The IOF continued their attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property throughout the past week. This resulted in the death of 11 Palestinians, including 2 children and left a large number of Palestinian civilians with critical injuries. These attacks resulted in the razing of large scale areas of agricultural land and demolition of civilian properties. Dozens of civilians were arrested while in their homes or at checkpoints and border-gates. These attacks involved incursions into Palestinian areas and random shelling from armoured vehicles and military aircraft as well as the excessive use of lethal force and an attempted extra-judicial execution. These attacks were accompanied by a continued siege imposed on the oPt. Also this week 1500 Palestinian and Arab prisoners initiated a hunger strike in Israeli prisons in order to improve the conditions of their confinement, seeking the application of the UN International Minimum Standards for the Treatment of Prisoners and the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilians in the Time of War.
Israeli attacks caused the death of eight civilians in the Gaza Strip, including one child who died from injuries received in the recent past and two willful killings. On August 16th , to the east of Jabalyah, IOF fired two missiles at two Palestinian farmers. IOF claimed that its helicopters fired at two members of the Palestinian resistance who were trying to fire Qassam rockets into Israel. Preliminary investigations by PCHR did not support this claim as no evidence was found of military equipment in the area where the bodies were discovered. The civilians were killed while collecting wood from the area. IOF targeted Sheik Ahmed Ja’abari, a leader of the Hamas movement, however he was only moderately injured by the attack while his brother, son, nephew, son-in-law and one other friend were killed. Medical sources in Shi’fa Hospital, in Gaza City, indicated that on the 14th August a child from Rafah camp died from injuries he had received during an IOF incursion on 9th of August 2004. IOF made 9 new incursions into various parts of the Gaza Strip. The most extensive was in al Muaqa quarter and in Zeitoun, in the south of Gaza City, on the 12 and 13th August which resulted in the razing of 170 donums of agricultural land. In Block J, in Rafah refugee camp, on the 12th of August, the IOF destroyed ten residential buildings in which 23 families lived, a total of 126 people. 3 residential homes in al Brazil in Rafah were demolished, in which 13 families lived, a total of 76 people. They destroyed the water wells and related infrastructure. As well as this a number of civilians were wounded as a result of random shelling into residential areas.
In the West Bank IOF killed 3 Palestinian civilians, including an 8 year old child. One of whom was killed by an excessive use of force and the other two were victims of willful killing. Dozens of civilians were injured, particularly in Nablus city and camp. On 14th of August in occupied East Jerusalem the IOF killed a Palestinian and stated that he stabbed an IOF soldier. However eyewitness reports indicate that it would have been possible to arrest the suspect and prosecute him. Another two people were killed in Nablus one of whom was left, on the 15th of August, to bleed to death and the second on the 16th of August was killed while playing in front of his family home. IOF continued to make incursions across the West Bank, except in Jerhico. As a result they destroyed a home in Beit Foriq village, to the east of Nablus, owned by the Hannanni family. Yusef Hannanni was killed hours before his home was demolished when he tried to enter Itamar settlement near Beit Foriq. Dozens of civilians were arrested when IOF entered and searched their homes.
Israeli settlers who are living inside the oPt, in contravention of International Humanitarian Law, continued their systematic violations against Palestinian civilians and their properties. This was accompanied by the issuing of a tender by the Israeli government for the building of 1001 residential units in illegal Israeli settlements across the West Bank.
The accelerated construction of the Annexation Wall continued inside the West Bank as IOF razed more lands to the east and north of Jerusalem which included the lands of al Izaria, Anata, al Ram, Jaba’, Qalandia and in the industrial zone known as “Atrot”. Engineering teams also began the process of measuring land which is inside the proposed route for the construction of the wall to the south of Tulkarm city and in Qalqilia municipality, in the northern part of the West Bank.
IOF continued the strict siege on the oPt, including occupied East Jerusalem and increasingly restricted the movement of Palestinian civilians.
In the Gaza Strip the IOF continued its systematic violation of the right to freedom of movement with partial closures of all the border crossings with Israel and with Egypt. Despite the reopening of the Rafah International Terminal on the border with Egypt Palestinian civilians have continued to suffer from the limited opening hours imposed by IOF, which represents the only gateway from Gaza to the outside world. It is worth noting that since 18th April IOF have continued to prevent civilians between the ages of 16-35 from traveling through this gateway. IOF has increased the extent of violations against the right to freedom of movement, particularly at Abu Houli and al Matahen checkpoints, which divide the Gaza Strip, in two parts, on Salah al Din street which connects the north to the south of the Gaza Strip.
In the west Bank the IOF have still restricted the movement of Palestinian civilians through establishing dozens of fixed checkpoints at the entrances to a number of cities and dozens of random checkpoints on main roads between municipalities. Throughout the week IOF have increased fortification at Beit Iba and Howara checkpoints. The security procedures and fortification are now the same as those at the Erez checkpoint in the north of the Gaza Strip.
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