced a civilian to self-demolish his house roof in Beit Hanina, north of the city.
  • Two under-construction houses in al-Issawiyah were demolished in addition to two inhabited ones in al-Mukaber Mount, rendering 14 persons homeless, including 10 children.
  • Israeli forces continued their settlement activities in the West Bank.
  • A mobile house (caravan) was confiscated from the Northern Jordan Valley, and a metal workshop was demolished in al-Jaftalak village, north of Jericho.
  • Israeli forces continued to target Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip Sea.
  • Israeli forces turned the West Bank into cantons and continued to impose the illegal closure on the Gaza Strip for the 10th
  • Dozens of temporary checkpoints were established in the West Bank and others were re-established to obstruct the movement of Palestinian civilians.
  • 7 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were arrested at military checkpoints in the West Bank.

 

 

Summary

Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the oPt continued during the reporting period (23-29 March 2017).

Shooting:

During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian child and woman.  Meanwhile, they wounded 9 other civilians, including 2 children, in the West Bank.  In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces continued to chase Palestinian fishermen in the sea and open fire at the farmers in the border areas.

In the West Bank, in a new crime of using excessive force, on 23 March 2017, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian and wounded 4 others, including 2 children.  All of them were from al-Jalazone refugee camp, north of Ramallah.  Israeli forces claimed that Palestinians in a car traveling near Beit Eil Settlement threw Molotov Cocktails at the settlement fence.  The Israeli soldiers fortified in a watchtower opened fire at a car.  As a result, a child was killed and 4 other civilians were wounded.  According to information available at PCHR, if the Israeli forces’ claims were true, they could have used less lethal forces against the abovementioned civilians and arrested them.

In a new crime of wilful killings, on 29 March 2017, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian identified as Siham Rateb Nemer (49) after opening fire at her when she was entering the Damascus Gate (Bab al-‘Amoud) in occupied Jerusalem.  Israeli forces claimed as usual that the abovementioned woman attempted to stab an Israeli soldier.  However, PCHR’s investigations refuted those claims.  It should be mentioned that Siham is the mother of Mustafa Nemer, who was shot dead by Israeli soldiers on 05 September 2016 when he was driving a car along with his relative on ‘Anata Street in Sho’afat refugee camp, northeast of occupied Jerusalem.  As a result, he was killed and his relative was wounded.

On 24 March 2017, 5 Palestinian civilians were wounded while participating in a demonstration in al-Qaboun area near al-Mugheir village, northeast of Ramallah.  This demonstration was in protest against the establishment of a sheep barn by a settler in an attempt to establish a settlement outpost on the Palestinian lands.

In the Gaza Strip, as part of targeting the border areas, on 25 March 2017, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip opened fire at the agricultural lands, east of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip.  No casualties were reported.

On 28 March 2017, Israeli forces stationed inside watchtowers along the eastern borders of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip opened fire at the border area opposite to al-Ahmar area.  No casualties were reported.

In the context of targeting Palestinian fishermen, on 25 March 2017, Israeli gunboats stationed northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip opened fire at the Palestinian fishing boat sailing there.  However, no casualties were reported.  The shooting recurred in the same area on 29 March 2017.

Incursions:

During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 51 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 57 Palestinian civilians, including 14 children and 3 young women. Twenty-five of them, including 8 children and 2 young sisters, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem. Among those arrested were 10 of al-Aqsa guards.

Creating Jewish Majority in Occupied East Jerusalem:

In the context of house demolitions, on 25 March 2017, Yousif Bakhtan self-demolished a house roof in al-Ashqariyah neighborhood in Beit Hanina neighborhood, north of occupied Jerusalem, to avoid the Israeli Municipality’s high demolition costs .

On 28 March 2017, Israeli forces demolished an under-construction house belonging to Ahmed Abu al-Homos and an under-construction building belonging to Mheisen family in al-Issawiyah village, northeast of occupied Jerusalem.

On 29 March 2017, Israeli forces demolished two houses belonging to Islam and Imam Mousa al-‘Abasi in al-Mukaber Mount villagem, southeast of occupied Jerusalem.  The two houses were built in 2014 on an area of 160 square meters.  the first house sheltered Islam al-‘Abasi and his 8-member family, including 6 children, while the second houses sheltered his brother Imam and his family comprised of 6 members, including 4 children.

Settlement Activities and settlers’ attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property:

On 27 March 2017, Israeli forces demolished a barrack used as a metal workshop in al-Jaftalak village, north of Jericho.  The 144-square-meter barrack roofed and built of tin plates belongs to Anwar Abu Joudah, whose family is comprised of 10 members, including 8 children, and he is the sole breadwinner of his family.

On 28 March 2017, Israeli forces confiscated a mobile house (caravan) in al-Hammah area in the Northern Jordan Valley, east of tubas.  The caravan belongs to Mahmoud ‘Awwad Ayoub and donated from ACTED Foundation.

In the same context, on 27 March 2017, a group of settlers from Gel’ad settlement established on the Palestinian lands of Jeet village, northeast of Qalqilya, attacked farmers from the abovementioned village while ploughing their land there.

Restrictions on movement:

Israel continued to impose a tight closure of the oPt, imposing severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.

The illegal closure of the Gaza Strip, which has been 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 9 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 grave violations of the economic, social and cultural rights and a deterioration of living conditions for 2 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. The Israeli closure raised the rate of poverty to 65%. Moreover, the rate of unemployment increased up to 47% and youth constitutes 65% of the unemployed persons.  Moreover, 80% of the Gaza Strip population depends on international aid to secure their minimum daily needs. These rates indicate the unprecedented economic deterioration in the Gaza Strip.

In the West Bank, Israeli forces continued to suffocate the Palestinian cities and village by imposing military checkpoints around and/or between them. This created “cantons” isolated from each other that hinders the movement of civilians. Moreover, the Palestinian civilians suffering aggravated because of the annexation wall and checkpoints erected on daily basis to catch Palestinians.

