Weekly report on human rights violations

May 2 - 8, 2002

Israeli occupation forces continued their encroachment into Palestinian areas, killing a number of Palestinians and destroying public and private property. This week, 15 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including two women and six children, were killed by Israeli occupation forces. Israeli forces also demolished a number of Palestinian houses and razed areas of Palestinian agricultural land.

After the Israeli army had redeployed around Palestinian cities in the West Bank, and after the Israeli government succeeded in canceling the UN fact-finding mission formed by the UN Secretary General Kofi Anan to investigate Israeli human rights violations in Jenin refugee camp last month, Israeli occupation forces followed a new policy of limited incursions into Palestinian areas.

This week, Israeli occupation forces moved into Tulkarm more than once and remained in the town for several hours before they withdrew. Israeli forces also moved into Nablus on Friday, 3 May, killed two Palestinians and destroyed a commercial compound.

On Thursday morning, 2 May, Israeli occupation forces lift the siege that was imposed on the compound of the Palestinian president in Ramallah. Lifting the siege came following an agreement under which four Palestinians accused of killing the former Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi, and two other detainees, including Ahmed Sa’adat, Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), were moved from the compound to be jailed in a Palestinian prison in Jericho under US and British escort.

Israeli occupation forces have maintained a strict siege on the Church of the Nativity. This week Palestinian-Israeli negotiations were held to lift the siege. The two sides reached an agreement, under which 13 Palestinians blocked in the church would be deported to Italy and 26 would be transferred to the Gaza Strip. This agreement constitutes a dangerous precedent in dealing with Palestinian resistance men. The agreement faced obstacles as the Italian government refused to receive the deportees. This week, Israeli forces shot dead two of the Palestinians blocked inside the church.

In the Gaza Strip, Israeli occupation forces shelled and invaded Palestinian areas, especially in Rafah, killing two Palestinian civilians, and wounding more than ten. They also demolished a number of Palestinian houses and civilian facilities. Israeli forces also razed large areas of agricultural land in Deir al-Balah.

In an apparent willful killing, Israeli occupation forces shot dead a Palestinian woman and her two children in Qabatya village in Jenin. Israeli forces claimed that they opened fire after they heard an explosion, which they later admitted came from a technical failure in an Israeli tank.

Israeli occupation forces have maintained the total siege imposed on the OPT in a collective punishment for the Palestinian people. Israeli forces have separated Palestinian areas, transforming them into cantons and imposed a curfew on several Palestinian areas in the West Bank.

In the Gaza Strip, Israeli occupation 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, depriving them of their economic, social and cultural rights. This week, Israeli forces at military roadblocks checked and fired at Palestinian civilians. They shot dead a Palestinian and arrested more than 30. Since Thursday, 2 May, Israeli occupation forces have blocked all roads leading to al-Sayafa area in the northern Gaza Strip and denied access of Palestinian farmers to their farms.

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