PCHR Weekly Report: 11 civilians wounded, 59 abducted; 350 trees cut by Israeli troops this week
In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of 04- 10 April 2013, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) found that Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against peaceful protesters, wounding 11.
In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces continued to open fire at Palestinian fishing boats, restricting the permitted fishing area to 3 nautical miles instead of the 6 nautical mile limit that was agreed in the ceasefire agreement reached between Israel and Palestinian armed groups in November 2012.
A photographer for the Popular Resistance Movement against the Annexation Wall and Settlements in al-Nabi Saleh village sustained burns to his face. 10 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children and 1 woman, were abducted during protests in support of prisoners in the Israeli jails.
Israeli attacks in the West Bank:
Israeli forces conducted 78 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. 55 Palestinian civilians, including 8 children, were abducted during those incursions. Among the abducted was the former prisoner, Tha’er Halahla.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces wounded 11 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children and a woman, in the West Bank. They were all wounded during peaceful protests organised by Palestinian civilians against the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities and in support of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
Israeli forces established dozens of checkpoints in the West Bank. 4 Palestinian civilians, including 2 children, were abducted at checkpoints.
Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip:
In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence continued to open fire. On 06 April 2013, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence, east of Khan Yunis, in the south of the Gaza Strip, opened fire at houses and agricultural lands in al-Qarara village and around al-Sreij gate. No casualties were reported.
Israeli forces continued to chase fishermen at sea. On 08 April 2013, Israeli gunboats stationed off the coast of al-Waha resort, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats that were sailing 2 nautical miles offshore. As a result, the fishermen returned to shore, fearing that they would be wounded or abducted. Neither casualties nor material damage were reported. A similar incident occurred on 10 April 2013.
It should be noted that, on Thursday, 21 March 2013, Israeli forces announced that the nautical mile limit would be reduced from 6 to 3 nautical miles. Israeli forces had permitted fishermen to sail up to 6 nautical miles offshore following the ceasefire agreement between Israel and Palestinian armed groups in November 2012.
Israeli forces continued to open fire in the border area in the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces opened fire at houses and agricultural lands in al-Qarara village, in the south of the Gaza Strip.
Israel has continued to impose a total closure and has isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world. During the reporting period, Israeli forces completely closed the commercial border crossings between the Gaza Strip and Israel. They closed Karm Abu Salem crossing for 4 consecutive days because of Jewish holidays. This closure negatively affected the entry of goods, construction materials and medical consignments in the Gaza Strip. It also had a negative impact on the living conditions of Palestinian civilians.
Israeli forces also imposed comprehensive security restrictions due to the Jewish holiday of Passover. As a result, thousands of Palestinian workers were denied access to their work in Israel and occupied East Jerusalem. Moreover, Palestinian traders were denied access to Israel and/or travel via the border crossings between the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
Israeli settlement activities:
Israeli forces have continued to support settlement activities in the West Bank, and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.
On Saturday, 06 April 2013, a unit of Israeli soldiers, accompanied by three military vehicles, raided agricultural lands surrounding the Um Akhwas area, east of Yatta, south of Hebron. The soldiers were deployed in the area and prohibited Palestinian farmers and shepherds from working on the land, declaring that the land had been confiscated. The soldiers ordered the farmers and shepherds to leave the area and declared it a closed military zone. When the farmers and shepherds refused to leave their lands, the Israeli soldiers assaulted them, beat them severely and attempted to arrest some of them, but international peace activists intervened and stopped them.
On Sunday, 07 April 2013, a group of settlers from “Tekoa” settlement, established southwest of Taqou’ village, southeast of Bethlehem, raided the afore-mentioned village. The settlers wrote “Paying the Price” and drew the Star of David on Bilal Bin Rabah mosque and Salah al-Din al-Ayouby mosque in al-‘Amour neighbourhood, in the south of the village. In his testimony to a PCHR fieldworker, Mohammed al-Badan, Head of the Youth Council in the village, said that the settlers damaged the car tyres of vehicles.
On Tuesday, 09 April 2013, a group of settlers, from “Ramat Yishai” settlement outpost, established on land belonging to Palestinian civilians in Tal al-Remyda area, central Hebron, confiscated a tract of land belonging to a 48-year old man, extended an agricultural irrigation system and supplied it with water through the afore-mentioned settlement outpost, and planted it with vegetable seeds.
On Tuesday, 09 April 2013, Israeli forces, accompanied by a vehicle of the Planning and Building Department in the Israeli Civil Administration, raided al-Dirat area, east of Yatta, south of Hebron. They presented a 42-year old man with a notice ordering him to halt construction work on a tin structure, built on a 100 square metre area, which was being used as a barn for cattle, under the pretext that it had been built without first obtaining a permit from the Israeli authorities.
