PCHR Weekly Report: Palestinian child wounded; 28 civilians abducted by Israeli forces
According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, during the week of 13 - 19 August 2009, a Palestinian child was wounded by a gunshot wound to the head when Israeli forces fired at fishing boats in Rafah. Israeli forces used force against peaceful demonstrations organized in protest of the construction of the Annexation Wall in the West Bank.
Israeli forces conducted 26 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, and abducted 28 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children and one woman, in the West Bank, and two fishers in the Gaza Strip.
Israeli attacks in the West Bank:
During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 26 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. Israeli forces abducted 28 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children and one woman. Israeli forces also demolished 5 workshops in Qalqilya.
In addition, Israeli forces ordered the demolition of 9 houses in Slem village, east of Nablus.
There are approximately permanent 630 roadblocks, and manned and unmanned checkpoints across the West Bank. In addition, there are some 60-80 ‘flying’ or temporary checkpoints erected across the West Bank by Israeli forces every week.
On Saturday, 15 August 2009, Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem organized a peaceful march in solidarity with Palestinians living in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem, whose houses are threatened to be confiscated. The Israeli police prevented the march form moving towards Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.
On Sunday morning, 16 August 2009, dozens of Israeli settlers stormed and seized a 100-square-meter house belonging to 'Imad Daoud Siam in 'Ein Hilwa area in Silwan village to the south of the old town of Jerusalem. The settlers claimed that they have documents providing their ownership of the house.
At noon on Monday, 17 August 2009, a number of Israeli police officers attacked al-Nazer Gate, one of the gates of the al-Aqsa Mosque, and removed its locks. They replaced the locks with new ones. Soon after, the Palestinian Islamic Endowments Department removed the new lock and put the old ones back. When the police were asked about the incidents, they claimed it happened by mistake.
On the same day, Israeli forces conducted a military training to climb fences of the al-Aqsa Mosque using ladders. The training lasted for one hour.
Also on the same day, at least 30 Israeli settlers attacked the Hanoun and al-Ghawi families, whose houses are threatened to be confiscated, in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem. When the families and other civilians in the area attempted to stop the attack, Israeli troops attacked them. They abducted Mohammed Mitwalli, 20, but released him on the following day morning.
Israeli settlement activities:
Israeli forces have continued settlement activities in violation of international humanitarian law and Israeli settlers living in the West Bank have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.
On 10 August 2009, Israeli forces moved into Salem village, east of Nablus. They handed written notices to the owners of 9 Palestinian houses to refer to "Beit Eil Court" on 10 September 2009; otherwise, the houses would be demolished. On the same day, the Municipality of Ya'bad village, southwest of Jenin, received a fax from the Palestinian civil liaison, which included a copy of a military order issued by Israeli forces confiscating 116 donums of land in the village allegedly for security reasons. These areas of land are planted with olives and belong to a number of Palestinian villagers.
On 15 August 2009, dozens of Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international human rights defenders gathered in the north of Safa Village, adjacent to Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron. They moved towards lands under threat of confiscation in the Abu al-Rish area in order to plough the lands and to pick plums and grapes. Israeli troops used force against the protesters and assaulted some of them. An international human rights defender was injured and two others were abducted by Israeli forces.
In Halhoul town, north of Hebron, land owners, the Public Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, and international human rights defenders organized a protest and a voluntary workday on the lands of Kherbet al-Hajj, northwest of Hebron, which are under threat of confiscation. The protesters arrived at the lands adjacent to “Kermi Tsur” settlement, and began to reclaim the lands that were damaged by the Israeli settlers during their latest attacks. Israeli troops chased the protestors and tried to force them to leave the location. They also abducted two international human rights defenders.
Israeli Annexation Wall:
Israeli forces have continued to construct the Annexation Wall inside West Bank territory. 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.
Following the Friday Prayer on 14 August 2009, dozens of Palestinian civilians gathered in the center of Bil'in village, west of Ramallah. They moved towards the Wall and, following provocation, threw stones at Israeli troops positioned in the area. Immediately, Israeli troops fired rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the demonstrators. Dozens of demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation. Israeli forces also used an unknown substance against the demonstrators.
Also following the Friday Prayer on 14 August 2009, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international and human rights defenders organized a peaceful demonstration in Ne'lin village, west of Ramallah, in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall. They clashed with Israeli troops positioned near the Wall. Israeli troops fired rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at demonstrators. Dozens of demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation.
On the same day, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international human rights defenders organized a peaceful demonstration in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall in al-Ma'sara village, south of Bethlehem. Israeli troops closed the entrance of the village and attacked the demonstrators. They fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the demonstrators and violently beat a number of them. As a result, 3 Palestinian civilians suffered from tear gas inhalation: 'Ali Mousa 'Alaa' al-Din, 23; Eyad Safi Braijiya, 30; and Mahmoud Jom'a Taqatqa, 23.
Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip:
In the Gaza Strip, Israeli warplanes bombarded the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt allegedly to destroy smuggling tunnels.
On 18 August 2009, Israeli forces abducted two Palestinian fishers opposite to Rafah seashore. They interrogated the two fishermen for several hours and released them later.
Israeli forces have continued to close all border crossings to the Gaza Strip for more than two years. The Israeli-imposed closure of the Gaza Strip, which has steadily tightened since June 2007, has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the Gaza Strip.
1.5 million people are being denied their basic rights, including freedom of movement, and their rights to appropriate living conditions, work, health and education.
Recommendations to the international community:
Due to the number and severity of Israeli human rights violations this week, the PCHR made a number of recommendations to the international community. Among these were a recommendation that the international community pressure Israel to lift the severe restrictions imposed by the Israeli government and its occupation forces on access for international organizations to the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
The PCHR reiterates that any political settlement not based on international human rights law and humanitarian law cannot lead to a peaceful and just solution of the Palestinian question. Rather, such an arrangement can only lead to further suffering and instability in the region. Any peace agreement or process must be based on respect for international law, including international human rights and humanitarian law.