Israeli violations of international law continued in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) during the reporting period (22-28 September 2005). Less than one month following their redeployment in the Gaza Strip, IOF escalated their attacks against Palestinian civilians and property in the Gaza Strip. This escalation proves that, as PCHR has always emphasized, IOF continue to substantially occupy the Gaza Strip, despite the recent evacuation of Israeli settlements. During the reporting period, IOF launched several aerial attacks against Palestinian civilian targets throughout the Gaza Strip. They also launched a series of mock aerial raids, which made Palestinian civilians, especially children, extremely terrified. IOF have also maintained control over all border crossing of the Gaza Strip, transforming it into a big jail. In addition, they have started to establish military observation towers along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel.
The publication of this report coincides with the 5th anniversary of the outbreak of the al-Aqsa Intifada. During these five years, IOF killed hundreds of Palestinians, injured and arrested thousands and destroyed thousands of houses.
During the reported period, IOF killed 8 Palestinians. On 24 and 25 September 2005, IOF extra-judicially killed 4 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in two separate aerial attacks. Four civilian bystanders were also injured. IOF launched 27 aerial attacks against civilian targets in the Gaza Strip, injuring 31 Palestinian civilians and destroying or damaging several civilian facilities. In addition, they launched dozens of mock aerial raids throughout the Gaza Strip, which made Palestinian civilians, especially children, extremely terrified, and damaged civilian property. On 22 September 2005, IOF killed 4 Palestinians in two separate attacks. In the first attack, IOF killed a Palestinian civilian in Jenin. In the second attack, IOF chased and killed 3 Palestinian gunmen in ‘Allar village near Tulkarm.
IOF conducted 91 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During these incursions, IOF raided houses and arrested 311 Palestinian civilians, including prominent religious, political, social, academic and media figures, mostly in the last three days covered by this report. Most of the detainees are known of their affiliation to Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, including Sheikh Hassan Yousef, the spokesman of Hamas in the West Bank; and Dr. Mohammed Ghazal, a senior leader of Hamas in the West Bank. IOF also destroyed a house in Qabatya village in the context of collective punishment measures against Palestinian families. Additionally, IOF closed two charitable societies in Jerusalem and a number of others in other areas in the West Bank.
Restrictions on Movement
Even though IOF were redeployed around the Gaza Strip, the Israeli government maintained the occupation of the Gaza Strip though controlling or outlets and crossings. Rafah International Crossing Point on the Egyptian border, the sole outlet for the Gaza Strip to the outside world, has remained closed for the second consecutive week, as no deal has been reached concerning transportation across it. IOF insist to maintain control over the movement of persons and goods through the crossing point, and have actually moved equipment from the crossing point to “Kerem Shalom” area on the Egyptian — Israeli border. In the meantime, IOF have continued to close Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing for Palestinian workers and patients for several weeks. With the closure of Rafah International Crossing Point and Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing, the Gaza Strip has been transformed into a big jail, as IOF have maintained control over the airspace and other border crossings of the Gaza Strip.
In the West Bank, IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. They have continued to close Jenin — Nablus road since 15 August 2005. A Palestinian civilian died in Hebron as IOF obstructed his evacuation to the hospital. On 24 September 2005, IOF positioned at Beit Eiba checkpoint, west of Nablus, opened fire at dozens of Palestinian civilians who were waiting at the checkpoint. Three Palestinian civilians were wounded, including one who was in a serious condition. During the reported period, IOF positioned at various checkpoints arrested 15 Palestinian civilians.
In a recent report submitted to the United Nations General Assembly, Professor John Dugard, the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967, stated that the Wall being constructed by Israel in the West Bank, allegedly for security purposes, would transfer “some 55,000 Palestinians presently living in municipal area of East Jerusalem to the West Bank.” He added that some 50,000 Palestinians have Jerusalemite identity cards, but live outside the municipal area of East Jerusalem because they cannot find homes in the city due to land confiscations and the restrictions imposed by IOF on construction in the city. Professor Dugard further indicated that the Wall will affect more than 40% of Palestinians living in East Jerusalem the total number of whom is 230,000. He also asserted that “the construction of the wall, the expansion of settlements and the de-Plasticisation of Jerusalem threaten the viability of a Palestinian State.” During the reported period, IOF used force to disperse a peaceful demonstration organized by Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli solidarity activists in protest to the construction of the Wall in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah. Dozens of civilians suffered from tear gas inhalation and IOF arrested 9 international solidarity activists and a Palestinian civilian. A Palestinian civilian was also wounded by IOF when he was walking near the Wall.
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