Weekly report on human rights violations

2 - 8 October 2003

This week, Israeli occupying forces have escalated violations of human rights against Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), including extra-judicial and willful killings, indiscriminate shelling of residential areas, incursions into Palestinian areas, house demolitions, land leveling and arrests.  They have also imposed a comprehensive siege on the OPT.  This escalation follows a bombing carried out by a Palestinian in Haifa on Saturday, 4 October 2003. The US has voiced support for Israel’s recent escalation of repressive tactics, while the international community has remained silent.  This week, 6 Palestinians, including a child and an old man, were killed by Israeli occupying forces.

Following the bombing in Haifa carried out by a Palestinian woman from Jenin, on Sunday morning, 5 October 2003, Israeli occupying forces moved into Jenin and its refugee camp and imposed a curfew.  During their operations in the town and the refugee camp, Israeli occupying forces destroyed two Palestinian houses, including one belonging to the family of the girl who carried out the bombing.  They also raided dozens of Palestinian houses and public facilities.  Normal life in the town and the refugee camp has been paralyzed due to Israeli military operations.    

In the Gaza Strip, Israeli occupying forces conducted 7 incursions into Palestinian areas, during which they demolished a number of houses and razed large areas of agricultural land.  On Sunday, 5 October 2003, Israeli occupying forces moved into Palestinian areas located between Rafah and Khan Yunis.  In 3 days, they razed large areas of Palestinian agricultural land estimated at about 400 donums, and destroyed the electricity and water networks of these areas.  They also fired at Palestinian civilians traveling between Rafah and Khan Yunis causing at least 7 civilian casualties.  This week, Israeli occupying forces demolished 5 houses in Rafah, as part of a larger operation aimed at creating a buffer zone along the Egyptian border, south of the town.

In violation of international humanitarian law, in particular the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 1949, article 33 of which prohibits punishing any protected person for “an offence he or she has not personally committed,” Israeli forces continued to take retaliatory measures against the families of Palestinians Israel alleges have ordered, facilitated, or carried out attacks against Israeli targets.  In this context, they destroyed 3 Palestinian houses in Jenin and Deir al-Balah.

In a continuation of the policy of extra-judicial assassinations officially adopted by the Israeli political and security establishments, on 4 October 2003, Israeli occupying forces perpetrated another extra-judicial assassination in Tulkarm in the West Bank.  The attack left dead a member of al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of Fatah, as well as a 9-year-old child.

This week, Israeli occupying forces shelled Palestinian residential areas in the southern Gaza Strip.  On Thursday, 2 October 2003, a child and an elderly man were killed when Israeli occupying forces shelled Palestinian residential areas in Khan Yunis and Rafah.

On Sunday, 5 October 2003, Israeli occupying forces used excessive force, in shooting dead a Palestinian civilian while he was attempting to cross Palestinian territory between Khan Yunis and Rafah.

On Tuesday, 7 October 2003, the Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz ordered Israeli contractors to intensify construction of the “separation wall” being built on Palestinian land in the West Bank.  Mofaz claimed that the goal is to prevent infiltration of Palestinian gunmen into Israel.  However, this week Israeli occupying forces have denied access of Palestinian farmers to their agricultural lands, which are located west of the “separation wall”.  As a result, Palestinian farmers whose land is cut off by the wall have been unable to cultivate their crops. 

Since Friday evening, 3 October 2003, Israeli occupying forces have imposed a comprehensive closure on the OPT.  They have closed all border crossings with Israel, Egypt and Jordan.  The small number of Palestinian workers who have permits to work in Israel have been denied access.  Israeli occupying forces also declared that they would prevent Palestinian vehicles from traveling on the main roads linking between Palestinian communities. They have closed military checkpoints erected at entrances to these communities and denied movement of Palestinian civilians into and out of the areas. 

Additionally, Israeli occupying forces have imposed a total internal and external closure on the Gaza Strip since Sunday, 5 October 2003.  All main internal roads have been closed, segregating the Gaza Strip into four isolated zones.  All external access routes to Israel and Egypt have also been closed.

To download the full report click here.