On 21 March 2018, the IOF raided Al-Khader and Taqou’ in the governorate of Bethlehem and ransacked homes therein. In Al-Khader, the IOF detained one Palestinian man for 14 hours, the IOF then ransacked his house, confiscating a private car and three pieces of gold. On 19 March, the IOF raided Al-Dheisha and ‘Aida refugee camps. On that day at approximately 2:30 am, the IOF raided the home of Mustafa Salih Abu Hammad, 15, a resident of ‘Aida refugee camp, north of Bethlehem, and vandalized it before arresting him. Mustafa’s mother, Ahlam Hamad Abu Hammad, 36, recalls the incident:
On 19 March 2018 at around 2:30 am, I woke up to the sound of what seemed like a group of people around my house, which is located in ‘Aida Camp to the north of Bethlehem. Shortly after hearing the sounds, I woke my husband up, Saleh Abu Hammad, 45, to check what was happening. He immediately headed to the living room. He informed me that a group of soldiers were on the roof of our house. Five minutes later, an IOF soldier blew up the front door of the house, and was followed by a group of armed IOF soldiers, in full uniform and black masks, who raided our home. The soldiers scattered all over our home. One soldier ordered us to sit in the living room and started questioning my husband and inquiring about our children’s names. My husband recited the names of our children to the soldier. The soldier paused when my husband mentioned our son, Mustafa, and requested that my husband tell him which room he was sleeping in. My husband did as ordered, pointing to the room where Mustafa was sleeping. A soldier then rushed to the room and dragged Mustafa from his hand out of the bedroom and into the living room. The soldier took a picture of Mustafa and videotaped him using a camera. My husband asked the soldiers why they dragged Mustafa and filmed him, and was told to remain quiet. Meanwhile, I could hear the sound of things breaking coming from Mustafa’s bedroom. The soldier then proceeded to ask more questions about my husband’s family members and ordered him to provide some names, their phone numbers and professions – all while taking note of everything that was being said. When my husband told them that he is currently working in construction within the Green Line, the soldier ordered my husband to hand in his work permit. My husband explained to the soldiers that this job was our only mean of income to provide for our six children. However, they did not care and proceeded to handcuff my 15-year-old son, Mustafa, and left the house with him at about 3:30 am. Following that, I checked Mustafa’s room and saw that it was vandalized; everything was broken and destroyed, as well as other furniture in our home. We later learned that Mustafa was being detained at Ofer Prison located near Ramallah. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 127/2018)LEGAL ANALYSIS
The IOF’s persistent raids continue to place the occupied Palestinian population at imminent threat of arrest and physical assault, as well as jeopardize their security, safety and livelihoods – all in contravention of international law. Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) provides that “no one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence...” and that everyone should be protected against such attacks. In addition, Article 46 of the Hague Regulations specifically obliges the belligerent occupant to protect “family honour and rights, the lives of persons, and private property.” However, the IOF continues to raid Palestinian homes and private property, causing damage and interfering with private lives, resulting in physical injury, detention, and serious psychological effects, especially on children. The confiscations of private property, such as gold, which are not taken for the needs of the army of occupation, amount to an unlawful requisition and therefore pillage, a war crime prosecutable under International Criminal Law.
The arbitrary arrest often carried out by the IOF during these raids violate Articles 9 and 15 of the ICCPR, which state that no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention, and that the arrested person shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reason for their arrest. Meanwhile, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) specifies in Article 37 that no child should be arbitrarily or unlawfully detained or imprisoned, or exposed to cruel or degrading treatment, and that the detention and imprisonment of children should be used as a measure of last resort. The CRC further requires Israel, as Occupying Power, to “take all feasible measures to ensure protection and care of children who are affected by an armed conflict,” in accordance with its obligations under international humanitarian law. Children are a vulnerable group who are afforded special protection under international humanitarian law, including in Article 50 of the Fourth Geneva Convention specific to the context of occupation. Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention provides that “proper regard shall be paid to the special treatment due to minors,” whereas Article 77 of the Additional Protocol I provides that children should be respected and protected against assault.
Furthermore, the confiscation of Mustafa’s father’s work permit by the IOF, depriving the family of their livelihood, violates principles of protection for civilians guaranteed under international humanitarian such as Article 27 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and human rights law, including the right to work as per Article 6 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which in return encompasses serious ramifications on other rights, including the right to an adequate standards of living. The confiscation of his permit may also amount to collective punishment against Mustafa’s family, prohibited in accordance with Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.