Details

 

  1. Incursions into Palestinian Areas, and Attacks on Palestinian Civilians and Property in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip

 

Thursday, 23 March 2017

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Deir Netham village, northwest of Ramallah, and patrolled in the village streets. They arrested Ragheb Mohammed Abdul Rahman (14) and released him few hours later.
  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into Nablus, and stationed in al-Ma’ajin area, west of the city. They raided and searched a house belonging to Baraa’ Mohammed Abu al-Nawas (24) and then arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into ‘Atil village, north of Tulkarm. They raided and searched a number of houses, after which they arrested Mothanna Abdullah Mohammed Sadlah (26).
  • At approximately 16:00, Israeli forces moved into Kufur al-Deek village, west of Salfit, and patrolled in the streets. They then arrested 3 children namely Mahmoud Ghassan Fasoul (17), Anas Abdul Jabbar Hadrous (17) and Mo’taz Ahmed Isam’il al-Deek (14). At approximately 18:00, the Israeli forces released them.
  • In a new crime of excessive use of lethal force, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian child and wounded 4 others, including 2 children. All of them are from al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah.

According to PCHR’s investigations, at approximately 20:00 on the same day, the Israeli soldiers stationed in the military watchtowers established at the western outskirts of “Beit Eil” settlement, north of Ramallah, adjacent to al-Jalazoun refugee camp from the eastern side, opened fire at a civilian car traveled by 5 civilians, including 3 children from the abovementioned camp. As a result, Mohammed Mahmoud Ibrahim Hattab (17) was hit with 2 live bullets to the chest and shoulder and died after short time. Four other civilians, including 2 children, were hit with live bullets, seriously wounding 3 of them. The first of those wounded was an 18-year-old civilian who sustained 2 live bullet wounds to the chest and abdomen, while the second is an 18-year-old civilian who was hit with 2 live bullets to the head and right thigh. The third was a 15-year-old civilian who sustained a live bullet wound to the chest.  Their wounds were classified as serious. Moreover, a 17-year civilian sustained shrapnel wounds to the head. The Israeli forces claimed that while those Palestinian civilians were driving a private car near “Beit Eil” settlement, they threw Molotov Cocktails at the settlement fence. The soldiers, who were in the watchtower, opened fire at the car. As a result, Hattab was killed and four others were wounded. PCHR’s fieldworker could not find a local eyewitness to approve or deny the Israeli claims due to the closure of the shops near the area. According to information available at PCHR and even if the Israeli claims were true, the Israeli forces could have used less lethal force against those civilians and arrested them.

(PCHR keeps the names of the wounded civilians).

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (4) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Beit Wazan village, west of Nablus; Sa’ir, Taffouh and Karmah villages in Hebron.

Friday, 24 March 2017

  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into the southern area in Hebron. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to Osama Nayef ‘Abbas Abu Suneinah (20) and Hazem Eshaq Abdul Fattah Wahdan (21) and then arrested them.
  • At approximately 17:30, Israeli forces moved into Silwad village, northeast of Ramallah. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ahmed Fathi Qadri (33) and then arrested him.
  • At approximately 20:20, Israeli forces moved into ‘Ourta village, southeast of Nablus. They raided and searched a house belonging to Thaer ‘Arabi ‘Awad (28) and then arrested him.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (3) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Beit Furiq village, east of Nablus; Surif and Beit Awa villages in Hebron.

 

Saturday, 25 March 2017

 

  • At approximately 07:00, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and chased them. The shooting sporadically recurred until at approximately 10:00. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee for fear of their lives, but neither casualties nor material damages were reported.

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (4) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Hebron, Halhoul, Beit Awla villages and al-‘Aroub refugee camp in Hebron.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Taffouh village, west of Hebron. The soldiers surrounded al-Reda Building while a number of them raided and searched a house belonging to Ref’at Sarhan Tarwah and then arrested him. They confiscated a drone with camera.
  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Jalamah village, northeast of Jenin. They raided and searched a number of houses and then arrested 3 civilians namely Rami Hesham Nader Abu Farhah (21), Manaf Ahmed Abdullah Abu Farhah (21) and Tareq Khalil Sha’ban (32).
  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into Zeta village, south of Tulkarm. They raided and searched a number of houses and then arrested Ayham Roumal ‘Ali Abu Hamdi (17).
  • At approximately 11:00, Israeli forces stationed in military watchtowers along the eastern side of the al-Shuhada Cemetery, east of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at agricultural lands adjacent to the border area. As a result, the farmers were forced to leave the area for fear of their lives, but neither casualties nor material damages were reported.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (3) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Yasouf village, east of Salfit; Emrish and Surif villages in Hebron.

Monday, 27 March 2017

 

  •  At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into Sa’ir village, east of Hebron, and patrolled in the streets. A number of young men threw stones at the Israeli jeeps. An Israeli soldier then stepped out of a jeep and randomly opened fire at the young men, but no casualties were reported. Following that, about 30 military jeeps arrived at the centre of the village as the soldiers deployed in the area. Later, the Israeli forces withdrew, but neither arrests nor raids were reported.
  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Rantees village, northwest of Ramallah. They raided and searched houses belonging to Jehad Sari Wahdan (30), Mo’taz Samih Wahdan (30) and Zaid Samhan Wahdan (24) and then arrested them.
  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Nour Shams refugee camp, east of Tulkarm. They raided and searched a number of houses and then arrested ‘Alaa’ Khaled Mahmoud Ismail (23) and Emad Ahmed Yusuf Abu Harb (34).
  •  Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Tulkarm. They raided and searched several houses then arrested Ra’fat Jamil Mohammed Basif (50) and Hamzah Yahiya (24). It should be noted that Nasif is a Hamas leader in Tulkarm.
  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into Abu Romman neighbourhood in the south-eastern area in Hebron and stationed near al-Tamimi family Divan. They raided and searched a house belonging to ‘Adnan Fanoun al-Tamimi and then handed his son Ahmed (22) a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence “Shin Bet” in “Gush Etzion” settlement complex, south of Bethlehem.

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (5) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Qalqiliyah, Yatta, Bani Na’im, al-Shoyoukh villages and Farsh al-Hawa area in Hebron.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Bani Na’im village, east of Hebron. They patrolled in Wadi al-Jawz, Muthalath Abu Hleil and al-Babour neighborhoods. They raided and searched several houses, but no arrests were reported. In al-Babour neighborhood, the Israeli soldiers raided and searched a house belonging to Qamar al-Anbiyaa’ Ismail Mousa ID’eis (37), broke a wooden door and ruined the contents of a goods store near his house. The soldiers verbally informed ID’eis to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Service in “Gush Etzion” settlement complex, south of Bethlehem. In the central village, the soldiers raided and searched 2 houses belonging to 2 brothers; Hesham (50) and Hashem (52) Mohammed Ibrahim Ermilat. The soldiers held their families’ members outside for an hour before moving them to the ground floor and detaining them for 4 hours. During which, the soldiers searched the 2 houses, destroyed the contents and tore wooden seats in Hashems’ apartment. As for Wadi al-Jawz area, the Israeli forces raided and searched houses belonging to Mohammed ‘Obaid Harashah, Ziyad ‘Obaid Harashah and Khalil Yusuf Malas, whose house was photographed. Hashem Ermilat said to PCHR’s fieldworker that:

“My brother and I along with our families in addition to my son Husain’s family (25) and his baby (6 months) were held outside the house for half an hour despite the cold weather. The soldiers then moved us to an under-construction room in the ground floor for 4 hours while 3 soldiers were pointing their weapons at us. My daughter Ahlam panicked and then fainted.”

