Right to life and bodily integrity

A Guide to Field Investigation

In a visit to the West Bank city of Nablus in 2002 to document Israeli human rights violations committed by Israeli occupying forces I had the chance to meet with Mr. Chris Cobb-Smith, the writer of the present manual. He was there to prepare a report on the types of weapons that the Israeli occupying forces used against Palestinians and their properties in the city and in the Jenin refugee camp during the offensive on the camp in 2002. This was the first time I met him. Seven years later, I learned that he was in Gaza to prepare an expert report for Amnesty International on the damages that Gaza suffered during the Israeli offensive on Gaza which Israel, the occupying power, called “Operation Cast Lead”. That is when I called Chris by telephone and he expressed his willingness to cooperate with us. It is especially in light of the fact that the use of expert reports in different areas are considered important documents for supporting any file related to the criminal prosecution of Israeli war criminals that we began our relationship with Chris.

Repression of Non-Violent Protest in the Occupied Palestinian Territory: Case Study on the village of al-Nabi Saleh

According to Al-Haq’s documentation, since 2004, at least 13 protesters have been killed at demonstrations across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. The Israeli military regularly targets protesters as well as bystanders, homes and property with rubber-coated metal bullets, tear-gas canisters, sound grenades and ‘skunk,’ a foul smelling chemical substance.

Al-Haq's report examines the excessive use of force used by Israel in the illegal suppression of peaceful protests in the West Bank village of al-Nabi Saleh, which amount to violations of Israel’s international law obligations to respect and protect the right to life and to the freedom of expression of the occupied population. The report demonstrates that the use of force targets protesters and is disproportionate in nature.


On the afternoon of Thursday, 4 January 2007, an Israeli military incursion took place in the centre of the West Bank city of Ramallah in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). After full investigation into the facts and circumstances of the incursion, Al-Haq presents its findings in the present report.
The report also supports Al-Haq's request for a comprehensive and transparent investigation into the incident, submitted to Military Judge Advocate General Brigadier Avichai Mendelblith on 27 January 2007.

In Focus: Mass Arrests

This In Focus brief, drafted as part of Al-Haq's campaign to stop collective punishment against Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), addresses the legality of mass arrests. It gives an overview of Israeli practices in the OPT, notably during the 2002 incursions, and relevant international legal standards under international human rights and humanitarian law.

Extrajudicial Killings

Israel’s extrajudicial killings have become symbolic of its disregard for international law and the culture of impunity that surrounds these breaches. Extrajudicial killings are nothing new in Israel’s nearly forty-year-old occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, together constituting the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). This background brief focuses on Israeli extrajudicial killings throughout the OPT between January and October 2006. Such killings continue today, as seen in the recent attacks on Gaza during the “Autumn Clouds” operation, creating an environment of constant fear that feeds into the seemingly never-ending cycle of violence.

Attacking Democracy

On Sunday, 29 January 2006, in the presence of representatives of the electoral lists, the Central Elections Commission announced the results of the internationally monitored elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), the parliament of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). The Change and Reform list, representing Hamas, obtained 74 seats; the Fatah Movement obtained 45 seats; the remaining 13 seats were won by minority parties. The European Union - Election Observation Mission labelled the election “an open and fairly-contested electoral process,” an assessment with which Al-Haq agrees, having itself monitored the elections. Hamas took control of the parliament and was sworn into office on 18 February 2006.

Beaten to Death: Umran Abu Hamdieh

This case study examines the events of 30 December 2002, during which 17-year-old Umran Abu Hamdieh was beaten to death by Israeli Border Police. With accounts given by eye-witnesses, the report outlines the case with respect to international human rights and humanitarian law. The report seeks to confirm that the willful beating and killing of this Palestinian minor is merely part and parcel of routine practices which demonstrate the behaviour of Israeli occupying forces towards the Palestinian people.

