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Human rights orgs condemn collective punishment of Palestinians in response to disappearance of three Israeli settlers

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Israeli soldier searches a Palestinian vehicle at a checkpoint near Hebron on Sunday, three days after the teenagers disappeared from the West Bank. (Photo: Reuters)

Israeli soldier searches a Palestinian vehicle at a checkpoint near Hebron on Sunday, three days after the teenagers disappeared from the West Bank. (Photo: Reuters)

The following statement was released by the Palestinian Human Rights Organisations Council (PHROC) a coalition comprised of the Addameer Prisoners’ Support and Human Rights Association, Aldameer Association for Human Rights, Al Haq, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, Defence for Children International – Palestine Section, Ensan Center for Human Rights and Democracy, Hurryyat – Centre for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights, Jerusalem Center for Legal Aid and Human Rights, Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies, Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling, The Palestinian Center for Human Rights.

The recent wave of arrests, attacks, killings and total closure of large parts of the West Bank following the disappearance of three Israeli settlers is a clear form of collective punishment against the Palestinian people. Since the disappearance of the three settlers on Thursday 12 June, Israeli forces in Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah, have killed a Palestinian man, Ahmad Sabarin, 20, and have arrested approximately 200 Palestinians across the West Bank. In total, eight members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) have been arrested since 12 June, including the head of the PLC. One PLC member has since been released. On 15 June three people were injured, including an eight-year old boy, when the Israeli military blew up the entrance of a house in Hebron during an arrest operation. In addition, on 16 June six Palestinians were injured at Qalandiya checkpoint near Ramallah, including Yazan Yacoub, 17, who was, according to reports, shot in the chest and abdomen with a live bullet, critically wounding him.

As the Occupying Power, Israel is obligated to carry out its search for the missing settlers in line with its obligations under international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law (IHRL). IHRL imposes an absolute obligation on Israel to respect the right to life of Palestinians by ensuring that the use of force and firearms by law enforcement officials is carried out in a manner that minimises damage and injury and respects and preserves human life. IHRL further prohibits arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy, family, home and correspondence and affords all persons the right to liberty and security of person, which demands a legal basis for each and every individual arrest. Furthermore, all persons that are arrested must be treated with humanity and respect for their inherent dignity.

Although some of the measures carried out by the Israeli forces in large parts of the West Bank may have a link to the investigation into the disappearances, the methods employed are indiscriminate in their nature and are undermining the fundamental rights of the persons concerned. Furthermore, these restrictive measures are being carried out based on mere speculation regarding both the identity of those responsible for the disappearances and their location. As such, these measures indicate Israel’s intention to impose punitive measures against large portions of the Palestinian population in violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibiting reprisals against protected persons and their property, as well as collective punishment.

Furthermore, Israeli government threats to expel Hamas personnel from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip based on allegations that the organisation is responsible for the settlers’ disappearances not only amounts to indiscriminate collective punishment but also violates Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits forcible transfers and deportations of protected persons in occupied territory. The violation of this provision amounts to a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions and as such may constitute a war crime under Article 8(2)(a)(vii) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

The Palestinian Human Rights Organisations Council (PHROC) condemns Israel’s disregard for its obligations under international law and its use of reprisals against the Palestinian population in carrying out its investigations into the disappeared youths. PHROC calls upon High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to uphold their obligation to ensure respect for the Conventions as established under Common Article 1, by taking concrete measures to pressure Israel to halt its violations of international law.

PHROC further condemns the Israeli government-initiated law proposal to permit force-feeding of hunger strikers. Currently, over 125 Palestinian detainees and prisoners are on hunger strike in protest against Israel’s illegal practice of Administrative Detention. Force feeding is defined as torture by the World Medical Association and has been condemned by the United Nations (UN), including by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture. As such, PHROC calls upon the international community to condemn the law publicly and to urge the Israeli government to withdraw it. Moreover, PHROC calls on Israel to heed to the demands of the hunger strikers by bringing its illegal practice of administrative detention to an immediate end.

Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Executive Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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29 Responses

  1. seafoid on June 17, 2014, 10:37 am

    “Furthermore, all persons that are arrested must be treated with humanity and respect for their inherent dignity.”
    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.599388

    “The public security minister was authorized to worsen the conditions of Hamas members held in Israeli prisons,” the senior official said. “An additional cabinet meeting will be held in coming days to discuss further steps against Hamas.”

    I guess the concept of human rights never made it into Hebrew. Straight from the pre common era to 1948 and Sparta redux.

    • a blah chick on June 17, 2014, 7:33 pm

      “The public security minister was authorized to worsen the conditions of Hamas members held in Israeli prisons,” the senior official said.

      How much worse can they get?

  2. amigo on June 17, 2014, 10:37 am

    I have one simple question!!.

    Is there one GC the Apartheid rogue regime has not violated.

