February 2023: Summary of Israeli Violations against Occupied Palestine

Media Briefs
March 22, 2023
February 2023: Summary of Israeli Violations against Occupied Palestine1 



The Nablus governorate experienced a wave of attacks perpetrated by armed Israeli settlers, who targeted Palestinian civilians and their properties with the backing of the Israeli occupation forces (IOF). The town of Huwara, in particular, was the site of no less than 300 Israeli settlers’ attacks2 on 26 February, resulting in the death of Sameh Aqtash (37 years old) and the injury of over 400 Palestinians. Among those injured, 102 were hit by live bullets and required medical attention3. The attacks included the burning of 17 homes, the destruction of 35 others with stones, and the beating of five Palestinians with iron pipes. The settlers were able to take control of the town without opposition from the IOF, and the Palestinian Civil Defense services were prevented from intervening to extinguish the fires or aid the affected citizens. Elsewhere in the Nablus governorate, settlers burned houses, water tanks, livestock farms, and agricultural projects, as well as destroying cars and other property in villages such as Asira Al-Qibliya, Burin, and Odala, as well as the town of Za'tara. The attacks bore a resemblance to the tactics of the Haganah and Irgun Zionist gangs during Palestine’s 1948 Nakba.


Key Facts & Figures

  • A total of 285 shooting incidents occurred in different Palestinian governorates, including 240 in the occupied West Bank and 45 in the Gaza Strip (including airstrikes), resulting in the killing of 31 Palestinians, of whom 4 were children.
  • At least 246 civilians were injured in the IOF shooting attacks, including 14 children.
  • The IOF conducted a total of 544 military raids, and 372 sudden military checkpoints were established at the entrances to Palestinian villages, towns, and refugee camps to search vehicles and inspect ID cards.
  • An estimated 53 attacks were made against civilian property during these military operations, resulting in 75 property confiscation cases.
  • Israeli settlers carried out 161 incidents of attacks4, including burning homes, vehicles, and agricultural lands, hurling stones, running over and shooting at residents, storming villages and cities, attacking citizens and property, obstructing residents' access to their crops, and stealing and destroying crops.
  • According to a report by the Colonization and Wall Resistance Commission (CWRC) on Israeli violations, settlers cut down and uprooted 562 trees. Most of the attacks occurred in Ramallah and Al-Bireh governorate where settlers uprooted 174 trees.  
  • The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) recorded more than 33 violations against medical staff and vehicles. Most of these violations aimed to obstruct the work of medical personnel and prevent/hinder the arrival of ambulances to rescue wounded persons during attacks.
  • The Freedoms Committee of the Palestinian Journalists' Syndicate documented 23 violations against media freedoms. These violations include the physical harm of at least 6 journalists by live ammunition and physical assaults from both the IOF and settlers. In addition, there have been instances where press teams were detained and prohibited from performing their duties. Furthermore, there have been cases of bullets, stun grenades, and teargas being fired at press members, resulting in the severe suffocation of five journalists.


Withholding the Bodies of Palestinian Martyrs5

Israel is currently withholding the bodies of 129 Palestinian martyrs, including 12 children, 12 prisoners, and one woman. Additionally, the remains of 256 martyrs continue to be held at the "Cemeteries of Numbers." In February of 2023, the Israeli occupation authorities released the body of martyr Mohammad Ali, held since 25 January, while withholding the bodies of seven recent martyrs.


Demolition of Palestinian Homes6

The occupation authorities demolished 104 structures, including 27 homes, throughout the occupied West Bank, including Jerusalem7. Among the destroyed buildings were 24 donor-funded structures. As a result, 29 families with 158 individuals, of whom 82 were children, were displaced (90 other families with 488 individuals, of whom 259 were children, were otherwise affected). Moreover, the report issued by CWRC indicated that the occupation authorities issued 66 demolition, halt-of-construction, and evacuation notices in the occupied West Bank. These notices were mainly concentrated in the governorates of Jenin (31 notices) and Salfit (9 notices).


Israeli Settlers' Terrorism8

This month, the frequency and severity of Israeli settlers' assaults on Palestinian civilians, their property, and their holy sites have increased to a concerning level. In addition to the appalling terror attacks against Huwara town and nearby villages, the following incidents occurred:

  • On 2 February: in the occupied Old City of Jerusalem, three settlers stormed and vandalized the Church of the Flagellation, destroying its contents and attempting to set it on fire.
  • On 2 February, a settler stopped his car on the main street and attacked 14-year-old Faysal Al-Mukhtar with pepper spray.
  • On 10 February, a settler driving his car near Qalqas village in Hebron governorate struck Palestinian citizen Sufian Al-Ju’beh, causing him to suffer a hand fracture
  • On 28 February: settlers situated near Za’tara checkpoint in Nablus governorate hurled stones at an ambulance carrying a 13-year-old girl, causing the window of the ambulance to shatter and injuring the girl's father with broken glass.  


