Ref: 40/2016

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the Israeli storming al-Fawar refugee camp, south of Hebron, maltreating the residents, intentionally damaging houses’ contents and using excessive force against civilians. This resulted in the killing of Palestinian civilian and wounding 32. PCHR emphasizes that the abovementioned incursion falls within the collective punishment policy prohibited by the international human rights law. PCHR also calls upon the international community to provide protection for civilians in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt_ and ensure applying its procedures.

According to PCHR’s investigations, at approximately 01:30 on the aforementioned day, an Israeli infantry unit comprised of 500 soldiers and officers moved into al-Fawar refugee camp, south of Hebron, from an area adjacent to “Beit Hagai settlement and al-Rihiya village, where there is a military camp for the Israeli forces. When the unit arrived at the camp and deployed in its vicinity, military backups comprised of over 50 military jeeps and armed personnel carriers and a bulldozer arrived at the area. After that, they closed the eastern and western entrances to the village and prevented civilians’ movement. Furthermore, they surrounded al-Fawar refugee camp and two other nearby villages, al-Hadeb and al-Riyhiya, whose residents used the main road to reach Dura and Hebron.

The Israeli soldiers raided houses and topped some of them houses to turn them into military barracks. After that, they systematically damaged the houses’ contents, causing fear and horror among residents.  Moreover, they locked civilians in one room and confiscated their cell phones. In the meantime, a number of Palestinian young men gathered to throw stones at the Israeli soldiers, who intentionally fired heavily sound bombs and tear gas canisters at them. Furthermore, Israeli soldiers fired live bullets and rubber-coated metal bullets at civilians through holes they made in the houses walls overlooking the sub roads in the village. As a result, 32 civilians were hit with live bullets throughout their bodies. The wounded persons were then taken to an UNRWA clinic and another clinic belonging to the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) in the camp.

The house searches included destroying the floor tiles and the internal walls. During the raids, Israeli soldiers confiscated laptops and cameras from Ahmed Abu Warda’s house that belong to his son Khalid (22). Khalid said to a PCHR’s fieldworker that the soldiers broke wooden walls and uprooted the floor tiles in a room in his uncle’s house. They also confiscated several laptops he was repairing. They also took him to several houses and questioned him about the camp. Later, the Israeli forces released him and returned the laptops, while they kept the hard desks.

PCHR keeps names of the raided houses owners.

At approximately 16:50, while Israeli forces were stationed on a house belonging to Bajes Mahmoud Ahmed al-Hamouz and locked the family members (7) in one room, the Israeli soldiers made a 30-centimeter hole in the house eastern wall.  Through the hole and from a distance of 40 meters, an Israeli soldier fired a live bullet at Mohamed Yousef Saber Abu Hashash (19).  The bullet entered under his armpit and settled in his body, while he was on his way out from a building where his grandmother and uncles live. Mohamed was then taken to PRCS, where he received first aid CPR. One of the paramedics classified Mohamed wounds as very serious.  He was later pronounced dead due to a bullet that settled in his body, causing internal bleeding.

Rawan ‘Ayed al-Hamouz (16) said to a PCHR’s fieldworker that:

I was watching what happened in the camp through our house windows. At approximately 16:00, I saw a number of Israeli soldiers raiding a house belonging to Bajes al-Hamouz after they left a three-storey building belonging to the family of Abu Hashash that is only was just 4 meters away from our house. I was standing at the entrance of our house when the soldiers made a hole in the external wall of the house in a room overlooking the street. I heard Mahmoud Abu Hashhash (19), who was in his grandmother’s apartment in the Abu Hashhash building shouting “be careful, the Israeli soldiers made a hole in the house”. I then saw a riffle coming out of the abovementioned hole. After that, Mahmoud went out of the main door of the building and turned left. I heard a sound of a gunshot after which Mahmud screamed and fell on the ground. There were no clashes or stone throwing and the neighborhood was very quiet. My father and my sister, who was a volunteer paramedic at the PRCS, ran towards Mahmud. They tried to revive him, but in van as he fainted. An ambulance then arrived and took Mahmoud to the Medical Clinic. Later, my father called and said that Mahmoud died.

PCHR condemns the Israeli incursion of al-Fawar refugee camp, maltreatment of the inhabitants and excessive use of forces against the and:

  1. Calls upon the United Nations to provide international protection to civilians in the oPt;
  2. Calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to guarantee that Israel, as a High Contracting Party to the Conventions, applies the Conventions in the oPt and
  3. Calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fulfill their obligationS to ensure its application, including extending the scope of their internal jurisdiction in order to prosecute war criminals, regardless of the nationality of the perpetrator and crime place, to pave the way towards holding Israeli war criminals accountable and ending their impunity, which they have enjoyed for decades.