    Clearly this whole exercise is being carried out to enable the breakup of the Unity Government.

    The level of response is proof of just how much Israel fears the unity Agreement.

  3. Maximus Decimus Meridius on June 17, 2014, 10:51 am

    OK. It’s been 5 days since the ‘students’ went missing. Still not a whisper of a claim of responsibility. Still no ransom demand. And, despite the fact that they disappeared in occupied territory, which is under the most intense military scrutiny, and despite a massive hunt involving at least a hundred arrests, nobody seems to have a clue where they are.

    Either these are some super-dooper kidnapping pros – albeit ones who allow their victim to phone the police – or the Israelis aren’t quite the intelligence masterminds they want us to believe. Or something else entirely.

    • amigo on June 17, 2014, 12:43 pm

      “Or something else entirely.” MDM

      I still think it is all planned and Israel intends to cause as much pain as it can.

      Expect this to continue until the so called kidnapped kids get tired and don,t want to play the game any longer or an Intifada erupts.These tactics are right out of a Nazi training manual.

      You cannot underestimate the depths of evil the Apartheid rogue entity is willing to go to get what it wants.

      I just cannot imagine how an Israeli could be proud of this most vile of nations.

      It boggles the mind.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius on June 17, 2014, 3:08 pm

        Remember that most Israelis are, to put it bluntly, brainwashed.

        And while I think your theory has a lot of merit, don’t you think that if this was a false flag pschy-ops thing, it would have been a bit better done? Wouldn’t we see a claim of responsibility from some ‘militant group’ nobody had ever heard of? Photos of the ‘boys’ looking scared? Blood curdling videos from the ‘kidnappers’ – and it would be easy to get one of the many Palestinian collaborators to mask his face and pose?

        As things stand, it smacks too much of an Israeli intelligence failure. The phone call which was dismissed as a prank. The utter inability to find even a trace of the ‘missing boys’. Granted, most Israelis are too indoctrinated to see through it, but there are a few who will.

        I honestly don’t know what to make of this, except that we’re not getting the full story here.

      • amigo on June 17, 2014, 7:25 pm

        MDM, it is all very difficult to figure out but I still cannot believe that some Palestinian group got lucky and nabbed these three by chance and have managed to spirit them away and especially given the level and scope of activity of the IDF.

        One other possibility is these three made a habit of hiking home and some Palestiniian group were aware of this and had ample time to plan .But if that is the case , how would such careful planning include allowing the so called victims to make a phone call. Doesn,t compute.

        I still think Israel is in control and is milking it for all it can,They may have already found these guys and the alleged kidnappers and are keeping a lid on it. If they come clean they will have to end the attacks and arrests and attempts to destroy the Unity Government.

    • Kay24 on June 17, 2014, 1:08 pm

      In zioland, there is no waiting for more evidence, or waiting for facts to come to conclusions. ONLY when a crime is committed by Israel (so much of that, really) will they want to “investigate” themselves, or wait for experts to write their reports.
      When it comes to the Palestinians, the brutal occupiers, wait for no investigation, or facts, they bomb first, retaliate in every inhumane way, and demand the entire world condemn the other side, whether they are guilty or not. If the Palestinians go to the UN and bid for statehood, the Israelis are already “retaliating” by stealing acres of land, or refusing to release monies owed to the Palestinians. I must say Israelis are masters of retaliation, they pounce on every little action made by the Palestinians to make them suffer with the zio brand of collective punishment. The word evil come to mind.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius on June 17, 2014, 1:17 pm

        Yes. Compare and contrast the way every single frame of the videos showing the murder of the youths on Nakba Day was scrutinised and analysed for something – anything – which might cast doubt on the ”Pallywood” story. And yet, when 3 settlers go missing – which could be for any number of reasons, as is usually the case in such situations – all Bibi needs to do is say ”Hamas did it” and that’s enough for everyone in Israel, and, sadly, most of the Western media too.

        As with everything else, there are two standards in Israel and the OPT – one for precious Jews, the other for demographically troublesome Arabs.

      • Kay24 on June 17, 2014, 4:59 pm

        What I cannot accept, is zionist servants like Tony Blair, condemning this kidnapping, and not acknowledging, or condemning the brutal killing of the two Palestinian kids. He brings his standing as a leader down (or whatever is left of it), when he acts like a mindless supporter of Israel. I wonder if he is getting paid, like the US Congress to give his unwavering support to a rogue apartheid state.

      • just on June 17, 2014, 5:15 pm

        Worse yet, he is an Islamophobe and the designated ME “Peace Envoy”.

        Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse.

      • RoHa on June 17, 2014, 7:40 pm

        “When it comes to the Palestinians, the brutal occupiers, wait for no investigation, …”

        But the Palestinians aren’t the brutal occupiers. It is the Israelis who are the occupiers.

