5 June 2003
Despite statements made by Israeli government officials on efforts made to ease the situation for Palestinians as a prerequisite to the implementation of the Road Map, Israeli occupying forces have continued to conduct illegal actions and human rights violations against Palestinian civilians, including collective punishment, shelling of and incursions into Palestinian areas, house demolitions and agricultural land leveling. This week 29 May - 4 June 2003, 6 Palestinians, including a child, were killed by Israeli occupying forces.
This week, Israeli occupying forces conducted a series of incursions into Palestinian areas in the Gaza Strip, during which they demolished a number of Palestinian houses and razed large areas of agricultural land. Israeli forces conducted 5 incursions into the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah and its refugee camp, during which they totally destroyed 5 Palestinian houses and 11 others partially and razed 19 donums of agricultural land. Israeli forces also razed more than 45 donums of Palestinian agricultural land in the southeast of Gaza City. In Khan Yunis, Israeli forces conducted 3 incursions into the southeast and east of the town, during which they demolished a Palestinian house and razed 21 donums of agricultural land.
For the third consecutive week, Israeli forces have been positioned at the entrances of the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun, imposing a strict siege on the area. They have seized a number of Palestinian houses in the area and transformed them into military locations, from which they fired at Palestinian civilians.
In a continuation of the policy of extra-judicial assassination officially adopted by the Israeli political and military establishments against Palestinian political and field activists of the Intifada, this week, Israeli occupying forces assassinated an allegedly wanted Hamas activist in al-Qarara village, east of Khan Yunis. Israeli forces fired at the victim in his house and fired at him again when his neighbors attempted to evacuate him to hospital.
This week, in a number of cases of willful killing, Israeli occupying forces shot dead 3 Palestinians, including a member of the Palestinian National Security Force. Three other Palestinians succumbed to wounds they had previously sustained by Israeli forces.
In a 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 4 houses in the West Bank.
Israeli occupying forces continue to maintain a total siege on the OPT. They have isolated Palestinian communities from one another and have partitioned the Gaza Strip into three separate zones, restricting the movement of people and goods. They have also maintained curfews on some areas in the West Bank. Israeli occupying authorities have also prevented Palestinians aged 16-35 from traveling abroad and Palestinians traveling through Rafah Terminal at the Egyptian border have faced difficulties due to Israeli restrictions.
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