  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into Tal village, southwest of Nablus. They raided and searched a number of houses, after which they arrested Sojoud ‘As’ad Rihan (25), an engineering student in Najah National University.
  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Ni’lin village, west of Ramallah. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mohammed Khalil Sorour (18) and then arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Tubas. They raided and searched a number of houses and then arrested Saif Mohammed Hamad Daraghmah (18), a student at Tubas Secondary School.
  • Around the same time, Israeli forces accompanied with a number of military jeeps moved into Beit Awa village, southwest of Dura, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to Mahmoud Raed Masalmah (16) and Ahmed Khaled Abu al-Jamal (17) and then arrested them.
  • At approximately 02:30, Israeli forces moved into al-Salam and al-Jalaah neighbourhoods in Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Abdul Rahim ‘Omran al-Atrash (28) and then arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into Jenin. They raided and searched a number of houses and then arrested Sultan Bassam Hamdan (31).
  • At approximately 09:00, Israeli forces stationed in military watchtowers along the eastern borders of Beit Hanoun village in the northern Gaza Strip opened fire at the border area adjacent to al-Ahmer area. As a result, farmers and a number of bird hunters and shepherds were forced to flee for fear of their lives, but neither casualties nor material damages were reported.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (3) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Sa’ir village and al-‘Aroub refugee camp in Hebron and Howarah village, south of Nablus.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

  • At approximately 01:35, Israeli forces moved into ‘Aqraba village, southwest of Nablus. They raided and searched a number of houses then arrested Huthaifah Jamal Khater (26).
  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces accompanied with several military jeeps and a truck with a crane moved into the southern area in Hebron. They raided and searched a workshop belonging to Tayseer Abu Sbaih (55) and then confiscated the workshop contents. The Israeli authorities claimed that the workshop is used for manufacturing ammunition explosives. The Israeli forces later withdrew, but no arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 23:45, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, northwest of Beit Lahia village in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and chased them. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee for fear of their lives, but neither casualties nor material damages were reported.

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (3) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Jabaa’ village, south of Jenin, Bani Na’im village, and al-Fawar refugee camp in Hebron.

 

  • Use of excessive force against peaceful demonstrations protesting settlement activities and the construction of the annexation wall

West Bank:

  • At approximately 10:00, on Friday, 24 March 2017, dozens of Palestinian civilians organized a demonstration in al-Qabboun area near al-Moghir village, northeast of Ramallah, in protest against a sheep barn built by a settler in an attempt to establish a settlement outpost on the Palestinian lands. The Israeli forces immediately fired live bullets, rubber-coated metal bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs at the protestors. As a result, 5 civilians sustained wounds. The first civilian (29) sustained a live bullet wound to the lower limbs, the second (23) was hit with a live bullet to the lower limbs, the third (19) was hit with a tear gas canister to the head, the fourth one (19) was hit with a bullet to the thigh and the fifth (31) was hit with a tear gas canister to the head.

(PCHR keeps the names of the wounded civilians).

  • Following the Friday prayer, dozens of Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international human rights defenders organized demonstrations in Bil’in and Nil’in villages, west of Ramallah and in Kafer Qadoum village, northeast of Qalqiliyah, protesting 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 the protesters into olive fields and between houses. As a result, many of the protesters suffered tear gas inhalation while others sustained bruises due to being beaten up by the Israeli soldiers.

 

  1. Continued closure of the oPt

Israel continued to impose a tight closure on the oPt, imposing severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.

Gaza Strip

Israeli forces continuously tighten the closure of the Gaza Strip and close all commercial crossings, making the Karm Abu Salem crossing the sole commercial crossing of the Gaza Strip, although it is not suitable for commercial purposes in terms of its operational capacity and distance from markets.

Israeli forces have continued to apply the policy, which is aimed to tighten the closure on all commercial crossings, by imposing total control over the flow of imports and exports.

Israeli forces have continued to impose a total ban on the delivery of raw materials to the Gaza Strip, except for very limited items and quantities. The limited quantities of raw materials allowed into Gaza do not meet the minimal needs of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip.

Israeli forces also continued to impose an almost total ban on the Gaza Strip exports, including agricultural and industrial products, except for light-weighted products such as flowers, strawberries, and spices. However, they lately allowed the exportation of some vegetables such as cucumber and tomatoes, furniture and fish.

Israel has continued to close the Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing for the majority of Palestinian citizens from the Gaza Strip. Israel only allows the movement of a limited number of groups, with many hours of waiting in the majority of cases. Israel has continued to adopt a policy aimed at reducing the number of Palestinian patients allowed to move via the Beit Hanoun crossing to receive medical treatment in hospitals in Israel or in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel also continued applying the policy of making certain civilian traveling via the crossing interviewed by the Israeli intelligence service to be questioned, blackmailed or arrested.