      • Woody Tanaka on June 17, 2014, 8:19 pm

        “But the Palestinians aren’t the brutal occupiers. It is the Israelis who are the occupiers.”

        That demonstrates the value in the proper use of commas.

      • Kay24 on June 18, 2014, 10:24 am

        LOL making fun of my misuse of punctuation marks? Never mind, you know what I mean!

      • eljay on June 18, 2014, 12:31 pm

        >> LOL making fun of my misuse of punctuation marks?

        its not the first time he looses it, over bad grammer. :-D

      • RoHa on June 18, 2014, 8:51 pm

        “Never mind, you know what I mean!”

        You hope I know what you mean. However, although I have many astonishing talents, telepathy is not one of them. I have to try to guess what you mean from what you write, and in this case your writing suggested that you meant that the Palestinians were the occupiers.

  4. palijustice on June 17, 2014, 11:59 am

    Israel treat Non Jews with equal rights as Jews? Ain’t gonna happen until it’s taught in the schools and written into law and the laws are changed. For example, Non Jewa can’t buy most property in Israel, and their homes are demolished because they’re not Jews. Does anybody see this changing?

  5. Palikari on June 17, 2014, 3:56 pm

    Have these “human rights” organizations condemned the kidnapping of three Jewish teens…?

    • Woody Tanaka on June 17, 2014, 5:52 pm

      “Have these “human rights” organizations condemned the kidnapping of three Jewish teens…?”

      Please demonstrate that this is, in fact, a kidnapping and exclude all other possibilities. Then we’ll be certain that they’re not simply prudently waiting to see what it that is going one.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius on June 17, 2014, 5:57 pm

      Like the rest of us, they’re probably still awaiting proof that these teens – their religion is irrelevant to anyone but a bigot – were kidnapped, and by whom.

      Sorry if that messes up your plan to blame Palestinians – ALL Palestinians – and indulge in a maudlin pity fest.

    • amigo on June 17, 2014, 7:31 pm

      “Have these “human rights” organizations condemned the kidnapping of three Jewish teens…?” palikari

      Why would they condemn a kidnapping for which there is no proof.

      As usual our local idiots get the cart before the horse.

  6. just on June 17, 2014, 4:07 pm

    OT, but revealing the hypocrisy some of us would like to see eradicated:

    “Mordechai Vanunu, incarcerated for more than a decade in solitary confinement after exposing Israel’s nuclear weapons programme, has been prevented from attending meetings in Britain to promote the protection of whistleblowers, including Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning.

    A decision by the Israeli supreme court to uphold a travel ban on Vanunu, 28 years after he first revealed Israel’s nuclear secrets, was sharply criticised on Tuesday by Amnesty International. He had been asked to address a meeting on whistleblowers on Tuesday sponsored by Amnesty and was invited by more than 50 senior peers and MPs to a meeting in Westminster on Wednesday.

    The supreme court judges accepted the Israeli interior ministry’s claim that, if allowed to leave the country, Vanunu could damage Israel and its citizens with the information he could reveal about the country’s nuclear capacity.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/17/israeli-court-vanunu-travel-ban?commentpage=1#start-of-comments

    Remember this the next time Israel asks for Pollard.

  7. Shuki on June 17, 2014, 6:21 pm

    “disappearance” as if they magically evaporated into thin air… is there no depth to which you wont sink in the defense of those who would just as soon see you thrown into the sea with the rest of us?

    Despicable

  8. a blah chick on June 17, 2014, 7:29 pm

    I hate to say it but I think these guys are dead. It’s far easier to secrete a dead person than a live one.

    Five days and nothing? With all the soldiers, security men running about, not to mention the informers? You would think that one of their prize “masqueraders” would have seen something. And think about the logistics of feeding and guarding three young men. Do you keep them in one locations or split them up?

    Either this is retaliation for the recent killings or an attempt by some faction to ruin the reconciliation agreement.

    • Bumblebye on June 17, 2014, 8:22 pm

      Nobody’s considering the burnt out car with Israeli number-plates.

      What if some half-drunk settler thought he’d have himself some Palestinian road-kill, only to find out he’d killed his own kind once he ploughed thru them? So instead of facing up to his crimes, because settlers just don’t, he puts their bodies in his car and takes them somewhere where he can dig a shallow grave and dump them. Then he takes his car far away again, pours fuel over it and torches it to destroy the evidence. Then he makes his way home, and claims the car was stolen. The end, except by now the Israelis know all this anyway but prefer to play out this anti-Palestinian exercise until they find the bodies and some poor Palestinian sap on whom to lay ‘official’ blame.

      • just on June 17, 2014, 8:51 pm

        “Nobody’s considering the burnt out car with Israeli number-plates.”

        I am. I’m quite sure lots of people are. I am watching with horrid fascination.

