PCHR: Israel continues application of collective punishment policy 

PNN/ Gaza/

 The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) on Tuesday condemned what it called a new crime, which is added to the series of Israeli crimes committed in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), in which Israeli forces demolished a house belonging to Mohamed Dar Yousef in Kobar village, north of Ramallah.

PCHR said this was part of the collective punishment policy adopted by the Israeli forces against the Palestinian civilians accused of carrying out attacks against Israeli soldiers. It emphasized that the crime is part of the Israeli forces’ collective punishment policy against innocent Palestinians in violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention that prohibits collective penalties and reprisals against protected persons and their property.

PCHR called upon the international community to offer protection to the civilians in the oPt and ensure the application of the aforementioned convention.

 According to PCHR’s investigations, at approximately 03:30 on Tuesday, Israeli forces backed by dozens of military vehicles and accompanied with a bulldozer moved into Kobar village, north of Ramallah.  They surrounded a house belonging to the family of Mohamed Dar Yousef and then demolished it completely. The house was built on an area of 100 square meters, sheltering 3 members, including a child. Meanwhile, the Israeli forces fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters between the residential houses, but no injuries among civilians were reported.  At approximately 05:00, the Israeli forces withdrew from the village, and no more incidents were reported.

 It should be noted that the Israeli forces killed the above mentioned child on 26 July 2018, when he carried out a stab attack in “Adam” settlement established on lands of Jaba’a village, northeast of occupied Jerusalem. The attack resulted in the killing of an Israeli settler and the injury of 2 others. The Israeli forces are still detaining the child’s corpse. It should be noted that the Israeli forces raided and searched a house belonging to the family of the above mentioned child on 13 August 2018, and handed the family a written notice of the demolition decision after taking the house measurements.

 PCHR condemned the crime of demolishing the above mentioned houses that falls within the collective punishment policy adopted by the Israeli forces against the Palestinian civilians.

In a statement, it said it reminds that this policy is internationally prohibited according to Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states that: “No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited. Pillage is prohibited. Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited.”

“Therefore, PCHR reiterates its call upon the international community to take immediate action to put an end to the Israeli crimes. PCHR also reiterates its call upon the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations under Article 1; i.e., to respect and ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances and their obligations under Article 146 to prosecute persons alleged to commit grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention. These grave breaches constitute war crimes under Article 147 of the same Convention and Protocol (I) Additional to the Geneva Conventions regarding the guarantee of Palestinian civilians’ right to protection in the oPt,” statement concluded.