Movement at Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing, southeast of Rafah, is designated for the movement of goods

(20 – 27 March 2017)

Date Imports
Category Amount
Tons Number Liters
20 March Various goods 4228
Humanitarian aid 21823
Cooking gas 252,080
Benzene 187,004
DieselDiesel for UNRWA 743,93338,020
Construction aggregates 169,620
Cement 3560
Construction steel 600
21 March Various goods 3,966
Humanitarian aid 19, 592
Cooking gas 248,520
Benzene 224,020
DieselDiesel for UNRWA 375,94176,000
Construction aggregates 14,400
Cement 4160
Construction steel 930
22 March

 

Various goods 2,082
Humanitarian aid 17,756
Cooking gas 253,490
Benzene 117,993
DieselDiesel for UNRWA 475,94838,000
Industrial Diesel 511,436
Construction aggregates 3,920
Cement 324
Construction steel 13,040
23 March Various goods 4,566
Humanitarian aid 18,982
Cooking gas 254,800
Benzene 228,043
DieselDiesel for UNRWA 554,95476,016
Industrial Diesel 1,011,358
Construction aggregates 14,520
Cement 3760
Construction steel 550
26 March

 

Various goods 3,813
Humanitarian aid 18,484
Cooking gas 227,260
Benzene 76,020
DieselDiesel for UNRWA 408,94038,000
Industrial Diesel 488,956
Construction aggregates 3,560
Cement 299
Construction steel 14,240
27 March Various goods 4,369
Humanitarian aid 4,091
Cooking gas 249,580
Benzene 192,028
DieselDiesel for UNRWA 594,91138,000
Industrial Diesel 489,958
Construction aggregates 3,477
Construction steel 614

 

Note:

 

On Monday, 20 March 2017, the Israeli authorities allowed the exportation of 9 truckloads of tomatoes; 4 truckloads of cucumbers; a truckload of eggplants; a truckload of hot pepper; 1.4 tons of bill pepper; 11.5 tons of squash and 2.5 tons of cauliflower.

On Tuesday, 21 March 2017, the Israeli authorities allowed the exportation of 20 tons of lemon.

On Wednesday, 22 March 2017, the Israeli authorities allowed the exportation of 10 truckloads of tomatoes; 7 truckloads of cucumbers; a truckload of eggplants; a truckload of pepper; 0.9 tons of bill pepper; 14.08 tons of squash; a truckload of cabbages; 2 tons of cauliflowers; 4 tons of clothes; 0.09 tons of mint and 0.45 tons of garlic.

On Thursday, 23 March 2017, the Israeli authorities allowed the exportation of 8 truckloads of tomatoes; 6 truckloads of cucumbers; 3.2 tons of eggplants; a truckload of pepper; 2 tons of bill peppers; 7a truckload of squash; and 0.5 tons of cabbages.

On Sunday, 26 March 2017, Israeli authorities allowed the exportation of a truckload of lemon; truckload of fish and 15 truckloads of vegetables.

On Monday, 27 March 2017, the Israeli authorities allowed the exportation of 38 tons of aluminum scrap and 9 truckloads of vegetables.

 

 

Beit Hanoun (“Erez”) crossing, in the north of the Gaza Strip, is designated for the movement of individuals, and links the Gaza Strip with the West Bank.

 

Movement at Beit Hanoun (“Erez”) crossing

(21-27 March 2017)

Category 21 March 22 March 23 March 24 March   25 March  26 March 27 March
Patients 71 58 47 1 36
Companions 65 50 42 1 34
Personal needs 34 61 53 2 6
Familiesof prisoners 15
Arabs fromIsrael 10 6 7 10 3
Diplomats 8 19 6 1
International journalists
International workers 49 28 81 9
TravelersAbroad 42 1 2
Business people 128 123 118 1
Business meetings 1
Security interviews 4 4 1
VIPs 1 1 1
Ambulances to Israel 2 7 1 2 2
Patients’ Companions 2 6 1 2 2

Israel has imposed a tightened closure on the West Bank. During the reporting period, Israeli forces imposed additional restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians:

  • Hebron: Israeli forces established (16) checkpoints all over the city.

On Thursday, 23 March 2017, Israeli forces established 3 checkpoints at the eastern entrance to Dura village and at the entrances to Samou’a and Raboud villages.

On Friday, 24 March 2017, Israeli forces established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to al-Fawar and al-‘Aroub refugee camps and at the entrance to al-Ramadeen village.

On Saturday, 25 March 2017, Israeli forces established 2checkpoints at the entrances to Kharras and Sa’ir villages.

On Sunday, 26 March 2017, Israeli forces established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to Sa’ir and Beit Ummer villages.

On Monday, Israeli forces established 2 checkpoints at the entrance to Raboud village and at the northern entrance to Halhoul village.

On Tuesday, 28 March 2017, Israeli forces established 4 checkpoints at the entrances to Ethna, al-Shayyoukh and Samou’a village and at the western entrance to Hebron.

Ramallah and al-Bireh:  Israeli forces established (16) checkpoints all over the city.

On Thursday, 23 March 2017, Israeli forces established 2 checkpoints at the entrance to al-Nabi Saleh village, northwest of Ramallah and in ‘Atara village’s bridge, north of the city.

On Saturday, 25 March 2017, Israeli forces established 6 checkpoints in ‘Atara village’s bridge, north of the city; at al-Taiba villge’s intersection (al-Mo’arajat raod between Ramallah and Jericho); at the entrances to al-Nabi Saleh , Deir Abu Mish’al and ‘Aboud villages, northwest of the city; and between Selwad and ‘Ain Yabroud villages, northeast of the city.

On Sunday, 26 March 2017, Israeli forces established 6 checkpoints in ‘Atara village’s bridge, north of the city; at the entrances to al-Nabi Saleh , Deir Abu Mish’al and ‘Aboud villages, northwest of the city; at the intersections of  Selwad, Deir Jareer and al-Tiba villges, northeast of Ramallah.

On Monday, 27 March 2017, a similar checkpoint was established at the entrance to ‘Aboud village, west of Ramllah.

On Tuesday, 28 March 2017, Israeli forces established 2 checkpoints at the entrance to ‘Aboud village, northwest of the city and in ‘Ain Yabroud village, northeast of the city.

 

Salfit:

On Thursday, 23 March 2017, Israeli forces established 3 checkpoints at the entrance to Kafur al-Deek village, west of Salfit; between Kafur al-Deek and Burqeen villages, west of the city; and at the eastern entrance to Yasouf villge, east of the city.

Qalqiliyia:

At approximately 16:50 on Friday, 24 March 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the eastern entrance to Qalqilyia. At approximately 23:00 on Saturday, 25 March 2017, a similar checkpoint was established near al-Fondouq village on the main street between Nablus and Qalqilyia.

Bethlehem:

On Thursday, 23 March 2017, Israeli forces closed the entrances to western countryside of Bethlehem, which include Hosan, Nahleen and Wad Fokeen villages. As a result, civilians were denied access to their houses and work. Eyewitness stated that the Israeli forces closed with sand and cement barriers in addition to rocks the entrances leading to the western countryside villages , so vehicles and buses were denied access to the villages while the villages’ residents were forced to access the villages on foot. It should be noted that the checkpoints are established until now.

