Friday, 21 August 2015

Within 9 days, Israel kills 3 Palestinian civilians at military checkpoints

Israeli forces stationed at military checkpoints have used excessive lethal force against Palestinian civilians. During the past few days, Israeli forces have killed 3 Palestinian civilians in similar circumstances which did not require the use of excessive force. pchr_3.jpg In addition, Israeli forces claimed in these 3 crimes that Palestinian civilians attempted to stab Israeli soldiers. Two of these crimes took place 42 hours apart at 2 checkpoints south of Nablus. Investigations conducted by PCHR confirm that these crimes violate the principles of necessity and discrimination, and the use of force was excessive, especially that Israeli forces could have used less lethal force against the victims or arrested them, even if the Israeli allegations were true.

PCHR points out that the Israeli Prime Minister and Defense Minister praised the Israeli soldiers who committed these crimes, which will serve to encourage other soldiers to commit similar crimes against Palestinian civilians.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR regarding the latest of these crimes, at approximately 12:15 on Monday, 17 August 2015, a Palestinian civilian, 24-year-old Mohammed Basam Mustafa al-Atrash, from Kafer Ra'ei village southwest of Jenin, arrived at Za'tara checkpoint , south of Nablus, coming back from Ramallah.

Israeli soldiers stationed at the checkpoint stopped a taxi which was carrying al-Atrash, and while checking the passengers' IDs, Israeli soldiers got him out of taxi because he wasn’t carrying his ID card and forced him to wait at the checkpoint.

An eyewitness who was crossing the checkpoint stated that he saw two Israeli soldiers, who were checking cars coming from Ramallah, opening fire at al-Atrash and running towards him.

They eventually killed him. Soon after, Israeli forces closed the checkpoint and did not allow a Palestinian ambulance to attend al-Atrash.

They brought an Israeli ambulance to transfer to Huwwara Camp, south of Nablus. At approximately 15:15, the body of Mohammed al-Atrash was delivered to a Palestinian ambulance at Awarta checkpoint at the northeastern entrance of Nablus.

The victim's body was then transported to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus. According to medical sources, the victim was hit by 10 gunshots to the chest, the abdomen and limbs.

Israeli forces claimed that al-Atrash attempted to stab an Israeli soldier before they killed him. At midnight, Israeli forces raided the house of Mohammed al-Atrash in Kafer Raie village, and checked all the house's knives in order to compare them with a knife which they claimed that Mohammed used to stab the Israeli soldier. However, they did not found such knife.

PCHR notes that this is the third crime committed by Israeli forces in similar circumstances within 9 days on the same ground.

On 15 August 2015, Israeli forces shot dead Rafiq Kamel Rafiq al-Taj, 21, from Tubas, at a military checkpoint ahead of the intersection of Bitaa village southern Nablus, with 4 bullets to the head, the back, the abdomen and the left thigh.

Also on 09 August 2015, Anas Ibrahim Mohammed Taha,21, from Qanta village northwest of Jerusalem, was killed by Israeli soldiers who opened fire at him at Khawaja petrol station which is located at (443) road that links Jerusalem with Israel, adjacent to Kharabtha al-Mosbah village, southwest of Ramallah.

PCHR strongly condemns these crimes which further prove the continued use of excessive force by Israeli forces against the Palestinian civilians in disregard for their lives. more

Egypt closes Rafah crossing with Gaza


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah crossing with Gaza on Friday after it had been open for four days to allow emergency cases through, a Gaza official said.

Iyam al-Bazem, spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior, said that 2,579 humanitarian cases left Gaza while 3,178 people entered the coastal territory.

Egypt prevented 146 Palestinians from leaving Gaza, he added.

Some 17,000 Palestinians need to urgently leave the territory, either for medical treatment or to continue their studies abroad, al-Bazem said. Egypt did not indicate when the crossing would next be opened.

The Rafah crossing, Gaza's only connection to the outside world, has been virtually closed since October 2014, allowing only a fraction of Gazans to leave or enter the blockaded enclave. more