Six years of Israeli aggression and war crimes in the OPT

Palestinians inspect buildings demolished by Israeli troops at Rafah refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 28 September 2006. (MaanImages/Hatem Omar)


A Special Issue on the 6th Anniversary of the al-Aqsa Intifada

Six Years of Israeli Aggression on the OPT; IOF Commit Unprecedented War Crimes against Palestinian Civilians and Property

This report coincides with the 6th anniversary of the eruption of the al-Aqsa Intifada, which broke out following the former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s provocative visit to al-Aqsa Mosque (the Holy Sanctuary) in occupied Jerusalem. Over the last six years, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have perpetrated grave breaches of international law, including war crimes, against Palestinian civilians in a manner unprecedented since 1967. The sixth year of the Intifada witnessed an increasing escalation in Israeli war crimes as the international community remained silent and the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 failed to meet their obligations to ensure respect for the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and provide protection for Palestinian civilians. The international silence has served to encourage the Israeli government and its occupation forces to perpetrate more war crimes with impunity against Palestinian civilians. Over the last 12 months, IOF have stepped up illegal operations in the OPT, especially in the Gaza Strip. The number of Palestinian civilians killed by IOF in the Gaza Strip in the second half of the year reminds of the numbers of civilians killed by IOF in the West Bank during the Operation Defensive Shield in spring 2002.

In the sixth year of the Intifada, 504 Palestinians, including 398 civilians (79%) have killed by IOF. The number of civilian victims includes 93 children (23%) and 14 women (3.5%). According to PCHR’s documentation, 138 Palestinians have been extra-judicially executed by IOF (34.5% of the total number of civilian victims). This number includes 90 targeted persons and 48 civilian bystanders, including 23 children.

By the end of the sixth year of the al-Aqsa Intifada, 3859 Palestinians, including 3069 civilians (79.5%), have been killed. According to PCHR’s documentation, 585 Palestinians have been extra-judicially executed by IOF (19% of the total number of civilian victims). This number includes 376 targeted persons and 209 civilian bystanders, including 71 children.

Contrary to claims by IOF that they withdrew from the Gaza Strip in September 2005, which PCHR viewed as a form of redeployment, IOF waged an open war on the Gaza Strip after Palestinian resistance activists had killed two IOF soldiers and captured a third on 25 June 2006. This wide scale military campaign named “Operation Summer Rains” is still ongoing. Since the beginning of this campaign, 237 Palestinian, including 147 civilians, have been killed by IOF in the Gaza Strip. The number of civilian victims includes 53 children and 13 women. In addition, 821 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including 220 children and 35 women, have been wounded.

According to PCHR’s documentation, IOF have fired at least 260 air-to-surface missiles and hundreds of artillery shells at targets, mostly civilian ones, in the Gaza Strip. Buildings of the Palestinian Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of National economy, the office of the Palestinian Prime Minister and a number of educational institutions have been destroyed. The electricity generation plant, providing 45% of the electricity of the Gaza Strip, was destroyed, and electricity networks and transmitters have been repeatedly attacked. Six bridges linking Gaza City with the central Gaza Strip and a number of roads have been destroyed. IOF have also destroyed hundreds of donums [1] of agricultural land and dozens of houses have been destroyed. The Palestinian governmental compound in Nablus has been destroyed. Many families in the Gaza Strip have been forced to leave their houses. IOF warplanes have destroyed 44 houses belonging to activists of Palestinian factions.

In the sixth year of the Intifada, IOF continued to shell Palestinian residential areas. Complete families were killed or wounded by the IOF shelling. For instance, on 9 June 2006, IOF killed ‘Alai Ghalia, his wife and 5 of the their children. On 12 July 2006, IOF killed Nabeel Abu Silmiya, his wife and 7 of their children. IOF have employed warplanes to extra-judicially executed Palestinian in densely populated areas, rendering casualties among Palestinian civilians, especially children. Furthermore, IOF have adopted a new policy since 23 July 2006, under which they warn Palestinian civilians that their houses would be attacked, a very short period that does not exceed an hour prior to the actual attack. IOF often claim that weapons are stored in these houses or that tunnels are dug under them to smuggle weapons.

In the West Bank, IOF continued to construct the annexation wall inside the West Bank territory, in violation of international law and humanitarian law, and the advisory opinion issued by the International Court of Justice in Hague, which considered the construction of the wall illegal and called for its dismantlement.

In an attempt to undermine the results of the Palestinian elections, which were held on 25 January 2006, IOF waged an arrest campaign against members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) representing the Change and Reform Bloc affiliated to Hamas and cabinet ministers. IOF arrested 31 PLC members, including the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and the Secretary. The PLC Deputy Speaker was released later. In addition, IOF arrested 8 ministers, including the Deputy Prime Minister. Three ministers, including the Deputy Prime Minister, were released later, while the others have been kept in custody.

On 14 March 2006, IOF completed initiated a large-scale military operation that imed to apprehend Ahmad Sa’adat, the Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the elected member of the PLC, a number of PFLP activists charged with assassinating Rehavam Ze’vi (Israeli ex-Minister of Tourism), and Major General Fuad al-Shobaki, a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council who is charged with smuggling the Karen A arms shipment.

