“Endless Trip to Hell”: “Israel” Jails Hundreds of Palestinian Boys a Year. Here are Some Testimonies

By Staff, Haaretz

They’re seized in the dead of night, blindfolded and cuffed, abused and manipulated to confess to crimes they didn’t commit. Every year “Israel” arrests almost 1,000 Palestinian youngsters, some of them not yet 13.

It was a gloomy, typically chilly late-February afternoon in the West Bank village of Beit Ummar, between Bethlehem and Hebron. The weather didn’t deter the children of the Abu-Ayyash family from playing and frolicking outside. One of them, in a Spiderman costume, acted the part by jumping lithely from place to place. Suddenly they noticed a group of “Israeli” soldiers trudging along the dirt trail across the way.

Instantly their expressions turned from joy to dread, and they rushed into the house. It’s not the first time they reacted like that, says their father. In fact, it’s become a pattern ever since 10-year-old Omar was arrested by troops this past December.

The 10-year-old is one of many hundreds of Palestinian children whom “Israel” arrests every year: The estimates range between 800 and 1,000. Some are under the age of 15; some are even preteens. A mapping of the locales where these detentions take place reveals a certain pattern: The closer a Palestinian village is to a settlement, the more likely it is that the minors residing there will find themselves in “Israeli” custody. For example, in the town of Azzun, west of the Karnei Shomron settlement, there’s hardly a household that hasn’t experienced an arrest. Residents say that in the past five years, more than 150 pupils from the town’s only high school have been arrested.

At any given moment, there are about 270 Palestinian teens in “Israeli” prisons. The most widespread reason for their arrest – throwing stones – does not tell the full story. Conversations with many of the youths, as well as with lawyers and human rights activists, including those from the B’Tselem human-rights organization, reveal a certain pattern, even as they leave many questions open: For example, why does the occupation require that arrests be violent and why is it necessary to threaten young people.

In 2013, UNICEF, the United Nations agency for children, assailed “the ill treatment of children who come in contact with the military detention system, [which] appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized.” A report a year earlier from British legal experts concluded that the conditions the Palestinian children are subjected to amount to torture, and just five months ago the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe deplored “Israel’s” policy of arresting underage children, declaring, “An end must be put to all forms of physical or psychological abuse of children during arrest, transit and waiting periods, and during interrogations.”

About half of the arrests of Palestinian adolescents are made in their homes. According to the testimonies, “Israeli” soldiers typically burst into the house in the middle of the night, seize the wanted youth and whisk him away (very few girls are detained), leaving the family with a document stating where he’s being taken and on what charge. The printed document is in Arabic and Hebrew, but the commander of the force typically fills out the details in Hebrew only, then hands it to parents who may not be able to read it and don’t know why their son was taken.

About 40 percent of the minors are detained in the public sphere – usually in the area of incidents involving throwing stones at soldiers. That was the case with Adham Ahsoun, from Azzun. At the time, he was 15 and on his way home from a local grocery store. Not far away, a group of children had started throwing stones at soldiers, before running off. Ahsoun, who didn’t flee, was detained and taken to a military vehicle; once inside, he was hit by a soldier. A few children who saw what happened ran to his house to tell his mother. Grabbing her son’s birth certificate, she rushed to the entrance to the town to prove to the soldiers that he was only a child. But it was too late; the vehicle had already departed, headed to an army base nearby, where he would wait to be interrogated.

In many cases the children’s hands are handcuffed from behind. An “Israeli” soldier from the Nahal infantry brigade admits that his unit arrested a boy “of about 11,” but the handcuffs were too big to bind his small hands.

The next stage is the journey: The youths are taken to an “Israeli” army base or a police station in a nearby settlement, their eyes covered with flannelette. “When your eyes are covered, your imagination takes you to the most frightening places,” says a lawyer who represents young Palestinians. Many of those arrested don’t understand Hebrew, so that once pushed into the army vehicle they are completely cut off from what’s going on around them.

In most cases, the handcuffed, blindfolded youth will be moved from place to place before actually being interrogated. Sometimes he’s left outside, in the open, for a time. In addition to the discomfort and the bewilderment, the frequent moving around presents another problem: In the meantime many acts of violence, in which “Israeli” soldiers beat the detainees, take place and go undocumented.

Once at the army base or police station, the minor is placed, still handcuffed and blindfolded, on a chair or on the floor for a few hours, generally without being given anything to eat. It is the “endless trip to hell”.
Young Palestinian detainees under guard. Soldiers typically burst into the house in the middle of the night, seize the wanted youth and leave the family with a document stating where he’s being taken.

The nightmare can be of differing duration, the former detainees relate. Three to eight hours after the arrest, by which time the youth is tired and hungry – and sometimes in pain after being hit, frightened by threats and not even knowing why he’s there – he’s taken in for interrogation. This may be the first time the blindfold is removed and his hands freed. The process usually starts with a general question, such as, “Why do you throw stones at soldiers?” The rest is more intense – a barrage of questions and threats, aimed at getting the teen to sign a confession. In some cases, he’s promised that if he signs he’ll be given something to eat.

According to the testimonies, the interrogators’ threats are directed squarely at the boy [“You’ll spend your whole life in jail”], or at his family [“I’ll bring your mother here and kill her before your eyes”), or at the family’s livelihood [“If you don’t confess, we’ll take away your father’s permit to work– because of you, he’ll be out of work and the whole family will go hungry”].

Whether the young detainee has signed a confession or not, the next stop is prison. Either Megiddo, in Lower Galilee, or Ofer. Khaled Mahmoud Selvi was 15 when he was brought to prison in October 2017 and was told to disrobe for a body search [as in 55 percent of the cases]. For 10 minutes he was made to stand naked, along with another boy, and in winter.

The months in detention, waiting for trial, and later, if they are sentenced, are spent in the youth wing of the facilities for security prisoners. The children don’t speak with their families for months and are allowed one visit a month, through glass.

Far fewer Palestinian girls are arrested than boys. But there is no facility especially for them, so they are held in the Sharon prison for women, together with the adults.

The courtroom is usually the place where parents have their first sight of their child, sometimes several weeks after the arrest. Tears are the most common reaction to the sight of the young detainee, who will be wearing a prison uniform and handcuffs, and with a cloud of uncertainty hovering over everything. “Israel” Prisons Service guards don’t allow the parents to approach the youth, and direct them to sit on the visitors’ bench.

At a recent remand hearing for several detainees, one boy didn’t stop smiling at the sight of his mother, while another lowered his eyes, perhaps to conceal tears. Another detainee whispered to his grandmother, who had come to visit him, “Don’t worry, tell everyone I’m fine.” The next boy remained silent and watched as his mother mouthed to him, “Omari, I love you.”

While the children and their family try to exchange a few words and looks, the proceedings move along. As though in a parallel universe.

The vast majority of trials for juveniles ends in a plea bargain – safka in Arabic, a word Palestinian children know well. Even if there is no hard evidence to implicate the boy in stone-throwing, a plea is often the preferred option. If the detainee doesn’t agree to it, the trial could last a long time and he will be held in custody until the proceedings end.

According to data of collected by the British-Palestinian NGO, 97 percent of the youths arrested by the “Israeli” army live in relatively small locales that are no more than two kilometers away from a settlement.

In the case of reported stone-throwing incidents, he says, the commander’s assumption is that the Palestinians involved are young, between the ages of 12 and 30, and that they come from the nearest village. Often the officer will turn to the resident collaborator in the village, who provides him with the names of a few boys.

“I was arrested when I was 14, all the boys in the family were arrested that night. A year later, I was arrested again, with my cousin. They said I burned tires. It happened when I was sleeping. My mother woke me up. I thought it was time for school, but when I opened my eyes I saw soldiers above me. They told me to get dressed, handcuffed me and took me outside. I was wearing a short-sleeved shirt and it was cold that night. My mother begged them to let me put on a jacket, but they didn’t agree. Finally, she threw the jacket on me, but they didn’t let me put my arms in the sleeves.

“They took me to the Karmei Tzur settlement with my eyes covered, and I had the feeling that they were just driving in circles. When I walked, there was a pit in the road and they pushed me into it, and I fell. From there they took me to Etzion [police station]. There they put me in a room, and soldiers kept coming in all the time and kicking me. Someone passed by and said that if I didn’t confess, they would leave me in jail for the rest of my life.

“At 7 A.M., they told me the interrogation was starting. I asked to go to the toilet before. My eyes were covered and a soldier put a chair in front of me. I tripped. The interrogation went on for an hour. They told me that they saw me burning tires and that it interfered with air traffic. I told them it wasn’t me. I didn’t see a lawyer until the afternoon, and he asked the soldiers to bring us food. It was the first time I had eaten since being arrested the night before.

“At 7 P.M., I was sent to Ofer Prison, and I remained there for six months. In that period, I was in court more than 10 times. And there was also another interrogation, because a friend of mine was told while being questioned that if he didn’t confess and inform on me, they would bring his mother and shoot her before his eyes. So he confessed and informed. I’m not angry at him. It was his first arrest, he was scared.”

Khaled’s story is told by his father, Murad Shatawi: “On the night he was arrested, a phone call from my nephew woke me up. He said the house was surrounded by soldiers. I got up and got dressed, because I expected them to arrest me, on account of the nonviolent demonstrations I organize on Fridays. I never imagined they’d take Khaled. They asked me for the names of my sons. I told them Mumen and Khaled. When I said Khaled, they said, ‘Yes, him. We’re here to take him.’ I was in shock, so many soldiers showed up to arrest a boy of 13.

