Weekly report on human rights violations

6 - 12 November 2003

This week, Israeli occupying forces have continued to perpetrate violations of human rights against Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs), including incursions into Palestinian areas, willful shooting at Palestinian civilians and indiscriminate shelling of residential areas, particularly in the southern of the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces also continued to impose a tightened siege on the OPTs. This week, 17 Palestinians, including 6 children and a woman, were killed by Israeli occupying forces. 8 of the victims were killed during Israeli military incursions into Palestinian areas and 6 were killed in instances of willful killing by Israeli soldiers. In addition, 3 Palestinian civilians died from previous injuries.

In the Gaza Strip, Israeli occupying forces conducted 5 incursions into Palestinian areas, mostly into Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. On 10 November 2003, Israeli occupying forces killed 1 Palestinian child and demolished 23 Palestinian houses and 5 commercial properties during a military incursion into Block O in the Rafah refugee camp. Approximately 250 Palestinians were left homeless as a result and they also demolished 5 other houses in 3 other incursions into the camp. On 7 November 2003, Israeli occupying forces moved into al-Maghazi refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, under cover of intense shelling. A number of members of the Palestinian resistance clashed with Israeli forces, during which time 1 Palestinian was killed by shrapnel. In addition, 5 Palestinian civilians from one family were injured and a number of houses were destroyed or damaged.

In the West Bank, Israeli occupying forces conducted a series of incursions into Palestinian controlled areas, particularly in Jenin and Nablus. These incursions were accompanied by intense gunfire, which resulted in the deaths of 5 Palestinians civilians, including 3 children and a woman. A number of Palestinian civilians were also wounded and Israeli occupying forces also destroyed a number of houses and arrested dozens of Palestinians.

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 took retaliatory measures against the families of Palestinians Israel alleges have ordered, facilitated, or carried out attacks against Israeli targets. In this context, Israeli occupying forces destroyed 4 Palestinian houses in Jenin and a fifth in Silwad village, northeast of Ramallah.

Israeli occupying forces have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including Jerusalem. Recent reports in the Israeli media suggesting that Israeli forces have scaled back the restrictions are misleading as Israeli occupying forces have continued to restrict movement of Palestinian civilians. They have also continued to close a number of main and branch roads in the Gaza Strip, without any consideration for the special circumstances of the month of Ramadan and Israeli forces continue to harass and humiliate Palestinian civilians traveling through the military checkpoints and border crossings. Israeli occupying forces claimed that they have eased the siege imposed on Palestinian communities in the West Bank, excluding Jenin and Nablus, however, there have been no marked improvements and restrictions remain in place. Israeli occupying forces have continued to impose a strict siege on Palestinian communities in the West Bank and have continued to close military checkpoints and erected a number of temporary checkpoints on the main, branch and dirt roads. This week, Israeli soldiers continued to fire at Palestinian civilians, who resorted to dirt roads due to the Israeli enforced closure of the main roads. In one instance, a 44-year-old Palestinian civilian was killed by Israeli soldiers in Tulkarem, while traveling on a dirt road.

This week, a number of protests took place throughout the OPT and worldwide, in opposition to the construction of the “separation wall” inside the West. A recent UN report warned of the dangers posed by the wall on Palestinian civilians and property, yet Israeli occupying forces continue to raze areas of Palestinian land to facilitate the construction of the “separation wall.” According to a recent report published by the Committee against the Wall in Jenin, so far, the wall has isolated 16 Palestinian villages, in which 11,000 Palestinian live, around Jenin, Tulkarem, Qalqilya and Salfit. Israeli military bulldozers have demolished 218 housing units and commercial properties in the villages of Nazalt ‘Eissa and al-Taiba, and destroyed 14,500 donums of agricultural land and isolated 36 wells and 121,000 donums of land — 12% of the total area of the West Bank — for the purpose of the construction of the wall, according to the report.

On Monday, 10 November 2003, Israeli occupying forces transferred Kamal Mohammed Hussein Edris, a resident of Hebron, to the Gaza Strip, following an Israeli High Court ruling of 4 November 2003 which approved his “assigned residence” to the Gaza Strip for a period of two years. On Wednesday, 12 November 2003, the Israeli High Court also approved a military order to transfer Taha Ramadan Rateb Dwaik, a resident of Hebron to the Gaza Strip for 2 years.

The Israeli High Court issued decisions on October 24 and 29 2003 ordering a temporary halt to the transfer of 13 of the 18 Palestinian detainees against whom Israeli occupying forces had issued orders to “assign residence” to the Gaza Strip for periods ranging from 1 to 2 years. The two decisions came in response to appeals submitted against the orders by PCHR, in conjunction with the Addameer Association for Human Rights, to the Israeli High Court.

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