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Weekly Report: On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory No. 18/2008(24 - 29 April 2008)

PCHR - Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

w18.jpg

The four children from the Abu Me’tiq family who were killed by an Israeli missile that hit their house


May 2, 2008

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Continue Systematic Attacks against Palestinian Civilians and Property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)

 

 

  • 9 Palestinians, including 5 children and a woman, were killed by IOF in the Gaza Strip.

  • The victims include a woman and her 4 children who were killed when IOF shelled their house in Beit Hanoun town.

  • 29 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including 6 children and a woman, were wounded by IOF.

  • A Palestinian civilian was wounded by Israeli settlers in the West Bank.

  • IOF conducted 36 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, and 4 ones into the Gaza Strip.

  • IOF razed 140 donums[1] of agricultural land in the southern Gaza Strip.

  • IOF demolished a house and damaged agricultural areas in Beit Hanoun.

  • IOF arrested 37 Palestinian civilians and held at least 50 others for some time in the Gaza Strip.

  • IOF have continued to impose a total siege on the OPT.

  • The fuel crisis in the Gaza Strip has escalated.

  • 6 Palestinian civilian were arrested by IOF at military checkpoints in the West Bank.

  • IOF have continued settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attacks Palestinian civilians and property.

  • The Israeli High Court legitimize the demolition of at least 60% of the houses in al-'Aqaba village in the Jordan Valley.

  • Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian civilians and their property in Hebron.

 

 

Summary

Israeli violations of international law and humanitarian law seriously escalated in the OPT, especially in the Gaza Strip, during the reporting period (24 – 29 April 2008):

Shooting: During the reporting period, IOF killed 9 Palestinians, including 5 children and a woman, and wounded 29 others, including 6 children and a woman in the Gaza Strip. The victims include a woman and her 4 children who were killed when IOF shelled their house.

On 24 April 2008, IOF killed a Palestinian civilian and wounded 5 others in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun. On the same day, IOF wounded 2 activists of the Palestinian resistance and 2 civilians in 'Abassan village, east of Khan Yunis. On 26 April 2008, IOF killed a Palestinian child and wounded her mother seriously in Beit Hanoun. IOF opened fire at the house and arrested the father. Three civilians were also wounded in the same attack. On 28 April 2008, IOF killed a woman and her 4 children and wounded 10 civilians, including 4 children in Beit Hanoun town. They also killed an activist of the Palestinian resistance and wounded another one. The woman and her children were killed when an IOF aircraft fired missiles at activists of the Palestinian resistance near the house. On the same day, IOF shelled Palestinian areas in the northern Gaza Strip. An activist  of the Palestinian resistance was killed and 9 Palestinians, including a child, were wounded.

In the West Bank, a Palestinian civilian was wounded in Yassouf village, east of Salfit, on 25 April 2008, when Israeli settlers fired a number of Palestinian civilians in the village.

Incursions: During the reporting period, IOF conducted at least 36 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. IOF arrested 37 Palestinian civilians, including 2 children. Thus, the number of Palestinian civilians arrested by IOF in the West Bank since the beginning of 2008 has mounted to 1,051.

In the Gaza Strip, IOF conducted 4 incursions into Palestinian communities. During these incursions, IOF razed at least 140 donums of agricultural land, demolished a house, arrested a Palestinian civilian, and damaged some civilian property.    

Restrictions on Movement: IOF have continued to impose a tightened siege on the OPT and imposed severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.

 

Gaza Strip

IOF have continued to close all border crossings of the Gaza Strip for more than one year and a half. The total siege imposed by IOF on the Gaza Strip has left disastrous impacts on the humanitarian situation and has violated the economic and social rights of the nearly 1.5 million Palestinian civilian population, particularly the rights to appropriate living conditions, health and education. It has also paralyzed most economic sectors. Furthermore, severe restrictions have been imposed on the movement of the Palestinian civilian population. The siege imposed on the Gaza Strip has severely impacted the flow of food, medical supplies and other necessities such as fuel, construction materials and raw materials for various economic sectors. IOF have further tightened the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip since Hamas’ takeover of the Gaza Strip, and the living and economic conditions of Palestinian civilians have further deteriorated. In September 2007, the Israeli government declared the Gaza Strip as "a hostile entity," which implies imposing more restrictions and measures of collective punishment against the Palestinian civilian population. Since then, IOF have sharply decreased food and fuel supplies allowed into the Gaza Strip.  IOF have continued to prevent the entry of raw materials into the Gaza Strip, and subsequently many factories have stopped their industrial activities. Concerning the movement of persons, IOF allow a few Palestinian civilians to pass through Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing to travel to the West Bank. Rafah International Crossing Point on the Egyptian border is the sole outlet for the Gaza Strip to the outside world. IOF have closed Rafah International Crossing Point, even though they do not directly control it. They have prevented European observers working at the crossing point form reaching it. 

