Ref: 20/2013

 

The Palestinian
Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the escalation of attacks by Israeli
forces and settlers against Qasra village, southeast of Nablus. The latest
incident involved joint attacks launched by Israeli forces and settlers on
Saturday, 23 February 2013, which injured 8 Palestinian civilians, including 3
children. A few days earlier, 6 cars were burnt out or damaged, and Israeli
forces destroyed part of the electricity network and dismantled 36 electricity
towers in areas that are frequently subjected to attacks by Israeli settlers. PCHR
believes that the cover, protection and support provided to settlers by Israeli
forces encourages them to commit more systematic crimes against Palestinian
civilians.

 

According to
investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 12:00 on Saturday, 23
February 2013, at least 25 Israeli settlers, some of whom were armed with machine
guns, moved from “Yish Kodesh” settlement to Qasra village, southeast of
Nablus, and attacked a house belonging to ‘Abdul Majid Tawfiq Salama in
al-Wa’ar area in the southeast of the village. A number of Palestinian
civilians gathered in the area; some rushed to the area when announcements were
made from mosque loudspeakers calling for assistance to protect the above house
from the settlers, who were escorted by Israeli forces. These civilians threw
stones at the Israeli forces and settlers. Immediately, Israeli soldiers fired
rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters at them, and the settlers
also opened fire. As a result, 8 civilians, including 3 children, were wounded.
One of the civilians, Helmi ‘Abdul ‘Aziz Hassan, 27, was seriously wounded by a
live bullet to the abdomen.

 

In a previous
attack, on Thursday morning, 21 February 2013, Israelis settlers set fire to 4
cars in the village and broke the windows of another two. On Wednesday, 20
February 2013, Israeli forces destroyed a part of the electricity network in
the village, and dismantled 36 electricity towers.

 

PCHR has
repeatedly warned of escalated attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinian
civilians and their property. PCHR strongly condemns such escalation of attacks
by Israeli forces and settlers against Palestinian civilians and their property
in Qasra village, and all other attacks launched by Israeli settlers throughout
the West Bank. In this context, PCHR:

 

1. Reminds
the international community that the building of settlements constitutes a war
crime under international law; the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth
Geneva Convention, individually or jointly, must assume their legal and moral
responsibilities and fulfill their obligation to ensure Israel’s respect for
the Convention in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) in accordance with
Article (1) of the Convention;


2. Calls
upon the international community to pressurize Israel to fulfill its
obligations under the international law by putting an end to settlement expansion
and dismantling all illegal settlements in the oPt.