Nablus:

 

At approximately 10:30 on Saturday, 25 March 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the western entrance to ‘Aqraba village, southeast of Nablus. The Israeli forces stopped Palestinian vehicles and checked their IDs. No arrests were reported.

Arrests at military checkpoints:

 

  • At approximately 14:00 on Thursday, 23 March 2017, Israeli forces stationed at the entrance to Beit ‘Aynoun village, east of Hebron, arrested Mohamed ‘Emad Jaradat (17), from Sa’ir village, while passing through the checkpoint. Mohamed was then taken to a police station in “Gush Etzion” settlement, south of Bethlehem. It should be noted that in the morning, the Israeli authorities closed the abovementioned entrance with an iron gate. They also forced civilians to pass through a bumpy road in order to reach their houses. The Israeli forces claimed that the closure came as a result of throwing stones at the Israeli vehicles.

 

  • At approximately 16:30 on Friday, 24 March 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint on ‘Atara village’s bridge at the northern entrance to Birzeit, north of Ramallah. The Israeli forces searched Palestinian vehicles and checked their IDs. During this, they arrested Ahmed Hasan al-Barghothi (23), from ‘Aboud village, northwest of the city.

 

  • At approximately 16:30 on Saturday, 25 March 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the intersection of Eastern Mazra’ah village, northeast of Ramallah. The Israeli forces searched Palestinian vehicles and checked their IDs. During this, they arrested Ahmed Saleh Suliman Ghawanmah (26), from Kafur Malek village, northeast of the city.
  • At approximately 12:20 on Sunday, 26 March 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance to Emateen village, northeast of Qalqiliya. The Israeli forces searched Palestinian vehicles and checked their IDs. During this, they arrested Ayoub Ma’zouz Sowan (20).
  • At approximately 18:30 on Monday, 27 March 2017, Israeli forces stationed at Za’atara checkpoint, southeast of Nablus, arrested Ameer Khalid Sweilem (21), from Balata refugee camp, east of the city. Eyewitnesses said that the Israeli forces stopped a vehicle carrying Sweilem, checked the passengers’ IDs and then arrested him.
  • At approximately 17:00 on Tuesday, 28 March 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint near ‘Atara village’s bridge, north of Ramallah. The Israeli forces searched Palestinian vehicles and checked their During this, they arrested Hamza Foad Jameel Abu al-Haj (23), from Deir al-Sodan village, northwest of Ramallah.
  • At approximately 18:30 on Wednesday, 29 March 2017, Israeli forces stationed at al-Hamrah checkpoint, southeast of Tubas village, arrested Mohamed Husain Yousef ‘Ayidah (25), from Tubas. Eyewitnesses said that the Israeli forces stopped a vehicle carrying Mohamed, checked the passengers’ IDs and then arrested him.

 

  • Efforts to Create Jewish majority

 

Israeli forces escalated their attacks on Palestinian civilians and their property. They have also continued their raids on al-Aqsa Mosque and denied the Palestinians access to it:

Shooting Incidents:

 

  • In a new crime of wilful killing, on Wednesday, 29 March 2016, Israeli forces shot dead Siham Ratib Nimer (49) at Damascus “al-‘Amoud” Gate in occupied Jerusalem. According to eyewitnesses, Siham was on her way along with her two daughters, Zahra (20) and Manar ( 22), to Jerusalem’s Old City through al-‘Amoud Gate. As they were walking, a verbal altercation happened between the Israeli soldiers and Siham’s daughters. When Siham attempted to intervene, an Israeli soldier opened fire at her. As a result, Siham was hit with live bullets to the chest and limbs and died. Eyewitnesses added that the Israeli forces moved into the area, completely surrounded it, and denied access to it. A paramedic, who was passing by the area and wearing his uniform, tried to offer first aid to her, but the Israeli forces prevented him. Furthermore, the Israeli Intelligence Service arrested Siham’s two daughters and summoned her husband Talal Nimer for interrogation. The Israeli forces claimed that Siham attempted to carry out a stabbing attack against the Israeli soldiers. It should be noted that, the victim was the mother of Mustafa Nimer, who was killed on 05/9/2016, when the Israeli forces opened fire at a vehicle traveling by Mustafa and his relative on ‘Anata Street in Shu’fat refugee camp, northeast of Jerusalem. As a result, Mustafa was killed while his relative was wounded.

Arrests and Incursions:

 

  • On Thursday, 23 March 2017, Israeli officers attacked Palestinian civilians in Jerusalem. Those civilians were identified as Mazen Ra’fat Showeiki (50) and Ahmed al-Taweel (26). Al-Showeiki said to PCHR’s fieldworker that he headed to his truck, which was in the Ministry of Interior parking, in Wad al-Jouz neighborhood, but was surprised with an Israeli officer coming, pulling him out of the truck and insulting him. The Israeli officer said to him, “Why did you hit my car parked there?” Mazen told him that he will repair the car and give him all the necessary papers. In spite of this, the Israeli officer hit Mazen at his chest and head. Mazen said that he hit the officer’s car on Tuesday, 31 March 2017, in the Ministry of Interior parking and on that day he could not know the car’s owner, so he left the area after waiting for over half an hour. Mazen added that a group of Palestinian young men attempted to prevent the attack, but they were exposed to beating as well. Furthermore, Ahmed al-Taweel said that a group of Palestinian young men attempted to prevent the attack, but were beaten and threatened with the officer’s firearm. The officer also said that three officer of the Israeli special forces along with guards, who work in the Ministry of Interior, severely beat the abovementioned Palestinian young men as shown in a video. As a result, al-Showeiki suffered from dyspnea and sustained bruises wounds, while al-Taweel suffered bruises in his eyes.

 

  • On Friday, 24 March 2016, Israeli forces raided and searched a house belonging to the activist, Mohamed Shalabi (35), in occupied Jerusalem’s Old City, and then arrested him.

 

  • In dawn, Israeli forces raided and searched houses belonging to ‘Alaa al-Deen al- Natsha (22), Mohamed Abu Shosha (21) and Hamza Milhes (21). All of the abovementioned persons were arrested.
  • Following the Friday’s prayer, dozens of Palestinian young men organized a protest in al-Aqsa Mosque yards demanding for the killed victims’ bodies under the Israeli custody. When the protesters got out of the al-Aqsa Mosque, the Israeli forces arrested 3 children and then took them to detention centres for interrogation. The arrested children were identified as ‘Isaa Mohamed al-Ja’bari (17), Yazan Hisham al-Ja’bari (16) amd Siraj al-Deen Mireesh (14).
  • On Saturday, 25 March 2017, Israeli forces moved into al-Sawanah neighbourhood in occupied Jerusalem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ameer Waleed al-Bilbasi and arrested him.

