Featured image: Local youth protested the demolition of a home in Ramallah. Source: Al Jazeera
A large Israeli military convoy descended upon Ramallah in the occupied West Bank in Palestine on Wednesday to destroy the home of a prisoner accused of a bomb attack, to extend the punishment to the family of the man still living in the home. Hundreds of the residents of the area took to the streets to protest. According to data from the end of May, 12 buildings, of which 11 were residential buildings, have been destroyed as collective punishment since the beginning of the year. This type of collective punishment is illegal also according to the international laws.
Local youth hurled stones and petrol bombs at the Israeli forces who answered with tear gas, stun grenades and bullets. At least six people have been taken to hospital, three with gunshot wounds. Also two journalists covering the events were injured, one of them severely as he was hit in the head by a bullet. He was wearing a press uniform clearly indicating him as a journalist.
Since the beginning of the year, Israeli forces have killed at least 158 Palestinians, among them 28 children. On the 2nd of June Israeli army shot a three-year-old boy named Mohammad Haytham Tamimi in the head, injuring him severely, in the village of Nabi Saleh near Ramallah. He later died of his injuries. Hundreds gathered to mourn and protest the death of the child, carrying Palestinian flags and shouting slogans against the crimes committed by Israel. There is an illegal Israeli settlement located near the village and shootings against the Palestinians living in the area are common. According to the family and other witnesses, the evening was calm and the shooting was committed directly against the child and his father, who was injured. The organization Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) points out that this type of use of lethal force against children is a war crime and has become the norm in the Israeli military. The Israeli military also regularly arrests children and trials them in military court, where they are subjected to torture and denied ”fair” trials. According to the international law, civilians, and especially children, should not be taken to military court, and Israel is the only country in the world where this happens regularly.
In recent weeks, there has also been reports of new attacks by settlers in the occupied West Bank. The settlers have harassed Palestinians, attacking their homes, torching a car, blocking roads and throwing rocks at them. Even children have been attacked, like in one incident near Hebron in the beginning of June, where a six-year-old was beaten up by a mob of settlers. In connection to the increasing settler violence, in February, the Basic Law of the government of Israel was amended, with the decision that a special new minister within the Ministry of Defense would take over certain civil authorities from the military in the occupied West Bank. The civilian authority now handles the matters of the illegal settlers, but the same matters for the Palestinians are decided by the IDF (the so-called Israel Defense Forces). For decades, the occupation has been justified in front of the international law with the pretext of it being a special temporary military regime and the settlements could be removed any time, and that in the “peace process” Israel has intentions to address the issue at some point.