This operation was initiated 15 minutes after the sudden withdrawal of American and British monitors charged with guarding Sa’adat, in accordance with an agreement, drafted mainly by the United States. Israeli, American, and British officials attempted to deny any prior coordination between them. However, the Israeli Defense Minister, Shaul Mofaz, said in statements to Haaretz newspaper after the operation that Israel knew beforehand about the time of the monitors’ withdrawal from Jericho prison. Further, he stated that the army had been preparing for over a week to storm the prison and kidnap the prisoners.

PCHR had previously stressed that no party, whether the IOF, Palestinian National Authority, or international community, has the right to formulate an agreement that violates International Humanitarian Law. This position was stated in reference to the agreement regarding Sa’adat’s detention in Jericho prison (refer to the PCHR’s press release dated 4 June 2002). Thus, PCHR raises question over the international community’s role in enforcing past and future agreements to which Israel is a party.

Israeli military actions have violated the political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights of Palestinian civilians.

The six years of the al-Aqsa Intifada have been characterized by the following Israeli military attacks:

  • Prolonged Incursions and redeployment into Palestinian Authority controlled areas.
  • Massive killings and destruction of houses and civilian property.
  • Extra-judicial executions against Palestinian activists and political leaders, the most significant of which targeted Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the founder and leader of Hamas, and his successor, Dr. ‘Abdul ‘Aziz al-Rantissi.
  • Destruction of the Palestinian economy and the structure of the Palestinian Authority through the destruction of civil and security facilities.
  • Using Palestinian civilians as human shields during military operations in the OPT.
  • Closing Rafah International Crossing Point and other border crossings of the Gaza Strip.
  • Chasing fishermen and depriving them of their sources of income.
  • Storming Jericho Prison and arresting senior political leaders.
  • Humiliation of Palestinian at military checkpoints.
  • Deportation of a number of Palestinian activists.
  • Continued construction of the annexation wall inside the West Bank territory, in a challenge for the advisory opinion issued by the International Court of Justice, which considered the construction of the wall illegal.
  • Wilful killing of Palestinian civilians.
  • Indiscriminate shelling of Palestinian civilian residential areas using various forms of weaponry, including warplanes, tanks and machine guns.
  • Collective punishment of Palestinian civilians, denying them their basic human rights, including the rights of health, education, freedom of movement and work, through imposing a tightened siege on the OPT.
  • Transformation of Qalandya checkpoint into an international border crossing between the West Bank and Israel.
  • Arbitrary arrests and placing Palestinians in administrative detention.
  • Closure of a number of charitable societies in the West Bank.
  • Systematic attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians.

    A table showing those killed during the al-Aqsa Intifada from 29 September 2000 to 28 September 2006

    A table showing those injured during the al-Aqsa Intifada from 29 September 2000 to 28 September 2006 [2]

    A table showing land levelling, house demolitions and destruction to industrial and educational facilities in the Gaza Strip during the al-Aqsa Intifada, from 29 September 2000 to 28 September 2006

    Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Escalate Attacks on Palestinian Civilians and Property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)

  • 6 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children and one woman, were killed by IOF in the Gaza Strip.
  • IOF shot the woman from a zero range.
  • IOF conducted 33 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, and 4 others into the Gaza Strip.
  • IOF arrested 16 Palestinian civilians in the West Bank, and 9 others in the Gaza Strip.
  • IOF demolished 13 houses in Um al-Nasser village in the southern Gaza Strip.
  • IOF transformed two houses in Hebron into military sites.
  • IOF have continued to impose a total siege on the OPT; IOF have imposed a tightened siege on the Gaza Strip; and IOF positioned at a various checkpoints in the West Bank arrested 8 Palestinian civilians, including a child.

    Summary

    Israeli violations of international law continued in the OPT during the reported period (21 - 27 September 2006):

    Killing: During the reported period, IOF killed 6 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children and a woman, in the Gaza Strip.

    On Thursday morning, 21 September 2006, IOF killed two Palestinian civilians, including a woman in Um al-Nasser village, northeast of Rafah. IOF killed the woman from a zero range when she protested against IOF soldier who beat her deaf husband. The woman was left bleeding until for several hours. The other civilian was killed in the same area by the indiscriminate IOF gunfire. On the same day, IOF killed 3 children in Jabalya town in the northern Gaza Strip, while they were herding sheep. On 27 September 2006, a child was killed when IOF dropped a bomb at a neighboring house. In addition, 21 Palestinian civilians, including 8 children, were wounded by the IOF shelling in Rafah.

    Thus, the number of Palestinians killed by IOF in the Gaza Strip since 25 June 2006 has increased to 237, including 53 children and 13 women. In addition, 821 others, mostly civilians, including 220 children, 35 women, 4 paramedics and 6 journalists, have been wounded.

    In the West Bank, 6 Palestinian civilians, including two children, were wounded by IOF gunfire throughout the West Bank.