 

  • On Saturday, Israeli forces moved into al-‘Amoud neighbourhood in occupied Jerusalem. They raided and searched a house belonging to ‘Abed al-Raheem Barbar and arrested him.

 

  • On Monday, 27 March 2017, Israeli forces arrested 4 of al-Aqsa Mosque guards while confronting an Israeli archaeologist, who attempted to steal one of the mosque stones. The Islamic Endowments (Awqaf) Department stated that an Israeli archaeologist attempted to steal one of the mosque stones, but the guards confronted him. In addition, when the archaeologist got out of the mosque, he attempted to raid Al-Marwani Mosque, but the guards confronted him as well. In the meantime, the Israeli forces arrested Loai Abu al-Sa’ad and Salman Abu Mayalah. Moreover they arrested two guards, Hamza Nimer and ‘Arafat Najeeb. In the evening, ‘Ahed Jouda and Mohanad Idrees, al-Aqsa Mosque guards, turned themselves in to al-Silsilah Gate police station for interrogation. Furthermore, the Israeli forces arrested 4 other al-Aqsa Mosque guards after raiding their houses in the Old City’s neighbourhoods and al-Sawana neighbourhood. The arrested guards were identified as Samer al-Qabani, Qasem Kamal, Osama Siyam and Khalil al-Tarhouni.

 

  • Houses Demolition:

 

  • On Saturday, 25 March 2017, a Palestinian civilian, Yousef Bakhtan, self-demolished his house roof in al-Ashqariyah neighbourhood in Beit Haninah neighbourhood, north of occupied Jerusalem to avoid the Israeli Municipality’s high demolition costs. Yousef said that he demolished his under-construction house roof to avoid the demolition costs. The Israeli Municipality gave Yoused until 29 March 2017, to self-demolish his house roof, which was built on an area of 60 square meters, under the pretext of non-licensing.
  • On Tuesday, 28 March 2017, Israeli forces accompanied with the Israeli Municipality crews and a bulldozer moved into al-‘Issawiyia village, northeast of occupied Jerusalem. The bulldozer demolished an under-construction house belonging to Ahmed Abu al-Humus under the pretext of non-licensing. The house was comprised of one floor and built on an area of 150 square meters. In the meanwhile, the Israeli forces headed to an under-construction residential building belonging to Muheisin family and then demolished the first floor built a year ago. The family stopped the house construction due to the Israeli Municipality decision. It should be noted that the family attempted to get a license, but the house was demolished without a prior warning.

 

  • Settlement activities and attacks by settlers against Palestinian civilians and property

 

  • Israeli Settlers:

 

  • At approximately 09:00 on Monday, 27 March 2017, Israeli forces accompanied with Civil Administration crews and military bulldozers moved into al-Jeftalik village, north of Jericho. They demolished a barrack built of tin plates on an area of 144 square meters under the pretext of non-licensing. The barrack belongs to Anwar Mohamed Mahmoud Abu Jouda, whose family is comprised of 10 members, including 8 children.

 

  • At approximately 12:30 on Tuesday, 28 March 2017, Israeli forces moved into al-Humma area in the northern Jordan Valley, east of Tubas. They confiscated a mobile house (caravan) belonging to Mahmoud ‘Awwad Ayoub. After that, they dismantled and moved it by a truck with a crane to an unknown destination. It should be noted that the caravan was donated by the ACTED Foundation.
  • At approximately 13:00 on Monday, 27 March 2017, a group of Israeli settlers from “Gilad settlement in Jeet village, northeast of Qalqiliya, attacked the village farmers while ploughing their land. Tamer Tayseer Mahmoud Yameen (38), said to a PCHR’s fieldworker that:

“While the farmers were ploughing the land as we got a permit from the Israeli forces, an Israeli female settler came and started shouting at us. In the meantime, five other Israeli settlers approached and insulted us.  One of the settlers threatened us with a firearm, while another one threw stones at the tractor driver namely Qasem Rushdi Ahmed Sedah (48).  As a result, the stone fell in the exhaust, but fortunately the driver was not wounded.  There were 2 Israeli soldiers, female soldier and officer but they did not do anything.  Even when we tried to defend ourselves by throwing stones back at the settler, the female soldiers did not allow us and immediately expelled us from the land.”

 

Recommendations to the International Community

 

PCHR emphasizes the international community’s position that the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are still under Israeli occupation, in spite of Israeli military redeployment outside the Gaza Strip in 2005. PCHR further confirms that Israeli forces continued to impose collective punishment measures on the Gaza Strip, which have escalated since the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections, in which Hamas won the majority of seats of the Palestinian Legislative Council. PCHR stresses that there is international recognition of Israel’s obligation to respect international human rights instruments and the international humanitarian law, especially the Hague Regulations concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land and the Geneva Conventions. Israel is bound to apply the international human rights law and the law of war sometime reciprocally and other times in parallel in a way that achieves the best protection for civilians and remedy for victims.

In light of continued arbitrary measures, land confiscation and settlement activities in the West Bank, and the latest 51-day offensive against civilians in the Gaza Strip, PCHR calls upon the international community, especially the United Nations, the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention and the European Union – in the context of their natural obligation to respect and enforce the international law – to cooperate and act according to the following recommendations:

  1. PCHR calls upon the international community and the United Nations to 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;
  2. PCHR calls upon the United Nations to provide international protection to Palestinians in the oPt, and to ensure the non-recurrence of aggression against the oPt, especially the Gaza Strip;
  3. PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to compel Israel, as a High Contracting Party to the Conventions, to apply the Conventions in the oPt;
  4. PCHR calls upon 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 pressurize Israel to comply with their provisions in the oPt, and to compel it to incorporate the human rights situation in the oPt in its reports submitted to the concerned committees;
  5. PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fulfil their obligations 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;
  6. PCHR calls upon States that apply the principle of universal jurisdiction not to surrender to Israeli pressure to limit universal jurisdiction to perpetuate the impunity enjoyed by suspected Israeli war criminals;
  7. PCHR calls upon the international community to act in order to stop all Israeli settlement expansion activities in the oPt through imposing sanctions on Israeli settlements and criminalizing trading with them;
  8. PCHR calls upon the United Nations to confirm that holding war criminals accountable in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a precondition to achieve stability and peace in the regions, and that peace cannot be built on the expense of human rights;
  9. PCHR calls upon the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council to explicitly declare that the Israeli closure policy in Gaza and the annexation wall in the West Bank are illegal, and accordingly refer the two issues to the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Israel to compel it to remove them;
  10. PCHR calls upon the international community, particularly the UN, in light of its failure to the stop the aggression on the Palestinian people, to at least fulfil its obligation to reconstruct the Gaza Strip after the series of hostilities launched by Israel which directly targeted the civilian infrastructure;
  11. PCHR calls upon the United Nations and the European Union to express a clear position towards the annexation wall following the international recognition of the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders, as the annexation wall seizes large parts of the State of Palestine;
  12. PCHR calls upon the European Union to activate Article 2 of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, which provides that both sides must respect human rights as a precondition for economic cooperation between the EU states and Israel, and the EU must not ignore Israeli violations and crimes against Palestinian civilians

israel’s Anti-Semitism Smears Backfire

Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smears Backfire

Consortium News | March 1, 2017

Israel has often succeeded in silencing criticism of its treatment of Palestinians by calling critics anti-Semites and scaring politicians into canceling public events, but the tactic is now starting to backfire, writes retired U.S. diplomat Ann Wright.

 By Ann Wright

An often-used tactic to squelch criticism of Israeli state policies toward the Palestinians is to call the criticism anti-Semitic. The sponsors of the event become afraid of the label, anti-Semitism, false as it is, and cancel the event to avoid any controversy. The tactic is used widely across Europe and the United States.

Palestinian boys prepare to welcome Women’s Boat to Gaza, which was intercepted by the Israeli naval blockade on Oct. 5, 2016.

This week, the talk that I was to give in a room at the Rome City Hall about the Women’s Boat to Gaza and the conditions in Gaza was cancelled 24 hours before the event by the council member who had agreed to arrange for the room. His staff revealed that he had gotten intense pressure from the Israeli Embassy and Rome’s Jewish Community Association to stop the presentation.

But that was not the end of the story. In a fast-moving media blitz, organized by Italy’s Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions program, two of Rome’s newspapers wrote of the cancellation and several radio stations reported on it. BDS Italy scheduled a press conference about the cancellation in the plaza in front of the City Hall at the time the talk was scheduled. About 20 representatives of the news media attended, a much larger number than would have attended the talk itself.

Due to the number of media and the questions concerning the cancellation, Marcello de Vito, President of the Rome City Council, invited three of us to come into the City Hall to discuss the cancellation. This invitation provided us with the opportunity to discuss the conditions in Gaza and the West Bank and the nonviolent tactics such as BDS and Boats to Gaza to bring international attention to the harmful policies of the State of Israel.

From the questions, it was apparent that the President, another City Council member and their staff knew little about the Israeli blockade of Gaza, the illegal settlements, the apartheid wall, the numbers of Palestinian children and youth held in Israeli jails, and the theft of Palestinian resources by Israeli companies.

Something similar happened last year in Bayreuth, Germany, when the prize for Tolerance and Peace, which had been awarded to CODEPINK: Women for Peace, was cancelled by the Mayor after two reporters, known for writing spurious articles, alleged that CODEPINK was an anti-Semitic organization. Following an extensive letter-writing campaign from members of the German Parliament and others who know that CODEPINK’s actions challenging the policies of the State of Israel are not anti-Semitic, the Bayreuth City Council voted to reinstate the award amid much publicity.

Also, last year, a conference in which grandmothers who had been through World War II were to speak was cancelled because of similar allegations. Defenders of Israeli policies targeted 90-year old Hedie Esptein, a vocal critic of Israeli treatment of Palestinians, although her parents had been killed in the Holocaust and she had survived by being sent to England as a part of the Kindertransport,

Responding quickly to false allegations of anti-Semitism is key to blunting the Israeli government’s offensive toward those who challenge the illegal and inhumane policies toward Palestinians. In the case of the Rome cancellation, the pushback from BDS Italy created more publicity about the plight of the Palestinians than the event itself would have.

Ann Wright served 29 years in the U.S. Army/Army Reserves and retired as a Colonel.  She was a U.S. diplomat and served in U.S. embassies in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia.  She resigned from the U.S. government in March, 2003 in opposition to President Bush’s war on Iraq.

Should the Palestinians Seek Justice NOW at the International Criminal Court?

Should the Palestinians Seek Justice NOW at the International Criminal Court?

There is little doubt that the mid-February Netanyahu/Trump love fest at the White House further dampened already dim Palestinian hopes for a sustainable peace based on a political compromise. The biggest blow was Trump’s casual abandonment of the two-state solution coupled with an endorsement of a one-state outcome provided the parties agree to such an outcome, which as so expressed is a result almost impossible to suppose ever happening in the real world. Israel would never agree to a secular one-state that effectively abandons the Zionist insistence on a Jewish state with deep historical roots and biblical validation. The Palestinians would never agree to live in such a Jewish one-state that essentially abandoned their long struggle to achieve national self-determination, thereby gaining liberation from the last major remnant of the colonial era.

With geopolitical bravado suitable for the real estate magnate that he remains, despite the presidential trappings of his formal role, Trump also vaguely promised to negotiate a grand deal for the region that evidently reached beyond the contested territory of Palestine so long locked in conflict, and thus encompassed neighboring countries or possibly the whole region. It is easy to speculate that such murmurings by Trump were not welcomed in either Jordan or Egypt, long favored by rightest Israelis as dumping grounds for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Such added ‘political space’ is attractive from an Israeli perspective, both to ensure that Israel maintains a comfortable Jewish majority if the one-state solution were ever forcibly implemented by Israel. At the same time the prospect of population transfer would allow Israel to achieve a higher degree of racial purity, a feature of the dominant Zionist imaginary long before Israel became internationally recognized as a state.

An inflammatory part of this new political environment is the accelerated expansion of the existing network of unlawful Israeli settlements located in occupied Palestine. Although near unanimously condemned in Security Council Resolution 2334 last December, Israel responded by defiantly announcing approval of thousands more settlement units, endorsing plans for an entirely new settlement, and by way of a Knesset initiative provocatively legalized settlement ‘outposts,’ 50 of which are distributed throughout the West Bank in direct violation of even Israeli law. It is possible that the Israeli Supreme Court will heed anticipated judicial challenges to this latest move, and eventually void this Knesset law, but even if this happens, the passage of such a law sends a clear message of iron resolve by the political forces currently steering Israeli policy never to permit the establishment of a viable Palestinian state.

