Geneva –Israeli Armed Forces brutally stormed Yabed town, southwest Jenin, northern the West Bank, and committed complex and degrading violations that fall under collective punishment, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said in statement.

Since the dawn of Tuesday 12 May, 2020, Yabed Town has been witnessing a gross series of violations against its civilians by Israeli forces.

The Israeli aggression on the town is an act of collective punishment. It comes after Israel announced the death of an Israeli soldier that’s been killed by a stone thrown from the roof of one of the buildings during an Israel night raid and arbitrary detention campaign in the town of Yabed.

Euro-Med Monitor documented ten patterns of violations that were committed by Israeli forces in the Yabed town, such as excessive use of force, intimidating civilians during the raid,detaining civilians including entire families, degrading human dignity, inhumane treatment, arrests, and blockading the town.

According to an initial count, Israeli forces arrested about 26 Palestinian civilians including two women and six children, and wounded three others. One of the victims was wounded by live bullets and two by metal bullets. Moreover, dozens of residents suffered a psychological trauma from the incident.

The first raid:

The first Israeli raid began at the dawn of Tuesday. It included heavy shooting, excessive use of gas and sound bombs in order to intimidate the Palestinians civilians, in addition to, launching massive raids on residential houses and abusing their residents by holding them in the open air or keeping them captive inside their houses. This raid lasted for four full hours, in which the forces arrested four civilians. Those arrested were Anas (22) and Yazan (23) kamel Abu-Shamallah, Marsel Basel lutfi Abu-Bakr (22), and Ali Mohammed Nazmi Abu- Bakr (21). After the withdrawal from town, the Israeli forces declared the death of one of their soldiers during the operation of storming houses in the town, after being targeted by a stone on his head.

The second raid:  

At approximately 08:15 pm, Israeli soliders accompanied with large numbers of armoured vehicles, began the second raid in a massive operation that took the form of revenge and collective punishment. The soldiers used heavy gunfire, gas and sound bombs in the town’s streets and houses against the civilians who gathered to protest the raid and confronted it with throwing stones. Soldiers were widely deployed in the town and took rooftops, especially in the Salma neighbourhood.    

Israeli soldiers stormed a house claiming that it is the house that the stone has been thrown from toward the killed soldier. During six hours of raiding the house and the houses next door, Israeli forces committed violations such as humiliation, inhumane treatment, and collective arrest that included abuse.

Israeli forces arrested the entire family of Asfoor which consists of 14 persons, including two women and six children aged 12 to 17. Only ten children under the age of 10 were not arrested.

A resident of the house reported that a large Israeli soldiers violently raided the house and detained everyone and started to call them one after oneto investigation. They tied the men and attacked them until one of them bled.A woman added that Israeli soldiers tried to arrest her, but she fainted because she suffers from high blood pressure and diabetes. She also said that only children under the age of 10 were still at home.

The Israeli forces raided many of the other houses in the area and arrested at least four civilians including journalist Mohammed Abu-Baker.

The Israeli forces withdrew at about 1:00 pm after three citizens were injured, one of them was wounded by live bullets and two by rubber-coated bullets. Dozens were injured by suffocation, a car was damaged and the soldiers took detainees with them.

The third raid:

An Israeli force with two military bulldozers stormed the town and several neighborhoods, especially Salma. At the time clashes erupted with citizens, soldiers fired bullets, tear gas and sound bombs for the third time in lesser than 15 hours at approximately 7:30 pm on Tuesday coinciding with the time of Muslims breaking their Ramadan fast.

The Israeli forces also started closing the roads leading to the town, which means imposing a tight siege on it. The Israeli operation is still ongoing.

The legal background:

Road closure, raids, and mass arrests demonstrate the Israeli forces’ tendency to escalate their attacks, turning more than 30,000 people into hostages to their retaliation and policies that violate International law.

The Israeli practices warn of additional repercussions on the humanitarian situation resulting from the Coronavirus pandemic. These violent practices represent an additional gap confronting the global pandemic.

Arrests, mass abuse, siege, and accompanying bulldozers indicate an intention to carry out operations with the aim of revenge. All of this is part of the policy of the collective punishment against the Palestinian civilians.

Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the protection of civilian persons in times of war prohibits collective punishment and expressly states: "No protected person shall be punished for an offense which he or she has not personally committed. Collective sanctions similarly prohibit all measures of threat or terrorism. Robbery is prohibited. Measures to exclude protected persons and their property".

Israeli violations fall within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, whose general prosecutor confirmed days ago that the Court has jurisdiction over the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.Therefore, the Court must open an investigation into Israeli war crimes including the crime of collective punishment.

The Israeli army's incursions into homes in the hours of dawn and late into the night– which causes panic among residents especially children and women – violate the rules of dealing with civilians and constitutes a clear violation of Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence”.

 

Background:

Yabed is located 18 km south-west of Jenin.It is a monumental site containing foundations,, rock-carved tanks and ancient architectural pieces. The town is located above a medium-height hill of the Jenin mountains, about 380 meters above sea level.

There are seven settlements on the territories of the town which are “Mapudothan 1”, “Mapudothan 2”, “Hermesh”, “Shaked”, “Hananit”, “Rayhan” and “Tel Menashe”. The separation wall also isolates more than 20% of its lands apart from the bypass streets that isolate thousands of donums.

The population of the town of Yabed and its villages is more than 30,000.It includes 11 villages, four of which are inside the wall: Barta'a, Khirbet Abd Allah Al Yunus, Dahr al-Maleh, Umm al-Rayhan, and Khirbet al-Radiyawhich contains the “Umrah” reserve that is the largest natural reserve in the Palestinian Territories.