On Tuesday, 04 December 2018, in new crime of using excessive lethal force against Palestinian civilians, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian with disability in Tulkarm. This crime and other crimes committed by the Israeli forces reflect their disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns this new crime and calls upon the international community to assume their legal and moral responsibility and effectively intervene to put an end to the Israeli forces’ crimes against Palestinians and work on providing protection for them.
According to PCHR’s investigations and eyewitnesses’ statements, on the abovementioned Tuesday dawn, Israeli forces accompanied with several military vehicles moved into Tulkarm as part of their military operation to search for Ashraf Na’alwah. They raided and searched several houses in the city and interrogated the residents. Some of the houses’ owners were identified as Ya’qoub al-Shunnar, Abdul Nasser al-Shaker, Mahmoud al-‘Amoudi and Amjad al-Hamshari. At approximately 01:30, several Israeli military vehicles moved from Khadouri intersection into Java Street in al-Maqahi area, west of the city. Meanwhile, a number of Palestinian civilians were in front of al-Malek coffee sho, and as soon as they saw the vehciles moving into the area, they spread out everywhere. The Israeli soldiers immediately opened fire at the civilians, wounding Mohammed Husam Abdul Latif Habali (22), who works in the abovementioned coffee shop, with bullet shrapnel to the head. A number of civilians then transferred Mohammed to Dr. Thabet Thabet Governmental Hospital in the city where his death was announced after half an hour of his arrival at the hospital. The Information Office of the Palestinian Health Ministry said to PCHR’s fieldworker that Mohammed was hit with explosive bullet shrapnel that settled in the head, causing his immediate death. Mohammed’s brother, ‘Ala’a Husam Habali said to PCHR’s fieldworker that his brother used to work in al-Malek Coffee Shop and at the moment of the incursion into the area, he was sweeping the floor in front of the coffee shop to close it. When the young men spread out, he could not keep up and run like them due to his disease as Mohammed suffered from mental disability and motor impairment.
PCHR hereby condemns the Israeli forces’ use of excessive, disproportionate and lethal force against Palestinian civilians. PCHR calls upon the international community and UN bodies to stop the Israeli escalating crimes and violations and work on providing international protection for Palestinians in the oPt. 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.