Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Escalate Attacks on Palestinian Civilians and Property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)
IOF have continued to impose a total siege on the OPT; IOF have imposed a tightened siege on the Gaza Strip and there have been shortages of foodstuffs and fuels; IOF positioned at a various checkpoints in the West Bank arrested 8 Palestinian civilians, including two girls.
IOF have continued to construct the Annexation Wall in the West Bank; they razed more areas of agricultural land in Qalqilya and used force to disperse a peaceful demonstration protesting the construction of the Wall in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah.
Israeli settlers have continued attacks against Palestinian civilians and property in the OPT; settlers celebrated a Jewish wedding inside the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron.
As the international community has remained silent, IOF have continued to wage a full scale offensive on the Palestinian people, especially in the Gaza Strip. During the reported period, IOF have continued their Operation Grasshopper, under which they move in a certain area, commit crimes there and then redeploy outside it. They then move into another area and do the same. Hundreds of Palestinian families have been forced to leave their houses due to the IOF shelling.
PCHR, monitoring with utmost concern the developments of this offensive, calls upon the international community, particularly the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and United Nations, to immediately intervene to force IOF to stop this offensive and allow the flow of foodstuffs, medical supplies and fuels into the Gaza Strip.
The outcome of crimes committed by IOF since 25 June 2006:
Israeli violations of international law continued in the OPT during the reported period (10 û 16 August 2006):
Killing: During the reported period, IOF killed 5 Palestinian civilians and a member of the Palestinian resistance in the Gaza Strip, while a Palestinian civilian died from a wound he had sustained in Jenin refugee camp on 6 July 2006. On 14 August 2006, IOF killed 3 Palestinian civilians including a child, and wounded 3 others, including two children, when they fired a missile at a crowd of Palestinian civilians in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun. On 16 August 2006, IOF killed an elderly Palestinian and his son in Khan Yunis, when an IOF fighter jet leveled their house with a bomb. IOF did not give them sufficient time to evacuate the house, and they were killed during the evacuation. In addition, a second son and two neighbors were moderately wounded by shrapnel. On 17 August 2006, IOF killed a Palestinian militant during an incursion into al-Farrahin area in æAbasan village, east of Khan Yunis.
Thus, the number of Palestinians killed by IOF in the Gaza Strip since the beginning of ôOperation Summer Rainsö on 25 June 2006 has increased to 187, including 43 children and 10 women. In addition, 715 others, mostly civilians, including 194 children, 26 women, 4 paramedics and 4 journalists, have been wounded.
IOF also launched at least 9 air strikes on 7 houses and a store in the Gaza Strip belonging to Palestinian resistance activists. These houses were destroyed, and a number of neighboring houses and civilian facilities were severely damaged. IOF intelligence officers ordered owners of these houses by phone to evacuate their houses. The targeted houses were not located in confrontation areas, or in areas used to fire rockets. They were distributed in different parts of the Gaza Strip. In addition, they were multi-story apartment structures. The destruction caused fear among the civilian population. The destruction of houses is based on intelligence reports, which can be inaccurate or out of date and often do not justify attacks on civilians and their property. Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits the destruction of real or personal property, “except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.”
During the reported, IOF fired dozens of artillery shells at Palestinian residential areas and agricultural land in the Gaza Strip. A number of Palestinian civilians were killed or wounded and a number of houses were damaged. Hundreds of families have been forced to leave their homes due to the IOF shelling.
In the West Bank, Ussama al-Tubasi, 27, from Jenin refugee camp, died from a wound he had sustained in 6 July 2006, when an IOF attempted to extrajudicial execute two activists of the Palestinian resistance. Al-Tubasi was one of 18 Palestinians who were wounded in the attack.
In addition, 13 Palestinian civilians, including 8 children and a woman, and an Israeli solidarity activist were wounded by IOF gunfire.
