5 March 2003
27 February - 05 March, 2003
In the first week, after the new Israeli government took office, Israeli occupying forces have perpetrated grave illegal military actions against Palestinian civilians and property, using all kinds of weapons. Such actions came after threats made by the Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz to escalate the military operation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
The latest and most violent Israeli onslaught targeted Jabalya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip last night. Israeli warplanes and tanks intensely shelled the camp. The operation, which continues until Thursday morning, 6 March 2003, left dead 11 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children and an old man. Five of the victims were killed by a tank shell fired by Israeli forces during their withdrawal from the camp, when these civilians were trying to putt out fire that had broken out in a house. In addition, more than 50 Palestinians, including two journalists, were injured. Israeli forces destroyed two Palestinian houses, damaging dozens of neighboring houses. They also caused severe damage to the infrastructure, houses and shops in the camp. During the week, Israeli forces had launched two other similar offensives against al-Boreij refugee camp and Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip. Those operations left dead 10 Palestinian civilians, including a child and pregnant woman who died under the ruins of her destroyed house. Her husband and 4 of her children were also injured. Dozens of other Palestinian civilians were injured as well. During the two operations, Israeli forces destroyed 4 Palestinian houses, which left dozens of other houses either destroyed or damaged.
Israeli occupying forces have continued their illegal military actions against Palestinian civilians and their property, using various kinds of weapons. This week, 27 February – 5 March 2003, 28 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including 6 children, two women, an old man and a deaf youth, were killed by Israeli forces.
Israeli forces shelled and moved into Palestinian areas in the Gaza Strip. They shelled these areas, demolished dozens of Palestinian houses and razed large areas of agricultural land. In Rafah, Israeli forces demolished 22 houses near the Egyptian border, south of the town, rendering dozens of Palestinian civilians homeless. Also this week, Israeli forces indiscriminately shelled Palestinian residential areas and medical and educational institutions in Khan Yunis, injuring dozens of Palestinian civilians, including a school child, who was seriously injured while she was inside her classroom.
In violation of international humanitarian law, which prohibits collective punishment, Israeli forces took retaliatory measures against families of Palestinians who have carried out attacks against Israeli targets in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and those wanted by Israeli forces. In this context, they destroyed 11 Palestinian houses in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
In various cases of apparent willful killing, this week, Israeli forces shot dead 5 Palestinian civilians, including a child, a deaf youth and an old man. In addition, two other Palestinian civilians, including a woman, died from previous injuries they sustained by Israeli forces.
Israeli occupying forces have maintained a total siege on the OPT. They have isolated Palestinian communities from one another. They have partitioned the Gaza Strip into three separated zones and restricted the movement of people and goods. They have also maintained curfews on some areas in the West Bank. On 5 March 2003, Israeli forces imposed a closure on the West Bank until Sunday, 9 March 2003. A young Palestinian woman died as Israeli forces prevented her travel to Jordan to receive medical care there.
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