22 - 28 April 2004
This week, Israeli occupying forces have escalated 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 killings, 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 have continued to impose a tight siege on the OPTs. This week, 18 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including 5 children, were killed by Israeli occupying forces.
In the Gaza Strip, Israeli occupying forces conducted 6 military incursions into Palestinian areas. The largest incursion took place on 22 April 2004 and targeted Rafah refugee camp, during which Israeli forces destroyed 24 Palestinian houses, rendering 331 people (60 families) homeless. These actions come in the context of persistent Israeli military efforts to create a buffer zone along the Egyptian border on the expense of Palestinian residential areas.
This week, Israeli occupying forces killed 4 children in the northern Gaza Strip. Three of the victims were killed on 22 April 2004, including a 4-year-old child who died from tear gas inhalation. The fourth child was killed by Israeli soldiers on 26 April 2004, when no clashes took place.
In the West Bank, Israeli occupying forces escalated attacks against Palestinian civilians, killing 13 of them, especially in extra-judicial assassinations. A child also died from an injury sustained by Israeli forces last week.
In less than 72 hours, Israeli occupying forces carried out 4 extra-judicial assassinations in the northern West Bank, which left 10 Palestinians dead, including a civilian bystander. Undercover units of Israeli occupying forces carried out 3 of these assassinations. On Thursday morning, 22 April 2004, Israeli occupying forces killed 3 Palestinians from Tulkarm refugee camp. On Friday morning, 23 April 2004, Israeli occupying forces assassinated 3 Palestinians in Qalqilya and injured a fourth one. On Saturday, 24 April 2004, Israeli occupying forces committed two extra-judicial assassinations in Jenin. In the first assassination, they killed 3 Palestinians, including a civilian bystander. In addition, a journalist was injured. On the same day, and only 3 hours later, Israeli occupying forces committed another extra-judicial assassination, which killed one Palestinian and seriously wounded another one.
On 23 April 2004, Israeli occupying forces shot dead a university lecturer in Tallouza village, north of Nablus. They claimed that they fired at three armed members of Hamas movement, killing one and injuring another one, while the third was able to escape. According to investigations conducted by PCHR, the victim was not armed and was not wanted by Israeli forces, and there was no one else injured in the attack. On 27 April 2004, Israeli occupying forces killed 2 members of the Palestinian resistance and wounded 5 civilians, when they moved into Tulkarm refugee camp.
In the West Bank also, Israeli occupying forces conducted a series of military incursions into Palestinian area, during which they arrested dozens of Palestinians.
Israeli occupying forces have continued construction of the “Annexation Wall” inside the West Bank, especially in the Jerusalem district. This week, Israeli occupying forces intensified construction of the wall on the lands of Beit Ejza village, southwest of Ramallah. Israeli forces used force against Palestinian civilians who organized peaceful protests against the construction of the wall.
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, Israeli occupying forces have continued to impose a total siege on the Gaza Strip. They closed all border crossings into the Gaza Strip, except for Rafah Terminal. They also imposed restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians at 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. Israeli forces have also continued to prohibit Palestinians who are under 45 from praying at al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
The following is a summary of gross Israeli violations of international law perpetrated against Palestinian civilians in April 2004:
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