The continued Israeli ban on fuel supplies required for civilian life in the Gaza Strip has led to paralyzing 50% of the educational sector as half the students in all educational levels have been unable to reach their schools and universities. In addition, educational sector employees have been unable to reach their work. Furthermore, the transportation sector has nearly stopped functioning throughout the Gaza Strip. As a result, all basic functions of civilian life have come to a near standstill, including drinking water delivery, sewage water disposal, and garbage collection. In addition, healthcare facilities registered a 25% drop in clients due to the transportation crisis, and hundreds of healthcare professionals have been unable to reach their work places.

The closure of border crossings deprives the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip of their right to freedom of movement, education and health. IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on fishing in the Gaza Strip. Fishermen have been subjected to intensive monitoring by IOF, which use helicopter gunships and gunboats to monitor the fishermen. The Oslo Accords allow Palestinian fishermen to go fishing up to 20 nautical miles away from the Gaza seashore.

 

West Bank

Contrary to Israeli claims of easing restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians, IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians throughout the West Bank. Thousands of Palestinian civilians from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have been denied access to Jerusalem. IOF have established many checkpoints around and inside the city. Restrictions of the movement of Palestinian civilians often escalate on Fridays to prevent them from praying at the al-Aqsa Mosque. IOF often violently beat Palestinian civilians who attempt to bypass checkpoints and enter the city. IOF have also tightened the siege imposed on Palestinian communities in the West Bank. IOF positioned at various checkpoints in the West Bank have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. IOF also erected more checkpoints on the main roads and intersections in the West Bank. During the reporting period, IOF dismantled the 17 checkpoint near Nablus, but maintained their presence in the area and continued to search Palestinian civilian vehicles. During the reporting period, IOF troops positioned at various checkpoints in the West Bank arrested 6 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children.

Settlement Activities: IOF have continued settlement activities and Israeli settlers living in the OPT in violation of international humanitarian law have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property. During the reporting period, the local council of al-'Aqaba village, northeast of Tubas, received a copy of a decision issued by the Israeli High Court, which rejected a petition submitted against the demolition of at least 60% of the houses in the village, and the decrease of the area of land on which the village stands from 3,000 to 100 donums only. Israeli settlers also continued to attack Palestinian civilians and their property. During the reporting period, a Palestinian civilian was wounded in Yassouf village, east of Salfit, when Israeli settlers fired a number of Palestinian civilians in the village.  In Hebron, dozens of Israeli settlers from "Kiryat Arba" settlement, southeast of the town, attacked Palestinian houses and cars in Wadi al-Nassara, al-Hussain and al-Ras neighborhoods using stones and iron bars.


Israeli Violations Documented during the Reporting Period (24 – 29 April 2008)

 

1.      Incursions into Palestinian Areas and Attacks on Palestinian Civilians and Property in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip

Thursday, 24 April 2008

·      At approximately 00:30, an IOF aircraft that was supporting an IOF incursion into al-Sikka Street in the west of Beit Hanoun town in the northern Gaza Strip, which started on Wednesday evening, 23 April 2008, fired a missile at a number of Palestinian civilians. As a result, 'Abdul Rahman Zaki Hamad, 23, was seriously wounded by shrapnel throughout the body. At approximately 03:55, an IOF aircraft fired a missile at a number of activists of the Palestinian resistance near the Agricultural School in the north of Beit Hanoun. The missile fell near a house belonging to Daoud Jaber al-Kafarna, 55, when he was at the door. He was instantly killed by shrapnel throughout the body.

 

·      At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Ramallah and al-Bireh towns and al-Am’ari refugee camp. They raided and searched a house belonging to Saleh Mahmoud Cana’an, but no arrests were reported.

 

·      Also at approximately 01:00, IOF moved into 'Anata village, east of Jerusalem. They raided and searched a house belonging to the family of Ahmed Sa’id Khamis, but no arrests were reported.