“They handcuffed and blindfolded him and led him east on foot, toward the settlement of Kedumim, all the while cursing and hitting him a little. I saw it all from the window. They gave me a document showing that it was a legal arrest and I could come to the police station. When I got there, I saw him through a small hole in the door. He was handcuffed and blindfolded.

“He stayed like that from the moment they arrested him until 3 P.M. the next day. That’s a picture that doesn’t leave me; I don’t know how I’ll go on living with that picture in my head. He was accused of throwing stones, but after four days they released him, because he didn’t confess and there was no other evidence against him. During the trial, when the judge wanted to speak to Khaled, he had to lean forward in order to see him, because Khaled was so small.

“What was it like to see him like that? I am the father. That says it all. He hasn’t talked about it since getting out, three months ago. That’s a problem. I’m now organizing a ‘psychology day’ in the village, to help all the children here who have been arrested. Out of 4,500 people in the village, 11 children under the age of 18 have been arrested; five were under the age of 15.”

Omar looks small for his age. He’s shy and quiet, and it’s hard to talk to him about the arrest, so members of his family recount the events in his place.

Omar’s mother: “It happened at 10 A.M. on Friday, when there is no school. Omar was playing in the area in front of the house, he threw pebbles at birds that were chirping in the tree. The soldiers, who were in the watchtower across the way here, picked up on what he was doing and ran toward him. He ran, but they caught him and knocked him down. He started to cry, and he wet his pants. They kicked him a few times.

“His grandmother, who lives here below, immediately went out and tried to take him from the soldiers, which caused a struggle and shouts. In the end, they left him alone and he went home and changed into dry pants. A quarter of an hour later, the soldiers came back, this time with their commander, who said he had to arrest the boy for throwing stones. When the other children in the family saw the soldiers in the house, they also wet their pants.”

Omar’s father takes up the story: “I told the commander that he was under 12 and that I had to accompany him, so I rode with him in the jeep to the Karmei Tzur settlement. There the soldiers told him not to throw stones anymore, and that if he saw other children doing it, he should tell them. From there they took him the offices of the Palestinian Authority in Hebron. The whole story took about 12 hours. They gave him a few bananas to eat during those hours. Now, whenever the children see a military jeep or soldiers, they go inside. They’ve stopped playing outside since then. Before the incident, soldiers used to come here to play soccer with the children. Now they’ve stopped coming, too.”

“It was around 2 P.M. I had a fever that day, so Dad sent me to my cousin next door, because that’s almost the only place in the village with a heating unit. Suddenly soldiers showed up. They saw me watching them from the window, so they fired shots at the door of the building, knocked it down and started to come upstairs. I got scared, so I ran from the second floor to the third, but they stopped me on the way and took me outside. The soldiers wouldn’t let me take my coat, even though it was cold and I was sick. They took me on foot to Kedumim, handcuffed and blindfolded. They sat me on a chair. I heard doors and windows being slammed hard, I think they were trying to scare me.

“After a while, they took me from Kedumim to Ariel, and I was there for five-six hours. They accused me of throwing stones a few days earlier with my friend. I told them I hadn’t thrown any stones. In the evening they moved me to the Hawara detention building; one of the soldiers told me I would never leave there. In the morning I was moved to Megiddo Prison. They didn’t have prisoners’ uniforms in my size, so they gave me clothes of Palestinian children who had been there before and left them for the next in line. I was the youngest person in the prison.

“I had three court hearings, and after 12 days, at the last hearing, they told me that it was enough, that my father would pay a fine of [$525] and I was getting a three-year suspended sentence. The judge asked me what I intended to do after getting out, I told him I would go back to school and I wouldn’t go up to the third floor again. Since my arrest, my younger brother, who’s 7, has been afraid to sleep in the kids’ room and goes to sleep with our parents.”

“On my 15th birthday, I went to the store in the village center to buy a few things. Around 7:30 in the evening, soldiers entered the village and children started to throw stones at them. On the way home with my bag, they caught me. They took me to the entrance of the village and put me in a jeep. One of the soldiers started to hit me. Then they put plastic handcuffs on me and covered my eyes and took me like that to the military base in Karnei Shomron. I was there for about an hour. I couldn’t see a thing, but I had the feeling that a dog was sniffing me. I was afraid. From there they took me to another military base and left me there for the night. They didn’t give me anything to eat or drink.

“In the morning, they moved me to the interrogation facility in Ariel. The interrogator told me that the soldiers caught me throwing stones. I told him that I hadn’t thrown stones that I was on my way home from the store. So he called the soldiers into the interrogation room. They said, ‘He’s lying, we saw him, he was throwing stones.’ I told him that I really hadn’t thrown stones, but he threatened to arrest my mother and father. I panicked. I asked him, ‘What do you want from me?’ He said he wanted me to sign that I threw stones at soldiers, so I signed. The whole time I didn’t see or talk to a lawyer.

“My plea bargain was that I would confess and get a five-month jail sentence. Afterward, they gave me one-third off for good behavior. I got out after three months and a fine of 2,000 shekels. In jail I tried to catch up with the material I missed in school. The teachers told me they would only take into account the grades of the second semester, so it wouldn’t hurt my chances of being accepted for engineering studies in university.”

“At 3 A.M., I heard knocking on the door. Dad came into the room and said there were soldiers in the living room and wanted us to show ID cards. The commanding officer told my father that they were taking me to Etzion for questioning. Outside, they handcuffed and blindfolded me and put me in a military vehicle. We went to my cousin’s house; they also arrested him. From there we went to Karmei Tzur and waited, handcuffed and blindfolded, until the morning.

“In the morning, they only took my cousin for interrogation, not me. After his interrogation, they took us to Ofer Prison. After a day there, they took us back to Etzion and said they were going to interrogate me. Before the interrogation, they took me into a room, where there was a soldier who slapped me. After he hit me in one room, he took me to the interrogation room. The interrogator said I was responsible for burning tires, and because of that the grove near the house caught fire. I said it wasn’t me, and I signed a document that the interrogator gave me. The document was also printed in Arabic, but the interrogator filled it out in Hebrew. I was taken back to Ofer Prison.

“I had seven hearings in court, because at the first hearing I said I hadn’t intended to confess, I just didn’t understand what I signed and it wasn’t true. So they sent me back for another interrogation. Again I didn’t confess. Then they sent me to interrogation another time and again I didn’t confess. That’s what it was like in three interrogations. In the end, my lawyer did a deal with the prosecutor that if I confessed in court – which I did – and my family would pay 4,000 shekels, they would release me.

“I’m a good student, I like soccer, both playing and watching it. Since the arrest I hardly wander around outside.”

“Around 2 A.M. someone knocked on the door. I woke up and saw a lot of soldiers in the house. They said we should all sit in the living room sofa and not move. The commander called Uday, my big brother, told him to get dressed and informed him that he was under arrest. It was the third time they arrested him. My father was also once under arrest. Suddenly they told me to put my shoes on too and go with them.

“They took us out of the house and tied our hands and covered our eyes. We went like that on foot to the base in Karmei Tzur. There they sat me on the floor with hands tied and eyes covered for around three hours. At about 5 A.M., they moved us to Etzion. On the way there in the jeep they hit us, they slapped me. In Etzion, I was sent to be checked by a doctor. He asked if I had been beaten and I said yes. He didn’t do anything, only checked my blood pressure and said I could stand up to an interrogation.

“My interrogation started at 8 A.M… They asked me to tell them which children throw stones. I said I didn’t know, so the interrogator gave me a slap. The interrogation went on for four hours. Afterward, they put me into a dark room for 10 minutes and then took me back to the interrogation room, but now they only fingerprinted me and put me into a detention cell for an hour. After an hour, Uday and I were moved to Ofer Prison. I didn’t sign a confession, neither about myself nor about others.

“I got out after nine days, because I wasn’t guilty of anything. My parents had to pay 1,000 shekels for bail. My little brother, who is 10, has been really afraid ever since. Whenever someone knocks at the door, he wets his pants.”

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Weekly report on israel’s terrorism on Palestinians (28 February – 06 March)

Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (28 February- 06 March 2019)

https://pchrgaza.org/en/?p=12096

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

(28 February- 06 March 2019)

 

  • Israeli forces kill two Palestinian civilians and wound another one, west of Ramallah.

 

  • Five civilians, including three children, were wounded in different incidents in the West Bank.

 

  • Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against the peaceful protestors in the Gaza Strip.
  • 92 civilians, including 26 children, two women, a journalist, and three paramedics, were wounded. The injury of three of them were reported serious.

 

  • Israeli forces conducted 67 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 4 other incursions into Jerusalem.
  • 43 Palestinian civilians, including three children and a woman, were arrested in the West Bank.
  • 11 of them were arrested from occupied Jerusalem.
  • Israeli forces conducted a limited incursion in the Gaza Strip and arrested 2 civilians, who attempted to sneak into Israel.

 

  • Shooting incidents were reported against Palestinian farmers and shepherds in the border areas of the Gaza Strip and no injuries were reported.

 

  • Israeli authorities continued to create a Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem.
  • The Israeli Municipality forced a Palestinian civilian to self-demolish his house in Silwan village.
  • Israeli settlers seized a house in the Old City.

