26 June - 2 July, 2003
After the Palestinian and Israeli sides had concluded a security deal at the beginning of the week, Israeli occupying forces redeployed in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun, ending a 2-month military siege. They also redeployed on the main roads linking the north and south of the Gaza Strip, and eased the closure of border crossings. Although local and international media reported these moves as if they were tangible achievements towards peace, the situation on the ground remains largely unchanged; Israeli occupying forces have continued to perpetrate widespread human rights violations against Palestinian civilians, including collective punishment, shelling of and incursions into Palestinian areas, house demolitions and agricultural land leveling and campaigns of arrest. This week, 26 June – 2 July 2003, 5 Palestinians were killed and 10 were wounded by Israeli occupying forces.
In the Gaza Strip, Israeli occupying forces conducted 5 incursions into Palestinian areas. On 27 June 2003, Israeli occupying forces, reinforced with military vehicles and helicopters, invaded al-Mughraqa village, south of Gaza city. They destroyed 3 houses belonging to families of wanted Palestinians. Four Palestinians were killed in armed clashes with Israeli forces. On 26 June 2003, Israeli occupying forces moved into the northern Gaza Strip towns of Beit Hanoun and Jabalya; during the operations they destroyed 4 industrial establishments and 2 houses, and razed about 47 donums of agricultural land.
In an apparent willful killing, on 1 July 2003, Israeli occupying forces shot dead a Palestinian civilian near a military checkpoint, south of Tulkram. An Israeli military spokesman claimed that the victim had fired at Israeli soldiers, but eyewitnesses denied this claim.
Israeli occupying forces have maintained a total siege on the West Bank. They have continued to isolate Palestinian communities from one another. This week, Israeli occupying forces slightly eased the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the current Intifada. However, they continued to restrict travel through Rafah Terminal and the prohibition on the travel of Palestinians between the ages of 16 and 35 remained in effect. They maintained the siege imposed on al-Mawasi area since the beginning of the current Intifada. At the time of writing, Israeli occupying forces have closed al-Matahen and Abu Houli military checkpoints on Salah al-Din Street (the main road between the north and south of the Gaza Strip), partitioning the strip into 3 isolated zones. The road had been opened on 30 June 2003 after the Palestinian-Israeli security agreement.
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