Israeli occupation forces sought to kill, rather than apprehend, Ahmad Nasser Jarrar, a Palestinian suspected in the January shooting death of a settler, according to an investigation by the rights group Al-Haq.
Israel waged a weeks-long campaign of “brutal reprisals” following the 9 January killing of Raziel Shevach in the northern occupied West Bank.
Two Palestinians who Israel says were involved in the 9 January shooting – Ahmad Ismail Jarrar and his cousin Ahmad Nasser Jarrar – were killed by Israeli soldiers on 17 January and 6 February, respectively. Israel continues to hold their bodies.
Another Palestinian, Ahmad Samir Abu Ubeid, was killed by soldiers during confrontations that erupted when Israeli occupation forces raided a village in search of Ahmad Nasser Jarrar on 3 February.
“Israel orchestrated a series of attacks against the extended family members of the Jarrar family and the broader communities of Jenin and Nablus,” Al-Haq stated.
The rights group documented acts of collective punishment including “widespread movement restrictions, punitive house demolitions, attacks using police dogs, arrests, indiscriminate killings and the retention of the bodies of the deceased.”
The Israeli rights group B’Tselem has also documented what it calls “reprehensible actions” by soldiers during the month that followed the slaying of the Israeli settler, such as “demolishing a home with inhabitants still inside” and strip searching three women and setting dogs on three other residents.
Israel employed the “pressure cooker technique” – in which construction machinery is used as a weapon, along with firearms and explosives, to compel wanted Palestinians to surrender themselves from a building in which they are hiding – during its 17 January raid in Wadi Burqin. Ahmad Ismail Jarrar was killed during that operation.
Four homes belonging to the extended Jarrar family were demolished in the raid, displacing 17 individuals from four families, including three children, according to Al-Haq.
“The houses were demolished without allowing time to remove any contents,” Al-Haq stated.
Both Al-Haq and B’Tselem detail the terror inflicted on Palestinian residents during another large-scale military operation in the Jenin area on 3 February.
Occupation forces “stormed” the town of Burqin “with two military bulldozers and a military jeep” and surrounded the residence of three Palestinian families, including three young children aged between 6 months and 7 years.
“[Israeli occupation forces] fired shells and bullets into the building, partially destroying it,” Al-Haq stated. Soldiers “destroyed much of the contents of the apartments,” as well as three livestock enclosures outside, and arrested two men living in the building.
That same day, soldiers raided the home of Mabrouk and Inas Jarrar, also in Burqin.
The couple were woken up with “a loud bang – apparently when the forces blew up the front door to their building – and the sound of stun grenades,” according to B’Tselem.
Mabrouk and Inas gathered Mabrouk’s two children from his previous marriage, aged 3 and 9, into their bed. Soon soldiers “blew up the door to the second floor, where they live.”
At that point an Israeli military dog “sank his teeth into [Mabrouk’s] left shoulder and knocked him to the ground.”
Inas tried to free her husband from the dog’s grip, unsuccessfully. “The children hid behind the bed, screaming and crying,” B’Tselem stated.
Inas told B’Tselem and Al-Haq that soldiers conditioned the release of Mabrouk from the jaws of the dog on the surrender of Ahmad Nasser Jarrar.
“Several soldiers and the dog dragged my husband down 19 stairs to the first floor,” Inas testified to B’Tselem.
Soldiers ordered Inas and the children to evacuate the home. Half an hour later, she saw soldiers bring her husband out of the first floor apartment, his hands tied behind his back, despite his injury.
“His face was covered in blood and his clothes were torn,” she told B’Tselem.
Mabrouk testified to the rights group that “the dog had its teeth in me for about 15 minutes. One of the soldiers asked me, ‘Where is Ahmad Jarrar?’ and I said I had no idea.”
Once he was finally released from the dog’s grip, a “soldier came up and punched me in the nose twice,” Mabrouk said.
He was taken to an Israeli military camp, where he was told he’d be transferred to a hospital.
“While I waited there, some of the soldiers took photos of me on their phones and also took selfies, laughing,” Mabrouk recalled.
Two and a half hours later he was transported to a hospital inside Israel, where he was shackled to the bed and soldiers stood guard at the door.
He was questioned by officers in civilian clothes the next day and a week later was released without charge and was transferred to a hospital in the northern West Bank for further treatment.
Humiliating strip searches
Some 20 soldiers raided Mabrouk and Inas’ home on 8 February, while Mabrouk was still shackled in an Israeli hospital.
“His wife, Inas, was at home with his mother, Huriyyah, 75, and his sister Dalal, 50, who is mute and suffers from Down syndrome,” B’Tselem stated. “The two women had come to keep Inas company since Mabrouk’s arrest.”
A female soldier subjected all three to humiliating strip searches.
Inas, “stark naked,” was ordered to kneel on the ground for two or three minutes.
“I wished I could die, so I wouldn’t have to experience another second of this,” she recalled.
Inas and the soldier had to help elderly Hurriyah undress.
“The soldier looked at my private parts. I cried the whole time,” Huriyyah told B’Tselem. “How could a young soldier force an old woman like me to take off all my clothes in front of her and expose myself like that?”
The soldier ordered Inas to help her take off Dalal’s clothes as well.
“How did we end up being undressed by a soldier, inside our own house, and exposing our most private parts?” Huriyyah said.
Another Palestinian couple, Nur al-Din and Samahir Awad, were injured by a military dog during a pre-dawn raid on al-Kafeer village near Jenin on 3 February.
They too were awoken when their door was blown open and a dog released in their bedroom.
“The dog bit Nur al-Din in his right arm, while soldiers standing in the entrance to the bedroom stood by, doing nothing,” according to B’Tselem. “The soldiers then removed the dog from the room.”
The soldiers temporarily left the home before the family heard knocking at the back door.
Samahir was holding her 2-year-old son, who was crying. When she opened the back door a dog jumped at her, causing her to drop her child.
The dog bit her in the chest and thigh as the soldiers watched and did nothing for several minutes, and ignored her husband’s pleas to treat her injuries.
“No calls for anyone to surrender”
Witnesses told Al-Haq that soldiers stated their intent to kill Ahmad Nasser Jarrar during the numerous raids on homes across the Jenin area in the lead up to his death in Yamoun village on 6 February.
Resident Bassam Muhammad Abu Seifin told Al-Haq that in the early morning of 6 February, he heard loud explosions next to his building.
“Five minutes later, he heard approximately 10 to 15 bullets fired. There [were] no calls for anyone to surrender,” Al-Haq stated.
Once the shooting stopped, Abu Seifin saw that a building had been partially demolished. He also saw a body covered in a white sheet being carried by soldiers.
Once the military withdrew from the area, Abu Seifin “saw blood stains on the dirt and the remnants of bone and what appeared to be the remnants of the ‘brain’ of a person,” Al-Haq stated.
The rights group, noting that Ahmad Nasser Jarrar’s killing was praised by Israel’s top leadership, stated that it “may amount to a pre-planned case of ‘shoot-to-kill.’”
Al-Haq also stated that the collective punishment imposed on the wider population of the northern West Bank during the search for Ahmad Nasser Jarrar is a violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
“Notably, destruction of property, not [required] by military necessity, may amount to a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and a war crime, subject to prosecution in the International Criminal Court,” Al-Haq added.