Weekly report on human rights violations

Rafah, June 26, 2003 (Photo: Rafah Today, 2003)

19 - 25 June, 2003

Israeli occupying forces have continued to conduct human rights violations against Palestinian civilians, including extra-judicial killings, collective punishment, shelling of and incursions into Palestinian areas, house demolitions and agricultural land leveling and arbitrary arrest and detention. This week 19-25 June 2003, 5 Palestinians, including 2 women, were killed by Israeli occupying forces.

In a continuation of the policy of extra-judicial killings, or assassinations, officially adopted by the Israeli political and military establishments against Palestinian political and field activists of the Intifada, Israeli occupying forces carried out 2 assassination attempts, killing 3 Palestinians. The latest attempt took place in ‘Abasan village, east of Khan Yunis, on 25 June 2003. Two non-targeted civilians were killed. The targeted person, who is allegedly wanted by Israeli authorities for his membership of the Hamas movement, survived the attempt, but was wounded. 12 passing civilians were also wounded. In another assassination, on 21 June 2003, an undercover unit of Israeli occupying forces shot dead ‘Abdullah ‘Abdul Qader al-Qawasmi, 43, from Hebron, who was accused by Israeli forces of being the leader of the military wing of Hamas movement in the West Bank. On the same day, a Palestinian civilian from Gaza city died from wounds sustained during the assassination of a Hamas activist on 13 June 2003.

In an apparent willful killing, on 21 June 2003, Israeli occupying forces shot dead a Palestinian woman, who was suffering from psychological disturbances, in the southern Gaza Strip. The woman was left bleeding in the area for 24 hours during which time the Israeli forces did not offer medical assistance. Later, Israeli forces admitted that they killed the woman by mistake.

This week, Israeli occupying forces conducted a series of incursions into Palestinian areas in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In the Gaza Strip, Israeli occupying forces conducted 8 incursions into Palestinian areas, including in Rafah, Khan Yunis, Deir al-Balah and Beit Lahia. During these operations they destroyed 12 Palestinian houses and razed more than 50 donums of Palestinian land. These actions further exacerbated the deteriorating economic situation in the Gaza Strip.

In violation of the prohibition on collective punishment provided for in international humanitarian law, Israeli forces took retaliatory measures against relatives of Palestinians alleged to have carried out attacks against Israeli targets. In this context, they destroyed a house in the northern West Bank town of Jenin.

This week, Israeli occupying forces waged a campaign of arbitrary arrests and house raids in the West Bank. They raided houses and arrested dozens of Palestinian civilians, including a number of university students. They also arrested dozens of relatives of Palestinians alleged to have carried out attacks against Israeli targets.

Israeli occupying forces have maintained a total siege on the OPT, isolating communities from each other, and from Israel and neighboring countries. This week, Israeli occupying forces restricted movement of Palestinians along Salah al-Din Street (the main road between the north and south of the Gaza Strip). They repeatedly closed Abu Houli and al-Matahen checkpoints on this road for several hours, while conducting security checks on Palestinians and their vehicles. They arrested a number of Palestinian civilians, including a paramedic. They have also continued to impose night curfews on Palestinian areas adjacent to Israeli military locations in the Gaza Strip. Although, Israeli forces reopened the Rafah Terminal on the Egyptian border, they have decreased working hours, thereby further restricting the number of Palestinians able to travel through the border.

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