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, 21 June 2018, Israeli forces demolished the internal and outside walls of a residential apartment in Eastern Barta’ah village, southwest of Jenin. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns this new crime that will be added to the series of Israeli crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). PCHR emphasizes that 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 to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War that prohibits collective punishment and reprisals against protected persons and their property. PCHR calls upon the international community to offer protection for civilians in the oPt and ensure the application of the provisions of the aforementioned convention.
According to PCHR’s investigations, today at dawn, at approximately 01:00, the Israeli forces backed by about 20 military vehicles moved into Eastern Barta’ah village, southwest of Jenin, which is isolated behind the annexation wall. The Israeli forces stationed on the Market Street in the center of the city and surrounded a 4-storey residential building belonging to Rateb Abdul Latif As’ad Qabha. They raided and searched an apartment in the third floor and demolished its internal walls by heavy hammers and a Congo electric drill. Before they withdrew, the soldiers welded the main door of the apartment with Oxygen. The 140-square-meter apartment was inhabited by Rateb’s daughter, Nisreen (35) and her child as she has been divorced since 2010 and lived in her father’s building.
It should be noted that the Israeli forces opened fire and arrested Rateb’s son, ‘Ala’a (26), who is single, on 16 March 2018, after he carried out a run-over attack against a number of Israeli soldiers, who were stationed at a military checkpoint near former “Mavo Dotan” military camp, south of Jenin.
PCHR condemns the crime of demolishing and closing 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.