    Incursions: During the reported period, IOF conducted at least 33 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, during which they raided dozens of houses and arrested 16 Palestinian civilians, including a child. IOF also transformed two houses into military sites. In an act of piracy, IOF broke into the Jordanian National Bank and 11 money exchange shops in the West Bank. They arrested 7 money exchangers and confiscated large amounts of money. Israeli sources estimated the confiscated money at 6 million NIS (US$ 1.3 million), and claimed that these money exchange shops transferred amounts of money that were used to finance attacks on Israeli targets. In the Gaza Strip, IOF conducted 4 incursions in the southern Gaza Strip villages of Um al-Nasser and al-Foukhari, and into the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia. During these incursions IOF arrested 11 Palestinian civilians and demolished at least 14 houses.

    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 imposed a strict siege on the Gaza Strip. They have closed its border crossings as a form of collective punishment against Palestinian civilians.
    IOF have closed Rafah International Crossing Point since 25 June 2006, even though they do not directly control it. During the reported period, the crossing point was reopened for 3 days and thousands of Palestinians were able to travel from and to the Gaza Strip. IOF have closed commercial crossings of the Gaza Strip, especially al-Mentar (Karni) crossing. As a consequence, the economic situation inside the Gaza Strip has further deteriorated and many goods have been lacked in markets. During the reported period, IOF partially reopened al-Mentar (Karni) crossing, east of Gaza City, and Sofa and Kerem Shalom crossings near Rafah. IOF have also continued to close Erez crossing in the northern Gaza Strip. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip had been prevented from traveling through this crossing. IOF have allowed international workers to pass through the crossing. With this closure, only few Palestinian patients have been able to travel to hospitals in Israel and the West Bank. In addition, IOF have prevented Palestinian fishermen from fishing for 3 months.

    West Bank
    IOF have tightened the siege imposed on Palestinian communities in the West Bank. They have isolated Jerusalem from the rest of 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 have continued to separate between the north and south of the West Bank. During the reported period, IOF positioned at various checkpoints around imposed severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. During the reported period, IOF positioned at various checkpoints in the West Bank arrested 8 Palestinian civilians, including a child.

    The outcome of crimes committed by IOF since 25 June 2006:

  • 273 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including 56 children and 13 women, have been killed by IOF.
  • At least 1020 Palestinian civilians, including 294 children and 41 women, have been wounded by the IOF gunfire.
  • At least 261 air-to-surface missiles and hundreds of artillery shells have been fired at Palestinian civilian and military targets in the Gaza Strip.
  • Buildings of the Palestinian Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of National economy, the office of the Palestinian Prime Minister and a number of educational institutions have been destroyed.
  • The electricity generation plant, providing 45% of the electricity of the Gaza Strip, was destroyed, and electricity networks and transmitters have been repeatedly attacked.
  • 6 bridges linking Gaza City with the central Gaza Strip and a number of roads have been destroyed.
  • Hundreds of donums of agricultural land and dozens of houses have been destroyed.
  • Hundreds of Palestinian civilians, including 9 ministers and 31 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), including the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and Secretary, have been arrested. Minster of Prisoners’ Affairs, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Labor and Second Deputy Speaker of the PLC were released.
  • The Palestinian governmental compound in Nablus has been destroyed.
  • Many families in Rafah, Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahia have been forced to leave their houses.
  • IOF intelligence has warned some Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip by phone to evacuate their houses, which would be attacked.
  • 44 houses belonging to activists of Palestinian factions were destroyed by IOF warplanes.
  • IOF have imposed a strict siege on the OPT, and have isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world.

    Israeli Violations Documented during the Reporting Period (21 - 27 September 2006)

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

    Thursday, 21 September 2006

  • At approximately 01:20, IOF moved nearly 3000 meters into Um al-Nasser village, northeast of Rafah. They closed Salah al-Din Street, which links between Rafah and Khan Yunis. They then besieged a house belonging to Nazmi Hussein Zo’rob, a member of Hamas. They also opened fire indiscriminately at houses. At approximately 02:00, IOF chased a number of young men into a house. IOF soldiers violently beat the owner, who is deaf. When his wife, 35-year-old E’timad Isma’il Abu Mo’ammar protested, IOF soldiers opened fire at her. She was wounded by several live bullets throughout the body. IOF did not allow medical crews to evacuate her to the hospital. She remained in the house bleeding until 06:00, when she died. As a result of the indiscriminate Israeli gunfire, 8 Palestinian civilians, including a man and his two children, were wounded. One of these civilians, 28-year-old Mohammed Suleiman Mo’ammar, bled to death as he was wounded by two live bullets to the left thigh and the right hand. The other civilians who were wounded area:
    1. Mahmoud Daoud Abu Mo’ammar, 51, wounded by shrapnel throughout the body;
    2. Ra’fat Mahmoud Abu Mo’ammar, 27, wounded by shrapnel throughout the body;
    3. Ahmed Mahmoud Abu Mo’ammar, 4, wounded by shrapnel to the chest;
    4. Haneen Mahmoud Abu Mo’ammar, 7, wounded by shrapnel to the head;
    5. Haneen Hussein Zo’rob, 4, wounded by shrapnel throughout the body;
    6. Ayman Nasser Zo’rob, 19, wounded by a live bullet to the left leg; and
    7. Ahmed Mohammed Younis, 26, wounded by shrapnel to the right hand.

