Israeli Authorities Continue to Apply Collective Punishment Measures against Palestinian Civilians in Occupied Jerusalem
On 08 January 2017 Fadi al-Qunbar (28), from al-Mukaber Mount village, southeast of occupied Jerusalem, carried out a run-over attack in “Armon Hanatzie” settlement established on the village lands, resulting in the killing of 4 Israeli soldiers. Following this, the Israeli authorities started a series of collective punishments against Fadi’s family and his relatives. Those measures included arresting members of Fadi’s family, suspending their residencies, withdrawing their IDs, removing the mourning tent and closing the village entrances to isolate it from the outside world. Furthermore, Israeli authorities initiated the necessary measure to demolish Fadi’s house and handed dozens of administrative demolition notices to dozens houses belonging to al-Qunbar family and their neighbors. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns those measures that are part of collective punishment policy prohibited by international human rights law. PCHR calls upon the international community to offer protection for Palestinian civilians in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), especially in occupied East Jerusalem, and ensure applying its measures.
According to PCHR’s investigations, after an hour of the run-over attack, Israeli forces moved into al-Qanabrah neighborhood in al-Mukaber Mount village, and closed with cement cubes the entrances to al-Madres Street and al-Farouq neighborhood. Israeli Special Forces and intelligence officers raided and searched Fadi’s family house and houses of his relatives and siblings in addition to damaging its furniture. An Israeli officer from the Explosive Engineering Unit then took photos and measurements of the victim’s house while another officer threatened Fadi’s wife and his relatives of demolishing the house. Israeli forces then arrested Fadi’s father, Ahmed Hamdan al-Qunbar (85); his mother, Menwa al-Qunbar (70); his wife Tahani al-Qunbar (22); his two brothers Monther (22) and Mohamed (30); his sister Shadia and two cousins. All of the abovementioned arrested persons were then taken to al-Maskobiya prison in West Jerusalem, to question them. At approximately 08:00 on Monday, 09 January 2017, Israeli forces raided Fadi’s house again, removed the mourning tent and confiscated its contents. They also warned the family of establishing the mourning tent again.
On Sunday, 08 January 2017, Israeli forces closed al-Madares Street with cement cubes. A number of civilians said to PCHR’s fieldworker that the Abovementioned Street is considered as one of the main entrance to the village, where there are 8 schools with more than 3,000 male and female students. The closure obstructed students’ and teachers’ access to their schools. Moreover, there is a medical center on the aforementioned street located one kilometer away from the closed entrance. If the closure continues, it would deny ambulances’ access to the medical center in order to transfer patients to hospitals. It should be mentioned that it is not the first time that the Israeli authorities close the aforementioned street as it was closed 4 times before in 2016.
In a dangerous precedent, on Tuesday, 10 January 2017, the family of Fadi al-Qunbar received orders to suspend their residencies (withdrawing the blue IDs), in addition to cancelling family reunion applications of other relatives following the run-over attack. Fadi’s family said to PCHR’s fieldworker that Israeli forces raided Fadi’s family house and handed them 12 orders issued by the Israeli Interior Minister to suspend the residency and reunion applications of several family members. The people who received such orders are:
- Menwa Qunbar- Fadi’s mother: A decision to suspend her residency in Jerusalem.
- Suha Qunbar- Fadi’s sister: A decision to suspend her residency in Jerusalem.
- Murad Aweisat- Suha’s husband: A decision to cancel his “reunion” application as well as cancelling the reunion applications and residency of their two children (Nagham 11, and Wadi’a, 17).
- Dia’ Aweisat (21)-Fadi’s nephew (Hind’s son): A decision to suspend his residency and cancel his “reunion” application.
- Manal Qunbar- Fadi’s sister in law (Sami’s wife): A decision to suspend her residency and cancel his “reunion” application.
- Ahmad Hussein Qunbar- Fadi’s cousin
- Mohammad Hussein Qunbar- Fadi’s cousin
- Salah Hussein Qunbar- Fadi’s cousin
- Zakaria Hussein Qunbar- Fadi’s cousin
- Younes Hussein Qunbar- Fadi’s cousin
As part of the collective punishment policies against Palestinian civilians, Israeli websites published on Sunday, 15 January 2017, the Israeli Ministerial Committee for Legislation will vote on a bill to deport families of those carrying out attacks to the West Bank and abroad. The websites also said that the bill is seperated into 2 sections, granting powers to the Interior Security Minister to deport the attackers’ families from Jerusalem and to the “Defense” Minister in order to deport families from the West Bank to abroad. Therefore, PCHR expresses its deep concern that applying this law would subject al-Qunbar family and other Palestinian families to deportation from Jerusalem and/or outside.
In the same context, eyewitnesses said that Israeli forces accompanied with Israeli municipality crews raided houses near al-Qunbar house and handed their residents administrative demolition notices under the pretext of non-licensing. On Wednesday, 10 January 2017, Israeli Channel 10 Website published that while Israeli forces is preparing for demolishing al-Qunbar house, the Israeli municipality prepares for establishing a new settlement neighborhood in the area, where Fadi’s family lives. There is news about building new 2500 settlement units in the area.
PCHR condemns the Israeli government’s latest measures against Palestinian civilians in occupied Jerusalem and its suburbs that are part of collective punishment policies. PCHR also reminds the international community of the Israeli forces’ violation of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention relevant to the Protection of Civilians in time of War, especially Article 33 that prohibits collective punishment.
In light of the above-mentioned, PCHR:
- Stresses that East Jerusalem is an occupied city, and all measures taken by the Israeli authorities following its occupation in 1967 do not change East Jerusalem’s legal status as an occupied territory;
- Calls upon the UN to provide protection for civilians in the oPt in general, and in East Jerusalem, in particular;
- Calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to ensure that Israel, as a Member State to these Conventions, implements the Geneva Conventions in the oPt, especially East Jerusalem and
- Reiterates its call to the EU to take practical measures to stop the Israeli continued violation of international law, including the international humanitarian law and international human rights law, in addition to activiate Article 2 of the European – Israeli Association Agreement, which calls for respect of human rights.