Weekly report on human rights violations

5 - 11 September, 2002

On Tuesday, 10 September, the Israeli Chief of Staff Moshe Ya’alon stated before a session of the Israeli parliamentary committee on foreign and security affairs that he gave orders to assassinate Sheikh Salah Mustafa Shehada on 22 July 2002, although he knew that Shehada’s wife and daughter were accompanying him. He claimed that it was imperative to carry the operation even if the wife and daughter were present. This statement is another proof of the grave breaches and war crimes perpetrated by Israeli occupying forces against Palestinian civilians, in violation of the international law and humanitarian law.

Israeli occupying forces have perpetrated more human rights violations against Palestinian civilians and their property in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), including willful killings, shelling of, and incursion into Palestinian areas, house demolition, and agricultural land leveling.

This week, Israeli occupying forces carried out a series of limited incursions into Palestinian areas in the Gaza Strip, while continuing to invade Palestinian areas in the West Bank. Furthermore, 5 Palestinians, including 2 civilians, were killed by Israeli occupying forces.

Throughout this week, Israeli occupying forces carried out a series of incursions into Palestinian towns and refugee camps in the Gaza Strip, in which they destroyed civilian and security facilities, demolished houses and arrested some Palestinians. The largest incursion took place on Wednesday, 11 September, when Israeli occupying forces supported by helicopters invaded Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip. They raided houses, mosques and civilian institutions. They interrogated some Palestinians in their houses and arrested a number of them. They also damaged service networks, houses and agricultural land.

On Thursday, 5 September, Israeli occupying forces moved into the Bedouin village of the northern Gaza Strip. They raided houses and civilian institutions, including a school. On Friday, 6 September, Israeli occupying forces moved into Deir al-Balah and destroyed the headquarters of the civil defense and of the Fatah movement, and a workshop. They also arrested six Palestinians. On Sunday, 8 September, Israeli occupying forces, covered by intense shelling, moved into al-Boreij and Nusseirat refugee camps in the central Gaza Strip. Seven Palestinian civilians were wounded. Israeli forces demolished a house in Nuseirat, claiming that a member of the family is wanted. They also demolished two workshops.

On Thursday, 5 September, Israeli combat helicopters destroyed a workshop in a populated area in Khan Yunis. Israeli occupying forces claimed that the workshop was making mortars, but field investigation refutes this claim.

This week, Israeli occupying forces razed large areas of Palestinian agricultural land in the Gaza Strip, especially in al-Maghazi refugee camp and Khan Yunis.

On Wednesday, 11 September, the Israeli security cabinet approved Ariel Sharon’s proposal to extend Israeli control over “Rachel’s Tomb” outside Bethlehem by including a new road to the site. According to the plan, the road will be paved to the tomb, and the crossing from the West Bank into Jerusalem will be moved 400 meters to the south. That means more areas of the occupied West Bank will be annexed to “Greater Jerusalem,” in violation the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 1949.

On Sunday, 8 September, Israeli occupying forces killed two Palestinian young men who were apparently attempting to cross the eastern border of the Gaza Strip into Israel to find a job. Israeli forces fired two artillery shells at the two young men without prior warning or resorting to less lethal means. Field investigation revealed that the two young men were armless.

Continuing the policy of collective punishment adopted by Israeli occupying forces against families of Palestinians who carried out attacks on Israeli targets, on Thursday, 5 September, Israeli occupying forces ordered families of four Hamas members detained in Israeli prisons, to evacuate their houses in Silwan village and Ras al-‘Aamud neighborhood in occupied Jerusalem. Three houses would be closed, while the fourth one would be demolished.

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, especially on 5 and 10 September. Hundreds of Palestinian civilians were forced to spend the night at those checkpoints, in their cars.

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