 

  • Israeli authorities continued their settlement activities in the West Bank.
  • Israeli forces confiscated a bulldozer while cleaning rubbles on the main street.
  • Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian civilians’ houses and ‘Oreef Secondary School, south of Nablus.

 

  • 3 shooting incidents were reported against the fishing boats 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 13th consecutive year.
  • Israeli forces established 92 permanent checkpoints and 95 temporary checkpoints in the West Bank.

 Summary

 

Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the oPt continued during the reporting period (28 February – 06 March 2019).

 

Shooting:

 

In the Gaza Strip, the Israeli forces continued to use lethal force against the participants in the peaceful protests organized along the Gaza Strip borders, which witnessed the peaceful protests for the 49th week along the eastern and northern border area of the Gaza Strip. They also continued to use force as well during the incursions into the West Bank.

In the West Bank, the Israeli forces killed 2 Palestinian civilians and wounded 6 others, including 3 children.

In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces wounded 92 civilians, including 26 children, 2 women, a journalist, and 3 paramedics, while participating in the Return March. The injury of three of them was reported serious.

In the West Bank, in new crime of excessive use of force, at early dawn hours Israeli forces killed 2 Palestinian civilians and wounded another one in Kaffur Ni’ma village, west of Ramallah.  The Israeli forces claimed that the three civilians carried out a run-over attack, which resulted in the injury of two Israeli soldiers. Other Israeli soldiers opened fire at them, killed two of them and wounded another one. Investigations and eyewitnesses’ statements refute the Israeli forces’ claims. The eyewitnesses said that the three civilians were heading to their work at a bakery, where they should be at early hours. While the civilians were on their way to work, they were surprised with Israeli vehicles and crashed one of them. As a result, the civilians’ car hood was damaged.

In the same context, Israeli forces wounded five civilians, including three children, during the Israeli forces’ incursion into Nablus. Palestinian young men and children gathered to confront the Israeli forces.

In the Gaza Strip, using excessive lethal force against the peaceful protesters in eastern Gaza Strip, Israeli forces wounded 92 civilians, including 26 children, 2 women, a journalist, and 3 paramedics, while participating in the Return March. The injury of three of them was reported serious.

Injuries in the Gaza Strip from 28 February to 06 March 2019 According to the Governorate

 

Governorate Injuries
Total Children Women Journalists Paramedics Critical Injuries
Northern Gaza Strip 12 6 0 0 0 0
Gaza City 28 4 0 1 0 0
Central Gaza Strip 18 6 0 0 0 1
Khan Yunis 17 6 1 0 2 1
Rafah 17 4 1 0 1 1
Total 92 26 2 1 3 3

 

  • As part of targeting the Palestinian fishermen in the sea, the Israeli forces continued to escalate their attacks against the Palestinian fishermen, indicating the on-going Israeli policy to target their livelihoods. During the reporting period, PCHR documented 3n incidents were as follows: 2 incidents adjacent to al-Waha Resort and 1 incident off Rafah Shore, north and south of the Gaza Strip.

 

  • As part of targeting the border areas, on 28 February 2019, Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence with Israel, opened fire at agricultural lands and shepherds, east Dir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip. At approximately 11:30, the Israeli shooting recurred.

 

  • On 02 March 2019, Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence with Israel, opened fire at agricultural lands in the eastern ‘Abasan al-Saghira, east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. The Israeli shooting recurred on 04 March 2019. As a result, the farmers and shepherds were forced to leave for fear of their lives and no casualties were reported.

 

Incursions:

During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 67 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 4 other incursions into Jerusalem and its suburbs. During those incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 32 Palestinians, including 3 children and a woman, from the West Bank, while 11 other civilians were arrested from Jerusalem and its suburbs.

In the Gaza Strip, on 24 February 2019, Israeli forces moved around 100 meters into the west of the border fence with Israeli, east of al-Buriej Camp in the center of the Gaza Strip. The Israeli vehicles levelled and combed lands, headed to the south and then arrived at eastern Khan Yunis before redeploying along the border fence.

Israeli authorities continued to create a Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem.

As part of the Israeli house demolitions and notices, on 02 March 2019, Husam al-‘Abasi self-demolished his house in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, to implement the Israeli Municipality decision under the pretext of non-licensing.  He said that the Israeli Municipality issued a decision to self-demolish his house in Ras al-‘Amoud neighborhood in Silwan village and ordered him to demolish it or the Israeli vehicles will implement the demolition during 2 weeks. He added that that Municipality informed him that if he does not demolish the house, he will pay the demolition cost, which is estimated at NIS 80,000.  He also said that he built a 70-sqaure-meter storey above his family house a year ago, where he along with his wife and their child live in.

 

As part of seizing Palestinian civilians’ property in favor of settlement associations, Israeli settlers seized a building in ‘Aqabet Darwish in Jerusalem’s Old City. Eyewitnesses said that a group of Israeli settlers raided a house belonging to al-Halabi family while they were outside the house. The Israeli settlers closed the house with locks and then started to install cameras and put wires on the building’s walls and roof. It should be noted that the building belongs to Jerusalemite families. Around 60% of the building was given to the Israeli settlers while al-Halabi family managed to maintain the other 40% (100 square meters). Two of Jawdat al-Halabi’s heirs live in the building.

 

In the same context, the Israeli authorities issued judicial notices against Maragha family, claiming their plot of land, where a building was established in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. Wadi al-Helwa Information Center said that “Ateret Cohanim” Settlement Association handed Maragha family judicial notices for 9 of the family members, claiming their plot of land, where a building was established in Baten al-Hawa neighborhood in the village. The building is comprised of 5 apartments and a parking. The building shelters 15 members.

 

Israeli Forces continued their settlement activities, and the settlers continued their attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property

 

  • On 05 March 2019, Israeli forces confiscated a bulldozer belonging to the Israeli Ma’is Company. The bulldozer was cleaning rubbles on the main street near Doma village, southeast of Nablus. The bulldozer was taken to “Taffouh” settlement near Za’tarah checkpoint, south of Nablus.

 

  • As part of the Israeli settlers’ attacks against the Palestinians civilians and their property, on 05 March 2019, a group of Israeli settlers, from “Yatizhar” settlement established in the northern side of ‘Oreef village’s lands, south of Nablus. The settlers raided Palestinian civilians’ houses and ‘Oreef Secondary School, under the Israeli forces’ protection. As a result, some windows belonging to Moneer Suliman al-Nori’s house were broken.

Details

 

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

 

Thursday, 28 February 2019:

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into ‘Asira al-Shamaliya village, north of Nablus. They raided and searched several houses, from which they arrested ‘Oqba Fayez Barham Shawaly (42) and Mohammad ‘Emad Fahmy Sawalma (22), taking them to an unknown destination.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Qalqilya and stationed in Kfar Saba neighborhood, west of the city. They raided and searched a house belonging to ‘Othman Rebhy ‘Othman Lebdah (31) and then arrested him, taking him to an unknown destination.

 

  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into Tall village, southwest of Nablus. They raided and searched several houses, from which they arrested ‘Abdul Rahman Mohammad Sameer Zaidan (29) and Yusuf Mohammad Yusuf Ramadan (20) and then arrested them, taking them to an unknown destination.

 

  • At approximately 07:30, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israel, east of Deir al-Balah, opened fire at Palestinian shepherds. At approximately 11:30, the Israeli shooting recurred. As a result, the shepherds fled for fear of their lives and no casualties were reported.

 

  • At approximately 08:30, Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence with Israel, east Deir al-Balah, opened fire at agricultural lands. At approximately 11:30, the Israeli shooting recurred. As a result, the farmers fled for fear of their lives and no casualties were reported.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (5) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Beit Ummar and Tarqumiyah in Hebron, Qalqilya and Kifl Haris and Deir Istiya villages in Salfit.

 

Friday, 01 March 2019:

 

  • At approximately 18:00, Israeli forces moved into Nablus from its eastern side and stationed in the vicinity of al-Maslakh area. A number of Palestinian young men gathered and threw stones and Molotov Cocktails at the Israeli vehicles. The Israeli forces immediately fired tear gas canisters, sound bombs and rubber bullets at them. As a result, dozens of the Palestinian young men suffered tear gas inhalation and were treated on the spot. Moreover, two civilians, including a child, were hit with rubber bullets and were then taken to Rafidia Surgical Hospital to receive treatment.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (5) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Sa’ir and Surif villages in Hebron; Haris and Kafr al-Deek in Salfit; and Artah village, west of Tulkarm.

 

Saturday, 02 March 2019:

 

  • At approximately 08:00, Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence with Israel, opened fire at agricultural lands in the eastern ‘Abasan al-Saghira, east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. As a result, the farmers fled for fear of their lives and no casualties were reported.


Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (3) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Massafer Yatta and al-Tuwani villages in Hebron; and ‘Azzun Atma in Qalqilya

 

Sunday, 03 March 2019

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Khader village, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched houses, from which they arrested ‘Abudllah Ahamd Moussa (16) and Mohammad As’ad Nassem Esbeeh (16), taking them to an unknown destination.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Taqou’a village, southeast of Bethlehem. They raided and searched several houses, from which they arrested Mohiy al-Deen Ahmad al-‘Amour (17), taking him to an unknown destination.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Fara’ata village, east of Qalqilya. They raided and searched a house belonging to Baraa Nathem Mohammad Salman (28) and then arrested him, taking him to an unknown destination.