 

·      Also at approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Bani Na’im village, southeast of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mubarak 'Olayan Zaidat, 30, and arrested him.

 

·      Also at approximately 01:00, IOF moved into 'Azzoun village, east of Qalqilya. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested 'Abdul Mo’ti Ahmed Rabi, 42.

 

·      At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into Nablus and the neighboring Balata refugee camp. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested 7 Palestinian civilians, including 3 brothers:

 

1.      Mahmoud Yousef Habash, 18;

2.      Jassem Farah Mansour, 35;

3.      Tha’er Mahmoud Zinnada, 28;

4.      Sa’ed Mahmoud Zinnada, 25;

5.      Ahmed Mahmoud Zinnada, 23;

6.      Ra’ed Sameeh Abu Arab, 23; and

7.      'Abed 'Essam Fallaha, 30.

 

·      Also at approximately 01:30, IOF moved into Rammoun village, east of Ramallah. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested Ahmed Hani Kuhla, 27.

 

·      Also at approximately 01:30, IOF moved into Beit Oula village, northwest of Hebron. They raided and searched a number of houses, but no arrests were reported.

 

·      At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Jenin town and refugee camp. They raided and searched a number of houses, but no arrests were reported.

 

·      Also at approximately 02:00, IOF moved into al-Khader village, southwest of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested 5 Palestinian civilians:

 

1.      Ashraf Salah al-Din Salah, 27;

2.      Ayman Is’haq Salah, 22;

3.      'Ali 'Abdul Fattah Salah, 23;

4.      Ahmed Hassan Salah, 22; and

5.      Waleed Khader Salah, 21.

 

·      At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Qabatya village, southeast of Jenin. They raided and searched a number of houses, but no arrests were reported.

 

·      Also at approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Kufor Dan village, west of Jenin. They raided and searched a number of houses, but no arrests were reported.

 

·      At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Za’tara village, east of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a number of houses, but no arrests were reported.

 

·      At approximately 05:30, IOF moved nearly 700 meters into 'Abassan village, east of Khan Yunis. They started to level areas of agricultural land. At approximately 08:00, an IOF aircraft fired a missile at a number of Palestinian civilians and resistance activists. Two civilians and 2 resistance activists were wounded by shrapnel throughout their bodies. The two civilians who were wounded are: Nour Mousa 'Asfour, 20; and Mohammed Yousef 'Asfour, 22. IOF troops also arrested 9 Palestinian civilians, but released them in the evening.

 

Friday, 25 April 2008

·      At approximately 00:30, IOF moved into Artah suburb, west of Tulkarm. They raidd and searched dozens of houses, but no arrests were reported.

 

Saturday, 26 April 2008

·      At approximately 00:30, IOF moved into Tulkarm town and refugee camp. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested 3 Palestinian civilians:

 

1.      Jihad Riad al-Mughrabi, 25;

2.      Nemer Mohammed Abu Tammam, 26; and

3.      Tha’er Ibrahim 'Abed Rabbu, 29.

 

·      At approximately 01:15, an IOF infantry unit and a number of military vehicles moved nearly 3,000 meters into al-Amal neighborhood in Beit Hanoun town in the northern Gaza Strip. They besieged a house belonging to Mustafa Hassan Ma’rouf, 40, a member of the 'Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades (the armed wing of Hamas). They called him on his mobile phone and ordered him to surrender. Less than 5 minutes layer, an IOF aircraft fired a missile at the two-storey house, in which 11 individuals, including 9 children, live. Fire broke out in the house. The mother, 40-year-old Samia Ma’rouf, her daughter, 15-year-old Miriam, and her baby, 6-month-old Hajar, got out of their house and walked towards the nearby grandfather’s house. IOF troops opened fire at them. The mother was seriously wounded by a gunshot to the chest and Miriam was seriously wounded by 2 gunshots to the chest and the abdomen. Other members of the family were able to leave the house. IOF troops continued to shell the house until Ma’rouf surrendered. The mother and her daughter remained bleeding for nearly 4 hours, as ambulances were not able to attend them. The daughter died from her wound, whereas the mother was evacuated to the hospital in a serious condition. During this incursion, a number of activists of the Palestinian resistance exchanged fire with IOF troops. Two activists were wounded. As a result of the IOF gunfire and shelling, 3 Palestinian civilians were also wounded:

 

1.      Saleh Mohammed Ma’rouf, 40, seriously wounded by a gunshot to the chest;

2.      Mohammed 'Atiya Ghaben, 40, wounded by shrapnel to the legs; and

3.      Ziad Mustafa Subeh, 33, wounded by a gunshot to the right thigh.

 

At approximately 06:30, IOF withdraw from the area leaving extensive destruction to agricultural areas, and after demolishing Ma’rouf’s house.

