Location: Southern Gaza Strip: al Mawasi, a sealed Palestinian enclave inside the “Gush Katif” settlement bloc. Palestinian areas near “Kfar Darom” settlement, southeast of Deir al-Balah.
Chronology of Events
Israeli settlers have severally escalated their attacks against the civilian population of the OPT. In one serious incident 3 Palestinians were killed by a settler who used weaponry belonging to the Israeli military. (Please see PCHR’s weekly report No. 32 for detailed information about this attack) Other attacks have included attacks against greenhouses and other property belonging to civilians.
Palestinian civilians in many communities remain under a state of complete siege and severe restrictions on freedom of movement remain in place.
Closures and Curfews
At 21:00 on Wednesday 17 August 2005, Israeli settlers held a demonstration on the bridge between Abu Houli and al Matahen checkpoints north of Khan Younis. IOF didn’t take measures to stop the demonstration. On the contrary, the kept the checkpoints closed in the face of Palestinian commuters. The checkpoints were reopened at 1:00 a.m. Thursday morning. As a result, hundreds of Palestinians were forced to wait for long hours on the side of the road under difficult circumstances. The checkpoints were re-closed at 5:00 a.m.
It is noted that IOF have informed Palestinian officials that the checkpoints will be closed during the day and opened from 9:00 p.m. till 5:00 a.m. during the ‘disengagement’.
Attacks and Arrests
At 18:00 on Wednesday 17 Aug 2005, Israeli settlers attacked greenhouses belonging to Palestinian farmers in Tal Ziedan area in al Mawasi west of Khan Younis. The settlers damaged the farms of:
- Mohammad Mohammad Ismail Al-Astal - Misbah Mohammad Redwan Al-Astal - Mohammad Mahmoud Abdel-Qadir Al-Astal
In addition, Israeli settlers dug holes in the roads in al Mawasi roads and sprayed nails to hinder movement, especially on roads close to the settlements. As a result, Palestinian civilians were prevented from moving within al Mawasi area, which has been subdivided into small isolated areas as a result of the settler attacks.
At 23:00 on Wednesday 17 Aug 2005, a group of 60 Israeli settlers attacked Al-Sha’er and Zu’rob neighborhoods adjacent to Gadid and Gan Or settlements in Al-Mawasi west of Khan Younis. The settlers fired their weapons at Palestinian homes, causing panic. No injuries were reported. The previous day Israeli settlers burned animal fodder belonging to Palestinian farmers in the same area.
At 19:00 on Wednesday 17 Aug 2005, a group of 200 Israeli settlers and demonstrators attacked 5 Palestinian homes, south of the settlement of Kfar Darom near Deir al Balah in the central Gaza Strip. The anti-pullout settlers attacked the homes in al Ja’farawi area 200 meters south of the settlement. All the victims were from Abu Meghasib Bedouin clan.
During the attack, a number of young Palestinian residents fled the area fearing for their lives. The settlers, nonetheless, burned down shacks used to house livestock. However, the victim’s families managed to take their herds out of the shacks before they were burned.
The settlers attacked the homes of: - Hussein Suliman Abu Meghasib - Ala Marziq Abu Meghasib - Muheisin Suliman Abu Meghasib - Hasan Marziq Abu Meghasib - Atef Abu Meghasib
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.