PCHR Weekly Report: Fighter killed, 2 civilians wounded, 32 abducted by Israeli troops this week

By Saed Bannoura – IMEMC – International Middle East Media Center

In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of 29 Dec. 2011- 04 Jan. 2012, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights found that a Palestinian resistance fighter was killed and a civilian was wounded by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli bulldozer destroys Palestinian olive orchard in Jerusalem (PCHR photo)

In addition, Israeli forces have continued to use force against peaceful protests in the West Bank, wounding a Palestinian civilian. Israeli forces conducted 53 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and two limited ones into the Gaza Strip.

Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip:

During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian resistance fighter and wounded a civilian in the Gaza Strip.

In the Gaza Strip, on 30 December 2011, an Israeli warplane fired a missile at two Palestinian resistance fighters in Juhor al-Dik village, south of Gaza City. A fighter was killed by shrapnel throughout the body.

On 31 December 2011, a Palestinian civilian was wounded when Israeli soldiers positioned at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel fired at him. According to investigations conducted by PCHR, Abu Doun left his house on a motorcycle, and at approximately 16:30, he arrived at the north of the Bedouin Village in the northern Gaza Strip. He stepped down and walked up to 100 meters from the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel. Immediately, Israeli soldiers fired at him and he was wounded. Soon after, Israeli forces moved into the area and abducted him. At approximately 18:00, Israeli forces handed Abu Doun to the Palestinian side. According to local sources, Abu Doun suffers from a psychological disorder.

During the reporting period, Israeli gunboats fired at Palestinian fishing boats in the Gaza Strip. On Thursday, 29 December, At approximately 13:45, an Israeli gunboat chased a small fishing boat on board of which were 3 Palestinian fishermen nearly 3 nautical miles off Khan Yunis seashore in the southern Gaza Strip. Israeli naval troops opened fire at the boat and ordered the fishermen to stop it. They then ordered the fishermen to take their upper clothes off, jump into the water and swim towards the gunboat. Israeli naval troops handcuffed and blindfolded the fishermen. The fishermen were taken to an Israeli military post, where they were interrogated. Two of the fishermen were released at approximately 00:30 on Friday, 30 December 2011, while the third one remained in custody.

On 29 December 2011, Israeli warplanes bombarded a plot in the northern Gaza Strip, but no casualties were reported.

Approximately 80% of Gaza civilians have continued to depend on alimentary aid provided by UNRWA and other relief agencies, rates of families who are living below poverty line have continued to be on the rise and approximately 40% of Gaza’s manpower has continued to suffer from permanent unemployment as a result of shutting down the majority of Gaza’s economic establishments.

Israeli forces have continued to impose a total ban on the exportation of Gaza’s products, especially industrial products, leading to undermining any real chances to rerun economic establishments. The situation has been aggravated especially after making Karm Abu Salem crossing as Gaza sole commercial crossing and the repeated closure of this crossing which negatively affected the quantity of Gazan products which were allowed to be exported during last April.

Israeli attacks in the West Bank:

During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 53 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, during which they abducted 29 Palestinian civilians, including 6 children.

Israeli soldiers abducted 3 Palestinian civilians at various checkpoints in the West Bank.

At least 65% of the main roads that lead to 18 Palestinian communities in the West Bank are closed or fully controlled by Israeli forces.

There are approximately 500 kilometers of restricted roads across the West Bank. In addition, approximately one third of the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, is inaccessible to Palestinians without permits issued by Israeli forces. Such permits are extremely difficult to obtain.

Israeli settlement activities:

Israeli settlement activities continued this week, along with efforts to create a Jewish majority in East Jerusalem.

The Israeli municipality of Jerusalem ordered confiscation of 13 dunums[1] of Palestinian land in Wad al-Jouz neighborhood. On 02 January 2012, traders and workers in the industrial zone in Wad al-Jouz neighborhood in East Jerusalem found banners along the road leading to the industrial zone ordering confiscation of 13 dunums of land between the Hebrew University and the Palestine Archaeological Museum (known now as “the Rockefeller Museum”). The order was issued by the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem. A committee of traders stated that the order of confiscation was signed by the Israeli mayor of Jerusalem on 20 September 2011. This plan will affect at least 170 shops, which employ at least 700 workers. According to Ahmed Sab Laban, a researcher in settlement affairs, the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem intends to expand the road in the area, as part of a wider plan to link the old town of Jerusalem with West Jerusalem and Israeli settlements in Jerusalem and the West Bank. According to Sab Laban, there is another Israeli plan to establish a 200-room hotel in al-Hisba area in Wad al-Jouz neighborhood. The development of this road will pave the way for implementing the project of the hotel.