 

·      At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into Bethlehem. They raided and searched a house belonging to the family of Mohammed 'Izziddin al-Natsha, 38, and summoned him for interrogation.

 

·      At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into al-Bireh town. They raided and searched a number of houses, but no arrests were reported.

 

·      At approximately 09:30, IOF moved into Hebron. They raided a sewing workshop belonging to the Islamic Charity, which is located on the first floor of the building of the House of Female Orphans, in the west of the town. They ordered the administrators of the workshop to close it in one day implementing military orders to close and seize all properties belonging to the Islamic Charity and the Islamic Youth Association. IOF trooped threatened to imprison workers for 5 years if they did not commit to the order. The workshop was established in 1985. It provides clothes for at least 4,000 orphans. The two associations estimated their losses because of the Israeli measures in recent weeks at US$ 1.7 million.  

 

Sunday, 27 April 2008  

·      At approximately 00:00, IOF moved nearly 1,200 meters into the east of Deir al-Balah town in the central Gaza Strip. They raided and searched a number of houses and transformed their roofs into military sites. IOF arrested 40 Palestinian civilians, but released them on the following day, excluding Majed Hassan Abu Gharaba, 40. IOF bulldozers razed areas of Palestinian houses. IOF redeployed outside the area at approximately 23:30 leaving extensive damages:

 

1.      They demolished the fences of 6 houses.

2.      They damaged 3 houses.

3.      They razed 140 donums of agricultural land planted with olives, citrus and vegetables, and 5 greenhouses that stood on the land.

4.      They destroyed 20 beehives and killed 60 sheep belonging toe the al-Rumaili and al-Qadimi families.

5.      They stole 3 mobile phones and a camera belonging to Khaled Abu Hadhoud.

6.      They stole jewelry whose value is estimated at US$ 900.

 

·      At approximately 00:30, IOF moved into al-Khader village, southwest of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested 4 Palestinian civilians:

 

1.      Ra’ed Mohammed Salah, 24;

2.      Mahmoud 'Ali 'Eissa, 27;

3.      Khalil 'Aaref Salah, 22; and

4.      Majdi Marzouq 'Eissa, 27.

 

·      Also at approximately 00:30, IOF moved into Kufor Qaddoum village, east of Qalqilya. They raided and searched a number of houses, but no arrests were reported.

 

·      At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into al-Yamoun village, west of Jenin. They raided and searched a number of houses, but no arrests were reported.

 

Monday, 28April 2008

·      At approximately 00:30, IOF moved into 'Azzoun village, east of Qalqilya. They raided searched a number of houses and arrested 'Abdul Halim 'Abdul Rahman Hussein, 23, and arrested him.

 

·      At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Ramallah and al-Bireh towns and al-Am’ari refugee camp. They raided and searched a number of houses, but no arrests were reported.

 

·      Also at approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Bitounia town, west of Ramallah. They raided and searched a number of houses, but no arrests were reported.

 

·      Also at approximately 01:00, IOF moved into al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah. They raided and searched a number of houses, but no arrests were reported.

 

·      At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Bethlehem. They raided and searched a house belonging to the family of Mahmoud 'Izziddin al-Natsha, 28, and summoned him for interrogation.

 

