1 - 7 January 2004
This week, Israeli occupying forces continued to violate the human rights of Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs). Human rights violations included the use of extra-judicial assassinations and willful killings. Throughout the week, Israeli occupying forces also conducted incursions into Palestinian areas; shot at Palestinian civilians, including children; indiscriminately shelled residential areas; demolished houses; and leveled agricultural land. Israeli occupying forces have also continued construction of the “separation wall” inside the West Bank and have continued to impose a tight siege on the OPTs. This week, 10 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including 4 children, were killed by Israeli occupying forces.
In the Gaza Strip, Israeli occupying forces conducted 11 military incursions into Palestinian areas, particularly in Deir al-Balah, Khan Yunis and Rafah. During these incursions, Israeli occupying forces destroyed 28 houses, leaving dozens of Palestinian civilians homeless, and razed more than 150 donums of agricultural land. They also confiscated approximately 120 donums of agricultural land for settlement activities. This week, Israeli occupying forces raided Palestinian houses in Wadi al-Salqa village, southeast of Deir al-Balah. During one of the raids, Israeli forces arrested an entire family. They later released the women and children, but kept the males in custody.
In the West Bank, Israeli occupying forces conducted a series of incursions into Palestinian communities, especially Nablus. This week, 10 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including 4 children, were killed by Israeli forces. 7 of the victims were killed during a wide scale Israeli military operation in Nablus. 2 of the victims were killed in an extra-judicial assassination. According to medical sources, the 2 were also attacked by dogs brought by Israeli soldiers. During the Israeli military operation into the old town of Nablus, 4 Palestinian houses and a kindergarten were totally destroyed and 5 other houses and a historic castle were partially destroyed. This destruction violated the right to adequate housing of 69 people (14 families) and the right to education of hundreds of children. Israeli occupying forces also arrested dozens of allegedly wanted Palestinians. A 10th Palestinian from Jerusalem was killed after being run over by an Israeli settler vehicle near Qalandya military checkpoint, north of Jerusalem.
Despite the fact that the International Court of Justice is preparing to consider the case of the “separation wall” in accordance with the UN General Assembly Resolution adopted on 8 December 2003, Israeli occupying forces have continued construction of the wall. This week, they closed a number of gates established along the wall, denying the right to freedom of movement of thousands of Palestinian civilians. They also opened fire at peaceful marches organized by international and Israeli peace activists in protest against the construction of the wall.
In addition, 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. In the Gaza Strip, Israeli occupying forces have continued to impose a strict siege on Palestinian communities and restrict the movement of Palestinian civilians. The Israeli military has also maintained the closure of a number of main and branch roads in the Gaza Strip by Israeli soldiers stationed at military checkpoints. Such restrictions on the freedom of movement are in contravention of international human rights law to which Israel is a state party, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. This week, Israeli occupying forces imposed more restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians between the north and south of the Gaza Strip. Israeli occupying forces positioned at the Abu Houli and al-Matahen checkpoints on Salah al-Din Street, the main road between the north and south of the Gaza Strip, continued to obstruct the movement of Palestinian civilians. These two checkpoints are only open for a maximum of a few hours each day and have become notorious for instances of humiliation and harassment by Israeli soldiers.
In the West Bank, Israeli occupying forces have continued to impose a strict siege on Palestinian communities in the West Bank. They imposed a tightened siege on Nablus and neighboring refugee camps and villages, and imposed a curfew for several days. They also imposed a curfew on Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron, and al-Khader village, west of Bethlehem.
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