Israeli forces and settlers escalate attacks against Qasra village, southeast of Nablus

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Ref: 20/2013

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the escalation of attacks by Israeli forces and settlers against Qasra village, southeast of Nablus. The latest incident involved joint attacks launched by Israeli forces and settlers on Saturday, 23 February 2013, which injured 8 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children. A few days earlier, 6 cars were burnt out or damaged, and Israeli forces destroyed part of the electricity network and dismantled 36 electricity towers in areas that are frequently subjected to attacks by Israeli settlers. PCHR believes that the cover, protection and support provided to settlers by Israeli forces encourages them to commit more systematic crimes against Palestinian civilians.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 12:00 on Saturday, 23 February 2013, at least 25 Israeli settlers, some of whom were armed with machine guns, moved from “Yish Kodesh” settlement to Qasra village, southeast of Nablus, and attacked a house belonging to ‘Abdul Majid Tawfiq Salama in al-Wa’ar area in the southeast of the village. A number of Palestinian civilians gathered in the area; some rushed to the area when announcements were made from mosque loudspeakers calling for assistance to protect the above house from the settlers, who were escorted by Israeli forces. These civilians threw stones at the Israeli forces and settlers. Immediately, Israeli soldiers fired rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters at them, and the settlers also opened fire. As a result, 8 civilians, including 3 children, were wounded. One of the civilians, Helmi ‘Abdul ‘Aziz Hassan, 27, was seriously wounded by a live bullet to the abdomen.

In a previous attack, on Thursday morning, 21 February 2013, Israelis settlers set fire to 4 cars in the village and broke the windows of another two. On Wednesday, 20 February 2013, Israeli forces destroyed a part of the electricity network in the village, and dismantled 36 electricity towers.

PCHR has repeatedly warned of escalated attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians and their property. PCHR strongly condemns such escalation of attacks by Israeli forces and settlers against Palestinian civilians and their property in Qasra village, and all other attacks launched by Israeli settlers throughout the West Bank. In this context, PCHR:

  1. Reminds the international community that the building of settlements constitutes a war crime under international law; the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, individually or jointly, must assume their legal and moral responsibilities and fulfill their obligation to ensure Israel’s respect for the Convention in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) in accordance with Article (1) of the Convention;
  2. Calls upon the international community to pressurize Israel to fulfill its obligations under the international law by putting an end to settlement expansion and dismantling all illegal settlements in the oPt.