December 26, 2002 - January 1, 2003
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, 15 Palestinian civilians, including 5 children, were killed by Israeli forces.
On Wednesday, the 1 January 2003, Israeli occupying forces shot dead three Palestinian children from Jabalya refugee camp, claiming that they had knives, with which they attempted to infiltrate into “Elli Sinai” settlement, north of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip. Clear information about the incident was not available as the area is a very dangerous one and no eyewitnesses were present.
Nevertheless, initial investigations prove that Israeli forces used excessive force against the three children foregoing the use of less lethal means or attempting to arrest them. They were children and did not have weapons that would threaten the lives of Israeli soldiers.
Medical examinations revealed that the children were shot in the upper part of the body from a very close distance. PCHR’s field worker in the northern Gaza Strip, who saw the bodies, reported that the children had been shot in the head exposing their brain tissue. It is worth mentioning that three Palestinian children were killed in similar circumstances in the same area on 2 January 2002 (see PCHR’s reports).
Also this week, Israeli forces shot dead five other Palestinian civilians, including a child, in cases of willful killing, while three civilians including a child, were killed by Israeli shelling. In addition, four Palestinian civilians were extra-judicially assassinated by Israeli forces.
In a continuation of the policy of extra-judicial assassinations officially adopted by the Israeli political and military establishments against Palestinian activists, on Thursday, the 26 December 2002, Israeli occupying forces perpetrated three new extra-judicial assassinations that left dead four Palestinian.
Early in the morning, Israeli forces assassinated Yousef Mohammed Khalil Abu al-Rub, 40, from Qabatya village in Jenin. Also in the morning, an undercover unit of Israeli forces assassinated Jamal Nader Mohammed Yahia, 32, from Tulkarm. At the same time, an undercover unit of Israeli forces assassinated Bassam Lutfi al-Ashqar, 26, from ‘Ein ‘Arik village in Ramallah, and shot dead a passing civilian, Mahdi Samir ‘Obaid, 17, from Ramallah.
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 destroyed seven houses in Hebron, Jenin, Nablus and Khan Yunis.
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. On account of this, a Palestinian patient died this week as Israeli forces and settlers obstructed his evacuation to hospital.
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