As part of the collective punishment policy applied by the Israeli forces against the Palestinian families of those accused of carrying out attacks against the Israeli forces and/or settlers, Today at dawn, 10 August 2017, Israeli forces demolished two houses and closed a third with compact cork in Deir Abu Mesh’al village, northwest of Ramallah, while demolished another house in Silwad village, northeast of the city, rendering their occupants homeless. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns this new crime that is part of the Israeli crimes committed in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). PCHR highlights this crime falls within the collective punishment policy adopted by the Israeli forces against the innocent Palestinians in violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention that prohibits collective penalties and reprisals against protected persons and their property. PCHR calls upon the international community to offer protection to the civilians in the oPt and ensure the application of the provisions of the aforementioned convention.
According to PCHR’s investigations, today at dawn, the Israeli forces backed by about 50 military vehicles and a number of bulldozers moved into Deir Abu Mesh’al village, northwest of Ramallah, while a drone was soaring. The Israeli forces cordoned off the village and surrounded 3 houses. The military vehicles demolished two houses and closed a third with compact cork as the latter was hard to demolish because it is attached to other houses. The demolitions were as follows:
- A 2-storey house belonging to Ahmed Dahdouh Ata built on 150 square meters and sheltering a 6-member family. It was completely destroyed;
- A 2-storey house belonging to Ibrahim Saleh Ata built on 140 square meters and sheltering a 6-member family. It was completely destroyed; and
- A 1-storey house belonging to Hassan Ahmed Ankoush built on 110 square meters and sheltering a 10-member family. It was closed with compact cork.
It should be noted that the Israeli forces killed the sons of the three families on 16 June 2017, after they carried out stab and shooting attacks on al-Sultan Suleiman Street, at the northern entrance to Bab al-Amoud (Damascus Gate) in East Jerusalem. The killed young men were identified as
- Osama Ahmed ‘Ata (18);
- Bara’ Ibrahim Ata (18); and
- ‘Adel Hassan ‘Ankoush (19).
In the same context, at approximately 01:30, Israeli forces accompanied with several military vehicles and a digger moved into Silwad village, northeast of Ramallah. They surrounded a house belonging to Ahmed Mousa Hamed and totally demolished it. The 2-stoery house is built on an area of 150 square meters and sheltered 6 individuals, including an 11-year-old child. It should be noted that the abovementioned civilian is father of Malek Hamed (22), who was accused of carrying out a run-over attack against 2 soldiers on 06 April 2017, in “Ofra” settlement established on lands of the abovementioned village.
PCHR condemns the crime of demolishing and closing the abovementioned houses that falls within the collective punishment policy adopted by the Israeli forces against the Palestinian civilians. PCHR reminds that this policy is internationally prohibited according to Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states that: “No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited. Pillage is prohibited. Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited.”
Therefore, PCHR reiterate its call upon the international community to take immediate action to put an end to the Israeli crimes. PCHR also reiterates its call upon the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations under Article 1; i.e., to respect and ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances and their obligations 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 regarding the guarantee of Palestinian civilians’ right to protection in the oPt.