 

  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into ‘Azzoun village, east of Qalqilya. They raided and searched a house belonging to ‘Adel Zaher Hamdallah Hussein (20) and then arrested him, taking him to an unknown destination.

 

  • At approximately 02:30, Israeli forces moved into Qalqilya. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mohammad Hassan Ahmad Moussa (32) and then arrested him, taking him to an unknown destination.

 

  • At approximately 07:30, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israeli opened fire at agriculture lands, east of Abasan al-Kabira, east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. As a result, the farmers fled for fear of their lives and no injuries were reported.

 

  • At approximately 08:00, the Israeli authorities closed the checkpoint established at the southern entrance to al-Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron’s Old City and prevented civilians from passing to the Old City through the checkpoint. As a result, students could not reach their schools near the checkpoint. As a result, the students were forced to use another road in order to arrive at the al-Ibrahimi Mosque area. The settlers brought tents and platforms and set them up on the closed al-Shuhada Street and surrounding al-Ibrahimi Mosque to hold their celebrations.

 

  • At approximately 16:15, Israeli forces moved into Nablus from its eastern side and stationed in the vicinity of al-Maslakh area. A number of Palestinian civilians gathered and threw stones and empty bottles at the Israeli vehicles. The Israeli forces immediately fired tear gas canisters, sound bombs and rubber bullets at them. As a result, a 15-year-old child was hit with a rubber bullet to the left brow. He was then taken to Rafidia Surgical Hospital in Nablus to receive treatment.

 

  • At approximately 17:30, Israeli gunboats stationed in the sea, south of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within three nautical miles and chased them. As a result, they fled for fear of their lives and no causalities were reported.

 

  • At approximately 19:30, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israel arrested two Palestinian young men, who tried to sneak into Israel, east of Gaza. The two young men were identified as Maissara Hamdy ‘Elaian Baroud (21) and Samy Ghazy Mohammad al-Hawajry (21), form Nuseirat Refugee Camp in the central Gaza Strip. Hamdy Baroud (53), Massara’s father, said that at approximately 18:00 on Sunday, 03 March 2019, I called my son Maissara, but his cell phone was closed. I then asked their friends about him and they told me that he and his friend Samy al-Hawajry went to the border fence and were arrested. At approximately 10:30, on Monday, 04 March 2019, my son ‘Alaa received a phone call from a private number. The caller, who identified himself as an Israeli police officer, said that Maissara is in their custody and ended the call.

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (7) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: al-Dhahiriya, Bani Na’im, Beit ‘Ummar and al-Moreq in Hebron; Qalqilya and ‘Azzun and Jayyous villages, east of Qalqilya.

 

Monday, 25 February 2019

  • In new crime of excessive use of force, at early dawn hours Israeli forces killed 2 Palestinian civilians and wounded another one in Kaffur Ni’ma village, west of Ramallah. The Israeli forces claimed that the three civilians carried out a run-over attack, which resulted in the injury of two Israeli soldiers. Other Israeli soldiers opened fire at them, killed two of them and wounded another one. Investigations and eyewitnesses’ statements refute the Israeli forces’ claims. The eyewitnesses said that the three civilians were heading to their work at a bakery, where they should be at early hours. While the civilians were on their way to work, they were surprised with Israeli vehicles and crashed one of them. As a result, the civilians’ car hood was damaged. According to PCHR’s investigations, at approximately 02:30 on Monday, Israeli forces backed by three military vehicles moved into Kafur Nie’mah village, west of Ramallah. They raided and searched a house belonging to Yousef Mahmoud al-Deek (42) and arrested him, taking him at the village entrance, where the Israeli vehicles stationed. One of the Israeli vehicles was damaged before their withdrawal from the village. At approximately 03:20, the three civilians were heading to their work via a car with an Israeli registration plate, meanwhile, the diver was surprised with Israeli vehicles at the village’s entrance. As a result, the driver could not control the car and crashed one of the Israeli vehicles. The Israeli soldiers immediately opened fire at the civilians, killed two of them and wounded another one. The wounded civilian was arrested while the victims’ bodies were kept in the Israeli custody. The two victims were identified as Ameer Mahmoud Darraj (20), from Khebitha al-Mosbbah village, and Yousef Raied Anqawi (20), from Beit Sirah village. The wounded civilian was identified as Hitham Basem ‘Alqam (20), from Safa village, west of Ramallah.

Majed Abu Rahma, an eyewitness, said to PCHR’s fieldworker:

“I was heading to my work at Itihad Juice Company, which is located at the entrance to Kafur Nie’mah village. I passed through the city center and I did not notice any suspicious movements. It was approximately 03:00 and the weather was rainy and foggy. When I was on the village’s road, the vision was clear, as there were lights on the road, but when I exited it and moved towards the company, the road was sloppy and there was no lights. When I was around 150 away from the company, I was surprised with Israeli soldiers deploying on the road. I recognized that they were Israeli soldiers as one of them lighted military torches at me. I was driving at approximately 30 km/h and I was around 6-10 meters away from them. One of them stopped me and said in Arabic, ‘get away from here, one of our vehicles is damaged.’ I moved back, I was around 150 meters away from them, and it was approximately 03:20. I saw a car driving at approximately 60-70 km/h coming from the village and moving in the same direction. They lighted the military torches at it. The car then deviated from its path and hit the Israeli military vehicle that was blocking the road. I heard the crash and minutes after, I heard continuous shooting and I estimate that 15-20 bullets were fired.”

 

  • At approximately 02:30, Israeli forces moved into Beit Rima village, northwest of Ramallah. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mohammed Huda al-Rimawi (45) and then arrested him, taking him to an unknown destination.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into al-Jalzon Refugee Camp, north of Ramallah. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mojahed Saleh al-Shani (26) and then arrested him, taking him to an unknown destination.

 

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into Beit Kahil village, north of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mohammed Hamza Zhour (44). The Israeli forces later withdrew and no arrests among Palestinian civilians were reported.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Eskaka village, east of Salfit. They raided and searched a house belonging to a former prisoner, Zuhair Fawaz ‘Abdullah Hussain “al-Inboussi” (35), and then arrested him, taking him to an unknown destination.

 

  • At approximately 04:40, Israeli forces moved into Selwad village, northeast of Ramallah. They raided and searched two house belonging to Lo’ai Nouh Hamed (19) and Ramez ‘Adb al-Khaleq Hamed (23) and then arrested them, taking them to an unknown destination.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into ‘Obween village, northwest of Ramallah. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ferass Moussa Sahwil (22) and then arrested him, taking him to an unknown destination.

 

  • At approximately 07:30, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Waha shore, northwest of Beit Lahia in the Northern Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within four nautical miles and chased them. The shooting caused fear and panic among fishermen. As a result, the fishermen fled for fear of their lives and no casualties or damages to the boats were reported.

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (03) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Yatta village in Hebron and Hawarah village in Nablus.

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

  • At approximately 00:40, Israeli forces moved into the northern ‘Assir village, north of Nablus and stationed in al-Marj neighborhood area, east of the village. They raided a 4-storey house belonging to Zaher Saleh Sholy (56). It should be noted that Zaher lives in the house along with his sons and their families. The Israeli forces locked the house’s residents on the first and second floor while other soldiers searched the house. Half an hour later while the Israeli soldiers were on the second floor, where Zaher’s son , Habib ( 27) and his wife live, Habib asked an Israeli soldier to allow his wife enter her room and bring some belongings. The soldier allowed Amna along with her mother to enter the room. After Amna and her mother came out of the room, the soldiers ordered to search them and brought a female soldier to do it. Before the Israeli soldiers withdrew, they confiscated NIS 3787 and 335 JD and handed the family a warrant of the confiscated money signed by ‘A’esha, Habib’s mother.

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Dhaisha Refugee Camp, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched houses, from which they arrested Ahmed Ass’ad al-Saify (20) and ‘Odai Mustafa Abu Nassar (24), taking them to an unknown destination.

 

  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into al-Khader village, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched houses, from which they arrested Ra’ed Hassan Moussa (18), taking him to an unknown destination.

 

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into Ramallah and stationed in al-Tira neighborhood. They raided and searched houses, from which they arrested 3 civilians, including a woman. The arrested civilians were identified as Amal al-Tahan Barghouth (26), ‘Obada Mahmoud al-Dirawi (30) and Khaled Sliman Barghouthi (33). It should be noted that Amal al-Tahan is the wife of lawyer Tariq Barghoth, who was arrested on 27 February 2019, from his house in Ramallah. Tariq is still detained in al-Maskoubia investigation center in West Jerusalem and prevented from meeting his lawyer.

 

  • At approximately 03:30, Israeli forces moved into Jenin Refugee Camp, west of Jenin. They raided and searched houses, from which they arrested ‘Orssan Mahmoud ‘Orssan Qraini (27) and Khalil Ramzi Khalil Hwail (21), taking them to an unknown destination.

