Weekly report on human rights violations

May 23 - 29, 2002

After the full-scale offensive on the West Bank cities that began on 29 March 2002 and the redeployment of Israeli occupying forces outside these cities, incursions into parts of the OPT nominally under the control of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) have become routine.

This week, Israeli forces invaded the West Bank cities of Jenin, Tulkarm, Qalqilya, Ramallah, Bethlehem and Hebron. Israeli incursions into Palestinian areas did not provoke any international reaction from either Arab or wider international circles, unlike the reaction to the full-scale Israeli offensive in April.

During these incursions, Israeli occupying forces kill more Palestinian civilians, detained hundreds in prison camps, razed large areas of agricultural land and demolished houses and civilian facilities.

This week, Israeli occupying forces used excessive force against Palestinian civilians and shelled Palestinian residential areas. Six Palestinian civilians were killed, including a woman and her niece. On Thursday, 23 May, a Palestinian young man was killed when Israeli occupying forces shelled houses in Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza strip.

On Saturday, 25 May, in an apparent willful killing, Israeli occupying forces killed a Palestinian woman and her niece while grazing animals in a Gaza Valley village, south of Gaza. Israeli forces opened fire at the two civilians for no apparent reason. Then, Israeli forces moved into the area and shot at nearby farms. The grass was set aflame and the bodies of the two civilians were burnt.

On Sunday, 26 May, a Palestinian civilian was killed by Israeli occupying forces during an Israeli incursion into Tulkarm. On Tuesday, 28 May, a Palestinian civilian bled to death after he was wounded by Israeli occupying forces during an Israeli incursion into Jenin.

In another apparent willful killing, Israeli occupying forces shot dead a Palestinian civilian from Yatma village in the West Bank while he was on his way back home from his farm.

In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces invaded more PNA-controlled areas this week. On Friday, 24 May, Israeli occupying forces moved approximately 1200m into al-Zaytoun neighborhood in Gaza City and destroyed a lathe workshop. Seven adjacent workshops and factories and two houses were also damaged.

Israeli forces claim that the workshops they attack manufacture mortars, but according to PCHR’s investigations, these workshops were used only for civilian purposes and appeared to have been attacked as part of a systematic attempt by Israeli forces to strike at Palestinian infrastructure and economy. On Thursday, 23 May, Israeli occupying forces destroyed 22 commercial stores in Rafah. On Sunday, 26 May, Israeli forces razed more than 30 donums of agricultural land in the east of Gaza (each donum is 1,000 square meters).

Israeli occupying forces have maintained the total siege imposed on the OPT in a form of collective punishment against the Palestinian people. Israeli forces have separated Palestinian areas, transforming them into cantons. In the Gaza Strip, Israeli occupying forces have divided the strip into three isolated zones for several weeks. They have denied access of students to their schools and universities, and employees to their work places, violating their economic, social and cultural rights. In violation of the right to free movement, Israeli occupying forces imposed new measures at al-Tuffah checkpoint, separating Khan Yunis from nearby al-Mawasi area. They established facilities to check ‘magnetic cards’ that were issued to residents of the area last week.

PCHR has received complaints from dozens of women and children who went out of the area and have not been allowed entry into the area. This week, three Palestinian civilians, including a newborn child, died at Israeli military roadblocks and checkpoints.

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