The Civil Coalition for Defending the Palestinians’ Rights in Jerusalem unveiled settlement plans aimed at expanding Israeli settlements in Jerusalem and suburbs. The Coalition stated that Hebrew newspapers published an invitation for bids to establish 117 settlement units in “Har Homa” settlement on Abu Ghumain Mount in the south of Jerusalem. There are also plans to expand “Har Adar” settlement, northwest of Jerusalem, to establish new settlement units. In the same context, there are plans to construct 213 units in “Efrat” settlement, south of Bethlehem, and a number of units in “Givat Hazait” settlement in Jerusalem.

Israeli Annexation Wall:

During the reporting period, Israeli forces used force against peaceful demonstrations organized by Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders in protest to the construction of the Wall and settlement activities in the West Bank, and in protest to the establishment of a buffer zone in the Gaza Strip. As a result, a Palestinian civilian was wounded. Additionally, dozens of Palestinian civilians and human rights defenders suffered from tear gas inhalation. Israeli forces also abducted a Palestinian civilian.

Following the Friday Prayer on 30 December 2011, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders organized a peaceful demonstration in Bil’ein village, west of Ramallah, in protest to the construction of the annexation wall and support for efforts to achieve national reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah movements. They raised the Palestinian flag and called for ending political division. They then moved towards areas of Palestinian land, which the Israeli High Court ordered to be returned to their Palestinian owners. Israeli soldiers stationed in the area fired rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the demonstrators. As a result, Mohammed Shawkat al-Khatib, 19, was wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the neck. Additionally, a number of civilians suffered from tear gas inhalation.

Also following the Friday prayer on 30 December 2011, dozens of Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international human rights defenders gathered in the center of al-Nabi Saleh village, northwest of Ramallah, to start the weekly peaceful protest against the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities. The protesters walked towards the gate erected by Israeli forces near the entrance of the village and leading to Palestinian lands that Israeli settlers from the nearby “Halmish” settlement are trying to seize. Israeli soldiers who had been extensively deployed in the area and near all the entrances of the village since the morning, began to confront the protesters who wanted to walk towards the affected lands. Israeli soldiers fired live and rubber-coated bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the protesters. A result, dozens of civilians suffered from tear gas inhalation.

Also following the Friday Prayer on 30 December 2011, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international and human rights defenders organized a peaceful demonstration in Ne’lin village, west of Ramallah, in protest against the construction of the annexation wall. They clashed with Israeli troops positioned near the annexation wall. Israeli soldiers fired rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at demonstrators. As a result, a number of demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation.

At approximately 12:00 also on Friday, 30 December 2011, Palestinian civilians organized a peaceful demonstration in Kufor al-Dik village near Salfit. They moved towards Deir Sam’an area in the west of village, where Israeli forces intend to confiscate areas of land. The demonstrators wanted to perform the Friday Prayer in the area, but Israeli forces prevented them. Soon, clashes erupted between Palestinian civilians and Israeli forces. Israeli soldiers fired tear gas canisters at civilians. As a result, two civilians suffered from year gas inhalation. According to chairman of the local council, Jamal al-Dik, Israeli forces intend to confiscate more than 2,000 dunums of land in the village.

Recommendations to the international community:

Due to the number and severity of Israeli human rights violations this week, the PCHR made several recommendations to the international community. Among these were a recommendation that the Advisory Opinion issued by the International Court of Justice, which considers the construction of the Annexation Wall inside the West Bank illegal, be implemented immediately.

The PCHR also recommends that international civil society organizations, including human rights organizations, bar associations and NGOs, participate in the process of exposing those accused of grave breaches of international law and urge their governments to bring the perpetrators to justice.

For the full text of the report, click on the link below:

Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian territory (29. Dec.-2011 – 04. Jan.-2012) http://www.pchrgaza.org/portal/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=8020:weekly-report-on-israeli-human-rights-violations-in-the-occupied-palestinian-territory-29-dec-2011-04-jan-2012&catid=84:weekly-2009&Itemid=183

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