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Palestinian Shot and Arrested in the West Bank
- [1-7 December] - Ref.: 131/2014
15، Dec 2014

The illegality of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, derives from rules under international humanitarian law (IHL) prohibiting the transfer of an occupier’s population into occupied territory. The unlawful presence of settlers supported by the Israeli military in occupied territory poses threats and danger on the Palestinian population. On 1 December, Amal Taqatqa, 21, was shot in the foot three times by an Israeli soldier near Hebron. A settler had called on to the soldier, present in a nearby watchtower, to shoot Amal claiming that she attempted to stab him.

Jihad Ali Taqatqa - Beit Fajjar - Bethlehem

amal-taqatqaOn Monday 1 December at approximately 12:00 pm, Jihad, 46, was in Bethlehem when he heard about a stabbing-shooting incident near the Etzion roundabout which involved his daughter, Amal. Immediately, Jihad called his house and a man who identified himself as an Israeli Captain from Etzion picked up and ordered Jihad to immediately come home as the Israeli forces were there, waiting for him. On his way, Israeli forces had closed down the roads to Beit Fajjar. Jihad spoke to one of the soldiers and explained why he needed to get to his house. The soldier asked for Jihad's identification card and then took him, tied his hands and blindfolded him before putting him in a car. During the car ride, Jihad was verbally assaulted by soldiers.

When the car stopped, Jihad was removed from the vehicle and a soldier ordered him to remove the blindfold. Jihad recognized that they were in his brother's, Khalil, house in Mrah Riyah. Jihad noticed that the front door was violently broken down. The soldier seated Jihad outside the house and he later learnt from the soldier that the house was empty. The soldier asked Jihad if he had not learnt his lesson. He accused him of sending his son a while back to carry out an attack against Israelis, and that he had also sent his daughter Amal to do the same. Jihad denied these accusations and said that no parent would send their children to die and that his children are innocent. The soldier cursed them and accused them of being a terrorist family. He asked about Amal's fiancé, Jihad's nephew, Ali, and ordered Jihad to call him and ask him to come to the house.

Approximately half an hour later, Jihad was blindfolded again and taken into the car. In the meantime, he heard his nephew's voice crying "Akh" in Arabic which implied that he was beaten. The car took off and they later arrived at an unknown location to Jihad where his hands were untied. Approximately an hour and a half later, the blindfold was removed and he was taken into an interrogation room. There, he was interrogated and accused of sending Amal to stab a settler. The interrogation lasted for about four hours during which Jihad denied all accusations against him and his daughter. Jihad was then taken into another room where Ali was as well. They were in the room for five hours and then released.

That day, Amal and her mother were supposed to meet in Hebron to go shopping in preparation of her wedding. At approximately 10:00 am, Amal headed to the Etzion roundabout bus station to catch a bus going to Hebron city. Amal got off the bus coming from Beit Fajjar at the roundabout and walked towards the bus stop designated for Palestinians. In order to reach the former bus stop, Amal would have to walk by the bus stop designated for settlers at the same roundabout. According to eyewitnesses who spoke to Jihad, Amal was walking towards the bus stop, one of the settlers called onto Amal in Hebrew, which she does not understand. She was frightened and started to run to escape the settler. The settler called to a soldier who was inside a watchtower there and told him that Amal tried to stab him. The soldier then fired three bullets in the air as Amal continued to run, frightened. The soldier shouted at her but she continued to run.

Amal was shot by the soldier, injuring her foot and she fell to the ground. She was then able to stand up and continue running. The soldier shot at her foot again yet she kept running. For the third time, the soldier shot at Amal's foot and it was then that she fell and could not stand up again. Within seconds, there were approximately 20 Israeli soldiers surrounding Amal shooting at her. Amal was not provided with medical assistance until an Israeli ambulance arrived half an hour later. She was left bleeding on the road for approximately 30 minutes.

The next day Jihad learnt that a lawyer was appointed to follow up on Amal's case. The lawyer was allowed to see Amal once and said that her medical condition is stable. Her court hearing was scheduled for 11 December 2014 but was postponed. Amal is currently in hospital in Hadassa Ein Karem and both her parents have not been able to visit her as they are denied entry permits into Jerusalem. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 10247/2014)

With the continued expansion of settlements in occupied Palestine, violence therein has escalated drastically in the past few months. From the start of the year, Israeli Occupying Forces have also been using excessive force against civilian Palestinians. At the same time, settlers continue to enjoy institutionalized impunity, allowing them to engage in brutality towards Palestinians and collaborating with military abuse in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. As an Occupying Power, Israel has a responsibility under IHL and international human rights law (IHRL) to ensure protection of civilians.

Furthermore, Al-Haq condemns the detention and ill-treatment of Jihad at the hands of Israeli soldiers. Additionally, both Amal and Jihad are entitled to the humane and dignified treatment that should be guaranteed to detainees in light of the ICCPR and other international legal instruments. As for the house raid conducted in Khalil's home by the soldiers, under both IHL and human rights law, the Occupying Power must respect the right of the occupied people to enjoy their home and family life free of arbitrary interference.