12 - 18 December 2002
Israeli occupying forces have perpetrated more illegal actions and human rights violations against Palestinian civilians, including willful and extra-judicial killings, shelling of and incursions into Palestinian areas, house demolitions, and agricultural land leveling. This week, 12 Palestinian civilians, including 2 children and a mentally handicapped young man, were killed by Israeli forces.
In the Gaza Strip, Israeli occupying forces carried out a series of incursions into Palestinian areas, during which they shelled these areas. On Sunday, 15 December 2002, Israeli forces moved into ‘Oraiba area in the northwest of Rafah, demolishing 14 Palestinian houses and destroying areas of agricultural land. On Thursday, 12 December 2002, Israeli forces demolished 2 houses in Rafah refugee camp, and on Tuesday, 17 December 2002, they demolished 6 other houses in al-Salam neighborhood in the south of Rafah. More than 180 Palestinians have been rendered homeless as a result of these Israeli attacks.
On Monday, 16 December 2002, Israeli occupying forces informed Palestinians living in al-Sayafa area, which has been under an Israeli military siege, in the north of Beit Lahia, that they would demolish 30 houses built of iron and bricks and housing about 180 persons in one week if they are not demolished by their owners.
In 6 cases of apparent willful killing, this week, Israeli forces killed 11 Palestinian civilians, including 5 from one family, 2 children and a mentally handicapped young man. On Wednesday, 18 December 2002, Israeli occupying forces positioned at the border with Egypt, south of Rafah, opened fire at al-Salam neighborhood in the south of the town. A Palestinian child, ‘Alaa’ Mohammed Musleh al-Sidoudi, 15, was killed by a heavy caliber bullet in the heart, while he was playing with his friends. On Tuesday, 17 December 2002, 16-year-old Jawad ‘Essam Zeidan, from Khan Yunis refugee camp, was killed by shrapnel from an artillery shell that hit his family’s house, when Israeli forces shelled the camp. On Sunday, 15 December 2002, Israeli soldiers at the border with Egypt, south of Rafah, shot dead ‘Eid Asa’ad Mohammed Abu Hilal, 22, a mentally handicapped man, while he was rambling near Salah al-Din Gate on the border. On the same day morning, Israeli forces shot dead Hassan Farhan Abu Shalloula, 22, from Khan Yunis refugee camp, while he was checking his donkey that had been injured by previous Israeli shelling.
On the same day, Israeli occupying forces positioned at the eastern border of the Gaza Strip, east of Gaza City, fired Flechette shells and live bullets of various calibers at five Palestinian young men, who were attempting to infiltrate into Israel to find jobs, through the border near al-Mentar crossing, east of Gaza City. The five were killed.
In a continuation of the policy of extra-judicial assassinations officially adopted by the Israeli political and military establishments against Palestinian activists, this week, Israeli occupying forces perpetrated a new extra-judicial assassination that left dead Tariq Mahmoud Ahmed ‘Abed Rabbu, 25, from Tulkarm refugee camp and wanted by those forces. They raided the houses where ‘Abed Rabbu was hiding and shot him dead. Field investigations carried out by the Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment (LAW) indicate that Israeli soldiers may have liquidated ‘Abed Rabbu, especially as he was unarmed, according to eyewitnesses, and he was besieged inside the house.
In violation of international and humanitarian law which prohibits collective punishment, Israeli forces took retaliatory measures against families of Palestinians who have carried attacks against Israeli targets in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and those wanted by Israeli forces. In this context, they demolished 7 houses, 6 in Hebron and one in Bethlehem.
Israeli forces have maintained the total siege imposed on the OPTs, collectively punishing the Palestinian people. Israeli forces have partitioned Palestinian areas, transforming them into cantons, violating Palestinian civilians’ economic, social and cultural rights. They have also imposed curfews on several different areas.
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