    According to eyewitnesses, IOF did not allow medical crews into the area. At approximately 12:30, IOF withdrew from the area after having destroyed 13 houses, in which 129 people (15 families) lived, and arrested 5 Palestinian civilians, including a child and a woman:

    1. Hassan Hussein Zo’rob, 43;
    2. Aamena Mohammed Zo’rob, 25;
    3. Saleh Khalil Zo’rob, 63;
    4. Mahrous Saleh Zo’rob, 27; and
    5. Salah Saleh Zo’rob, 13.

  • At approximately 01:40, IOF moved into the Northern Mount area in Nablus. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested Nassim Badawi al-Kharraz, 32.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Seilat al-Harthiya village, southwest of Janine. They besieged a house belonging to Hafez ‘Abdul Ghani Tahaina, 50, and abused the family. IOF forced the 8 residents of the house out and abused them. They then raided and searched the house for no apparent reason.
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Rummana village, northwest of Jenin. They besieged a house belonging to ‘Izziddin Khaled Marahin, 30, who is allegedly wanted. They attempted to open the door using a hammer. They then opened fire into the house through the window. No one was inside the house. Soon after, IOF raided and searched a neighboring house belonging to Mahmoud As’ad Farasin. The ordered the Farasin family to inform Marahin to surrender or he would be executed.
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into al-Khader village, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a house belonging to the family of Waleed No’man Subaih, who had been already killed by IOF. Later, IOF withdrew from the area and no arrests were reported.
  • Also at approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Wadi Shaheen neighborhood in Bethlehem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Suleiman al-Sha’lan, and arrested his son, 19-year-old Hamza, and his son-in-law, 27-year-old Ahmed Mohammed Sabbah.
  • At approximately 08:00, an IOF undercover unit moved into Deir Abu Sa’if village, northeast of Jenin, traveling in a civilian car with a Palestinian registration plate. The car stopped in the northwest of the village. Four persons wearing civilian clothes got out of the car and pointed then pistols at 3 Palestinian farmers, who were digging a well into their land. IOF arrested the three farmers: Mustafa Hussein Yassin, 23; Hussam Nadi Yassin, 24; and ‘Abdullah Ahmed Mahamid, 36. IOF released the last two farmers later, but kept the first one in custody.
  • At approximately 8:50, IOF positioned along the Gaza Strip border to the east of Jabalia fired a surface-to-surface missile at three children, who were herding sheep in the Abu Safiya area, east of Jabalya town. The area is located about 2 kilometers away from the border. The children were killed and there bodied torn into parts:

    1. ‘Alaa’ Saqer Dahrouj Abu Dahrouj, 15;
    2. Zaidan Rafiq Mohammed Abu Rashed, 16; and
    3. Mohammad Selmi Mohammed Masalha, 17.

    According to investigations conducted by PCHR, while herding, the children had come near an abandoned rocket launcher used earlier by Palestinian gunmen to fire a homemade rocket. It is noted that another civilian was killed on the day before in similar circumstances. Thus, the number of Palestinian civilians killed under similar circumstances over the past 3 months has mounted to 15 victims.

  • At approximately 12:15, IOF moved into Tubas village, southeast of Jenin. They fired live bullets and tear gas canisters at the center of the village. A number of Palestinian civilians suffered from tear gas inhalation.
  • At approximately 21:00, IOF moved into Bala’a village, east of Tulkarm. They besieged a house belonging to the family of Anwar Rashed al-Wawi. They called on his through megaphones to surrender, but he was not there. IOF soldiers broke into the house and searched it. They fired live bullets and sound bombs inside the house. Later, a number of Palestinian children gathered and threw stones at IOF vehicles. Immediately, IOF soldier fired rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters at the children. As a result, dozens of Palestinian civilians suffered from tear gas inhalation.

    Friday, 22 September 2006

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Tulkarm. They opened fire at houses in the southern part of the town. Dozens of houses were damaged. IOF vehicles also damaged an electricity transmitter and telephone supplies. As a result, the electricity and telephone services were cut off from the area for several hours.
  • At approximately 01:45, IOF moved into Jenin town and refugee camp. They raided and searched a number of houses. They withdrew later, and no arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Nablus. They raided and searched a number of houses. They withdrew later, and no arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Deir Abu Da’if village, northeast of Jenin. They patrolled in the streets. They withdrew later, and no arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Jalboun village, northeast of Jenin. They patrolled in the streets. They withdrew later, and no arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 22:50, an IOF aircraft fired a missile at a tin-made room belonging to Akram Mohammed Jarad in al-Shouka village, east of Rafah, near the Egyptian border. The room was destroyed and two houses belonging to Jarad and his brother were damaged. Jarad received a call on his mobile phone at 22:30 from a person who identified himself as an Israeli intelligence officer, who informed him that the room would be attacked in 10 minutes. The targeted room served as a store used by the family. IOF often justify attacking house near the Egyptian border by claiming that they are used in smuggling weapons from Egypt into the Gaza Strip.

