PCHR Weekly Report: 1 dead, 4 wounded by Israeli forces in 60 incursions

Protest in Nabi Saleh village (PCHR photo)

By Saed BannouraIMEMC

In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of 19- 25 January 2012, A Palestinian civilian died out of his wounds in Khan Yunis, north of the Gaza Strip. He was wounded in the beginning of al-Aqsa Intifada. In addition, Israeli warplanes fired 9 missiles at a Palestinian resistance group and civilian targets, but no injuries were reported. Two camels died and a greenhouse was destroyed.

A Palestinian was wounded and abducted by Israeli forces at Qalandya checkpoint, north of Jerusalem.

Israeli forces have continued to use force against peaceful protests in the West Bank. Three civilians, including a paramedic, were wounded during al-Nabi Saleh weekly demonstration.

Israeli attacks in the West Bank:

Israeli forces conducted 60 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. This week, four Palestinian civilians were wounded in the West Bank. One of them was wounded when Israeli forces positioned at Qalandya checkpoint, north of Jerusalem, opened fire at him, while the three others, including a paramedic, were wounded in the weekly demonstration in Nabi Saleh, northwest of Ramallah.

In the West Bank, on 22 January 2012, a Palestinian civilian was wounded by a bullet to the foot when Israeli forces positioned at Qalandya checkpoint, north of Jerusalem, fired at him. Israeli forces abducted him and transported him to receive the necessary medical treatment and to be questioned. They claimed that he was holding an iron bar and was running towards the Israeli soldiers at the checkpoint to attack them. Israeli forces then raided his family’s house in al-Basha village, south of Jenin, damaged its contents and questioned some of the family members.

Israeli forces abducted 25 Palestinians, including a child and 2 women. Israeli forces continued targeting the Palestinian Legislative Authority, as they abducted the Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), Dr. Aziz Dweik, and PLC Member, Khaled Tafish, from the Change and Reform Bloc affiliated to Hamas movement. Israeli forces also stormed the head office of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem and abducted PLC Member Mohammed Toutah, from the Change and Reform Bloc affiliated to Hamas, and the former Minister of Jerusalem Affairs, Khaled Abu ‘Arafa. PCHR believes that these actions are a continuation of targeting the elected PLC Members following the Palestinian legislative elections of 2006. PCHR views such detentions as a retaliatory act and a form of collective punishment prohibited under Article 33 of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 1949.

Israeli forces abducted at least 3 Palestinians at military checkpoints in the West Bank. Dr. Aziz Dweik, PLC Speaker, was among those abducted at military checkpoints, and he was placed under administrative detention.

On 23 January 2012, an Israeli forces undercover unit comprised of 30 members stormed the yard of ICRC’s head office in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem. They attacked the sit-in tent in which PLC Member Mohammed Omran Saleh Toutah, 43, and former Minister Khaled Abu ‘Arafa, 51, were staying and abducted both men. They further abducted Toutah’s brother, Mo’tassim, 48, and Amr Abu ‘Arafa, 26, who were in the tent as well. Israeli police spokeswoman for the Arab media, Loba Samri, stated that with the assistance of the General Security Service “Shabak,” interrogators of the Minorities Department of the Central Investigations Unit, Jerusalem District, abducted PLC Member Mohammed Toutah and former Minister of Jerusalem Affairs, Khaled Abu ‘Arafa, from East Jerusalem at ICRC’s head office in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. Samri said: “They have been hiding in that place for about a year and a half after their Israeli ID’s had been canceled by the Israeli Ministry of Interior following their activities and work in an illegal terrorist organization,” as described by Samri. She also claimed that there is no diplomatic status in the ICRC’s office.

On 24 January 2012, Israeli forces demolished the house belonging to Ahmed Omar al-Lahalyah in the east of ‘Anata village, northeast of East Jerusalem. Al-Lahalya said that Israeli forces surrounded his house in the early morning and ordered him and his family, comprising of 20 members to leave that house, whose area is 100 square meters, in order to demolish it. Israeli staff started to get the furniture out of the house to allow the bulldozers demolish it.

On 21 January 2012, the Israeli municipality in Jerusalem sent Inad Abu Sarhan a notice to demolish his house in Emlisoun area near Ras al-‘Amoud neighborhood, south of al-Aqsa Mosque. The notice was issued under the pretext of building the house without obtaining a license. Nine members live in the house that was built in 1999. The Israeli municipality issued fines and financial irregularities that mounted to 100,000 NIS.

Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip:

In the Gaza Strip, on 21 January 2012, Israeli warplanes fired two missiles at a Palestinian resistance group in al-Shouka village, east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Members of the group survived the attack, but two camels died as a result of the attack.

On 23 January 2012, Israeli forces positioned at watchtowers to the west of Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing in the northwest of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, heavily fired at open areas in the industrial zone. They also fired an artillery shell at the same area, but no injuries were reported.

On the same day, Israeli forces fired 4 artillery shells at Abu Samra farmland in the north of Hamdoush area, north of Beit Lahia. No injuries were reported.

On 24 January 2012, Israeli warplanes fired 3 missiles at a greenhouse inside a land belonging to Mohammed Shehda Hamdouna, 45, northeast of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip. The attack resulted in completely destroying the greenhouse. However, no injuries were reported.

On the same day, Israeli warplanes fired a missile at an empty land belonging to Sa’eed Mohammed Salem al-Da’our, in al-Sayafa area, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip. Neither injuries nor damages to civilian property were reported.