 

  • At approximately 06:35, Israeli forces backed by seven military vehicles moved around 100 meters into the west of the border fence with Israel, east of al-Buraij in the central Gaza Strip. The military vehicles leveled and combed lands adjacent to the border fence. Five hours later, the vehicles headed to the south, arrived at the east of Khan Younis, and leveled lands in the area. At approximately 14:30, the Israeli vehicles redeployed along the border fence with Israeli, east of Khan Younis.
  • At approximately 17:00, an Israeli infantry force moved into al-Hassin Valley area in the southern area of Hebron. They raided and searched around 30 houses, claiming that there was a child stoned the Israeli soldiers. The searching continued for around three hours and no arrests among houses’ owners were reported.

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (10) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Kaffr Qalil and Tal villages in Nablus; Taqou’ village, southeast of Bethlehem; Sateh Marhaba neighborhood in the center of al-Bireh; Bitello, Beit Loqia and al-Moghir villages in Ramallah and al-Bireh; al-Shayoukh, Bani N’aim and Beit ‘Ula villages in Hebron.

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

 

  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into al-Nabi Younis area, north of Halhoul City, north of Hebron. They then stationed on streets leading to al-Nabi Younis Mosque and dozens of settlers arrived at the area. Many of the settlers raided the mosque and preformed religious ritual. Meanwhile, many of the residents gathered and a number of children and young men threw stones at military vehicles. The Israeli forces fired sound bombs, tear gas canisters and rubber bullets at the stones-throwers and civilians’ houses. As a result, a 22-year-old was hit with a rubber bullet to the right eye and a 16-year-old child was hit with a tear gas canister to the face. The wounded civilians were then taken to al-Ahly Hospital in Hebron.

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces backed by three military vehicles moved into al-Salam Street in Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mos’ab Mohammed al-Zghir (36) and then handed him a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence in “Gush Etzion” settlement, south of Bethlehem.

 

  • At approximately 02:30, Israeli forces backed by four military vehicles moved into Deir Abu Mish’al, northwest of Ramallah. They raided and searched houses, from which they arrested Ahmed Omar Zahran (22), Mahmoud Kamal Zahran (29) and Omar Jameel ‘Ata (19), taking them to an unknown destination.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Safa village, west of Ramallah. They raided and searched Majdi Mashhour Karaja (26) and then arrested him, taking him to an unknown destination.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Nablus. They raided and searched a house belonging to Sa’id Mohammed Hafed Shraida (27) and then arrested him, taking him to an unknown destination.

 

  • At approximately 04:00, Israeli forces moved into Qosra village, southeast of Nablus. They raided and searched houses and then arrested ‘Abdullah Nimer Sa’id (24), taking him to an unknown destination.

 

  • At approximately 08:00, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Waha shore, northwest of Beit Lahia in the Northern Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within three nautical miles and chased them. The shooting caused fear and panic among fishermen. As a result, the fishermen fled for fear of their lives and no casualties or damages to the boats were reported.

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (5) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Abu Qash and Birzait villages, north of Ramallah; Wahi al-Balo’ village, al-Bireh; Sa’ir and Beit Ummar villages in Hebron.

Use of Force against Demonstrations in Protest against the U.S. President’s Decision to Recognize Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel:

 

Israeli forces continued its excessive use of lethal force against peaceful demonstration organized by Palestinian civilians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and it was named as “The Great March of Return and Breaking Siege.” The demonstration was in protest against the U.S. President Donald Trump’s declaration to move the U.S. Embassy to it. According to PCHR fieldworkers’ observations, the border area witnessed large participation by Palestinian civilians as the Israeli forces continued to use upon highest military and political echelons excessive force against the peaceful demonstrators, though the demonstration were fully peaceful. The demonstration was as follows during the reporting period:

 

Gaza Strip:

 

On Friday, 01 March 2019; the 49th week of the March of Return and Breaking Siege activities, Israeli forces wounded 92 civilians, including 26 children, 2 women, a journalist, and 3 paramedics. The injuries of 3 of them were classified as serious. The incidents were as follows:

 

  • Northern Gaza City: The Israeli shooting at Palestinian demonstrators resulted in the injury of 12 civilians, including six children. Two of them were hit with live bullets and shrapnel and ten were directly hit with tear gas canisters.

 

  • Gaza Strip: The Israeli shooting at Palestinian demonstrators resulted in the injury of 28 civilians, including four children and a journalist. Ten of then were hit with live bullet and shrapnel and, 12 were directly hit with tear gas canisters and six with rubber bullets. The wounded journalist identified as Mohammad al-Dwaik was hit with a rubber bullet to the leg.Mohammad works as a reporter at Ithad Press.

 

  • Central Gaza Strip: The Israeli shooting and throwing tear gas canisters at Palestinian demonstrators, which continued until 17:30, resulted in the injury of 18 civilians, including six children. Five of them were hit with a live bullet and shrapnel and 13 were directly hit with tear gas canisters and the injury of one of them was classified as serious.

 

  • Khan Yunis: The Israeli shooting at Palestinian demonstrators, which continued until 17:30, resulted in the injury of 17 civilians, including six children, a woman and two Civil Defense paramedics. Doctors classified the injury of one of the children as serious.
  • Rafah: The Israeli shooting and firing tear gas canisters at Palestinian demonstrators, which continued from 14:00 until 17:00, resulted in the injury of 17 civilians, including four children, a woman and a paramedic. Five of them were hit with live bullets and shrapnel and 12 were directly hit with tear gas canisters. Doctors classified the injury of one of them as serious. The wounded paramedic identified as ‘Abuld Razzaq Ibrahim Ijme’an Abu ‘Athra (36) was hit with a tear gas canister to the lower limbs. ‘Abdul Razzaq is a volunteer paramedic at the PRCS.
  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

 

Note: Due to technical reasons, we could not obtain the official statistics from the department responsible for issuing the statistics

 

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

(20-26 February 2019)

 

Category 20 February 21 February 22 February 23 February 24 February 25 February 26  February
Patients 67 28 2 74 77 67
Companions 65 31 1 63 70 67
Personal needs 30 35 3 23 14 20
Families of prisoners 44
Arabs fromIsrael 3 11 3 8 5 5
Diplomats 3
Meetings in Erez
International workers 50 77 13 12 18 43
TravelersAbroad 29 4 32
Business people+ BMC 280 275 1 562 375 279
Economic and agriculture    interviews
Security interviews 2 1 6 2 3
Death cases
Companions’ Deaths
Return to the West Bank 2 3 1
Christians’ Holidays
Conferences and Training courses 1 1
Permits’ renewal 5 1
VIPs 1
AmbulancesPatient 2 3 2 3 3 6
Ambulancescompanion 3 3 2 2 3 6

 

 Movement at Beit Hanoun (“Erez”) crossing

(27 February -05 March 2019)

 

Category 27 February 28 February 01 March 02 March 03 March 04 March 05 March
Patients 66 39 3 79 62 60
Companions 57 37 1 64 61 55
Personal needs 24 34 16 20 8 18
Families of prisoners 5
Arabs fromIsrael 14 13 3 10 3 3
Diplomats 50 1
Meetings in Erez 1
International workers 39 84 15 20 14 19
TravelersAbroad 1 38 3 2 23
Business people+ BMC 287 216 627 344 278
Economic and agriculture    interviews
Security interviews 3 3 4 2 3
Death cases
Companions’ Deaths
Return to the West Bank 1 4
Christians’ Holidays
Conferences and Training courses 1 1
Permits’ renewal 1 1
VIPs 1 1
AmbulancesPatient 5 4 1 2 2 2
Ambulancescompanion 6 4 1 2 2 2

 

Following table illustrates temporary and permanent checkpoints and arrests at these checkpoints in the West Bank from 28 February to 06 March 2019:

 

Governorate Permanent temporary Temporary checkpoints Closed Roads Arrested persons
Jerusalem 13 5
Nablus 10 13 2
Jenin 5 5
Ramallah 11 11 1
Tulkarm 7 1 1
Tubas 2 1 1
Salfit 3 11 2
Qalqiliyia 5 7 2
Hebron 20 31 3
Bethlehem 11 9 2
Jericho 5 1
Al-Karama Crossing
Total 92 95 14

 

  • Efforts to Create A 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:

 

  • On Sunday, 03 March 2019, Israeli forces moved into Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched houses, from which they arrested Tawfiq ‘Othman, ‘Abed al-Raheem Khalil al-‘Abasi, Nidal Sufyian al-Natshah, Tareq Sa’adah al-‘Abasi, Majd Ahmed al-A’war, and Mahmoud Najeeb al-A’war.

 

  • At approximately 01:00 on Monday, 04 March 2019, Israeli forces moved into al-‘Isawiyia village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Omar Abu Suninah and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into a house belonging to Mohamed Khaled Sharirah in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Beit ‘Anan village, northwest of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Wisam Hussain Rabie’ and then arrested him.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Badow village, northwest of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Hisham Hamidan and then arrested him.
  • On Monday, Israeli forces arrested ‘Abed al-Rahman Mahmoud (39), from al-‘Issawiyia village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem. ‘Abed al-Rahman was arrested after summonsing him for investigation in “’Ofer” Prison, west of Ramallah. He was then taken to al-Maskopiyia Police Station in West Jerusalem. It should be noted that ‘Abed al-Raham served 17 years in the Israeli jails and was released last week on condition that he will deport from his village to Jericho for 10 days.