    Saturday, 23 September 2006

  • At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into Tubas village. They patrolled in the streets. No arrests were reported.
  • Also at approximately 01:30, IOF moved into Tammoun village, southeast of Jenin. They patrolled in the streets. No arrests were reported.
  • Also at approximately 01:30, IOF moved into al-Fara’a refugee camp, southeast of Jenin. They patrolled in the streets. No arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Jenin town and refugee camp. They patrolled in the streets, and raided and searched a number of houses. At approximately 06:00, they withdrew from the town and refugee camp. No arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 02:50, IOF, reinforced by heavy military vehicles, helicopters and drones, moved nearly 2000 meters into the north of Beit Lahia town in the northern Gaza Strip. IOF soldiers besieged a number of houses belonging to the al-Ghoul family in al-Sayafa area. They forced the residents of those houses out and held them from 07:00 until 16:30. They searched the houses using trained dogs. According to a number of residents, IOF confiscated a number of mobile phones and an amount of money. Before their withdrawal from the area at approximately 20:00, IOF arrested 4 Palestinian civilians, but released them a few hours later. During their withdrawal from the area, IOF vehicles severely damaged areas of agricultural land belonging to the families of al-Ghoul, al-‘Akka and Khudair.
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Balata refugee camp, east of Nablus. They patrolled in the streets and raided and searched a number of houses. An IOF bulldozers also blocked the southern entrance of the camp with a sand barrier. IOF withdrew from the camp at approximately 05:30, and no arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 03:30, IOF moved into al-Yamoun village, southwest of Jenin. They patrolled in the streets and fired live bullets and sound bombs indiscriminately. At approximately 04:30, IOF withdrew from the village, and no casualties or arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 10:00, IOF permanently positioned in the center and south of Hebron moved into al-Masharqa area in the old town. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Nafez ‘Abdul Jalil al-Hashlamoun and Eyad ‘Othman al-Ja’bari, and transformed their roofs into military sites.

    Sunday, 23 September 2006

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Nablus and neighboring refugee camps. They raided and searched a number of houses. Battir village, west of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a number of houses, and arrested Mazen Bashir Qasqas, 23.
  • At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into Jenin town and refugee camp. They raided and searched a house belonging to Waleed Hudaib in al-Hadaf neighborhood. No arrests were reported.
  • Also at approximately 01:30, IOF moved into Kufor Dan village, west of Jenin. They raided and searched a number of houses. They withdrew later, and no arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 18:30, IOF moved into al-Khader village, southwest of Bethlehem. They opened fire at houses. IOF soldiers also fired at a number of Palestinian children, claiming that they threw stones at Israeli vehicle starveling on bypass road #60 near the village. One of the children, 14-year-old Ghassam ‘Emad Salah, was seriously wounded by two live bullets to the chest and the pelvis.
  • At approximately 21:00, IOF moved into Marda village, southwest of Nablus. They raided a house belonging to Hisham Radwan al-Khuffash, who was not in the house. They forced his mother, his wife and their children out of the house and searched it. They damaged the furniture and took position on the roof for a few minutes. IOF then withdrew from the area.
  • At approximately 22:00, IOF moved into al-Zubaidat village, east of Jenin. They raided houses and verified the identity cards of Palestinian civilians. IOF often raided Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley to expel Palestinian farmers who do not live in the area out of it.

    Monday, 25 September 2006

  • At approximately 00:50, IOF moved into al-Zahiriya village, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to the family of Nasser Nayef Khudairat, 24, a member of the Palestinian presidential guard, and arrested him.
  • At approximately 01:50, IOF moved nearly 1500 meters into Beit Lahia town in the northern Gaza Strip. They took position in the area, where “Dogit” settlement used to stand before the implementation of the Israeli disengagement plan. IOF thus isolated al-Sayafa area from its surroundings. At approximately 11:30, IOF soldiers raided a house belonging to Yasser Fayez Tafesh. They searched the house and interrogated its residents about those who launch home-made rockets at Israeli towns. No arrests were reported. IOF withdrew from the area at approximately 19:00.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Kufor Qallil village, south of Nablus. They patrolled in the streets and raided and searched a number of houses. They withdrew from the village two hours later, and no arrests were reported.
  • Also at approximately 02:00, IOF moved into al-Fara’a refugee camp, southeast of Jenin. they patrolled in the streets and opened fire. A number of live bullets hit windows of a rehabilitation center for the disabled, a school and a clinic belonging to UNRWA. IOF withdrew from the camp at approximately 03:30. No casualties or arrests were reported.

    Tuesday, 26 September 2006

  • At approximately 01:45, IOF moved into Nablus. A number of members of the Palestinian resistance clashed with IOF. A member of the resistance was wounded by a live bullet to the chest during these clashes.
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Kufor Dan village, southwest of Jenin. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested 6 Palestinian civilians, including 4 brothers:

    1. Majdi Samer Abu al-Haija, 18;
    2. Mohammed Samer Abu al-Haija, 22;
    3. Lutfi Samer Abu al-Haija, 24;
    4. Hitler Samer Abu al-Haija, 27;
    5. Ussama Mohammed ‘Aabed, 28; and
    6. Qaher Mohammed ‘Aabed, 37.

