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Ref: 70/2017 

 

As part of the collective punishment policy adopted by the Israeli forces against the Palestinian civilians accused of carrying out attacks against Israeli soldiers or/and settlers, on Thursday dawn, 17 August 2017, Israeli forces demolished a house belonging to ‘Adel Hasan Ahmed ‘Ankoush in Deir Abu Mesh’al village, northwest of Ramallah.  ‘Ankoush was killed by the Israeli forces on 16 June 2017. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) accordingly condemns this new crime, which is added to the series of Israeli crimes committed in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).  PCHR also emphasizes that the crime is part of the Israeli forces’ collective punishment policy against 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 aforementioned convention.

 

According to PCHR’s investigation and eyewitnesses’ accounts, at approximately 02:00 on Thursday, 17 August 2017, Israeli forces backed by several military jeeps and an engineering unit moved into Deir Abu Mesh’al village, northwest of Ramallah. They then surrounded a 2-storey house belonging to the family of ‘Adel Hasan Ahmed ‘Ankoush. The house was built on an area of 150 square meters, sheltering 6 members, including 4 children. Many soldiers raided the second floor in the house while the engineering unit planted explosives inside the house and blew it up. As a result, the ground floor sustained serious damage in addition to a nearby house belonging to Mustafa Sobhi Far as the wall of the bedroom was destroyed.

 

It should be noted that on 16 June 2017, the Israeli forces killed ‘Adel and two of his friends namely Bara’a Ibrahim Saleh ‘Ata and Osama Ahmed Dahdouh ‘Ata from Deir Abu Mesh’al  village, after they carried out a stab and shooting attack on al-Sultan Suleiman Street at the northern entrance to Bab al-Amoud (Damascus Gate) in East Jerusalem. The attack caused the death of an Israeli female soldier. Moreover, the Israeli forces raided the houses of the 3 killed civilians on 17 June 2017 and orally informed them of the demolition decision of their houses after they took measurements of the house.

 

According to PCHR’s investigation, this house is the sixth one to be demolished or/ and blown up or/and closed within one week. On 10 August 2017, the Israeli forces demolished two houses and closed a third one with compact cork in Deir Abu Mesh’al village, northwest of Ramallah, while another house was demolished in Silwad village, northeast of the city. On 16 August 2017, they also demolished a house belonging to the family of ‘Omer al-‘Abed in Kobar village, northwest of the city.

 

PCHR condemns the crime of demolishing the abovementioned house 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 reiterates 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.