·      At approximately 06:00, IOF troops, reinforced by at least 20 heavily armored military vehicles, moved approximately 1,200 meters into Beit Hanoun town in the northern Gaza Strip. The raiding forces took positions on the Water Reservoir Hill, apposite to al-Nada housing project and 'Izbat 'Abed Rabbu, and in Sultan 'Abdul Hamid Street in the west of the town. IOF fired heavily as the moved and took up positions. At approximately 08:15, an IOF aircraft fired a missile at a number of activists of the Palestinian resistance near 'Abdullah 'Azzam Mosque, southwest of 'Izbat 'Abed Rabbu, approximately 1,000 meters away from the main area of the incursion. The missile fell 10 meters away from the house of Ahmad 'Eid Hassan Abu Me’tiq, seriously wounding a resistance activist. Less than a minute later, IOF aircrafts fired another 2 missiles at the same area, which landed at the door of the same house, killing another resistance activist, Ibrahim Salem Suleiman Hajouj, 20. Shrapnel from the missile destroyed the house door and spread inside the house. Meyasar Metliq Abu Me’tiq, 40, and her 6 children were having their breakfast only 2 meters away from the door. The shrapnel killed four of the children immediately. The mother was seriously wounded, and the other two children were moderately injured. The mother died of her wounds later. In addition, 10 bystanders were wounded, some of them sustaining moderate to serious wounds.

 

The children who were killed killed are:

1.      Mes’id Ahmad 'Eid Abu Me’tiq, 1;

2.      Hana Ahmad 'Eid Abu Me’tiq, 3;

3.      Rudeina Ahmad 'Eid Abu Me’tiq, 4; and

4.      Saleh Ahmad 'Eid Abu Me’tiq, 5.

 

The other civilians who were wounded are:

 

1.      Asmaa’ Ahmad Abu Me’tiq, 10;

2.      Shaimaa’ Ahmad Abu Me’tiq, 5;

3.      Mahmoud Sameeh 'Abdul Dayem, 25;

4.      'Ouda Fayiq al-Duhaini, 30;

5.      Ayoub Ameen 'Atallah, 24;

6.      Mohammed Muneer Abu Jarad, 23;

7.      Yousef Mohammed Abu Kalloub, 18;

8.      Khader Mohammed Khader, 17;

9.      'Emad 'Atallah Abu Jarad, 23; and

10.  Mo’tassem Hani Swailem, 16.

 

At approximately 15:00, IOF fired a tank shell and opened fire at a number of activists of the Palestinian resistance. Two activists were wounded.

 

At approximately 15:40, IOF fired a tank shell at a number of activists of the Palestinian resistance near al-Nada housing project. Five Palestinians, including 17-year-old Ahmed Nahidh Warras, were wounded.

 

At approximately 15:50, IOF fired a tank shell at a number of activists of the Palestinian resistance near al-Nada housing project. Four Palestinians were wounded.

 

At approximately 19:00, IOF opened at a number of activists of the Palestinian resistance near al-Nada housing project. An activist, 21-year-old Ma’ath Mohammed 'Ata al-Akhras, was killed by a gunshot that entered the back and exited the chest.

 

·      At approximately 10:00, IOF moved into al-Khader village, southwest of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested Mohammed 'Eissa Ghunaim, 24.  

 

·      At approximately 16:00, IOf moved into al-Zahiriya village, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched a car maintenance workshop and a shop of car parts belonging to Rami Mahmoud Na’imi, claiming that they were looking for stolen cars. They damaged a number of cars. They then confiscated 3 cars and some car parts. Na’imi and other people asserted that the confiscated cars were legally purchased.  

 

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

·      At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Nablus and the neighboring Balata refugee camp. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested 5 Palestinian civilians:

 

1.      Firas 'Abdullah al-Sheikh Khalil, 21;

2.      Qais Khaled Hashash, 22;

3.      Mohammed 'Ali Sawalhi, 21;

4.      Murad Salama al-Teerawi, 22; and

5.      Hani Sami Ka’bi, 22.

 

·      Also at approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Tulkarm. They besieged an apartment building and forced its residents out. They then broke into the building and detonated a sound bomb inside a flat belonging to Suleiman al-Jayousi. They also searched all flats and arrested Safi 'Emad al-Safi, 20.

 

·      Also at approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Qalqilya. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested 2 Palestinian civilians:

 

1.      'Abdullah Mohammed Noufal, 27; and

2.      Sharhabeel Sameer al-Shoubaki, 26.

 

·      At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Taffouh village, west of Hebron. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested Bahaa’ al-Din Fayyad Erzaiqat, 17.

 

·      Also at approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Nouba village, west of Hebron. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested Sameh 'Aatef Shrouf, 19.

 

·      At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Ethna village, west of Hebron. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested Ahmed 'Adnan Abu Zalata, 17.

 

·      Also at approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Nour Shams refugee camp, east of Tulkarm. They raided and searched a house belonging to the family of Mo’men 'Abdul Latif Nabrissi, 22, and arrested him. According to the family, IOF raided the house again at 12:30 and searched it thoroughly claiming that they were looking for weapons.

 

2.      Continued Siege on the OPT

IOF have continued to impose a tightened siege on the OPT and imposed severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including Occupied East Jerusalem.

 

Gaza Strip

IOF have continued to close all border crossings of the Gaza Strip for more than one year and a half. The total siege imposed by IOF on the Gaza Strip has left disastrous impacts on the humanitarian situation and has violated the economic and social rights of the nearly 1.5 million Palestinian civilian population, particularly the rights to appropriate living conditions, health and education. It has also paralyzed most economic sectors. Furthermore, severe restrictions have been imposed on the movement of the Palestinian civilian population. The siege imposed on the Gaza Strip has severely impacted the flow of food, medical supplies and other necessities such as fuel, construction materials and raw materials for various economic sectors. IOF have further tightened the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip since Hamas’ takeover of the Gaza Strip, and the living and economic conditions of Palestinian civilians have further deteriorated. In September 2007, the Israeli government declared the Gaza Strip as "a hostile entity," which implies imposing more restrictions and measures of collective punishment against the Palestinian civilian population. Since then, IOF have sharply decreased food and fuel supplies allowed into the Gaza Strip.  IOF have continued to prevent the entry of raw materials into the Gaza Strip, and subsequently many factories have stopped their industrial activities. Concerning the movement of persons, IOF allow a few Palestinian civilians to pass through Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing to travel to the West Bank. Rafah International Crossing Point on the Egyptian border is the sole outlet for the Gaza Strip to the outside world. IOF have closed Rafah International Crossing Point, even though they do not directly control it. They have prevented European observers working at the crossing point form reaching it. 

The continued Israeli ban on fuel supplies required for civilian life in the Gaza Strip has led to paralyzing 50% of the educational sector as half the students in all educational levels have been unable to reach their schools and universities. In addition, educational sector employees have been unable to reach their work. Furthermore, the transportation sector has nearly stopped functioning throughout the Gaza Strip. As a result, all basic functions of civilian life have come to a near standstill, including drinking water delivery, sewage water disposal, and garbage collection. In addition, healthcare facilities registered a 25% drop in clients due to the transportation crisis, and hundreds of healthcare professionals have been unable to reach their work places.

On 9 April 2008, IOF stopped the flow of the heavily reduced fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip. As a result, the humanitarian situation hit hard by continuous collective punishment since 15 June 2006, deteriorated even further. During the reporting period, IOF allowed the entry of only 170 tons of cooking gas into the Gaza Strip.

PCHR’s monitoring indicates that the Gaza Strip has become a ghost town, especially in the morning and in the afternoon. Approximately 145 fuel stations and all suppliers of fuel and gas shut down due to the total lack of supplies. Local sources indicate that the transportation sector is operating at 15% capacity, including public and private transportation. The civilian population finds it extremely difficult to reach places of work, study, and even healthcare facilities.

The Ministry of Health announced that most ambulances have stopped due to lack of fuel. In addition, the Ministry announced that it has started using its limited fuel reserve to operate health centers and important equipment. The Ministry warned that the expiry of this small reserve would paralyze the health sector and the remaining operational ambulances; thus depriving civilians of minimum healthcare services. In addition, hospitals and medical centers in the Gaza Strip are suffering from the absence of staff due to their inability to reach their workplaces. As a result, the operation of these institutions is threatened at a time of escalating Israeli military activity inside the Gaza Strip.

IOF have maintained the effective closure of the commercial crossings of al-Mentar (Karni), Sofa, Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) and Nahal Ouz. IOF have sporadically opened these crossings in order to facilitate the passage of some humanitarian aids into Gaza.

The closure of border crossings deprives the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip of their right to freedom of movement, education and health. IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on fishing in the Gaza Strip. Following the attack on IOF on 25 June 2006, IOF prevented fishing. Approximately 35,000 people in and around Gaza’s coastal communities rely on the fishing industry, including 2,500 fishermen, 2,500 support staff and their families. Fishermen have been subjected to intensive monitoring by IOF, which use helicopter gunships and gunboats to monitor the fishermen. The Oslo Accords allow Palestinian fishermen to go fishing up to 20 nautical miles away from the Gaza seashore.

 

The West Bank

IOF have imposed a tightened siege on the West Bank. IOF have also continued to prevent Palestinians aged below 35 from passing through some checkpoints, especially in the northern West Bank. During the reporting period, IOF imposed additional restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians.

·      Jerusalem: IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians to and from the city. Thousands of Palestinian civilians from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have been denied access to the city. IOF have established many checkpoints around and inside the city. Restrictions of the movement of Palestinian civilians often escalate on Fridays to prevent them from praying at the al-Aqsa Mosque. IOF often violently beat Palestinian civilians who attempt to bypass checkpoints and enter the city. IOF impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians on Fridays to restrict their access to the al-Aqsa Mosque.

 

·      Nablus: IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. On Thursday, 24 April 2008, IOF troops positioned at various checkpoints around Nablus imposed additional restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians to and from the city. On Saturday morning, 26 April 2008, IOF troops positioned at Beit Eiba checkpoint, west of Nablus, and Za’tara checkpoint, south of the city, conducted prolonged checking on Palestinian civilians. On Sunday morning, 27 April 2008, IOF troops positioned at Za’tara checkpoint, south of Nablus, conducted prolonged checking on Palestinian civilians. On Monday morning, 28 April March 2008, IOF troops positioned at various checkpoints around Nablus imposed additional restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians to and from the city.   

 

At approximately 15:00 on Thursday, 24 April 2008, IOF troops positioned at Za’tara checkpoint, south of Nablus, arrested 3 Palestinian civilians, all of them from Kufor Qaddoum village northeast of Qalqilya:

 

1.      Ibrahim Ahmed Nasrallah, 20;

2.      'Emad 'Abdul 'Aziz Mustafa, 20; and

3.      Mohammed 'Abdul Rahim Yared, 19.

 

At approximately 22:00 on Sunday, 27 April 2008, IOF troops arrested Mohammed 'Arafat Yassin, 62, and Mohammed 'Ali Abu Hannoud, 62, both from 'Assira village north of Nablus, when they got closed to the 17 checkpoint to the south of the village.

 

·      Tulkarm: IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians to and from the town. They have continued to prevent Palestinian civilians aged below 35 from passing through checkpoints. They have also continued to prevent Palestinian farmers from reaching their agricultural lands, which are isolated by the Annexation Wall. During the reporting period, IOF closed Ennab checkpoint, east of Tulkarm, and Wad al-Teen checkpoint, south of the town, several times.

 

At approximately 14:00 on Tuesday, 29 April 2008, IOF troops positioned at al-Karama International Crossing Point on the Jordanian border arrested Aseed Mahmoud al-Najjar, 37, an Imam of a mosque, when he was on his way back to the West Bank.

 

·      Ramallah: In spite of Israeli claims of easing restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians, IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians through various checkpoints around Ramallah. On Friday evening, 25 April 2008, IOF troops positioned at 'Attara checkpoint, held Mr. Ashraf al-Ajrami, Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs, and Mr. Mahmoud al-Habbash, Minister of Social Affairs, for at least 40 minutes. They demanded to search the car in which the two ministers were traveling, claiming that they had instructions to search all cars. On Sunday evening, IOF closed the same checkpoint for several hours.  

 

 

3.     Construction of the Annexation Wall

IOF have continued to construct the Annexation Wall inside West Bank territory. During the reporting period, IOF used force against a peaceful demonstration organized by Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders in protest to the construction of the Wall in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah.

·      Following the Friday Prayer on 25 April 2008, scores of Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders demonstrated in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah, in protest to the construction of the Wall. IOF troops had placed barbwires in the area to prevent the demonstrators from reaching the Wall. The demonstrators attempted to move forward. Immediately, IOF troops fired rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the demonstrators. As a result, dozens of demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation.

 

·      Also following the Friday Prayer on 25 April 2008, scores of Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders demonstrated in al-Ma’sara village, south of Bethlehem. The demonstrators moved towards Palestinian land which were confiscated by IOF. IOF troops placed barbwire near the land to prevent the demonstrators from moving forward. They also violently beat a number of demonstrators. As a result, 3 Palestinian civilians sustained bruises:

 

1.      Hassan Braijiya, 37;

2.      Ahmed Taqatqa, 30; and

3.      Mahera Fawaghra, 33.

 

4.      Settlement Activities and Attacks by Settlers against Palestinian Civilians and Property

IOF have continued settlement activities in the OPT in violation of international humanitarian law, and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.