Israeli Colonial Settlement Activities

Settlement Activities in Occupied Jerusalem and its Surrounding Areas:

  • The occupation authorities approved the deposit of two settlement plans in various neighborhoods in and around occupied Jerusalem, including Al-Thauri, Jabal Al-Mukabber, and Sur Baher, with 1,070 settlement units in “Kiryat Yovel,” and160 settlement units in “Arnona.”
  • The Israeli government is pushing for the construction of a new settlement in Qalandia, which would consist of 9,000 settlement units.
  • The occupation municipality inaugurated a new park (Qaddum) in Wadi Al-Joz neighborhood, extending from Wadi Al-Joz to Silwan, on a 25-dunum piece of land.
  • The occupation authorities seized more than 500 dunums of land between the towns of Hizma and Jaba, northeast of occupied Jerusalem, citing the need to widen the main road.
  • The district planning committee, appointed by the occupation’s municipality, approved the deposit of an expansion plan for the roads network in various settlements, including “Har Homa,” (Jabal Abu Ghneim) “Givat Hamatos,” and in Sur Baher, Umm Tuba, and Beit Safafa, as part of an overall plan to expand the space for Israel’s colonial settlements at the expense of Palestinian neighborhoods in occupied Jerusalem.
  • According to the Israeli human rights organization, Ir Amim, the district planning committee has also decided to submit plans for the expansion of settlements in “Har Homa,” “French Hill,” and “Gilo,” which would add a total of 924 new settlement units.


Other Settlement Activities in the occupied West Bank:

  • Israel's Supreme Council for Planning and Building has given approval for the construction of a total of 2,700 settlement units in various settlements. Among them, 1,100 units in “Ma'ale Adumim,” 630 units in “Kochav Ya'akov” near Ramallah, 485 units in “Giv'at Zeev” near Jerusalem, and 485 units in “Ma'ale Amos” near Hebron. The Council also approved the legalization of colonial installations (outposts) and their annexation to existing settlements, such as “Bani Kedem” to “Mitsad” settlement in the Jordan Valley, and “Zayt Ra'anan” to “Talmon” settlement near Ramallah.
  • The Israeli government has legalized nine colonial installations (outposts)9 in the West Bank and approved the construction of approximately 335 settlement units, including some on privately owned Palestinian land.
  • The subcommittee of the Higher Planning Council of the Civil Administration has approved the advancement of 7,157 housing units through 43 building plans in 37 settlements and colonial installations (outposts), including one industrial zone. This is a significant increase compared to the entire year of 2022 when only 4,427 housing units were submitted for deposit and final approval.
  • The Israeli Knesset has passed an initial reading of a bill to repeal the withdrawal from four settlements in the northern West Bank that were evacuated as part of the “unilateral disengagement plan” of 2005. The bill will allow settlers to return to “Ganim,” “Kadim,” “Homesh,” and “Sanor” settlements.
  • According to Israeli news reports, Netanyahu plans to construct a network of underground tunnels in the West Bank to connect settlements to Israel and address what he calls the issue of “territorial contiguity” between Palestinian cities.


Settlers' Attempts to Establish Colonial Installations (Outposts)10

  • A barn has been constructed in the Bayoud region near Ein Al-Hilweh in Tubas, which now houses 40 sheep.
  • An effort to establish colonial installations by constructing barracks in Ramun and Kufr Malek in the Ramallah and Al-Bireh governorate.
  • An attempt to re-establish a colonial installation in the Al-Qabun area, east of Al-Mugahyer village in Ramallah. This particular installation had been removed in 2015, but settlers are trying to rebuild it to gain control of more Palestinian lands. 
  • The inhabitants of the illegal settlement of “Alei Zahav” have encroached upon land seized from Kufr Al-Deek town in the Salfit governorate. These settlers have fenced off an area in the northern part of the town known as the Balat Rakba area (Khalet Al-Qamh), and have even established a cemetery to bury their dead, at the expense of the citizens' property.


Palestine's Political Prisoners11 

At the end of February 2023, more than 4,780 Palestinian prisoners were being incarcerated in 23 different prisons and detention and investigation centers. In total, 29 of these prisoners are women12, with the majority of them being held at "Damon" prison. Among the prisoners were 170 children and minors who were detained at "Ofer," "Megiddo," and "Damon" prisons. Furthermore, approximately 920 administrative detainees were being held at "Ofer" and "Negev" prisons, five of whom were children and two were women, namely Shurooq Al-Badan and Raghad Al-Fanni.  

