This week, Israeli occupying forces have continued to carry out widespread and systematic violations of the human rights of Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs). Israeli violations included incursions into Palestinian areas, especially in the West Bank, willful shooting at Palestinian civilians and indiscriminate shelling of residential areas, particularly in the southern Gaza Strip. Israeli occupying forces have also continued to impose a tightening siege on the entire OPTs, and have carried out a de facto annexation of Palestinian land for the sake of the construction of the “separation wall.”
In the West Bank, Israeli occupying forces conducted a series of incursions into Palestinian controlled areas, particularly in Jenin, Tulkarm, Nablus and Qalqilya. These incursions were accompanied by intense gunfire. Dozens of Palestinian civilians were wounded by indiscriminate Israeli gunfire during these incursions.
In the Gaza Strip, Israeli occupying forces continued to shell Palestinian residential areas in Khan Yunis and Rafah. A number of Palestinian civilians were injured and a number of housed were damaged.
In a step that may threat the infrastructure of the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis, Israeli occupying forces have continued to prevent the Municipality of Khan Yunis from establishing a pool to serve as a water reserve for the collection of rainwater in the northeast of the town, southeast of the Israeli settlement of “Gani Tal.” The establishment of the water reserve is part of a wider project that has cost US$ 8 million. Israeli occupying forces positioned in military locations near the aforementioned settlement have continued to fire at machines of the municipality when they begin work in the area.
In an excessive use of force, on November 2003, Israeli occupying forces shot dead a Palestinian civilian from ‘Askar refugee camp near Nablus, while he was riding a motorcycle on the road linking the refugee camp and the public housing project. Israeli military sources claimed that Israeli soldiers ordered the young man to stop, but he turned around in an attempt to flee, so they fired at his feet. However, investigations conducted by PCHR refute these claims. According to medical sources, the young man was hit by a live bullet to the heart.
Israeli occupying forces have continued to raze areas of Palestinian land for the construction of the “separation wall.” They have also continued to make demographic surveys in some Palestinian areas for the same purpose. Palestinian farmers who intend to go to their agricultural lands behind the “separation wall” are subject to various forms of humiliation by Israeli soldiers at the gates established along the wall. On Tuesday, 4 November 2003, the Israeli military radio station reported that in the last two weeks, Israeli occupying forces “changed procedures of access of Palestinians to the demarcation areas through crossings at the wall, and forced these Palestinians to obtain permission from Israeli security parties to move through those crossings.” However, this statement is not true; as documented by PCHR in previous reports, these procedures have been applied by Israeli occupying forces for several weeks.
Israeli occupying forces have continued to impose severe restrictions on movement of Palestinian civilians into and out of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including Jerusalem. In the Gaza Strip, Israeli occupying forces have continued to restrict movement of Palestinian civilians between the southern, middle and northern areas. They have also continued to impose a closure on a number of main and branch roads in the Gaza Strip, without taking into consideration the religious and family travel needs of Palestinians during the month of Ramadan. Palestinians continue to be humiliated and receive degrading treatment from Israeli occupying forces at Israeli military checkpoints and border crossings. Israeli occupying forces have also continued to deliberately slow the processing of Palestinians at Rafah Terminal on the Egyptian border. Hundreds of Palestinian civilians, including women and children, have been crowded at the Egyptian side of the crossing waiting to be allowed to come back into the Gaza Strip. They have been forced to spend days waiting in inhumane conditions.
In the West Bank, Israeli occupying forces claimed that they eased the internal siege imposed on Palestinian communities, but facts on the ground contradict such claims. They have continued to close military checkpoints and have erected a number of temporary ones on the main, branch and dirt roads during the holy month of Ramadan. This week, their were multiple instances of Israeli soldiers at military checkpoints in the West Bank firing at Palestinian civilians. Occupying forces also stopped and searched ambulances and obstructed their passages to hospitals.
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