Notices and House Demolitions:

On Saturday, 02 March 2019, Husam al-‘Abasi self-demolished his house in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, to implement the Israeli Municipality decision under the pretext of non-licensing.  He said that the Israeli Municipality issued a decision to self-demolish his house in Ras al-‘Amoud neighborhood in Silwan village and ordered him to demolish it or the Israeli vehicles will implement the demolition during 2 weeks. He added that that Municipality informed him that if he does not demolish the house, he will pay the demolition cost, which is estimated at NIS 80,000.  He also said that he built a 70-sqaure-meter story above his family house a year ago, where he along with his wife and their child live in.

 

Seizing Palestinian Civilians’ Property in Favor of Settlement Association:

 

  • On Tuesday, 05 March 2019, Israeli settlers seized a building in ‘Aqabet Darwish in Jerusalem’s Old City. Eyewitnesses said that a group of Israeli settlers raided a house belonging to al-Halabi family while they were outside the house. The Israeli settlers closed the house with locks and then started to install cameras and put wires on the building’s walls and roof. It should be noted that the building belongs to Jerusalemite families. Around 60% of the building was given to the Israeli settlers while al-Halabi family managed to maintain the other 40% (100 square meters). Two of Jawdat al-Halabi’s heirs live in the building.

 

  • In the same context, the Israeli authorities issued judicial notices against Maragha family, claiming their plot of land, where a building was established in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. Wadi al-Helwa Information Center said that “Ateret Cohanim” Settlement Association handed Maragha family judicial notices for 9 of the family members, claiming their plot of land, where a building was established in Baten al-Hawa neighborhood in the village. The building is comprised of 5 apartments and a parking. The building shelters 15 members. The family said that they live in the building for more than 100 years and they have the documents proving their ownership. Moreover, Batn al-Hawa neighborhood committee said that Maragha Family building is part of “Ateret Cohanim” settlement association’s plan to seize 5,200 square meters of al-Hara al-Wosta neighborhood in Batn al-Hawa area. “Ateret Cohanim” settlement association claimed that the land belongs to Jews from Yemen since 1881 and the Israeli Supreme approved the seetler’s ownership to the land. The committee added that 30-35 residential building are established on the land threatened by “Ateret Cohanim” settlement association and around 80 families, including 436 members, live in it. The village’s residents live in the neighborhood 10 years ago after buying lands and property from form their former owners with official documents.

 

Settlement activities and attacks by settlers against Palestinian civilians and property

Israeli forces’ attacks:

 

  • At approximately 10:00 on Sunday, 03 March 2019, Israeli forces backed by 2 military vehicles and accompanied with a vehicle of the Israeli Civil Administration moved into Beit Ta’mour village, southeast of Bethlehem. The Israeli forces raided and searched a house belonging to Nayif Hasan Zawahrah (39) and then took photos of it. The Israeli Civil Administration officer handed Zawahrah a demolition notice under the pretext of non-licensing. It should be noted that the Israeli authorities handed Nayif a notice to stop construction work during June 2018.

 

  • At approximately 15:30 on Tuesday, 05 March 2019, Israeli forces confiscated a bulldozer belonging to the Israeli Ma’is Company. The bulldozer was cleaning rubbles on the main street near Doma village, southeast of Nablus. After that, 2 military jeeps arrived at the area, stopped the bulldozer while working and then informed the diver that they want to confiscate the bulldozer without giving him any reasons. The driver told them that the bulldozer is licensed and belongs to Sadeq Murshed Bani FaDEL, FROM ‘Aqraba village, southeast of the city. The bulldozer was taken to “Taffouh” settlement near Za’tarah checkpoint, south of Nablus.

 

Israeli settlers’ attacks:

 

  • At approximately 12:00 on Tuesday, 05 March 2019, a group of Israeli settlers, from “Yatizhar” settlement established in the northern side of ‘Oreef village’s lands, south of Nablus. The settlers raided Palestinian civilians’ houses and ‘Oreef Secondary School, under the Israeli forces’ protection. As a result, some windows belonging to Moneer Suliman al-Nori’s house were broken.

 

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 11 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 this year 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.

…………………………………………………………

Public Document

For further information please visit our website www.pchrgaza.org or contact PCHR’s office in Gaza City, Gaza Strip by email pchr@pchrgaza.org or telephone +972 08 282 4776 – 282 5893.

‘Israel’ Bans Top Palestinian Waqf Officials from Al-Aqsa Mosque

By Staff, Agencies

Zionist Police extended illegal bans on top Palestinian officials who oversee occupied al-Quds’ Aqsa Mosque from entering the holy site.

The move, which is destined to escalate tensions, came on Sunday weeks after the Islamic Waqf Council, a religious body appointed by Jordan to oversee the sacred compound, defied a 16-year ‘Israeli’ ban on the Bab al-Rahma building within the site and reopened it to Muslim worshippers.

Following the council’s decision on February 14, head of Islamic Waqf Sheikh Abdel-Azeem Salhab and his deputy, Sheikh Najeh Bkerat, were briefly detained and hit with a one-week ban.

‘Israeli’ police extended the bans on Sunday by 40 days for Salhab and four months for Bkerat, according to a spokesman for the Waqf Council.

The Zionist occupation authorities shut down Bab al-Rahma in 2003, claiming the site was being used by members of the Islamic Movement in the occupied territories for political activities, an allegation the Waqf Council denies.

Since its reopening, some 100 Palestinian activists and religious figures have been detained “in an effort to put an end to Palestinian defiance of ‘Israeli’ orders”, according to Wafa, a Palestinian news agency

Among them were Arafat Naib, a guard at the Al-Aqsa compound, who was banned from entering the site for six months, and Nasser Qous, a Fatah party official in occupied al-Quds, who was also barred for 40 days.

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israel (apartheid state) says “No” to clean running water for Palestinian villages

Israel says “No” to clean running water for Palestinian villages

Israel says “No” to clean running water for Palestinian villages

While illegal, unauthorized Israeli settlements nearby enjoy full access to water, twelve Palestinian villages lose their water supply as Israeli forces systematically destroy their EU-donated water system.
On February 13, 2019, Israeli forces arrived near the village of a-Tuwani in the South Hebron Hills. The forces used excavating equipment to unearth and destroy stretch of pipe, which was laid just months ago and supplied water to over 1,000 Palestinians. Residents say that without the system, “water has become every family’s largest expense.”

by Amira Hass, Ha’aretz

The dream that came true, in the form of a two-inch water line, was too good to be true. For about six months, 12 Palestinian West Bank villages in the South Hebron Hills enjoyed clean running water. That was until February 13, when staff from the Israeli Civil Administration, accompanied by soldiers and Border Police and a couple of bulldozers, arrived.

The troops dug up the pipes, cut and sawed them apart and watched the jets of water that spurted out. About 350 cubic meters of water were wasted. Of a 20 kilometer long (12 mile) network, the Civil Administration confiscated remnants and sections of a total of about 6 kilometers of piping. They loaded them on four garbage trucks emblazoned with the name of the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan on them.

The demolition work lasted six and a half hours. Construction of the water line network had taken about four months. It had been a clear act of civil rebellion in the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King against one of the most brutal bans that Israel imposes on Palestinian communities in Area C, the portion of the West Bank under full Israeli control. It bars Palestinians from hooking into existing water infrastructure.

A little background

The residential caves in the Masafer Yatta village region south of Hebron and the ancient cisterns used for collecting rainwater confirm the local residents’ claim that their villages have existed for decades, long before the founding of the State of Israel. In the 1970s, Israel declared some 30,000 dunams (7,500 acres) in the area Firing Range 918.

In 1999, under the auspices of the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the army expelled the residents of the villages and demolished their structures and water cisterns. The government claimed that the residents were trespassing on the firing range, even though these were their lands and they have lived in the area long before the West Bank was captured by Israel.

When the matter was brought to the High Court of Justice, the court approved a partial return to the villages but did not allow construction or hookups to utility infrastructure. Mediation attempts failed, because the state was demanding that the residents leave their villages and live in the West Bank town of Yatta and come to graze their flocks and work their land only on a few specific days per year.

But the residents continued to live in their homes, risking military raids and demolition action — including the demolition of public facilities such as schools, medical clinics and even toilets. They give up a lot to maintain their way of life as shepherds, but could not forgo water.

“The rainy season has grown much shorter in recent years, to only about 45 days a year,” explained Nidal Younes, the chairman of the Masafer Yatta council of villages. “In the past, we didn’t immediately fill the cisterns with rainwater, allowing them to be washed and cleaned first. Since the amount of rain has decreased, people stored water right away. It turns out the dirty water harmed the sheep and the people.”

Palestinian children fill plastic gallons with drinking water from a vendor in Khan Younis. (AP)

Because the number of residents has increased, even in years with abundant rain, at a certain stage the cisterns ran dry and the shepherds would bring in water by tractor. They would haul a 4 cubic meter (140 square foot) tank along the area’s narrow, poor roads — which Israel does not permit to have widened and paved. “The water has become every family’s largest expense,” Younes said.

In the village of Halawa, he pointed out Abu Ziyad, a man of about 60. “I always see him on a tractor, bringing in water or setting out to bring back water.”

Sometimes the tractors overturn and drivers are injured. Tires quickly wear out and precious work days go to waste. “We are drowning in debt to pay for the transportation of water,” Abu Ziyad said.

In 2017, the Civil Administration and the Israeli army closed and demolished the roads to the villages, which the council had earlier managed to widen and rebuild. That had been done to make it easier to haul water in particular, but also more generally to give the villages better access.