Provocation to Kill: The Use of Force as a Response to Provoked Stone-Throwing

This case study examines the events of 24 April 2003, as well as preceding incidents during which the Israeli military utilized lethal force against Palestinian stone-throwers in the village of Qarawa. With several affidavidts given by eye-witnesses, the report provides detailed accounts of the shootings and killings of the Palestinian villagers by the occupying army. The report also includes legal analysis based on international law applicable to a belligerent occupying force, and calls for both Israel and the international community to fulfill their legal obligations.

Unlawful Killing: The Assassination of Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories by the Israeli Occupying Forces

This Al-Haq report examines the policy of assassination of Palestinian activists and leaders by the Israeli occupying forces. With short descriptions of over two dozen cases ofassassinations, the study also outlines Israel's justification of the concerned policy. By thoroughly referencing international humanitarian laws and conventions as legal criterion to assess Israel's assassination policy, the report concludes that such a form of execution without trial is a war crime, and a crime against humanity. This comprehensive study includes suggested measures to be taken by various parties in response to Israel's assassination policy.

Screaming in the Dark: Life in Israeli Detention

This report includes the testimony of Yaser al-Disi, Al-Haq's Media Officer who was detained in March 2002 during "Operation Defensive Shield," the Israeli attack against Palestinian towns throughout the West Bank undertaken to fight "terrorism." Al-Disi was in Al-Haq's office when it was raided by the Israeli military, and was subsequently arrested. Israeli authorities held him as an administrative detainee for three months, first in the Ofer military camp and later in Ansar 3 prison in the Negev. This tesimony describes his experiences, including meticulous details about the conditions under which he and thousands of other Palestinian men were held during this period.

Arbitrary Execution in Beni Naim

This case study details the willful killiing of four Palestinian men in the village of Beni Naim in the Hebron District. The four men were detained by Israeli soldiers at their place of employment and taken to nearby fields where they were shot at close range. With affidavits given by various eye witnesses, as well as legal evidence established by Al-Haq, this study attempts to reconstruct the events which took place on 1 September 2002.

Beating and Wilful Killing in Yamoun Village

This case study examines the killing, shooting and beating of Iyad, Mustafa and Thaer Samoudi in the village of Yamoun. Through the personal accounts of the two survivors, as well as legal evidence collected by Al-Haq, this study attempts to reconstruct the events of 23 June 2002. The affidavits detail breaches of Israel’s open fire regulations, the excessive use of force, the beating of Thaer Samoudi, and the willful killing of Iyad Samoudi. With a legal analysis of the case, the study shows that these events are a direct product of Israel's continued belligerent occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Death Traps: Israel's Use of Force at Checkpoints in the West Bank

Death.TrapsThis report examines the consistent use of force against Palestinians at Israeli military checkpoints in the West Bank. With nine affidavits given by eye-witnesses to each case, the report describes the circumstances under which the shootings/killings of Palestinians took place, and assesses the legitimacy of Israel's use of force. Given the fact that regulations on the use of firearms lack clarity, this study concludes that Israeli military aggression is easily overlooked, and thus perpetuated.

Israel's Attack on Beit Rima

Beit.RimaThis report examines an Israeli military attack on the village of Beit Rima. Ostenstibly the attack was carried out with the purpose of arresting members of a "PFLP cell" that was allegedly connected to the assassination of Israeli Minister of Tourism Rehavam Ze'evi and other attacks. During the attack, five men were killed, 24 were seriously injured, 50 were detained (11 arrested), one home was burned and three homes were demolished. The paper includes personal accounts of the residents of Beit Rima along with legal findings obtained by Al-Haq fieldworkers. Each event which comprised the military attack was a violation of human rights, a violation which disgregards international laws and standards.

Wilful Killing: The Assassination of Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories by the Israeli Security Forces

This briefing paper examines the practice of extra-judicial execution of Palestinian activists and leaders which amounts to wilful killing under the conventions of international humanitarian law. This report illustrates the way in which Israel has manipulated the language of the nature of the conflict, thus granting itself the jurisdiction to perform such assassinations, and creating leeway for justfication of its actions. With accounts of 10 cases of Palestinian assassinations by the Israeli military, this report provides a coherent analysis of extra-judicial executions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

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