Weekly report on human rights violations

2 - 8 January 2003

Israeli occupying forces have perpetrated more illegal actions and human rights violations against Palestinian civilians, including willful killings, shelling of and incursions into Palestinian areas, house demolitions, and agricultural land leveling. This week, six Palestinians, including three civilians, have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers.

This week Israeli occupying forces conducted a series of incursions into Palestinian areas in the Gaza Strip. They destroyed dozens of Palestinian houses and civilian facilities and shelled residential areas, killing 4 Palestinians. Within the period 2-4 January 2003, Israeli forces demolished 30 Palestinian houses totally and 7 others partially, destroyed a gas station and razed seven donums of agricultural land in Rafah. Furthermore, Israeli forces demolished 9 Palestinian houses in Khan Yunis. Consequently, more than 300 Palestinians, mostly children and women, have become homeless. Israeli forces also razed 29 donums of Palestinian agricultural land in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip.

Israeli forces again attacked Palestinian civilian facilities in the Gaza Strip. On Monday 6 January 2003, Israeli combat helicopters destroyed a Palestinian workshop in the al-Zaytoun neighborhood in Gaza, and damaged a number of civilian facilities. A missile hit a house and narrowly missed causing a tragedy because, fortunately, most of the family had been outside. On the same day, Israeli forces destroyed a factory of electric tools in Gaza, where 40 Palestinians used to work.

In violation of international and humanitarian law, which prohibits collective punishment, Israeli forces took retaliatory measures against families of Palestinians who have allegedly carried out attacks against Israeli targets in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and other Palestinians wanted by Israeli forces. In this context, the Israeli military destroyed five houses in Hebron, Nablus, Tulkarm and Rafah. They also tried to demolish a sixth one in Ramallah, but bulldozers faced difficulties in reaching it.

In an apparent willful killing, on Wednesday morning, 8 January 2003, Israeli occupying forces opened fire at the family of Mowaffaq Ahmed ‘Ajaj in Saida village, north of Tulkarm, killing his son Ahmed, 18, with a live bullet to the head.

In yet another attack from Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians, on Thursday, 2 January 2003, an Israeli settler ran down an old Palestinian man with his car in Qalqilya.

Israeli forces have maintained the total siege imposed on the OPT, thereby 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. This week, Israeli occupying authorities prevented Palestinians aged 16-35 from traveling abroad.

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