Weekly report on human rights violations

August 22-28, 2002

Israeli occupying forces have perpetrated more human rights violations against Palestinian civilians and their property. They have continued to use Palestinian civilians as human shields, contrary to the Israeli High Court decision issued last week. Israeli occupying forces have perpetrated human rights violations against Palestinian civilians, including willful killings, shelling of, and incursion into Palestinian areas, house demolitions, agricultural land leveling and confiscation, imposition of a comprehensive strict siege on Palestinian communities, imposition of curfews and arrests of Palestinians. This week, 7 Palestinian civilians, including a woman and her two sons, were killed by Israeli occupying forces, and an eighth civilian was run over by a Jewish settler.

In a very serious escalation of violence, and in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, on Wednesday, 28 August, Israeli occupying forces killed four Palestinian civilians from the same family, including a woman and two of her sons, and wounded four others. An Israeli tank positioned near ‘Netzarim’ settlement, south of Gaza City, fired an artillery shell and live bullets at these civilians for no apparent reason. Israeli forces had killed three Palestinian women in the same way on 9 June 2001.

In the Gaza Strip, Israeli occupying forces moved into Palestinian areas. They razed large areas of Palestinian agricultural land, especially in ‘Abasan and Khuza’a villages, east of Khan Yunis. On Friday, 23 August, Israeli occupying forces demolished a house, in which 17 Palestinian civilians used to live, and a brick factory in Deir al-Balah. On Wednesday, 28 August, Israeli occupying forces, covered by land and marine shelling and supported by helicopters, moved into Gaza City. No casualties were reported.

Israeli occupying forces have maintained their control over most of the West Bank. They raided towns and villages and arrested dozens of Palestinians. They also shelled Palestinian residential areas, killing a Palestinian civilian and wounding dozens. For the third consecutive month, Israeli occupying forces have maintained control over Nablus, imposing a strict siege and a curfew on the city, its four refugee camps and five of its villages. Sporadically, they have also imposed curfews on Ramallah, Jenin, Tulkarm and Hebron.

Despite an Israeli High Court temporary decision issued on 19 August 2002, which prohibited the use of Palestinian civilians as human shields in Israeli military operations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Israeli occupying forces have continued to use civilians as human shields. They used a Palestinian civilian in Jenin refugee camp as a human shield to arrest three Palestinians. On Tuesday, 27 August, the Israeli High Court extended the decision for another five days. An Israeli senior officer claimed that Israeli soldiers did not force Palestinian civilians to knock at doors of the wanted, rather ‘they only asked them to do so.’ ‘In the future, we will call on the wanted to get out of house, and soon after that, we will fire a rocket at windows to make them know that we are serious, and thus the possibility of their survival will be minimized.’

On Monday, 26 August, a Jewish settler ran over a 6-year-old Palestinian child in Yatta village in Hebron, while he was crossing a bypass road, killing him instantly.

In violation of the international law and humanitarian law which prohibit collective punishment, for the fourth consecutive week, Israeli occupying forces have taken retaliatory measures against families of Palestinians who have carried attacks against Israeli targets both inside the Green Line and in the OPT. On Monday, 26 August, Israeli occupying forces destroyed a house in al-Jarad farm near Tulkarm, as one of its floors was rented by the family of a wanted Palestinian.

Israeli occupying forces have maintained the total siege imposed on the OPT, collectively punishing Palestinian people. Israeli forces have partitioned Palestinian areas, transforming them into cantons, violating Palestinian civilians’ economic, social and cultural rights. Thousands of Palestinians continue to be subjected to a tight military curfew imposed by Israeli occupying forces. In the Gaza Strip, Israeli occupying forces have checked Palestinian civilians and their cars at Abu Houli and al-Matahen military checkpoints, north of Khan Yunis, on 27 and 28 August. They forced Palestinian civilians out of their cars and checked them.

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