This week, Israeli occupying forces continued to violate the human rights of Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs), despite the close proximity if the Islamic holiday, Eid ul-Adha. Throughout the week, Israeli occupying forces conducted incursions into Palestinian areas; shot at Palestinian civilians, which included children; indiscriminately shelled residential areas and demolished houses; and leveled agricultural land. Israeli occupying forces have also continued construction of the “Separation Wall” inside the West Bank while imposing a tight siege on the OPTs. This week, 9 Palestinians, including 4 children, were killed by Israeli occupying forces. Eight of the victims were killed during an Israeli military incursion into al-Zaytoun neighborhood in Gaza City.
In the Gaza Strip, Israeli occupying forces conducted 11 military incursions into Palestinian areas, during which they killed and arrested a number of Palestinians and damaged civilian properties. In a major military incursion into al-Zaytoun neighborhood in Gaza city, Israeli occupying forces killed 8 Palestinians, including 3 children and 4 members of the Palestinian resistance. In addition, 4 other civilians, including an ambulance driver, were injured. Israeli forces also caused severe damage to civilian properties in the area.
In 4 military incursions into Khan Yunis and Deir al-Balah, Israeli occupying forces razed more than 100 donums of Palestinian agricultural land. Israeli forces also raided and searched some houses, and arrested a number of Palestinians, including 3 children.
In an excessive use of force, on the morning of 22 January 2004, Israeli occupying forces shot dead an 11-year-old Palestinian child and wounded 2 other children near the eastern border of the Gaza Strip, east of Jabalya. The children were hunting birds approximately 300m away from the border with Israel.
In the West Bank, Israeli occupying forces continued to move into Palestinian areas as well. In a major military incursion into Nablus on Thursday, 22 January 2004, Israeli occupying forces destroyed a 5-storey apartment building in Ras al-‘Ein neighborhood, the reason for which according to them was that an allegedly wanted Palestinian was hiding inside the building. Israeli occupying forces also moved into a number of villages and refugee camps and arrested dozens of Palestinians.
Israeli occupying forces have continued construction of the “Separation Wall” inside the West Bank, and razed more areas of Palestinian land for this purpose. They also demolished 3 homes that were under construction, a brick factory, and an animal farm. In addition this week, Israeli occupying forces conducted a census in Beit Eksa village, southwest of Jerusalem, and listed Palestinian properties. They also continued to close several iron gates established along the wall, denying movement for Palestinian civilians.
Israeli occupying forces have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and Jerusalem. Specifically in the Gaza Strip, Israeli occupying forces have continued to impose a strict siege on Palestinian communities and restrict movement of Palestinian civilians. Israeli troops have also maintained the closure of a number of main and branch roads in the Gaza Strip by stationing Israeli soldiers at Israeli military checkpoints. For the second consecutive week, Israeli occupying forces obstructed access of Gazan workers to their work places in Israel. They have also denied movement of Palestinian women through military checkpoints at entrances to the heavily-restricted al-Mawasi area in the southern Gaza Strip and al-Sayafa area in the northern Gaza Strip. 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.
In the West Bank as well, Israeli occupying forces have continued to impose a strict siege on Palestinian communities. They have also imposed severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. They have blocked a number of roads using cement blocks, sand barriers and trenches. Since the beginning of the current Intifada in September 2000, Israeli occupying forces have established 673 barriers (457 sand barriers, 95 cement blocks, 65 trenches and 56 military checkpoints).
On Thursday morning, 22 January 2004, Israeli occupying forces positioned at al-Karama Terminal on the border with Jordan denied travel for no apparent reason, to Palestinians who are between 16 and 45 years old, but cancelled the decision later this week. Israeli occupying forces ordered Palestinian civilians to cross military checkpoints to obtain “checkpoint permits” from the so-called Israeli Civil Administration.
Following are statistics regarding Israeli war crimes perpetrated against Palestinian civilians in January 2004:
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