PCHR testifies before Special Rapporteur on situation of Human Rights in OPT

 PNN/ Gaza/

On Friday, 29 June 2018, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) testified before the Special Rapporteur on situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967 in Amman, Jordan within his official mission starting from 25 to 29 June 2018.

The testimony reviewed violations committed by the Israeli forces and the ongoing deterioration of human rights and international humanitarian law situation.

In particular, PCHR shed the light on the Israeli violations; most notable of which was:

–          Closure Policy Imposed by the Israeli Forces on the Gaza Strip:  This constitutes a collective punishment measure against the civilian population and violation of many rights, including the right to health.  For example, the Israeli forces imposed a series of restrictions on the Gaza patients, who are in need for travel permits necessary for their treatment, and in order to consider the applications submitted by patients, some documents shall be included.  These conditions and obstacles imposed by the Israeli forces are not for approving the permit for treatment, but are only a condition for accepting the application in form.  It should be mentioned that hundreds of patients’ permits are daily rejected under security reasons and justifications in addition to many cases that are given permits to travel via Beit Hanoun “Erez” Crossing for treatment but delayed for hours until they miss their appointments at the hospitals they are referred to.  In its testimony, PCHR mentioned the obstacles imposed by the Israeli forces to restrict the Gaza Strip patients’ freedom of movement in order to deny them access to the proper treatment.  In most cases, these restrictions have unfolded catastrophic consequences on the life of patients that would lead to their death.

–           Other impacts of the closure: banning and decreasing the entry of basic goods and commodities have aggravated the suffering of civilian population.

–          Review of the living conditions of Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli jails: around 6500 prisoners, including 350 children and 62 women; 8 of them are minors, suffer cruel, inhuman and degrading living conditions in Israeli prisons in addition to solitary confinement in cells and an administrative detention policy against 500 Palestinian prisoners, who are deprived of family visits.  During PCHR’s testimony, it reviewed the deterioration of health conditions and medical negligence against prisoners that resulted in the death of dozens of prisoners. The last was on 20 May 2018 when the death of prisoner ‘Aziz ‘Aweisat
(53) from al-Mukaber Mount village, southeast of occupied East Jerusalem, was declared in “Asaf Harove” Hospital due to medical negligence.

–          Absence of Justice in the Israeli Judiciary: PCHR pointed out to the Israeli judiciary’s role in legally covering the crimes committed by the Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians, reviewing the difficulties faced by the victims of human rights violations when accessing the judiciary in light of the existing laws that prevent victims from seeking redress and compensations.  The intervention addressed a series of Israeli obstacles, including the amendments to the 1952 Civil Wrongs (Liability of the State) and financial constraints that have increased the burden on Palestinian victims in case they decided to resort to the Israeli judiciary.  These obstacles culminated in Amendment 8/2012, which exempts Israel from liability for the damage caused to victims during a military operation.

On the other hand, the intervention addressed the ongoing Israeli attacks in the Buffer Zone:

–        Attacks against Palestinian Fishermen: it reviewed the forms of attacks practiced against them in the Gaza Sea.  During the first half of 2018, PCHR documented 149 violations against fishermen, including 136 shooting incidents; 1 killing; 8 injuries; 45 fishermen arrested while fishing; and 11 incidents of damage, confiscation, shelling of fishing boats and equipment.

–        Attacks against Civilians in the Border Areas, Particularly the Peaceful Protests Organized along the Gaza Strip Border Fence: 5691 violations were committed against Palestinian civilians as 106 were killed; including 14 children, 1 woman, 2 journalists and 2 medical staffers, while 5585 were wounded, including 927 children, 167 women, 63 journalists and 39 medical staffers.)

During its intervention, PCHR urged the international community to hold its moral and legal responsibilities and seek redress for victims; particularly that absence of accountability has made Israel a state above the law and that its legislative, legal and executive authorities are involved in all crimes committed against civilians, rendering resorting to the International Criminal Court legitimate for Palestinian civilian victims in light of absence of justice in the Israeli Judicial System.

The visit of Special Rapporteur on situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967 came to view the catastrophic conditions of the Palestinian people.  The Special Rapporteur promised to exert all efforts to support any possibility for improving the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory.