Despite evacuation of settlers, Palestinians still under siege

An Israeli government spokesman on Wednesday said orders were issued to seize four Palestinian-owned tracts of land around Maale Adumim, the largest Jewish settlement in the West Bank. (Arjan El Fassed)


Location: Northern West Bank: Sielat al-Zaher village near Homesh settlement. Gaza Strip: al-Mawasi sealed enclave; the sea at Gaza; Kissufim road near al Qarara; houses near the evacuated settlement of Kfar Darom.

Chronology of Events

IOF have continued to demolish structures in the evacuated settlements in the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank, two days following the official announcement ending the evacuation of settlers. The demolition process is taking place under while a suffocating closure is being imposed on Palestinian communities in the areas close to the evacuated settlements. In addition, IOF have started to dismantle some military facilities in the Gaza Strip, and replace them with tanks.

Closures and Curfews

Al-Mawasi

The area has been totally isolated from the outside world. Food supplies have started to run out as a result of the closure of al-Tuffah and Tal al-Sultan checkpoints at the entrances to the area since the beginning of the implementation of the disengagement plan. The closure has affected patients in need of reaching healthcare facilities outside the area.

A PCHR field worker reported that Mohammed Ibrahim al-Zahouq, 18, is badly in need of medical tests in Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis. IOF permitted him out of the area, three days after applying for permission. In addition, Zureiq Abu Shallouf (20) and suffering from alopecia was allowed to go to Nasser Hospital on 24 Aug 2005, three days after applying for permission.

Other Areas of the Gaza Strip

IOF have continued to close Erez crossing and al-Sayafa area in the northern Gaza Strip; al-Ma’ni area near Kfar Darom settlement in the central Gaza Strip; and Abu Holi and al-Matahen checkpoints on Salah al-Din Street (the main road between the north and south of the Gaza Strip).

Seizure of Houses

Al- Qarara, near the Kissufim road

At 01:00 on Thursday 25 Aug 2005, IOF moved 250 meters into the neighbourhoods of Abu Haddaf and al-Sumairi to the south of the Kissufim settler road. They raided and searched 2-storey house belonging to Mas’ad Jumey’an al-Sumairi. They placed the 15 residents in one room on the first floor, and transformed the house into a military site for several hours.

Furthermore, IOF raided a two-storey house belonging to Hammad Saleh Abu Haddaf, houses 26 people. All the residents were placed in a room; and the rest of the house was transformed into an outpost until the morning hours.

Deir El-Balah, near the evacuated settlement of Kfar Darom

For the third consecutive day, the 7 members of Khalil Suliman Bashir’s family are being held in one room of their 3-story house. In a telephone call, Khalil indicated that they are held in a room, guarded by a soldier. They cannot go to the kitchen or bathroom without his permission. On 24 Aug 2005, soldiers allowed the family to go out for one hour to bring back food. It is noted that the house has been used by IOF as a military outpost for the past year.

At 01:00 on Thursday 25 Aug 2005, an IOF foot patrol moved 150 meters west of Kfar Darom and raided the house of Ali Omar El-Tawashi, 2 stories and housing 12 residents including infants. The occupants were held in a room on the second floor; and the roof was transformed into a military outpost. Since then, the house remains occupied by soldiers; and the family has been barred from leaving the house.

Sielet El-Thaher near the evacuated settlement of Homesh, south of Jenin

Fawzan Abu Ali, a resident of the village of Sielet El-Thaher, informed the PCHR fieldworker that on 17 Aug 2005, IOF evicted him and his 10-member family from their house, and occupied the house. The soldiers left the house in the evening of Wednesday 24 Aug 2005. Upon returning to his house, he found the furniture destroyed, windows and doors broken, and bedding shredded. The house was full of garbage, urine and feaces. Fawzan indicated that he didn’t have a second house, and was forced to move from one house to another in the village.

IOF continue to occupy the house of Ahmad Sadeq El-Akhras, near the house of Fawzan Abu Ali, since 15 Aug 2005. In addition, these forces are occupying Abd-El-Ghaffar company for imports and exports, located in the same area.

International Law

Settlements and settlers are illegal under international law. The Fourth Geneva Convention, the primary document governing the OPT, stipulates in Article 49 that the transfer of the population of the occupying power into the occupied territory is in breach of international law. The International Court of Justice confirmed in its 2004 judgment that settlements and settlement activity is illegal.

Freedom of movement is a right afforded to Palestinian civilians under the Fourth Geneva Convention as well as under established international treaties on human rights. Preventing free movement of people and goods interferes with the right to work, the right to health, the right to education, the right not to be held as a prisoner without a free and fair trial.

Related Links

  • BY TOPIC: Gaza Disengagement
  • Palestinian Centre for Human Rights