On Tuesday, 09 April 2013, Israeli forces, accompanied by a vehicle of the Israeli Civil Administration and a truck, raided the Emdimna area, located between al-Thaherya and al-Ramadeen villages, south of Hebron. Israeli soldiers were deployed in the farmlands and cut down 100 olive trees and 250 almond trees, which were 5 years old, with saws, confiscated them and loaded them into the truck.
Also on Tuesday, Israeli forces, accompanied by a number of military vehicles, a bulldozer, and a vehicle of the Planning and Building Department in the Israeli Civil Administration, raided al-Dirat area, east of Yatta, south of Hebron. They bulldozed a 70-cubic-metre water well, belonging to a 45-year old man, claiming that he had not obtained a permit.
On Wednesday morning, 10 April 2013, Israeli forces, accompanied by an officer of the Israeli Civil Administration, raided the Um Hadida area, east of Nahalin village, southwest of Bethlehem, and placed notices on the lands of two Palestinian civilians, aged 60 and 71. The notices ordered them to evacuate their 3 dunums of land.
Also on Wednesday, Israeli forces, accompanied by a vehicle of the Israeli Civil Administration, raided the Kherbat Qalqas area, south of Hebron. The Civil Administration officer presented a 48-year old man with a demolition notice for his family residence, under the pretext that it had been built without a permit. The 2-storey house was built established on an area of 200 square metres and shelters his family of 11 people.
Israeli attacks on non-violent demonstrations:
In the West Bank, in an example of the systematic use of excessive force against peaceful protests organised by Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists against the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities in the West Bank, Israeli forces wounded Belal Abdul Salam Hassan al-Tamimi, 47, when they sprayed pepper spray in his face. It should be noted that al-Tamimi is a photographer for the Popular Resistance Movement against the Annexation Wall and Settlements in al-Nabi Saleh village. Many more civilians suffered from tear gas inhalation and others sustained bruises.
Palestinian civilians organised many peaceful protests in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, especially those on hunger strike. Israeli forces used excessive force against the protesters; as a result, 10 civilians, including 3 children and 1 woman, were wounded. In addition, many civilians suffered from tear gas inhalation and others sustained bruises.
On 04 April 2013, an 18-year-old man was wounded by a bullet to the right cheek during a peaceful protest near the annexation wall in the southern part of Beit Luqia village, southwest of Ramallah. In addition, 2 children were wounded in al-Khader village, south of Bethlehem, during a similar protest in the Um Rokba area at the southwestern entrance of the village.
On 05 April 2013, a 16-year-old boy was wounded by a plastic-coated bullet to the back of the head during a protest organised at the southern entrance of al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah. In addition, 1 child was wounded in al-Khader village, south of Bethlehem, during a similar protest in the Um Rokba area at the southwestern entrance of the village.
At approximately 12:00 on Friday, 05 April 2013, dozens of Palestinian civilians, activists with the Popular Committees against Settlement Activity and the Hebron Defence Committee, and international human rights activists gathered in al-Haraiek area, southeast of Hebron, for a peaceful demonstration calling for the route linking Hebron to its southern villages to be reopened; it has been closed for the past 12 years. These villages are al-Rayhia, al-Thaheria, Doura, and al-Fawar Refugee Camp. Upon arrival at the steel gate which blocks the road leading to Bypass Road 60, Israeli forces surrounded the area and declared it a closed military zone, ordering the demonstrators to leave immediately. The soldiers fired tear gas canisters and sound bombs at the demonstration. A number of protesters fainted as a result of tear gas inhalation.
Friday protests were also held in the towns of Bil’in, Naileen, Nabi Saleh (where a 45-year old photographer sustained burns in the face after being sprayed with pepper spray), Al Masara and Kafr Kaddoum.
On 06 April 2013, a 45-year-old woman was wounded by a plastic-coated bullet to the back while she was standing in front of her house in the Um Rokba area at the southwestern entrance of al-Khader village, south of Bethlehem.
On 07 April 2013, a 17-year-old boy was hit by a tear gas canister to the head during a peaceful protest in the Um Rokba area, south of Bethlehem. On the same day, an 11-year-old boy was wounded by a bullet to the right side of his face during a protest organised at the northern entrance of Ayda refugee camp, north of Bethlehem.
On 09 April 2013, an 18-year-old boy was wounded by a bullet to the right leg, while an 11-year-old boy was wounded by a bullet to the left side of his head during a protest organised at the northern entrance of Ayda refugee camp, north of Bethlehem.
Recommendations to the international community:
Due to the number and severity of Israeli attacks on Palestinian civilians this week, the PCHR made several recommendations to the international community. Among these was a recommendation that the United Nations provide international protection to Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and to ensure the non-recurrence of aggression against the Occupied Palestinian Territories, especially the Gaza Strip.
In addition, the PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to compel Israel, as a High Contracting Party to the Conventions, to apply the Conventions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
For the full text of the report, click on the link below: