20 August 2002
Even after the conclusion of ‘Gaza-Bethlehem First’ security plan, which according to Israeli officials would ease living conditions of Palestinian civilians, Israeli occupying forces have perpetrated more human rights violations against Palestinians. These violations include willful killings, extra-judicial assassinations, shelling of, and incursion into Palestinian areas, house demolitions, leveling and confiscation of agricultural land. Furthermore, the Israeli occupying forces have imposed a comprehensive strict siege on Palestinian communities as well as curfews, and continued to arrest Palestinians. This week, seven Palestinian civilians, including three children, were killed by Israeli occupying forces.
This week Israeli occupying forces shelled Palestinian residential areas killing four Palestinian civilians, including three children, two of whom from Khan Yunis. On Wednesday, 21 August, Israeli combat helicopters and tanks shelled Khan Yunis refugee camp, severely damaging many houses and causing people to flee their houses. Then, Israeli forces planted bombs in two houses and destroyed them by remote control. The two houses and 10 other neighboring houses were completely destroyed; a Palestinian civilian was killed and six others wounded.
On Tuesday evening, 20 August, an undercover unit of Israeli occupying forces shot dead Mohammed Sa’adat Yousef ‘Abdul Rasul, 22, from al-Bireh. Israeli forces denied access of ambulances to offer him medical treatment leaving him to bleed to death. The victim is the youngest brother of the Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine Ahmed Sa’adat, who has been detained by Palestinian security services since the beginning of this year.
In violation of international law and international humanitarian law, which prohibit collective punishment, for the third 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 Friday, 16 August, Israeli occupying forces destroyed two houses in ‘Anbta village in Tulkarm and Kufor Ra’ei village in Jenin. They also arrested the brother of a wanted Palestinian. Thus, the number of houses destroyed by Israeli occupying forces in retaliatory actions against families of Palestinian who carried out attacks against Israeli targets has increased to 21, in which 41 families comprising of 269 persons, including 120 children, used to live. In addition, six neighboring houses were destroyed and 15 other were severely damaged.
For the second consecutive month, Israeli occupying forces have maintained control over Nablus, imposing a strict siege and curfew on the city, its four refugee camps and five of its villages. Israeli occupying forces have not taken any steps to ease the suffering of more than 200,000 Palestinian civilians. Since 21 June, Israeli forces have denied these civilians their basic right, especially the rights to obtain food and medicine, to move freely, to work and to study. The city is suffering shortage of basic foodstuffs, including bread and milk. When Israeli forces lift the curfew temporarily, they close all entrances of the city and its refugee camps and villages. These Israeli measures have increased the suffering of patients with chronic diseases in the northern West Bank, as the only hospital that treats these diseases is in Nablus. Medical sources in the city warned of danger posed to the lives of these patients if they were not allowed access to hospitals. The Palestinian Ministry of Health also warned of the spread of epidemics as a result of the large amounts of waste in streets, which the municipality personnel have not been able to remove due to the Israeli offensive on the city. Israeli forces also destroyed water and sewage networks. According to the Ministry of Health, more than 600 Palestinian civilians from Balata refugee camp suffered from dysentery as drinking water were mixed with sewage water. Commercial activities in the city and in the northern West Bank in general have been paralyzed, since Nablus is the economic center of the northern West Bank.
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 Tuesday, 20 August, Israeli forces closed al-Tuffah military checkpoint separating Khan Yunis from al-Mawasi area, where 6000 Palestinian civilians live. They have prevented dozens of residents from al-Mawasi, including women, children and patients, from returning to their homes.
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