The right-wing Regavim non-profit group “exposed” the great crime committed in upgrading the roads and pressured the Civil Administration and the army to rip them up. “The residents’ suffering increased,” Younes remarked. “We asked ourselves how to solve the water problem.”

The not very surprising solution was installing pipes to carry the water from the main water line in the village of Al-Tuwani, through privately owned lands of the other villages. “I checked it out, looking to see if there was any ban on laying water lines on private land and couldn’t find one,” Younes said.

Work done by volunteers

The plumbing work was done by volunteers, mostly at night and without heavy machinery, almost with their bare hands. Ali Debabseh, 77, of the village of Khalet al-Daba, recalled the moment when he opened the spigot installed near his home and washed his face with running water. “I wanted to jump for joy. I was as happy as a groom before his wedding.”

Umm Fadi of the village of Halawa also resorted to the word “joy” in describing the six months when she had a faucet near the small shack in which she lives. “The water was clean, not brown from rust or dust. I didn’t need to go as far as the cistern to draw water, didn’t need to measure every drop.”

Now it’s more difficult to again get used to being dependent on water dispensed from tanks.

The piping and connections and water meters were bought with a 100,000 euro ($113,000) European donation. Instead of paying 40 shekels ($11) per cubic meter for water brought in with water tanks, the residents paid only about 6 shekels for the same amount of running water. Suddenly they not only saved money, but also had more precious time.

The water lines also could have saved European taxpayers money. A European project to help the residents remain in their homes had been up and running since 2011, providing annual funding of 120,000 euros to cover the cost of buying and transporting drinking water during the three summer months for the residents (but not their livestock).

The cost was based on a calculation involving consumption of 750 liters per person a month, far below the World Health Organization’s recommended quantity. There are between 1,500 and 2,000 residents. The project made things much easier for such a poor community, which continued to pay out of its own pocket for the water for some 40,000 sheep and for the residents’ drinking water during the remainder of the year. Now that the Civil Administration has demolished the water lines, the European donor countries may be forced to once again pay for the high price of transporting water during the summer months, at seven times the cost.

For its part, the Civil Administration issued a statement noting that the area is a closed military zone. “On February 13,” the statement said, “enforcement action was taken against water infrastructure that was connected to illegal structures in this area and that were built without the required permits.”

Ismail Bahis should have been sorry that the pipes were laid last year. He and his brothers, residents of Yatta, own water tankers and were the main water suppliers to the Masafer Yatta villages. Through a system of coupons purchased with the European donation, they received 800 shekels for every shipment of 20 cubic meters of water. But Bahis said he was happy he had lost out on the work.

“The roads to the villages of Masafer Yatta are rough and dangerous, particularly after the army closed them,” he said. “Every trip of a few kilometers took at least three and a half hours. Once I tipped over with the tanker. Another time the army confiscated my brother’s truck, claiming it was a closed military zone. We got the truck released three weeks later in return for 5,000 shekels. We always had other additional expenses replacing tires and other repairs for the truck.

Nidal Younes recounted that the council signed a contract with another water carrier to meet the demand. But that supplier quit after three weeks. He wouldn’t agree to drive on the poor and dangerous roads.

On February 13, Younes heard the large group of forces sent by the Civil Administration beginning to demolish the water lines near the village of Al-Fakhit. He rushed to the scene and began arguing with the soldiers and Civil Administration staff.

Border Police arrests

Border Police officers arrested him, handcuffed him and put him in a jeep. His colleague, the head of the Al-Tuwani council, Mohammed al-Raba’i, also approached those carrying out the demolition work to protest. “But they arrested me after I said two words. At least Nidal managed to say a lot,” he said with a smile that concealed sadness.

Two teams carried out the demolition work, one proceeding toward the village of Jinbah, to the southeast, the second advanced in the direction of Al-Tuwani, to the northwest. They also demolished the access road leading to the village of Sha’ab al-Butum, so that even if Bahis wanted to transport water again, he would have had to make a large detour to do so.

Younes was shocked to spot a man named Marco among the team carrying out the demolition. “I remembered him from when I was a child, from the 1980s when he was an inspector for the Civil Administration. In 1985, he supervised the demolition of houses in our village, Jinbah — twice, during Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr [marking the end of the Ramadan holy month],” he said.

“They knew him very well in all the villages in the area because he attended all the demolitions. The name Marco was a synonym for an evil spirit. Our parents who saw him demolish their homes, have died. He disappeared, and suddenly he has reappeared,” Younes remarked.

Marco is Marco Ben-Shabbat, who has lead the Civil Administration’s supervision unit for the past 10 years. Speaking to a reporter from the Israel Hayom daily who accompanied the forces carrying out the demolition work, Ben-Shabbat said: “The [water line] project was not carried out by the individual village. The Palestinian Authority definitely put a project manager here and invested a lot of money.”

More precisely, it was European governments that did so.

From all of the villages where the Civil Administration destroyed water lines, the Jewish outposts of Mitzpeh Yair and Avigayil can be seen on the hilltops. Although they are unauthorized and illegal even according to lenient Israeli settlement laws, the outposts were connected almost immediately to water and electricity grids and paved roads lead to them.

“I asked why they demolished the water lines,” Nidal Younes recalled. He said one of the Border Police officers answered him, in English, telling him it was done “to replace Arabs with Jews.”


Amira Hass is a Ha’aretz correspondent

‘They have punished the victims’: Hebron struggles 25 years after Ibrahimi mosque massacre

zzat Karaki, centre, demonstrating with Youth Against Settlements for the reopening of Shuhada Street on 22 February 2019 (MEE/Megan Giovannetti)

The repercussions of the attack are still felt keenly by Palestinians in Hebron, who have seen their rights eroded and their formerly bustling city centre turn into a ghost town

By 

in

Hebron, occupied West Bank

“Since the massacre, everything changed.”

Jamal Fakhoury, 40, struggles to find the right words to describe his hometown.

With a furrowed brow and damp eyes, he utters: “Every day it’s a difficult life for Hebron.”

Fakhoury is reflecting on the Ibrahimi mosque massacre – the 25th anniversary is on Monday – and its impact on the southern occupied West Bank city.

On 25 February 1994, a Jewish-American settler named Baruch Goldstein opened fire on Palestinian worshippers inside the Ibrahimi mosque – also known as the Tomb of the Patriarchs – in the centre of the Old City of Hebron.

We are not humans at all. We are numbers

– Izzat Karaki, activist with Youth Against Settlements

Goldstein killed 29 men in an instant, and injured well over 100 more. Six other Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces in the ensuing chaos.

Although it is the biggest city in the West Bank, Hebron’s residents are interconnected in almost every way through its cultural and family structures. Nearly every citizen has ties to the Ibrahimi mosque massacre through some relative, friend or neighbour.

“A settler from the US came and killed Palestinians,” Izzat Karaki, a 29-year-old activist with the Palestinian-led group Youth Against Settlements (YAS), said exasperatedly. “And after that they punish us, the victims.”

Beyond mourning for the lives lost, the attack has also affected the people of Hebron – and its generations to come – in a profound and structural way.

Full of life

“Before the massacre, I felt something like peace in the old city,” Fakhoury recalls.

He is from the Old City and still resides there, just around the corner from Shuhada Street and the mosque.

Along some two kilometres, Shuhada Street is tightly packed with shops sitting below several-storey high homes. The road leads directly to the Ibrahimi mosque and once stood as the heart of the Old City.

Munir, 65, owns a shop directly across from the mosque that remains open to this day. He likes to show laminated pictures to passing tourists of the bustling Shuhada Street back in its heyday, brimming with cars and people.

Munir shows a photo of Shuhada Street in the days before the massacre, back when the road was the bustling centre of Hebron (MEE/Megan Giovannetti)
Munir shows a photo of Shuhada Street in the days before the massacre, back when the road was the bustling centre of Hebron (MEE/Megan Giovannetti)

He does point out that the First Intifada, which started in 1988, only ended in 1993, five months before the massacre. “The six years of the Intifada were really not a normal time,” he said, pointing out that the area around the mosque “was part of the ‘playground’ where the Intifada took place”.

But, he explains, “before, this area was full of life”.

“We used to have four people working in this place,” Munir continues, showing the shop where he is standing. “Today, it is me alone and I am also taking care of two stores which belong to my neighbours.”

Collective punishment

“After the massacre, the mosque was closed for six months, and they [Israeli forces] closed Shuhada Street,” Karaki tells MEE.

For nearly three months, Karaki said, Palestinian residents of Hebron lived under an Israeli-imposed curfew while military checkpoints were built in the Old City – checkpoints that are still present today.

The aftermath of the Ibrahimi mosque massacre Hebron on 25 February 1994 (AFP)
The aftermath of the Ibrahimi mosque massacre Hebron on 25 February 1994 (AFP)

When the Tomb of the Patriarchs and the surrounding area was reopened to the public, the religious site had now been divided into two – a synagogue on one side, a mosque on the other.

Palestinians were no longer allowed to drive cars in the area, Munir says, and the number of Israeli soldiers and cameras around the Ibrahimi mosque dramatically increased.

The post-massacre changes made to the city were in a lot of ways a preface to the dramatic transformation that the Hebron Protocol was to create three years later.

