In an 82 page report released today, Human Rights Watch (HRW) gives a detailed account of the brutality of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, and documents the appalling conditions of Palestinian territories.
The Report reveals a disturbing picture of an occupying force willing to use the most inhumane means to suppress the Palestinian aspiration for self-determination, and to expand illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, in violation of International Humanitarian Law, including the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention regarding the protection of civilian persons in Time of War.
The catalogue of International Law violations, and outright human rights abuses, cited in the report include: unlawful killings, assassination of Palestinian activists, Jewish settler attacks on Palestinian civilians and properties, the failure of Israeli army to restrain settler attacks on Palestinian targets, disproportionate response by Israelis to Palestinian provocation, arbitrary and indiscriminate retaliation by Israel againstPalestinian towns and villages, collective punishment measures, including prolonged curfews that last for days, as well as closures and blockades that chock the economic and social life of Palestinians and severely restrict Palestinian movement.
The Report, entitled Center of the Storm: A Case Study of Human Rights Abuses in Hebron District, focuses in particular on the devastating impact of Israeli occupation on the city of Hebron, which the Palestinians callAl-Khalil. It reveals shocking examples of abuses in this city of 120,000 Palestinians and 400 Jewish settlers.
It is in Hebron that Israeli excesses are more evident. In order to ensure the safety of the Jewish settlers, implanted in the heart of the old city, Israeli soldiers impose around the clock curfews on over 30,000 Palestinian who live around the road that connect the 400 Jewish settlers with Israel. Abuses cited include: arbitrary killing of unarmed Palestinian civilians, destruction of shops and property, and massive and disproportionate retaliations against the city Palestinian population.
While the bulk of the report is devoted to Israeli Human Rights violations, it disputes the Palestinian claim of the right to attack Jewish settlers who live illegally on occupied Palestinian land. HRW argues that civilians enjoy protection against attacks under International Humanitarian Law, even when they live on occupied land, but concedes that the fact that many of the settlers are armed makes the distinction more complicated and problematic.
View the HRW Press Release and the HRW Report.