31 March 2004
This week, Israeli occupying forces have continued to perpetrate violations of human rights against Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs). Human rights violations perpetrated by Israeli occupying forces included willful and extra-judicial killing, incursions into Palestinian areas, indiscriminate shelling and house demolitions. Israeli occupying forces have also continued construction of the “Annexation Wall” inside the West Bank and continued to impose a tight siege on the OPTs. This week, 3 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were killed by Israeli occupying forces.
In the West Bank, Israeli occupying forces conducted a series of military incursions into Palestinian areas and fired at Palestinian demonstrations. This week, Israeli forces killed a 7-year-old child in Balata refugee camp, and a young man in Bethlehem. They also arrested dozens of allegedly wanted Palestinian civilians. 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, they destroyed one house in the West Bank. On 28 March 2004, Israeli occupying forces extra-judicially assassinated Jamil Talab ‘Ouda al-Tal, 35, from al-Zahiriya village, south of Hebron.
Israeli settlers escalated their attacks against Palestinian civilians and their properties. They seized more Palestinian land for the purpose of settlement expansion and seized a number of houses after expelling Palestinian families.
In the Gaza Strip, Israeli occupying forces conducted 3 military incursions into Palestinian areas. They destroyed 13 houses in Khan Yunis refugee camp and a one in Rafah. In addition, a number of Palestinian civilians were injured by the Israeli shelling.
Israeli occupying forces have continued construction of the “Annexation Wall” inside the West Bank, although the Israeli High Court issued a temporary injunction stopping the construction of the wall in some villages. This week, construction was centered in the northern Jordan Valley. Israeli forces have also started to establish a fence around “Eitamar” settlement, southeast of Nablus. For this purpose, they delivered notices to about 30 families living in the area to leave it. Israeli forces also uprooted olive trees in Qatna villages, and used force against protests organized by Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli peace activists.
This week, Israeli occupying forces have continued to impose a tightened siege on the OPTs and imposed severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including Jerusalem.
In the Gaza Strip, following the assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin on Monday morning, 22 March 2004, Israeli occupying forces imposed a total siege on the West Bank and Gaza Strip. They closed all border crossings into the Gaza Strip, and divided it into 3 isolated zones. They also closed all entrances to Palestinian areas located near Israeli settlements and prevented Palestinian civilians from moving freely. Such restrictions on 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, 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, and imposed curfews on a number of villages.
The following is a summary of gross Israeli violations of international law perpetrated against Palestinian civilians in March 2004:
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