Truth is stranger than fiction: 3 days in the West Bank

Truth is stranger than fiction: 3 days in the West Bank

A protester holds a placard as she stands next to Israeli soldiers during a protest against Israeli settlements in West Bank city on December 27, 2014. (Reuters)

Elderly women, families, children, and of course young men in the occupied Palestinian territories are regularly treated with brutality by Israeli forces. International laws are in place to protect vulnerable populations, but Israel ignores such laws – and gets away with it. Simple, common decency ought to elicit restraint on the part of the occupier, but does not.
These very brief stories are snapshots of Israeli cruelty between December 15 and 17, 3 days out of the 50+ years of violent occupation which the United States endorses and supports to the tune of over $10 million a day.

by Kathryn Shihadah

Israeli forces detained a groom and about 20 wedding guests, and summoned others for interrogation. The charge: “taking part in a wedding during which flags of the Hamas movement were waved and terrorists were hailed.”

This incident violated the universal human rights to privacy and self-expression.

Israeli forces with military bulldozers raided the Amari refugee camp near Ramallah in the middle of the night on Saturday. They took over the Abu Hmeid home, claiming that the family’s son had killed an Israeli soldier during a raid of the camp last June. Islam Abu Hmeid is in prison awaiting trial. Hundreds of soldiers forcefully evacuated sleeping neighbors before wiring the building and demolishing it as a “deterrent” to Palestinians who may be tempted to resist the oppressive occupation.

This incident broke the international law against collective punishment and bypassed the right to a fair trial for the accused. (The Geneva Conventions use the words “the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.”)

An 86-year-old Palestinian woman died of a heart attack on Saturday evening after Israeli forces prevented an ambulance from reaching her. They reportedly delayed the ambulance for around 8 minutes, for no apparent reason.

This incident involved a breach of international law which states that an occupying force must ensure the provision of medical care for the occupied population.

A group of illegal Israeli settlers infiltrated a Palestinian town Saturday evening. Palestinians guarding the town stopped them. Dozens of Israeli soldiers then appeared, firing live and rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs, and concussion grenades at the Palestinians who were defending their town, wounding 23. During the clash, the settlers were able to escape.

This incident contravened the universal human right to security of person and the laws of occupation regarding maintenance of public order and safety and the ban on transfer of civilian population into occupied territory.

In Hebron, Israeli soldiers fired 21 tear gas rounds outside 3 schools and into 2 schoolyards during school hours. International observers report that there was no provocation at the time. Last month 238 tear gas rounds and 51 concussion grenades were fired in this neighborhood.

This incident was a breach of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and several of the laws of occupation.

An 80-year-old, chronically ill woman was arrested as she waited outside an Israeli prison to visit her son. She was taken to an unknown destination. No reason was given for the arrest.

This incident violated international humanitarian law, in which the elderly should “enjoy protection from abusive behavior” during conflict.

On Sunday, an Israeli court sentenced the mother of a Palestinian, who was killed by the army last year, to 11 months in prison for “incitement on social media.” She has been in prison since last August. Her son was shot in 2017 during a protest and bled to death while the Israeli army prevented Palestinian medics from approaching him.

These incidents infringed on the universal human rights to self-expression, protection of the right to life, liberty and security of person in peaceful assemblies, and the right of an occupied population to medical care.

And on and on it goes. Here are headlines from just a few other incidents reported between December 15th and 17th:

Israeli Naval Forces Wound Fisherman, Arrest 4 Others and Detain Fishing Boats

Israeli Soldiers Ram Two Palestinians With Jeep, Abduct One, Near Ramallah

Israeli Soldiers Shoot A Palestinian While Driving Near Ramallah

Illegal Israeli Colonists Attack School Near Nablus

Israeli Soldiers Abduct Thirteen Palestinians In West Bank

Army Abducts Seven Palestinians, Including A Blind Man, In Ramallah

Soldiers Abduct Three Children, 13-16 years old, In Hebron

The world – especially America – needs to wake up to this ongoing travesty.

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