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Al-Haq Semi-annual Field Report on Human Rights Violations - January-June 2020
15، Oct 2020

 

Israeli violations

  • 21 Palestinians killed
  • 186 Palestinian structures demolished

 

Martyrs

In the first six months of 2020, the Israeli occupying forces (IOF) killed 21 Palestinians. These were killed in various circumstances, including one in an armed clash, three in peaceful assemblies, six in violent protests, four in entirely peaceful circumstances, six in tense situations, and one in unknown circumstances. In terms of geographical distribution, six Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip and 15 in the West Bank, including four in the Jerusalem governorate. Demonstrating deliberate infliction of the greatest damage possible to targeted victims, more than half of the Palestinian martyrs sustained bullet injuries in the upper part of the body. Fatal injuries were as follows: five were shot in the head; one in the neck; four in the chest; four in the abdomen; one in the waist; and six in the lower part of the body.

Combined with the policy of killing, failure to provide first aid and obstruction of ambulances continued throughout the reporting period. In three incidents, Israeli occupying soldiers assaulted persons who tried to save the wounded and impeded attempts to provide first aid to them before they died. On six occasions, the IOF impeded the access of ambulances to the wounded. Israeli soldiers also assailed medics while they were providing medical attention to a wounded Palestinian. In another two instances, Israeli emergency medical personnel or soldiers offered first aid to injured Palestinians.

The Israeli occupying authorities have maintained the practice of withholding the bodies of Palestinian martyrs. During the reporting period, the IOF withheld the bodies of 12 Palestinians.

 

Deaths in peculiar circumstances

Four Palestinians died in peculiar conditions associated with the Israeli occupying authorities. Following a long illness, a Palestinian political prisoner died of medical negligence. In the Gaza Strip, a patient died while waiting for an access permit. Approval of the permit application process was delayed by the Israeli occupying authorities. A Palestinian was killed by an unexploded ordnance. Another Palestinian was slain in the vicinity of an Israeli settlement. It was not established if he was killed by Israeli occupying soldiers or settlers.

 

Home demolitions

During the first half of 2020, the Israeli occupying authorities demolished a total of 95 Palestinian homes. Of these, 65 homes and nine Bedouin makeshift residential structures were destroyed, allegedly due to the lack of Israeli-issued building permits. While four were residential structures demolished on security grounds, nine homes and eight Bedouin makeshift dwellings were dismantled and seized.

Home demolitions resulted in the displacement of 304 Palestinians, including 149 women, 153 children, and 102 school pupils. With the exception of 26 homes that were still under construction, all other demolished residential structures had already been completely finished. The owners of 26 homes had not been allowed an opportunity to evacuate their possessions from their homes before the demolitions were carried out.

Of all 95 demolitions, 23 homes were self-demolished. Over recent years, self-demolitions have been an increasing phenomenon across the occupied city of Jerusalem to avoid hefty fines and fees imposed by the Israeli occupying authorities on affected home owners. The homes of as many as 20 Palestinian families were demolished for the second time. Having had their homes destroyed earlier, affected families rebuilt new housing units only to be demolished once again. Of all demolished residential structures, three homes provided shelter to more than one family each. According to Al-Haq statistics, 12 families had applied for building permits before their homes were pulled down. It is worth noting that this number of applications is relatively low due to the fact that the Israeli occupying authorities do not issue building permits throughout the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). Because structural plans are also lacking, Palestinians are left with no choice but to construct homes without applying for the required building permits.

 

Demolition of private structures

Other than homes, the Israeli occupying authorities demolished 88 private structures, including animal shelters, commercial premises, storehouses, water wells, retaining walls, barracks, etc. While six were located within the Israeli-declared municipal boundary of Jerusalem, the majority of demolished private structures (82) were in Area C, so designated by the Oslo Accords. Of these, three structures were self-demolished.

Four private structures belonged to householders, whose homes were demolished together with these structures. Five structures were under construction. Of all demolitions, 44 structures used to provide a main source of livelihood, causing significant adverse economic consequences to affected family members.

Following previous demolition and reconstruction, 17 private structures were destroyed for the second time. Damage was caused to personal belongings in 31 private structures because relevant owners could not evacuate their possessions before the demolitions were carried out. The Israeli occupying authorities did not allow an opportunity to challenge demolition orders in at least 29 cases.

 

Demolition of public properties

The Israeli occupying authorities demolished three public facilities, including two schools and a retaining wall of a public playground. Two of the demolished structures were in Hebron and one in Jerusalem. Of these, two were located in Area C, as designated by the Oslo Accords. All public properties were destroyed on grounds of the lack of Israeli-issued building permits.

Two public structures were demolished, using Volvo and Hyundai bulldozers. The other facility, a caravan used as a classroom, was disassembled. The surface area of all demolished public structures was nearly 943 square metres.

While two were under construction, one demolished public facility had already been completely finished. The estimated total cost of the construction of all demolished public properties was close to NIS 315,000.

 

Other violations[1]

Al-Haq documented another 416 Israeli violations, including 79 by Israeli settlers, throughout the Palestinian governorates. Most notably, abuses included arrests, beatings and physical violence, unwarranted house raids and searches, and injuries caused by live ammunition and rubber-coated steel bullets. In addition, the Israeli occupying authorities placed restrictions on movement, refused to issue access permits, set up flying and permanent checkpoints, and continued to construct the Annexation Wall and install iron gates.

 

Violations by the Palestinian Authority and de facto authority in the Gaza Strip

Killings and deaths in peculiar circumstances

During the reporting period, Palestinian security agencies killed two Palestinians, including one during dispersal of a family feud and another in a law enforcement mission. Another three Palestinians were killed or died in peculiar circumstances, including two inside Palestinian prisons and a woman by her husband.

 

Other violations[2]

In the first half of 2020, Al-Haq documented 326 violations perpetrated by Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Of particular note, the Palestinian Authority did not commit extensive human rights abuses during the state of emergency. Violations remained within the average range.

The most prominent violations committed by Palestinian security agencies were as follows: arbitrary detention (74); ill treatment and torture (29); infringement on the right to a fair trial (35); abuse of the right to freedom of expression (21); beatings and physical violence (18); violation of conditions of detention in correction and rehabilitation centres (66); encroachment on privacy on social media networks and restriction of freedom of the press (27).

Furthermore, Palestinian security services perpetrated dozens of abuses, including seizure of funds and devices; house raids and searches; movement restrictions; security clearance as a condition to exercise the right to work; harassment of civil society organisations; and humiliation of civilians.

Abuses were mainly perpetrated by the Internal Security (88) and Police (63) in the Gaza Strip. In the West Bank, violations were committed by the Preventive Security (77) and General Intelligence (63). The rest of impingements were recorded by other security agencies and government authorities throughout the oPt.[3]

 

 


[1] Albeit incomprehensive, all forms of violations are documented.

[2] Albeit incomprehensive, all forms of violations are documented.

[3] In many cases, the same abuse is committed by several security agencies.