As Part of Applying Collective Punishment Policy against Families of Those Carrying Attacks against Israeli Soldiers or Settlers, Israeli Forces Blow up House Belonging to Jabreen Family in Yatta
As part of the collective punishment policy adopted by the Israeli forces against the families of Palestinians accused of carrying out attacks against Israeli soldiers or/and settlers, on Friday early morning, 18 January 2019, the Israeli forces blew up a building belonging to the family of prisoner Khalil Yousef Jabreen (17) in Yatta, south of Hebron. 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 investigations and eyewitnesses, at approximately 01:00 on the abovementioned day, Israeli forces backed by military vehicles, armed personnel carriers and a military bulldozer moved into Yatta, south of Hebron, and stationed in al-Hilah area in the center of the city. They then stepped out of their military vehicles, deployed between houses and topped their roofs. The soldiers closed all entrances leading to the house of Khalil Jabareen. A large number of the Israeli soldiers raided the abovementioned house to apply the blowing up decision which the family was informed of previously under the pretext of carrying out a stabbing attack by Khalil, on 16 September 2018, in “Rami Lifli” shop in the vicinity of “Gush Etzion “ settlement, south of Bethlehem. This attack resulted in the killing of an Israeli settler and the injury of another one, while Khalil was hit with several live bullets and later arrested. The Israeli soldiers forced the family to evacuate their 3-story house, which includes 4 apartments, and forcibly deported them.
Following that, a large number of Israeli soldiers raided and searched the residential houses in the vicinity of the above-mentioned house. They forced the residents to evacuate them immediately and forcibly, causing fear among them. The residents were forced to leave 200 meters away, where they were detained in nearby houses for 5 consecutive hours. They were more than 70 civilians, including children, women and elderlies, detained in a very cold place. In the meantime, dozens of young men and boys gathered, set fire to tires and threw stones and empty bottles at Israeli soldiers who deployed in al-Hilah area and heavily fired tear gas canisters at them. As a result, many civilians and journalists suffered tear gas inhalation and fainting. Meanwhile, an Israeli military force was demolishing the internal walls of the 3rd floor of the house with special equipment and planting a large quantity of explosives inside it in preparation for blowing it up. At approximately 06:30, the 3rd floor built on an area of 140 square meters was blown up and completely destroyed, which the 1st and 2nd floors sustained cracks.
PCHR again condemns the crime of blowing up the abovementioned building and maltreatment of Palestinian civilians as both are part of the collective punishment policy adopted by the Israeli forces against the Palestinian civilians. PCHR again emphasizes 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.