  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into al-Sheikh neighborhood in Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to the family of Munther Jameel Hassan, 28, and arrested him.
  • Also at approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Halhoul town, north of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to the family of Mohammed Subhi Zama’ra, 16, and arrested him.
  • At approximately 23:40, an IOF fighter jet dropped a bomb on a 200-square-meter, uninhabited house belonging to Sami Salem al-Sha’er near Salah al-Din Gate on the Egyptian border, south of Rafah. The house was largely destroyed. Nearly an hour and a half later, an IOF fighter jet dropped a second bomb on the same house, totally destroying it. Debris of the house fell onto a number of houses in the neighboring al-Brazil neighborhood. As a result, 14-year-old Dam al-‘Ez Ahmed Hammad was killed. According to her father, his only child was sleeping near her disabled mother, when she was hit by the debris. In addition, 14 other civilians, including 5 children and 4 women, were wounded. According to al-Sha’er, he received a call on his mobile phone at 23:10 from a persons who identified himself as an Israeli military officer. The officer ordered al-Sha’er to vacate his house in 20 minutes as it would be attacked. Al-Sha’er received a similar call 20 minutes later. IOF claimed that there was a tunnel under the house, which was used for smuggling weapons from Egypt into the Gaza Strip.

    Wednesday, 27 September 2006

  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved nearly 1300 meters into al-Fukhari area in the southeast of Khan Yunis near the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel. They raided and searched a number of houses and transformed their roofs into military sites. At approximately 06:00, IOF order Palestinian civilians to get out of their houses in al-‘Awaisha quarter. IOF arrested 24 Palestinians. They released these Palestinians, excluding two: ‘Olayan Ibrahim al-‘Omour, 28, a security man; and Ahmed Baraka al-‘Omour. IOF also demolished a 190-square-meter house belonging to ‘Arafat Mohammed al-‘Omour, 38, a member of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a military wing of Fatah movement. In addition, IOF damaged a house belonging to Hassan Mohammed al-‘Omour, and razed 5 donums of agricultural land planted with vegetables and olives.

    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

    Following an attack launched by Palestinian militants on 25 June 2006 near the Israeli-Egyptian border, southeast of Rafah, which left two IOF soldiers and two of the attackers dead and a third IOF soldier missing, IOF have closed all border crossings of the Gaza Strip:

  • Rafah International Crossing Point: 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. Thousands of Palestinian civilians have been stuck at the Egyptian side of the crossing, and hundreds of others have been deprived of their right to receive medical treatment abroad. During the reported period, the crossing point was reopened for 3 days. On 22 September 2006, the crossing point was opened from 08:00 until 18:00, and 1600 Palestinians were able to travel to Egypt and 1800 others were able to travel back to the Gaza Strip. On 23 September 2006, the crossing was opened from 08:00 to 18:00, and 2100 Palestinians were able to travel to Egypt and 2500 others were able to travel back to the Gaza Strip. On 24 September 2006, the crossing point was opened from 08:00 until 13:00, and 400 Palestinians were able to travel through it. The crossing point, which has been closed since 25 June 2006, was partially reopened on 18 and 19 July 2006 to allow thousands of Palestinians stuck at the Egyptian side to cross towards the Gaza Strip. As a result of the closure of the crossing point, 7 patients died at the Egyptian side of the crossing point. On 10 August 2006, the crossing point was opened at 10:00 and was re-closed at 12:45. Approximately 1596 Palestinians were able to travel to Egypt and other countries through the crossing point. On Friday, 11 August 2006, the crossing was opened at 10:00, but it was re-closed at 14:00. Approximately 2800 Palestinian were able to travel from the Gaza Strip to Egypt and other countries. On 25 August 2006, the crossing point was opened on both directions from 08:00 until 18:00. On that day, 3104 Palestinians were able to travel abroad and 3204 others were able to travel back to the Gaza Strip. On 26 August 2006, the crossing point was operated from 08:00 until 14:00. On that day, 2500 Palestinians were able to travel abroad, and 1070 others were able to come back to the Gaza Strip.
  • Beit Hanoun (Erez) Crossing: IOF have completely closed Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing, which links the Gaza Strip with Israel and the West Bank. Before this latest closure, IOF had prevented Palestinian workers from reaching their work places inside Israel through Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing since 12 March 2006. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip had been prevented from traveling through this crossing. IOF have allowed international workers to pass through the crossing. With this closure, few Palestinian patients have been able to travel to hospitals in Israel and the West Bank. On 22 September 2006, IOF closed the crossing. This closure remained effective until 25 September 2006, when IOF allowed a number of patients, 8 traders and 46 members of families of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails to travel through the crossing. According to Dr. Ma’awia Hassanain, director of the emergency department at the Palestinian Ministry of Health, between 9 and 17 September 2006, the Ministry submitted applications to transfer 59 patients to Israeli hospitals, and only 39 of them were approved. In addition, patients aged under 40 have not bee allowed to enter Israel to receive medical treatment. Due to such restriction, on 16 September 2006, Mohammed Yousef al-Zumaili, 53, from Gaza City, died as IOF rejected dozens of application to allow him to travel to Israeli hospitals to receive medical treatment.
  • Al-Mentar (Karni) Commercial Crossing: IOF have closed the crossing, which is the main commercial crossing for the Gaza Strip. As a consequence, the economic situation inside the Gaza Strip has further deteriorated and many goods have been lacked in markets. During the reported period, IOF partially reopened the crossing. They allowed the importation of foodstuffs and medicines into the Gaza Strip, and the exportation of several goods from the Gaza Strip to Israel and the West Bank. About 250 trucks loaded with goods entered the Gaza Strip daily, whereas only 30 trucks were allowed to export goods from the Gaza Strip to Israel and the West Bank. IOF also partially reopened Sofa and Kerem Shalom crossings near Rafah, and allowed the entry of humanitarian aids provided by Arab countries into the Gaza Strip.

    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. On a number of occasions, IOF has opened fire against the civilian fishermen in order to enforce the 9 nautical mile limit imposed on them. The Oslo Accords make provision for Gaza’s sea to be fished to 20 nautical miles.

    The West Bank

    IOF have imposed a tightened siege on the West Bank. They have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians and imposed curfews on a number of Palestinian communities.

  • Ramallah: IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians at various checkpoints around the town, especially Attara checkpoint, north of the town, and Qalandya checkpoint, south of the town. During the reported period, IOF positioned at ‘Attara checkpoint conducted prolonged checking for Palestinian civilians.

    At approximately 14:30 on Saturday, 23 September 2006, IOF positioned at the checkpoint near the entrance to Senjel village, northwest of Ramallah, opened fire at a Palestinian taxi. As a result, 4 passengers, including a child, were wounded:

    1. Jameel ‘Abdul Rahman Zaidan, 48, from Qabalan village south of Nablus, wounded by a live bullet to the left elbow and shrapnel to the back and the left shoulder;
    2. Majed Nawaf Snoubar, 33, from Yatma village south of Nablus, wounded by shrapnel to the right shoulder;
    3. Mohammed Saleh al-Aqra’, 20, from Qabalan village south of Nablus, wounded by shrapnel to the right elbow; and
    4. ‘Ali Mohammed al-Aqra’, 15, from Qabalan village south of Nablus, wounded by shrapnel to the head and the right hand.

    IOF soldiers also arrested the taxi driver, ‘Abdul Fattah Hussein ‘Aabed, 42. In his testimony to PCHR, Jameel ‘Abdul Rahman Zaidan, 48, stated:

    “At approximately 14:00 on Saturday, 23 September 2006, I was traveling in a Palestinian taxi together with 6 persons, including two children. We were traveling from Ramallah towards Qabalan village. At approximately 14:30, we were surprised by an Israeli military checkpoint near the southeastern entrance of Senjel village, north of Ramallah. Israeli soldiers were stopping and searching Palestinian vehicles. When we arrived at the checkpoint, Israeli soldiers were searching an ambulance of Palestine Red Crescent Society. One of the soldiers pointed to our driver to move forward and he did. Soon, we heard Israeli soldiers screaming: “Stop! Stop!”. They also opened fire at the taxi. Some of us were wounded, but the driver continued to travel forwards. When we became 500 meters away from the checkpoint, we were surprised by an Israeli military jeep. It intercepted the taxi. The wounded were evacuated to a hospital in Nablus, and the driver was arrested by Israeli soldiers.”

  • Hebron: IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. During the reported period, IOF decided to close the Ibrahimi Mosque in the face of Muslims for 7 separate days, including the first four days of the holy Ramadan Month. IOF claimed that the decision aimed to allow Israeli settlers to celebrate Jewish occasions. During the reported period, IOF imposed severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the old town and the center and south of Hebron. They stopped, checked and interrogated dozens of Palestinian civilians, and restricted access to mosques. At approximately 15:30 on Saturday, 23 September 2006, IOF erected a number of checkpoints in various areas of the town. They stopped, checked and interrogated Palestinian civilians. IOF also closed the Prophet Younis outlet to the north of Hebron. They stopped and checked Palestinian civilians. On Sunday afternooon, 24 September 2006, IOF erected additional checkpoints inside Hebron and on the roads leading to it. They stopped, checked and interrogated Palestinian civilians. Many civilians were not able to join their families for the main meal after fasting. On Monday, 25 September 2006, IOF moved into several areas in Hebron. They erected a number of checkpoints at various intersections. They stopped, checked and interrogated dozens of Palestinian civilian.
  • Nablus: IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. On Thursday, 21 September 2006, IOF soldiers positioned at Za’tara checkpoint, south of Nablus, continued to prevent Palestinians aged under 30 from crossing the checkpoint towards Ramallah. On the same day, IOF soldiers positioned at Hawara checkpoint, south of Nablus, held dozens of Palestinian civilians and prevented those aged under 35 from crossing the checkpoint. On Saturday morning, 23 September 2006, IOF closed Beit Eiba checkpoint, west of Nablus, for two hours. They also closed the iron gate that stands at the entrance of Qarwat Bani Zaid village and prohibited the movement of Palestinian civilians through it. According to eyewitnesses, this closure affected Palestinian civilians living in 7 villages, who use that gate in their movement. On Monday afternoon, 25 September 2006, IOF positioned at various checkpoints around Nablus imposed additional restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. They also re-established their presence at “Ytis’har” checkpoint to the south of Hawara checkpoint, south of Nablus.

    At approximately 14:00 on Thursday, 21 September 2006, IOF soldiers positioned at Hawara checkpoint, south of Nablus, arrested 3 Palestinian university students from Dura village near Hebron:

    1. Nafez Jebara al-Faqeeh, 23;
    2. Mohammed Jebara al-Faqeeh, 21; and
    3. Yousef ‘Aayed al-Faqeeh, 20.

    Also on Thursday evening, IOF positioned at Beit Eiba checkpoint, west of Nablus, arrested 3 Palestinian university students from Tammoun village, southeast of Jenin:

    1. Ahmed Sa’ad Bisharat, 24;
    2. Islam Khalil Bisharat, 23; and
    3. Mohammed Rasheed Bani ‘Ouda, 23.

  • Tulkarm: IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. On Thursday, 21 September 2006, IOF positioned at Ennab checkpoint, east of Tulkarm, prevented Palestinian civilian vehicles from crossing the checkpoint, and forced Palestinian civilians, including patients, to cross it on foot. On Friday, 22 September 2006, IOF erected a checkpoint at Bala’a intersection on Tulkarm - Nablus road, east of Tulkarm. They stopped and searched Palestinian civilian vehicles. They also chased Palestinian civilians who resorted to alternative dirt roads, and held them under the sun. on Saturday, 23 September 2006, IOF positioned at Wad al-Teen checkpoint, south of Tulkarm, prevented Palestinian civilian vehicles from crossing the checkpoint and forced civilians to cross it on foot. On Sunday, 24 September 2006, IOF erected a checkpoint at the entrance of al-Ras village, south of Tulkarm. They prevented Palestinian civilians from crossing the checkpoint from 07:00 until 11:00.
  • Jenin: IOF have continued to severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. On Saturday, 23 September 2006, IOF positioned at checkpoints erected at the entrances of the Northern Jordan Valley imposed severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. They also erected additional checkpoints. On Tuesday morning, 26 September 2006, IOF erected a checkpoint at Kufor Ra’ei - ‘Allar road. They stopped and checked Palestinian civilians.
  • Bethlehem: On Sunday evening, 24 September 2006, IOF positioned at Wad al-Nar checkpoint, northeast of Bethlehem, arrested two Palestinian civilians, including a child:

    1. Rami Salama Abu Tarboush, 18; and
    2. Mohammed ‘Abdul Karim al-‘Ajoul, 17, both from al-‘Azza village near Bethlehem.

    3. Construction of the Annexation Wall

    IOF have continued to construct the Annexation Wall inside West Bank territory.

  • At approximately 13:30 on Friday, 15 September 2006, at least 250 Palestinian civilians and 50 international and Israeli solidarity activists organized a peaceful demonstration in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah, in protest to the construction of the Wall. IOF soldiers fired rubber-coated metal bullets and sound bombs violently beat the demonstrators. As a result, 4 Palestinian civilians sustained bruises: Adeeb Abu Rahma, 34; We’am Mohammed Nasser, 17; Sharar Mansour, 22; and Nasser Mustafa, 40.

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

    Israeli settlers (living in the OPT in violation of international humanitarian law) have continued their attacks against Palestinian civilians and property:

  • During the reported period, IOF informed the heirs of Yousef al-Haj Daoud Jadallah to vacate a tract of land they own in Deir Estia village, southwest of Nablus, in 45 days, considering it as public land. According to Attorney Najwa Zaidan, one of the heirs, she has documents that proves the family’s ownership of the land. The area of the land is nearly 40 donums, planted with at least 500 olive trees. IOF plan to confiscate the land to annex it to the neighboring “Arbaba” settlement.
  • Also during the reported period, IOF issued a military order confiscating a 10200-square-meter area of agricultural land belonging to the heirs of ‘Ata Ibrahim ‘Abdul Raziq in Deir Estia village, southwest of Jenin, for alleged military purposes. The land, which is planted with olive trees, is a source of income for dozens of Palestinian civilians.
  • On 21 September 2006, the Israeli daily Ma’ariv reported that the Israeli Ministry of Housing published an invitation for bids to construct 164 housing units in settlements in the West Bank: “Ariel” (88 units); “Alfeh Menasheh” (56 units); and “Kerni Shomron” (20 units). Three weeks ago, the Israeli government issued another invitation for bids to construct 342 units in “Beitar Elite” settlement, and 348 others in “Ma’aleh Adomim” settlement in the center of the West Bank.

    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 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.

    5. 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.

    6. PCHR calls upon the member States of the EU, and all other states, to adopt a voting pattern at the UN bodies, particularly the General Assembly, Security Council and Commission on Human Rights which is keeping with international law.

    7. PCHR demands that the International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion be immediately implemented by the international community.

    8. 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.

    9. 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.

    10. 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.

    11. In light of the severe restrictions imposed by the Israeli government and its occupying forces on access for international organizations to the OPT, PCHR calls upon European countries to deal with Israeli citizens in a similar manner.

    12. 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.

    Endnotes:
    [1] 1 donum is equal to 1000 square meters.
    [2] These figures wounds by live bullets only.
    [3] These figures do not include 277 flats in apartment buildings in the destroyed in the Gaza Strip. It does not either include houses demolished in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in the context of collective punishment measures against families of activists of the Palestinian resistance.
    [4] This number does not include buildings of 4 ministries and dozens of educational institutions.

    The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is an independent legal body based in Gaza City dedicated to protecting human rights, promoting the rule of law and upholding democratic principles in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. It holds Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations and is an affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists, the dÚration Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l’Homme (FIDH), and the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network. PCHR is a recipient of the 1996 French Republic Award for Human Rights.