Violence Against and Ill-Treatment of the Civilian Population
Violence Against and Ill-Treatment of the Civilian Population:
“Persons protected by the Convention are those who, at a given moment and in any manner whatsoever, find themselves, in case of a conflict or occupation, in the hands of a Party to the conflict or Occupying Power of which they are not nationals…” Article 4(1) of the 4th Geneva Convention
Numerous forms of physical violence and ill treatment have been routinely and systematically used against the civilian population. These include summary executions by special undercover units and indiscriminate shootings with live ammunition or rubber-coated bullets by the Israeli army and by the armed Jewish illegal settlers, which has resulted in thousands of injuries and death as well as destruction of homes, properties and agricultural lands and goods. There are currently 3000 Palestinian-owned structures that have pending demolition orders, which can be carried out at any time, without warning. Since 2007 over 250 buildings have been demolished, leaving nearly 500 people, including children as young as a few months old, displaced. There have been numerous cases whereby the shootings by soldiers and settlers have resulted in massacres of Palestinian civilians, such as the massacre of 18 Palestinians at Al-Haram Al-Sharif on 8 October 1990 by the Temple Mount Faithful extremist group and Israeli occupying forces attempting to take over the holy site, the massacre of 29 Palestinians in the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron on 25 February 1994 by a Jewish settler, the massacre of 55 Palestinians in Jenin in 2002 and the massacre of 19 Palestinians, including 13 members of the same family, in Beit Hanoun in 2006 perpetuated by Israeli occupying forces. In 2002, a fact-finding mission was created by the Security Council in resolution 1405 to investigate the Jenin Massacre; unfortunately, the mission was ultimately disbanded since the Israeli authorities denied the mission access to Jenin. In May 2008, a United Nations High-Level fact finding mission headed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu went to the besieged Gaza Strip to investigate the 2006 Beit Hanoun Massacre. Israel refused to cooperate with the mission forcing Tutu and his team to use the Rafah crossing with Egypt.
Another notable form of Israeli violence against the civilian population is the use of torture in prisons for both repressive and interrogative purposes. Israel is the only nation in the world that has codified and legalized the use of torture in interrogation.
The violence perpetrated against the Palestinian population also includes random and/or excessive beatings, physical harassment and the use of tear gas in confined places. Extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, humiliation, delays and even the obstruction and outright denial of access to medical treatment have been daily occurrences at the checkpoints. Pregnant women have been forced to give birth at the checkpoints due to the denial of their right to access to medical facilities by the Israeli forces; unfortunately, there are numerous cases of still births and even the deaths of both the mother and newborn as a result of being forced to give birth at Israeli checkpoints.