In these circumstances, it becomes incumbent upon the Palestinian Authority to show the world that it is still alive, and it currently has few ways of doing this. Given these realities it would seem a no brainer for the PA to light up the skies of public awareness of the Palestinian plight by vigorously demanding justice at the International Criminal Court (ICC). After all there is a wide consensus on the global stage that all the settlements, and not just the outposts, are in violation of Article 49(6) of the Fourth Geneva Convention. These settlements have for decades served as a major obstacle in the search for a satisfactory diplomatic solution of the conflict. Of course, it would be naïve to expect Israel to comply with an adverse judgment of the ICC, or to participate in such a proceeding in ways other than by challenging the competence of the tribunal, but a favorable outcome would still be of great value for the Palestinians. It would cast Israel in an unfavorable light in relation to the UN, international law, and world public opinion, and undoubtedly encourage the further development of the already robust global solidarity movement.

Yet, despite these circumstances that makes the ICC seem such an attractive option, a PA decision to take this path is far from obvious. The former Foreign Minister of the PA and member of Fatah’s Central Committee, Nasser al-Kidwa, effectively dismissed the ICC option by calling it ‘complicated’ without any further explanation, leaving the impression that the costs of taking such a step were too high. However, the issue is not yet settled as mixed signals are emanating from Palestinian leadership circles. For instance, the PLO Secretary General, Saeb Erekat, in contrast to Kidwa, minced no words in his insistence that the ICC investigate “the colonial settlement regime.”

It seems useful to speculate on why there should be this ambivalence among Palestinian leaders. After all, international law, international public opinion, and even most European governments are all supportive of Palestinian claims with regard to the settlements. Israel remains more defiant than ever, and shows every sign of further expansion, possibly with an eye toward soon unilaterally declaring an end to the conflict, a move that Washington might find temporarily awkward, but in the end, acceptable. At the core of this debate about recourse to the ICC is the tricky question as to whether deference to the muscular vagaries of geopolitics serves Palestinian interests at this time.

Recourse to the ICC: Pros and Cons

The argument favoring recourse to the ICC is almost too obvious to put forward. It would back Israel into a corner. The Netanyahu government is certain to react with anger and concrete expressions of hostility to any such move by the PA. Such a reaction would be widely seen as a convincing confirmation of Israel’s vulnerability to any impartial test as to whether its settlement policies meet the minimum requirements of international law. And most importantly for the PA it would demonstrate that despite recent political disappointments the Ramallah leadership was prepared to embark upon a controversial course of action that displayed political courage, including a willingness to endure expected vindictive acts of retaliation.

Recourse to the ICC would play well with the Palestinian people, especially those living under occupation. They experience daily tensions with violent settler groups and see no future for themselves absent confrontation with Israel. If the PA chooses such a course, it would help restore support for the flagging claims of the PA to serve as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people at the global level. This is turn could lead finally to durable arrangements of unity as between Hamas and Fatah, which would raise confidence levels that the Palestinians were prepared for this latest, difficult stage of their national movement.

The arguments against going to the ICC are somewhat more elusive. There is no doubt that Palestine, recognized by the UN as a state now enjoys the jurisdictional qualifications to participate in ICC proceedings. What is less clear is whether the ICC would be responsive, and able to circumvent technical obstacles, such as finding suitable Israeli defendants. During its 15 years of operation the ICC has been very reluctant to be pro-active except in Africa, and even there it has been recently stung by an intense pushback by African governments and the African Union. The ICC has been reluctant to stir up political opposition in the West, which would certainly occur as soon as the ICC launched a full investigation of Palestinian grievances against Israel.

There is also the reverse problem of ICC action that might disappoint the PA. To appear balanced, the ICC would probably extend its investigation to include allegations relating to indiscriminate rocket fire from Gaza. It could then decide that a strong case of probable criminal responsibility attributable to Hamas existed, while allegations against Israel failed because of the inability to establish criminal intent. Although a setback for the PA, such an outcome at the ICC would be internationally criticized as contrary to reasonable interpretations of international law, and be widely regarded as a reflection of political pressures exerted by Washington.

Likely, the PA is most inhibited by the ‘lawfare’ campaign being waged by Israel and the United States. Already during the Obama presidency there was Congressional legislation terminating financial assistance to the PA in the event of any recourse to the ICC. Since Trump these warnings have escalated, including the total suspension of financial aid, the closing of the PLO offices in Washington, and threats to put the PLO and Fatah back on the US list of terrorist organizations. It is evident that the PA is taking these unseemly threats seriously.

There are also PA fears that any ICC initiative would induce Israel to move more quickly toward closure with respect to the underlying conflict, annexing most or all of the West Bank. Such a reaction would both be in keeping with Israel’s tendency to respond disproportionately to any formal action directed at the legality of its policies and practices. Israel is particularly sensitive about war crimes charges, and vows extraordinary measures should any of its citizens be so charged. Now that Netanyahu can count on unconditional support in the White House and the US Congress it would not be surprising to see him use the occasion of an ICC initiative to proclaim Israeli sovereignty over the whole of historic Palestine.

Conclusion

In light of the above, it seems almost certain that the PA will not act take advantage of the ICC option any time soon. The PA is likely to adopt a posture of neither/nor; that is, neither explicitly ruling out recourse to the ICC, nor activating the option. This reflects the reality that the PA is caught between the rock of US/Israel bullying tactics and the hard place of an increasingly restive Palestinian population, being acutely reminded of its ordeal by the grim realization that 2017 is the 50th anniversary of the Israeli occupation.

The United States posture, although somewhat more belligerently pro-Israel as a result of the Trump presidency, is really nothing new except in style. Even during the Obama presidency the US opposed every attempt by the PA to rely on international law or the UN to advance its national struggle. Instead of welcoming the use of law rather than weapons, the US Government castigated efforts of Palestine to gain membership in the UN System or to seek even symbolic relief for its grievances in international venues. This turn against international law, as well as against the UN, is clearly a signature issue for the Trump presidency, and not just in relation to Palestine, and this is not good news for the world. ­

This article was originally published on the author’s blog. A version was also previously published in the Middle East Eye

 

 

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