In the Gaza Strip, Israeli occupying forces conducted 8 incursions into Palestinian areas. They moved into Block O in Rafah refugee camp on 13, 18 and 19 November 2003, during which time they destroyed 12 Palestinian houses totally and 2 others partially. More than 10 Palestinian civilians were wounded by Israeli gunfire during these 2 incursions, which were conducted by Israeli forces claiming to be searching for weapons smuggling tunnels. These operations have resulted in civilian casualties, as well as wide-spread destruction to property. The facts on the ground prove that the real purpose is to clear the area in order to create a buffer zone along the Egyptian border, south of Rafah.
On 13 November 2003, Israeli occupying forces moved into Baten al-Samin neighborhood in the southwest of Khan Yunis. They raided and searched a number of Palestinian houses and razed 45 donums of Palestinian agricultural land. The following day, Israeli occupying forces moved into al-Boreij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. During this 4-day incursion, Israeli occupying forces razed more than 50 donums of Palestinian agricultural land. This week, Israeli occupying forces also moved also into al-Mughraqa village, south of Gaza City, and al-Shouka neighborhood in Rafah.
In the West Bank, Israeli occupying forces conducted a series of incursions into Palestinian controlled areas, particularly in Tulkarm and Nablus. These incursions were accompanied by intense gunfire, during which time a number of Palestinians civilians were killed or wounded. Israeli occupying forces also arrested dozens of Palestinians. This week, Israeli occupying forces imposed a curfew on ‘Assira village, north of Nablus.
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 a Palestinian house in Rafah and arrested its owner.
This week, Israeli occupying forces shot dead 3 Palestinians, including a child. On 15 November 2003, Israeli occupying forces shot dead a Palestinian child during an incursion into Beit Fourik village, east of Nablus, claiming that their soldiers had opened fire at demonstrators who threw stones and incendiary bottles at them, after all other attempts to disperse the demonstrators failed. However, PCHR’s investigations and eyewitness reports revealed that the child was standing at the door of his family’s house when he was shot. On 16 November 2003, Israeli occupying forces shot dead a Palestinian civilian when he left his house in Rafah to check what was going on following an Israeli incursion into al-Shouka neighborhood in the southeast of the town. On 17 November 2003, a Palestinian resistance man was killed in clashes with Israeli occupying forces in Tulkarm refugee camp. Israeli soldiers fired at him twice after he was hit by a live bullet in the head and did not allow anyone to offer him medical aid. On 14 November 2003, an elderly Palestinian man from Hebron was killed when an Israeli settler ran him over while he was walking on a bypass road to the west of the town.
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. They have 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. These Israeli measures constitute violations of Palestinian economic, social and cultural rights. Israeli occupying forces often hold Palestinian civilians, including women and children, between Abu Houli and al-Matahen checkpoints, north of Khan Yunis, for extended periods of time.
Israeli occupying forces have continued to impose a strict siege on Palestinian communities in the West Bank. PCHR’s field workers reported that Israeli occupying forces continued to restrict the movement of Palestinian civilians, contrary to Israeli claims that the siege imposed on the West Bank has been eased. Israeli soldiers withdrew from a number of checkpoints, particularly to the north of Ramallah, however they often raid these checkpoints and pursue Palestinian civilians and vehicles.
In violation of international human rights law and humanitarian law, Israeli occupying forces have continued to construct the “separation wall” inside the West Bank. They have also imposed further restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the areas adjacent to the wall. This week, Israeli occupying forces used excessive force against Palestinian civilians and members of International Solidarity Movement, who were protesting against the construction of the wall.
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