Also on the same day, Israeli warplanes fired two missiles at greenhouses in ex-settlements, northwest of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. No injuries were reported. Approximately 15:00 minutes later, warplanes fired a third missile at a farmland in al-Zanna area, east of Khan Yunis.

Israel has continued to impose a total closure and has isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world.

A patient from the northern Gaza Strip was abducted at Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing while he was going to the West Bank for treatment. In her testimony to PCHR, the patient’s aunt and companion, Na’ima Fu’ad Sha’ban Raihan, 49, said that the Israeli officer at Beit Hanoun crossing informed her that Bassam was abducted, gave her Bassam’s belongings and ordered her to return to Gaza. Sha’ban Fo’ad Raihan, 50, the patient’s father, said that he received a phone call from Israeli forces informing him that his son is detained in Ashkelon prison. The patient has been detained since then.

At approximately 11:30 on Tuesday, 24 January 2012, Israeli forces positioned along the border fence in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip opened fire and tear gas canisters at a group of Palestinian and international demonstrators, who were walking along the border area from Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing to the landfill. They protested the imposition of the buffer zone along the borders. There were approximately 60 demonstrators, including 5 international activists and 10 journalists. After they were approximately 200 meters far from the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, they suffered from gas inhalation.

In his testimony, the Beit Hanoun Local Initiative coordinator, Saber al-Za’aneen, said that at approximately 10:30 on that day, demonstrators gathered in front of the Agriculture School of al-Azhar University, north of the Beit Hanoun and headed to the border area. When they were approximately 200 meters to the southeast of Beit Hanoun crossing, they started walking along the border fence until they reached the landfill, north of Beit Hanoun. Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters at the demonstrators, but they kept walking. Israeli forces then heavily fired at the demonstrators. As a result, a number of demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation. However, they kept moving until they reached the memorial area, southeast of Beit Hanoun. Israeli forces fired at them, forcing them to leave the area.

Israeli settlement activities:

Israeli forces have continued settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.

On 23 January 2012, Israeli forces supported by two bulldozers and “Civil Administration” officers moved into the northern area of al-Oja village near road (90), northeast of Jericho. They closed the area and prevented Palestinians and journalists from moving in. At approximately 09:30, two bulldozers started demolishing 9 under-construction stores, claiming that they had been established without obtaining a license from the Israeli “Civil Administration”. The stores belong to seven Palestinians.

On Tuesday, 24 January 2012, hundreds of settlers using tens of buses stormed the Joseph Tomb in Balata village, east of Nablus. They performed Talmudic prayers there until the early morning. Local sources stated that approximately 10 buses of settlers reached the grave of Yusef under Israeli military protection.

On 25 January 2012, Israeli forces demolished a house in Kherbet Om al-Kheir, east of Yatta in the far south of Hebron. The house belong Salem Eid Yamin al-Hadaleen. It consists of two rooms and was resided by a family comprising of eight members, including six children. It should be noted that the said house is 20 meters far from the fence of “Carmiel” settlement and it was demolished without a prior notice.

On 24 January 2012, Israeli forces sent three Palestinians notices to demolish a school under construction and three houses in Khelet Abu Beida area, west of Bani N’aim, under the pretext of “unlicensed buildings”.

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 of the establishment of a buffer zone in the Gaza Strip. As a result, two Palestinian civilians were wounded; one of whom was wounded by a bullet to the head and the other was wounded by a bullet to the right leg. In addition, a paramedic was hit by a tear gas canister in the right foot. A number of Palestinian civilians and human rights defenders suffered from tear gas inhalation as well.

Following the Friday Prayer on 20 January 2012, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders organized a peaceful demonstration in Bil’ein village, west of Ramallah, in protest of 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 the 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, dozens of Palestinian civilians suffered from tear gas inhalation.

Also following the Friday prayer on 20 January 2012, 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. As a result, two Palestinian civilians were wounded; one of whom was wounded by a bullet to the head and the other was wounded by a bullet to the right leg. Besides, a paramedic was hit by a tear gas canister in the right foot. The wounded received the medical treatment needed there, but PCHR’s field worker was not able to identify them as they came out of the village. They were not transferred to any hospital or health center for treatment.

Also following the Friday Prayer, on the same day, 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 chanted slogans calling for Palestinian reconciliation, adherence to the Palestinian inalienable rights and resistance of the occupation. Additionally, they raised the Palestinian flag and portraits of the Palestinian released prisoners who were released in the recent prisoner swap. 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.

Also following the Friday Prayer, at approximately 12:20 on the same day, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international and human rights defenders organized a peaceful demonstration in Kafr Qaddoum village, northeast of Qalqilya, in protest against closing the eastern entrance of the village. The demonstrators headed towards that entrance. Israeli soldiers fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters at them, due to which, a number of demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation.

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 European Union to activate Article 2 of the Euro-Israel Association Agreement, which provides that Israel must respect human rights as a precondition for economic cooperation between the EU states and Israel. PCHR further calls upon the EU states to prohibit import of goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

The PCHR calls on the international community to recognize the Gaza disengagement plan, which was implemented in September 2005, for what it is – not an end to occupation but a compounding of the occupation and the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.

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

PCHR Weekly Report: http://www.pchrgaza.org/portal/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=8104:weekly-report-on-israeli-human-rights-violations-in-the-occupied-palestinian-territory-19-25-january-2012&catid=84:weekly-2009&Itemid=183

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