·      At approximately 07:00 on Friday, 25 April 2008, 6 Israeli settlers from "Taffouh" settlement near Salfit broke into Yassouf village, east of the town. They moved towards a Turkish religious monument in the north of the village. A number of Palestinian civilians gathered in an attempt to prevent the settlers from reaching the monument. The settlers fired at those civilians. As a result, 'Essam 'Abdul Qader 'Azzam, 24, was wounded by 2 gunshots to the right forehand and the left shoulder. 

 

·      On Monday, 28 April 2008, the local council of al-'Aqaba village, northeast of Tubas, received a copy of a decision issued by the Israeli High Court, which rejected a petition submitted against the demolition of at least 60% of the houses in the village, and the decrease of the area of land on which the village stands from 3,000 to 100 donums only. Chairman of the local council, Sami Sadiq, stated that recently "Israeli military commanders asserted to us that the lands of the village are strategically important to the Israeli military, and they would use all possible means to remove the village and reinforce military presence and activity on its lands."

 

·      In the evening of Monday, 28 April 2008, and the early morning of Tuesday, 29 April 2008, dozens of Israeli settlers from "Kiryat Arba" settlement, southeast of Hebron, attacked Palestinian houses and cars in Wadi al-Nassara, al-Hussain and al-Ras neighborhoods using stones and iron bars. A number of houses and cars were damaged. IOF came to the area later to protect the settlers and secure their withdrawal from the area.

 

…………………………………………………………


 

Recommendations to the International Community

1.      PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their legal and moral obligations under Article 1 of the Convention to ensure Israel's respect for the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  PCHR believes that the conspiracy of silence practiced by the international community has encouraged Israel to act as if it is above the law and encourages Israel continue to violate international human rights and humanitarian law.

 

2.      PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to convene a conference to take effective steps to ensure Israel's respect of the Convention in the OPT and to provide immediate protection for Palestinian civilians.

 

3.      PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to comply with its legal obligations detailed in Article 146 of the Convention to search for and prosecute those responsible for grave breaches, namely war crimes.

 

4.      PCHR calls for the immediately implementation of the Advisory Opinion issued by the International Court of Justice, which considers the construction of the Annexation Wall inside the West Bank illegal.

 

5.      PCHR recommends international civil society organizations, including human rights organizations, bar associations and NGOs to participate in the process of exposing those accused of grave breaches of international law and to urge their governments to bring these people to justice.

 

6.      PCHR calls upon the European Union to activate Article 2 of the Euro-Israel Association Agreement, which provides that Israel must respect human rights as a precondition for economic cooperation between the EU states and Israel.  PCHR further calls upon the EU states to prohibit import of goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements in the OPT.

 

7.      PCHR calls on the international community to recognize the Gaza disengagement plan, which was implemented last year, for what it is - not an end to occupation but a compounding of the occupation and the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. 

 

8.      In recognition of ICRC as the guardian of the Fourth Geneva Convention, PCHR calls upon the ICRC to increase its staff and activities in the OPT, including the facilitation of family visitations to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

 

9.      PCHR appreciates the efforts of international civil society, including human rights organizations, bar associations, unions and NGOs, and urges them to continue their role in pressuring their governments to secure Israel's respect for human rights in the OPT and to end its attacks on Palestinian civilians.

 

10.  PCHR calls upon the international community to pressure Israel to lift the severe restrictions imposed by the Israeli government and its occupation forces on access for international organizations to the OPT.

 

11.  PCHR reiterates that any political settlement not based on international human rights law and humanitarian law cannot lead to a peaceful and just solution of the Palestinian question.  Rather, such an arrangement can only lead to further suffering and instability in the region.  Any peace agreement or process must be based on respect for international law, including international human rights and humanitarian law.

 

…………………………………………………………

 

Public Document

For further information please visit our website (http://www.pchrgaza.org) or contact PCHR’s office in Gaza City, Gaza Strip by email (pchr@pchrgaza.org) or telephone (+972 (0)8 2824776 – 2825893).

 


 

[1] 1donum is equal to 1,000 square meters.


:: Article nr. 43650 sent on 03-may-2008 00:00 ECT

www.uruknet.info?p=43650

Link: www.pchrgaza.org/files/W_report/English/2008/30-04-2008.htm



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