The number of arrests in February 2023 surpassed 590, with about 79 of those arrests involving children from various West Bank and Gaza Strip governorates. Over 200 arrests took place in occupied Jerusalem alone.


The Latest Developments:

  • Administrative Detentions: the Israeli authorities have issued a substantial number of administrative detention orders against Palestinians, with 498 orders issued since the start of the year, including 238 in February alone (142 new orders and 96 extension orders). More than 80 administrative detainees are currently boycotting the occupation's courts at all levels. Most administrative detainees are currently held in the "Ofer" and "Negev" prisons.
  • Hunger Strikes: prisoner Khader Adnan has been on a hunger strike since his arrest on 5 February. Adnan has been through five hunger strikes in the past, all in protest of his administrative detention – he’s currently being held in "Al-Jalama" detention center under harsh conditions. With the recent escalation of Israeli aggression against Palestinian prisoners, prisoners from all factions have decided to take action, including disobedience and an open hunger strike starting on the first day of Ramadan.
  • Solitary Confinement of Palestinian Prisoners: currently, 40 prisoners are in solitary confinement, including six with severe health and psychological conditions. Prominent examples of the crime of solitary confinement include: Mohammad Khalil (39 years old), who was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2006 and has been in isolation for more than 15 years in total, and Ahmad Manasra (21 years old), who has been in isolation since October 2021 despite his critical psychological and health condition.
  • The Policy of Medical Negligence and Sick Prisoners: more than 600 Palestinian prisoners are suffering from various diseases, with around 200 enduring chronic illnesses and at least 24 suffering cancer or tumors. Asef Al-Rifa'i, who has been imprisoned since 1985, and Musa Sufan from Tulkarem, are among those facing particularly challenging medical conditions.
  • Other Israeli Violations against Palestine’s Prisoners: Starting from February 13, Israel Prison Service (IPS) has implemented retaliatory measures which were recommended by Itamar Ben Gvir, the Israeli Minister of National Security. In a televised statement, he said: “I ordered the prisons’ service authority to immediately close the bakeries in Nafha prison and in Ktzi'ot prison as well. In my opinion, we cannot imagine that the terrorists, the killers of children and women, get fresh bread every morning as if they are in a restaurant in Hatikva neighborhood - and I will do everything so that this does not happen during my tenure."  These measures have further escalated to include controlling the amount of water used by prisoners, reducing shower duration, and locking designated bathrooms in the new sections of “Nafha” Prison. The IPS has also provided bad or frozen bread to prisoners and increased the use of stun grenades and sniffer dogs during raids and search operations. Solitary confinement and the removal of television sets from some sections have also been implemented, along with the escalation of prisoners’ transfers, particularly leaders and those serving life sentences. The administration in several prisons has even threatened to close public facilities on Fridays and Saturdays, similar to what happened in the “Negev” Prison, and impose restrictions on the entry of clothes. The fundamental rights of Palestinian prisoners are being systematically violated through a range of arbitrary and repressive laws and measures. The Israeli Knesset has recently approved several bills that exacerbate the situation, including: (1) the Knesset approval (in the final reading) of a bill that allows the revocation of citizenship/ residency of Palestinian prisoners  (who reside inside the Green Line and occupied Jerusalem), who are accused by Israel of carrying out operations against Israelis and whose families receive financial support from the Palestinian National Authority; (2) a draft law (in a preliminary reading) that aims to restrict medical treatment and surgeries available to prisoners. This bill prohibits the use of Israeli government funding for medical procedures that go beyond basic healthcare, including medication that is not covered by the standard healthcare package, thus, reducing the quality of life for prisoners; (3) a draft law (in a preliminary reading) that proposes the execution of Palestinian prisoners.
  • 1. Negotiations Affairs Department (NAD)
  • 2. Nablus Governorate
  • 3. Ministry of Health
  • 4. Multiple attacks may occur in the same incident
  • 5. National Campaign for the Recovery of Martyrs' Bodies
  • 6. United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA)
  • 7. The occupation authorities demolished 36 structures, including 15 homes in occupied Jerusalem. This led to the displacement of 15 families comprising 82 individuals, including 46 children (197 other families were also affected, totaling 87 individuals, of whom 34 were children).
  • 8. Negotiations Affairs Department (NAD) and news reports.
  • 9. The legalized colonial installations (outposts) are: Avigayil, Beit Hogla, Givat Harel, Givat Arnon, Mitzpe Yehuda, Malachei Hashalom, Asahel, Sde Boaz, and Shacharit.
  • 10. Colonization and Wall Resistance Commission (CWRC)
  • 11. The information in this report is based on updated reports issued by the Palestinian Prisoners Society
  • 12. Among them are two minor girls detained in “Damon” prison: Nufuz Hammad (16 years old) from Jerusalem and Zamzam Qawasmeh (17 years old) from Hebron.
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