The 1997 agreement between the Israeli government and the Palestine Liberation Organisation divided the city into two areas: Palestinian Authority-controlled H1 and Israeli military-controlled H2.

In H2, making up nearly 20 percent of Hebron, some 40,000 Palestinians currently live under Israeli military law, while the 800 Israeli settlers in H2 are ruled by Israeli civil law.

“Animals here have rights more than us,” Karaki exclaims. “Any cat, any dog can go to Shuhada Street. But me? I cannot.”

“Why? What did I do? We are not human at all.”

In the wake of the Hebron Protocol, shops were permanently closed in H2, and many Palestinians were driven out of their homes, many of whom “by military order”, Karaki explains.

The harsh living conditions and restricted freedom of living and movement in H2 drove many Palestinians out – turning the bustling city centre into a ghost town.

“We are talking about 1,827 shops closed and 140 apartments empty,” Karaki adds.

There are currently 20 permanent checkpoints inside the city of Hebron, dominating Palestinians’ lives with curfews and indiscriminate closures.

It is now necessary to go through two separate checkpoints just to enter the Ibrahimi mosque.

“When I go to my home every day they check my ID,” Fakhoury says, “I wait 20 minutes behind the checkpoint near the mosque.”

“If you don’t have your ID you are not allowed to get in or to pass through the checkpoint,” Karaki concurs. “We are not humans at all. We are numbers.”

Monitoring group expelled

The massacre led to the creation of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), an international organisation meant to monitor the situation in the city and document violations of international law and human rights.

In its 22-year-long presence, TIPH filed more than 40,000 incident reports – many of which Karaki says the Palestinians Authority can take to the International Criminal Court.

Jamal Fakhoury waits in line at one of 20 Israeli army checkpoints in H2 (MEE/Megan Giovannetti)
Jamal Fakhoury waits in line at one of 20 Israeli army checkpoints in H2 (MEE/Megan Giovannetti)

But last month, the Israeli administration refused to renew TIPH’s mandate, forcing it out of the city.

Fakhoury, like many Palestinians in the Old City, enjoyed TIPH and felt safe with its monitors’ presence.

“I think it will be difficult now with no one watching the problems,” Fakhoury says. He fears things “will get worse, because the Israeli government doesn’t like to tell people what is happening here”.

There are currently four Israeli settlements inside the city of Hebron – Avraham Avino, Beit Romano, Tel Rumeida, Beit Hadassah – all established well before the 1994 massacre.

But since the expulsion of Palestinian from H2, it has become easier for Israelis to occupy Palestinians homes.

“Usually settlers focus on the empty houses,” Karaki explains. “Where there is an empty house, they occupy it and change it from a Palestinian (home) to a settlement.”

With TIPH gone, Palestinians fear that they will witness an increase in both settlement expansion and settler violence.

“When I go to my home I need to protect myself, protect my home,” Karaki says.

Citing the Fourth Geneva Convention as an example, he says: “On paper, soldiers are here to protect me like they protect settlers. But unfortunately, we see something different.”

Hope for the future?

YAS has stepped in recently to fill in the void left by TIPH. Its activists walk around the Old City most mornings, monitoring settler activity and protecting Palestinian children on their walk to school.

On Friday, YAS organised its 10th annual “Open Shuhada Street” demonstration to denounce the ongoing situation in Hebron – just like every year in the past quarter century. Israeli forces reportedly fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at demonstrators, injuring at least two Palestinians, including a 13-year-old boy.

“Here, nothing changes,” Munir says. “It’s the same year after year after year.”

But despite the grim circumstances, Karaki says it is important for him as an activist to keep fighting with a purpose.

“Often people are shocked when I say if there is a tomorrow, there is hope,” he says.

But his optimism is dampened by what he and all Palestinians in Hebron have witnessed for years.

“Usually when tomorrow comes, it only gets worse.”

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

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Attacks by Jews against Palestinians in the West Bank tripled in 2018: Report

Source

The phrase “Jews rise up” was spray-painted in Hebrew on a car in the Palestinian village of Yasuf in December (Screengrab)

Violence by Jewish settlers and right-wing activists against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank tripled last year, with 482 such incidents reported by mid-December, compared to 140 for 2017.

In addition to beating up and throwing stones at Palestinians, more frequently the offences consisted of painting nationalist and anti-Arab or anti-Muslim slogans, damaging homes and cars and cutting down trees belonging to Palestinian farmers, Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported.

Such incidents decreased sharply in 2016 and 2017 from previous years, with the decline attributed to the response of the authorities after the firebombing of a home in the West Bank village of Duma.

Saad and Riham Dawabsheh and their 18-month-old baby, Ali, were killed in that attack, while the couple’s four-year-old son, Ahmed, was the sole survivor.

After the attack the Shin Bet security service arrested several extremist right-wing activists living in the northern West Bank who were suspected of involvement in violence and incitement to violence against Arabs.

A series of actions taken during that time – including detention without charges, restraining orders keeping suspects out of the West Bank and in a few cases the granting of permission to interrogate suspects using harsh methods – enabled the authorities to crack a number of cases, according to Haaretz, which acted as a deterrent and brought down the rate of violence against Palestinians.

However, over the past year, after the activists were released, as well as due to the rise of new, younger groups, violent acts increased once again.

Revenge attacks

Haaretz said the rise in the number of violent incidents also seems connected to a desire for revenge by Israelis after Palestinian attacks.

Such incidents increased after two attacks early last year and again after the murder of two Israelis in an attack in the Barkan industrial zone in October.

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Palestinians living in fear amid spike in Israeli settler ‘price tag’ attacks

A few days after the murder at Barkan, Aisha al-Rabi, a Palestinian mother-of-seven, was killed near Nablus by stones thrown by Israeli settlers at the car in which she was travelling.

On Sunday, it was reported that five Jewish seminary students had been arrested in connection with Rabi’s death.

In another case, a failed attempt was made to set fire to a mosque.

‘Price tag’ attacks

After a string of violent incidents that occurred in the West Bank last month, Israeli settlers have increased their use of so-called price tag attacks and blocked roads across the territory.

Local media and activists have reported several incidents on roads in the Ramallah and Nablus areas, where settlers have ambushed Palestinian drivers, hurling rocks at their vehicles and causing damage and injuring drivers and passengers.

Hebrew posters have also appeared in the Nablus-area town of Huwwara, which is surrounded by several illegal Israeli settlements, calling for the death of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is labelled as a “supporter of terrorists”.

Last month, Palestinians in the village of Yasuf woke to find their car tyres slashed and homes covered in racist, Hebrew-language graffiti, in what residents told Middle East Eye they believe was an attack by Israeli settlers.

Nashaat Abed al-Fattah, Yasuf’s 37-year-old mayor, told MEE that a group of Israeli settlers raided the village before dawn.

“They slashed the tyres of 24 vehicles and sprayed graffiti on many homes, including mine, as well as the village mosque,” he said.

“Price tag”, “Revenge” and “Death to Arabs” were among some of the messages spray-painted on homes throughout the village, Abed al-Fattah said.

‘Hilltop youth’

On Friday, the UN condemned the throwing of stones at the Palestinian prime minister on Christmas Day, allegedly by Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank, calling it “absolutely unacceptable”.

Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah’s convoy was hit with a number of stones on 25 December as he was returning home from attending Christmas Eve mass in Bethlehem, a Palestinian government spokesman said.

Two of Hamadallah’s bodyguards were wounded, the spokesman said in a statement on Thursday.

Regarding the tripling in the number of attacks last year, Haaretz reported that defence officials said that the most extreme group of right-wing activists, the “hilltop youth,” most of whom live in West Bank outposts, are estimated to number about 300.

Out of these, a few dozen are suspected of involvement in violence.

The majority of the suspects are quite young, 15 or 16.

Most of last year’s violent acts were allegedly committed in the area of outposts in the Shiloh Valley area between Ramallah and Nablus, near the illegal settlements of Yitzhar near Nablus and around the evacuated outpost of Amona near Ramallah.

israeli settler (jewish terrorist) attacks against Palestinians tripled in 2018

Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians tripled in 2018

MEMO | January 6, 2019

A Palestinian girl stands in her living room after it was set alight by Jewish settlers in the West Bank on 11 May 2018 [Nedal Eshtayah/Anadolu Agency]

Settler attacks against the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank tripled in 2018, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Sunday.

Israeli settlers carried out at least 482 attacks against Palestinians last year, up from only 140 in 2017, the daily said.

The settler attacks ranged from “beating up and throwing stones at Palestinians, painting nationalist and anti-Arab or anti-Muslim slogans, damaging homes and cars to cutting down trees belonging to Palestinian farmers”.

Haaretz attributed the decrease in settler attacks during 2016 and 2017 to the “response of the [Israeli] authorities following the firebombing of a home in the West Bank village of Duma, which took the lives of three members of the Dawabsheh family.”

Read: Israel’s Shin Bet warns of rise in settlers ‘terror’ attacks against Palestinians

In July of 2015, Israeli settlers torched the Dawabsheh family’s West Bank home in an attack that claimed the lives of two Palestinians and their 18-month-old baby. Their eldest son, Ahmed, 6, survived the attack, but suffered severe burns that have affected his mobility.

The incident sparked international outrage at the time, with the Dawabsheh family accusing Israel of dragging its feet in prosecuting the suspects despite admissions by Israeli officials that they knew who was responsible

 

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