Ref:41/2015

On Saturday evening, 08 August 2015,
lawyer Iyad al-Alami, Director of the Legal Aid Unit of the Palestinian Center
for Human Rights (PCHR), testified before the UN Committee to Investigate
Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and
Other Arabs in the Occupied Territories that convened in Amman-Jordan from 04-08
August 2015.

 

While testifying before the Committee, al-Alami
addressed violations committed by the Israeli forces during the period covered in
the Committee’s investigations, pointing to the continuing deterioration of the
human rights situation and international humanitarian law.

 

Lawyer al-Alami shed light on the Israeli
violations, the most prominent of which were as follows:

 

On 30 July 2015, the Israeli Knesset
passed in the second and third readings an 
amendment to the so-called "Law to Prevent Harm of Hunger
Strike" allowing force-feeding of prisoners, that presented by the Israeli
Minister of Internal Security, Gilad Erdan, from the Likud Party. This step
came in challenge of all international warnings to Israel to prevent passing
the law which legalizes torture. Lawyer al-Alami considered that this law is a
violation of human rights, and this was confirmed by the Special Rapporteur on
torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment, and the UN Special
Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable
standard of physical and mental health.

 

In his testimony, al-Alami pointed that
Israeli occupation has serious precedents in the field of force-feeding, due to
which a number of Palestinian detainees died. Al-Alami called upon the
international community to go beyond condemnation and immediately move to stop
the application of this law. Additionally, he explained the deterioration of
living and heath conditions and cruel and inhuman treatment, including torture,
medical negligence, solitary confinement and denial of family visits practiced
by Israeli authorities against Palestinian prisoners.

 

The testimpny also addressed the settlers’
retaliatory crimes against Palestinian civilians. The latest of these crimes
was the declaration at Soroka Hospital yesterday of the death of the father of Ali
Dawabsheh, an 18-month Palestinian child who was killed by arn arson attack by
Israeli settlers on the family’s house in Duma village, southeast of Nablus on
13 July 2015. The father sustained serious burns due to the attack and had been
receiving medical treatment at Sorika Hospital in Israel. A number of members
of the family were also injured. This crime
was committed few days after the first anniversary of the kidnapping of
Mohammed Abu Khdair, from Shu’fat neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem, who
was tortured, killed and brutally burnt by settlers. Moreover, these crimes
have passed without accountability or punishment for their perpetrators.

Regarding the absence of justice in the Israeli judicial system, al-Alami
highlighted the role played by the Israeli judicial system to cover-up crimes
committed by Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians. He talked about the hardships
experienced by victims of human rights violations to access justice in view of laws the deny the
Palestinian victims their right to judicial remedy and compensations.
Moreover, he tackled the Israeli obstacles,
the first of which was on 27 July 2015, when the Israeli Knesset approved an
amendment on the Tort Law (State’s Liability) of 1952, which prevents
Palestinian civilians from claiming for compensation from the Israeli
authorities
; second, another amendment under which the Statute of
Limitations was reduced from 7 to 2 years from the date of the incident; and
third, a written notice must be sent to the Israeli Ministry of Defense within
60 days from the date of the incidents as well.

 

Moreover, there are other financial obstacles that add extra burden on
the Palestinian civilians in case if resorting to the Israeli judicial system,
including the court’s fees that must be paid before the case procedures start
and the decisions obliging the victims to pay insurances that cannot be
afforded by them. Concerning the physical obstacles, Israeli forces have been
preventing any Palestinian from Gaza appearing before the Israeli courts since
June 2007 whether as a victims or as an eyewitness. The final amendment
regarding these obstacles was amendment no. 8/2012 under which the Israeli
occupation is exempted from any responsibility resulting from damage caused to
victims during any military operation.

 

In his statement on the ongoing Israeli attacks on the Palestinian
fishermen, al-Alami addressed the forms of Israeli practices carried out
against them in the sea. In the first half of 2015, PCHR documented 91 shooting
incidents that resulted in the killing of a fisherman, injury of 18 ones,
arrest of 30 others and seizure of 8 fishing boats within the allowed fishing
area. Furthermore, he brought to the Committee’s attention the Israeli closure imposed on the Gaza
Strip and its impact on the Palestinian civilians,
in addition to preventing the entry of a number
of basic commodities and reducing the entry of others
. As a result of
the closure,
suffering of the Palestinian civilians became greater.

  

At another level, lawyer al-Alami discussed the ongoing Israeli confiscation of lands and the construction of the annexation wall despite
of the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice in 2004, which considered the construction of the
annexation wall in the occupied West Bank illegal and called
for
dismantling the wall and compensating the victims.

 

Lawyer al-Alami urged during
his speech the international community to fulfil its moral and legal
obligations and work towards ensuring judicial remedy to the victims,
especially in the absence of the principle of accountability that makes the
Israeli occupation above the law and the involvement of the Israeli legislative,
judicial and executive in all crimes committed against the Palestinian
civilians. As a result, resorting to the International Criminal Court has
become a legal matter for the Palestinian victims
in view of the absence
of justice in the Israeli judiciary.

 

It should be noted that PCHR annually testifies before the UN Committee
to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the
Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs in the Occupied
Territories in 1967. PCHR’s testimonies address violations committed by Israeli
forces against Palestinian civilians.