      • a blah chick on June 17, 2014, 9:07 pm

        However this turns out do you think we’ll ever get the full story? I don’t.

  9. DICKERSON3870 on June 18, 2014, 5:42 am

    RE: “The recent wave of arrests, attacks, killings and total closure of large parts of the West Bank following the disappearance of three Israeli settlers is a clear form of collective punishment against the Palestinian people.” ~ the Palestinian Human Rights Organisations Council (PHROC)

    MY COMMENT: This sounds somewhat like the MO (method of operation) used after the Itamar murders.*

    * SEE – “Itamar Murders: How the Israeli Narrative of Victimization Is Fed”, By Ira Chernus, Truthout,
    30 April 2011

    [EXCERPTS] How painful it must have been for Motti Fogel to get up and speak at his brother Udi’s funeral. Udi, his wife and three of his children were all buried that day. All were killed by intruders while they slept at home in the Jewish settlement of Itamar, near the Palestinian village of Awarta on the West Bank.
    However difficult it was, Fogel forced himself to eulogize his brother because he had something so important to say: “This funeral has to be a private affair. A man dies to himself, to his children. Udi, you are not a national event. Your horrible death mustn’t make your life into a tool.”
    But Fogel must have known that his warning was in vain, that his brother and the whole slain family had already become a tool – a political tool. All he had to do was look across the gravesite and see Moshe Yaalon, Israel’s right-wing vice premier and minister of strategic affairs. Such a high-ranking official doesn’t show up at some ordinary citizens’ funeral unless there is political hay to be made.
    In case there was any doubt, Yaalon erased it as soon as it was his turn to speak. “This murder reminds everyone that the struggle and conflict is … a struggle for our existence,” he proclaimed. “We cannot continue speaking about security while the essence is neglected – the essence which is Israel’s right to its land” – which includes, he had no need to explain, the entire West Bank. “In this difficult hour, we must rise from the rubble and do the most natural thing – continue building and developing Israel.”
    Indeed, on the very same day, other Israeli cabinet ministers were proclaiming that the government’s response to the murder – approving several hundred new housing units on the West Bank – was not nearly enough. “We must build in Jerusalem as well as Judea and Samarea,” Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Atias insisted. “At least a thousand new homes for each person murdered,” Interior Minister Eli Yishai demanded.
    To most Israeli Jews, the logic was clear; it was the logic of war: They killed our people. We must strike back. . .
    The pressure on the Israeli army to find someone to blame was immense. A reign of terror was imposed on the village of Awarta from the day the murder occurred, with some 300 people being arrested in the investigation. It’s not hard to imagine that the Israelis would trump up false charges. The Jerusalem Post even reported claims that the teens confessed under torture.
    But you won’t find that in the US media, not even in the nation’s most respected newspaper. Kershner did report that “about 35 residents of Awarta remain in Israeli detention” even after the case was supposedly solved, and that the mayor of Awarta has “many doubts about this Israeli story” and demanded an independent investigation. But she did not follow up his claims.
    Two weeks earlier, when she reported on the draconian investigation – “The army has repeatedly raided the village, searching homes, forcing doors and breaking furniture, residents said. Hundreds have been arrested” – she depicted the murder as a clearly political act, another battle in an ongoing war. Her lead: “In the rolling hills of the northern West Bank, Palestinian villages and Israeli settlements exist in a geographical intimacy that belies decades of mutual hostility, suspicion and fear. Here neighbors are also enemies, and the brutal killing of five members of the Fogel family in the settlement of Itamar three weeks ago has done nothing but harden that division.”
    . . . The US government will never give up its pro-Israel bias and take an even-handed approach to the conflict until the public understands that the myth of Israel’s insecurity has no basis in fact. Despite isolated attacks like the one at Itamar – which may not have been politically motivated at all – it’s the Palestinians, enduring the ceaseless cruelties of military occupation, whose lives and livelihoods are constantly most at risk.

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://truth-out.org/news/item/759:itamar-murders-how-the-israeli-narrative-of-victimization-is-fed

    P.S. ALSO SEE: “Israel’s racist response to Itamar murders would be unthinkable in the U.S.” by David Samel, Mondoweiss.net, March 25, 2011
    LINK – http://mondoweiss.net/2011/03/israels-racist-response-to-itamar-murders-would-be-unthinkable-in-the-u-s.html

    • just on June 18, 2014, 6:10 am

      Dickerson– thanks for that reminder. It’s useful not to forget. Shame on Israel for politicizing that tragedy– robbing a family of their right to grieve normally. But that is Israel– never missing an opportunity to exploit any situation, embroider, and embellish.

      Now, the Israelis have re- kidnapped 50 of the Palestinian people released in the exchange of Shalit.

      How much longer can the world sit by and watch this injustice? Who can say that Israel is behaving within the boundaries of law?

      (I’m watching the 1961 Freedom Riders documentary– the parallels are there!)

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