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Israel violates disabled Palestinians' human rights, report reveals

August 23, 2023 at 5:28 pm

Israeli soldiers are seen at check point as close all entrances and exits to Al Khalil, in Hebron, Occupied West Bank on August 22, 2023 [Mamoun Wazwaz/Anadolu Agency]

In a collaborative report presented to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, human rights groups, Al-Haq and Addameer, reveals the impact of the extensive breaches of human rights by Israeli authorities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) on Palestinians with disabilities.

The report, published yesterday, also highlights Israel’s attempt to eliminate the Palestinian existence within the OPT, noting Israel’s State report, which refers to Palestinian citizens of Israel as the “Arab Population”, reflecting Israel’s intention to evade its legal responsibilities towards the Palestinians. 

It further documents the increasing violence imposed by the Israeli Occupation Forces, who target the Palestinians using the “shoot-to-kill strategy” during military operations conducted against Palestinian towns, villages and refugee camps.

It states, “As a result of this use of excessive force by the IOF, 324 Palestinians, including 75 children were killed in the OPT in 2021. This dangerous path continued in 2022, with 192 Palestinians killed, including 44 children and 157 Palestinian killed in the West Bank, the highest death toll therein since 2005. However, to date, 2023 appears to be even deadlier, and as of 10 August 2023, 174 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.”

Furthermore, the collaborative report emphasises the damaging consequences in Gaza stemming from the 16-year-long Israeli blockade, which has significantly compromised the rights safeguarded for Palestinians with disabilities, particularly their freedom of movement and the right to health. 

A 25-year-old resident of Gaza, who lost his mother and brother during the 11-day Israeli offensive against Gaza in May 2021, told Al-Haq: “At around 4:30 a.m. on 11 May 2021, while I was sleeping, I felt very strong air pressure and vibration in the place. Then, the walls and ceiling collapsed above us. At that time, I did not think of myself. I only thought of my mother and my brother, who is disabled and cannot move without help. I lifted the furniture and rubble above me and hurried to check on my mother and brother.”

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“I found my mother lying on the floor and the ceiling of the apartment had collapsed on top of her. She was motionless, her head was open and she was pouring blood. In the hospital, the doctors pronounced my mother dead. Thirty minutes later, civil defence officers, who had been searching for my brother under the rubble, brought him to the hospital. The doctors pronounced him dead immediately. Since the martyrdom of my mother and brother, and the destruction of our home, we live in a rented apartment in Al-Nasr neighbourhood in Gaza in very difficult circumstances.”

Israeli military’s airstrikes in May 2021 resulted in the deaths of 253 Palestinians, including 66 children. More than 1,900 people were wounded.

Human rights groups, Al-Haq and Addameer, urged the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to call on Israel to adhere to its responsibilities as stipulated in Article 28 of the Convention, guaranteeing that individuals with disabilities from Palestine are able to access their entitlement to social protection. 

It concluded, “We further urge the Committee to call on Israel to end its policy of withholding and confiscating PA funds, which are used as social welfare assistance to the families of deceased Palestinians killed by the IOF and prisoners, as well as injured Palestinians including those suffering permanent disabilities as a result of Israel’s excessive use of force.”