By Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
Press Release, 04. October 2015
Since Thursday, 01 October 2015, the West Bank, especially occupied East Jerusalem, witnessed a serious escalation by Israeli forces and settlers against the Palestinian civilians and their property. Following the killing of a settler and his wife southeast of Nablus on the abovementioned day, Israeli forces cordoned Nablus. Moreover, the settlers carried out a series of attacks on the Palestinian civilians and their cars on roads and in houses located in the outskirts of the villages adjacent to the settlements. In the context of the escalation policy and the racist incitement by settlers, on Sunday, 04 October 2015, the Israeli forces willfully killed a Palestinian civilian in Jerusalem in after he was chased and beaten by settlers. Israeli forces claimed that the victim attempted to stab a 15-year-old settler, due to which that settler sustained moderate wounds, and then he escaped to Street no. 1 before the Israeli police arrived and shot him dead. Even if the Israeli claim was true, Israeli forces could have used less force or arrested the Palestinian, especially as he walked enough distance before he was killed without posing any threat to the Israeli officers or settlers.
On Sunday morning, 04 October 2015, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian from al-Eisawiya village in occupied East Jerusalem. According to PCHR’s investigations and statements of eyewitnesses, in the early morning, a group of settlers chased Fadi Samir Mostafa Aloon (19), from al-Eisawiya village, northeast of East Jerusalem, while he was walking in al-Mesrara area. They chased him after he tried to escape towards „Haim Barlev Street no. 1“. In the meantime, an Israeli police patrol arrived at the scene and surrounded him, and soon after, an Israeli officer shot Aloon dead from a close range with over 7 bullets. This attack occurred in presence of the settlers who incited the police to kill him him. Videos reported by the Israeli media showed that a big group of settlers surrounded and beat Aloon while he was present in al-Mersrara area. They then chased him, so he was panicked. The Israeli police arrived to the place and shot him dead. Furthermore, the video displayed by the Israeli media showed the settlers beating and pulling him after he was shot, and then chanting slogans calling for revenge against the Arabs. Afterwards, Israeli forces kept the corpse and did not inform his family of any details about the place where it was kept or the time of delivering it.
An eyewitness, who is a taxi driver during night shifts, said to a PCHR fieldworker that Aloon was chased by settlers from al-Mesrara area to the place where he was killed, which is a distance of over 500 meters. Moreover, when the Israeli police vehicle arrived, an Israeli officer stepped out of it and opened fire at him directly. It should be noted that the settlers, who had gathered in the streets and roads of the Old City in Jerusalem, reached al-Mesrara neighborhood and al-Amoud Gate area on Saturday night, 03 October 2015, after Mohannad Shafiq Halabi (19), from al-Bireh town, stabbed and killed two Israeli settlers in al-Wad neighborhood. Halabi was also killed by Israeli forces.
On Sunday early morning, 04 October 2015, Israeli forces backed by many vehicles moved into Jenin refugee camp adjacent to Jenin from three directions entrances: al-Jabriyat in the south of the camp; al-Zahraa‘ in its north; and al-Hadaf area in the west of the camp. Dozens of Israeli soldiers were deployed in the camp alleys. They topped the roofs of high buildings while their vehicles imposed a cordon on a house belonging to Qays al-Sa’di ordering its owner via loudspeakers to surrender. His wife and children as well as his father and brother went out of the house and told the Israeli soldiers that the aforementioned was not at home. However, the Israeli soldiers continued to cordon the house and fired a number of shells at it. As a result, fire broke out on the third floor, which was completely burnt, and the second floor was partially destroyed. Meanwhile, clashes broke out between the soldiers and a number of armed Palestinians, who opened fire at them to end the cordon imposed on the house. Local sources said to a PCHR fieldworker that al-Sa’di survived the assassination or arrest attempt. However, the Israeli forces arrested his brother, Mohammed (23), and took him to an unknown destination.
On Saturday morning, 03 October 2015, Israeli forces moved into Nablus. They arrested 7 civilians and wounded 11 others, including 3 children, as they were protesting against them. Moreover, 3 civilians were wounded when a group of settlers protected by the Israeli forces attacked a house belonging to Jamal Abu Baker at the entrance of Soret al-Ra’ees village, southwest of the city. The Israeli forces opened fire at a number of civilians who confronted the settlers and Israeli forces and threw stones at them to keep them away from the house.
In the same context, several areas in the West Bank witnessed a series of attacks by settlers against Palestinian civilians and property. At approximately 21:30 on Thursday, 01 October 2015, after two settlers were killed in a shooting incident on the bypass road between „Eitmar“ settlement and Beit Foriq checkpoint, east of Nablus, hundreds of settlers gathered at Howarah checkpoint at the southern entrance of the city and the intersection leading to „Yitsahar“ settlement and the intersection leading to „Barakha“ settlement, south of the city. They smashed the windows of Palestinian cars parked there. This coincided with the closure of the aforementioned checkpoint by Israeli forces before the Palestinian civilians‘ movement and their vehicles on both directions. As a result of the attacks, around 40 Palestinian vehicles were damaged. In addition, dozens of the vehicles‘ passengers were injured by the scattered window glass. The settlers used stones, sharp tools and sticks in their attacks which they carried in the presence of the Israeli soldiers and police.
PCHR strongly condemns the willful killing of Aloon in East Jerusalem, which further proves the use of excessive force by Israeli forces against the Palestinian civilians in disregard for the civilians’ lives. Moreover, PCHR condemns collective punishment measures taken by the Israeli forces in the oPt and the attacks launched by Israeli settlers before the eyes of Israeli forces. Therefore, PCHR calls upon the international community to take immediate and effective actions to put an end to such crimes and reiterates its call for the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 to fulfill their obligations under Article 1; i.e., to respect and to ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances, and their obligation under Article 146 to prosecute persons alleged to commit grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention. These grave breaches constitute war crimes under Article 147 of the same Convention and Protocol I Additional to the Geneva Conventions.