Incursions: During the reported period, IOF conducted at least 40 military incursions into Palestinian communities, during which they raided dozens of houses and arrested 48 Palestinian civilians, including 5 children and two women. IOF also demolished 4 houses belonging to 4 brothers from the al-Nadi family in ‘Askar refugee camp, northeast of Nablus, claiming that their brother is allegedly wanted by IOF. This is an indication of the resumption of collective punishment measures by IOF against families of activists of the Palestinian resistance. In Hebron, IOF raided and searched 3 hospitals, claiming that they were looking for wounded wanted Palestinians. In the Gaza Strip, IOF conducted 4 incursions into Palestinian communities. They arrested 5 Palestinians and razed areas of agricultural land.
Restrictions on Movement: IOF have continued to impose a tightened siege on the OPT and imposed severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including Occupied East Jerusalem.
IOF have imposed a strict siege on the Gaza Strip. They have closed its border crossings as a form of collective punishment against Palestinian civilians.
IOF have closed Rafah International Crossing Point, even though they do not directly control it. They have prevented European observers working at the crossing point form reaching it. IOF have closed commercial crossings of the Gaza Strip, especially al-Mentar (Karni) crossing. As a consequence, the economic situation inside the Gaza Strip has further deteriorated and many goods have been lacked in markets. IOF have also continued to close Erez crossing in the northern Gaza Strip. In addition, IOF have prevented Palestinian fishermen from fishing.
IOF have tightened the siege imposed on Palestinian communities in the West Bank. They have isolated Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank. IOF positioned at various checkpoints in the West Bank have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. IOF have continued to separate between the north and south of the West Bank. During the reported period, IOF positioned at various checkpoints around imposed severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. On Friday, 11 August 2006, IOF prevented Palestinian aged below 40 from going to the al-Aqsa Mosque for the Friday prayer. During the reported period, IOF positioned at various checkpoints in the West Bank arrested 8 Palestinian civilians, including two girls. One of the girls was released later.
Annexation Wall: IOF have continued to construct the Annexation Wall inside the West Bank. During the reported period, IOF started to raze large areas of Palestinian agricultural land in ‘Azzoun and Kufor Laqef villages, east of Qalqilya, to construct a new section of the Wall in the areas. According to local sources in ‘Azzoun village, at least 250 donums of agricultural land are expected to be razed, and hundreds of donums will be isolated. On Thursday, 10 August 2006, the local council of Kufor Laqef village received a military order seizing 8 donums of land for “military purposes” until 31 December 2009. The land is located near “Kerni Shomron” settlement. IOF had already prevented Palestinian civilians from reaching the seized land. In addition, two Palestinian civilians and an Israeli solidarity activist were wounded, when IOF used force against a peaceful demonstration organized in protest to the construction of the Wall.
Illegal Settler Activities: Israeli settlers in breach of international humanitarian law continue to reside in the OPT and have launched a series of attacks against Palestinian civilians and property. On Friday, 11 August 2006, IOF allowed a number of Israeli settlers to enter the Ibrahimi Mosque with musical instruments to celebrate a Jewish wedding, in disregard for the feelings of Palestinians. On Saturday and Sunday, 12 and 13 August 2006, Israeli settlers living in “Kiryat Arba” settlement, southeast of Hebron, attacked Palestinian civilians and property in Hebron. During the reported period, Israeli settlers living in “Nogohot” and “Metsvi Lakhish” settlement, southwest of Hebron, razed areas of Palestinian agricultural land to annex them to the settlements.
Israeli Violations Documented during the Reporting Period (10 û 16 August 2006)
1. Incursions into Palestinian Areas and Attacks on Palestinian Civilians and Property in the West Bank
Thursday, 10 August 2006
1. Fayez Sabe’ Ba’ara, 20;
2. Mohammed Fareed al-Hindi, 21; and
3. Muhannad Mohammed Faraj, 19.
1. Nassim Majed Eskafi, 26; and
2. Sufian Ibrahim Eskafi, 26.
1. Ramzi ‘Obaidu, 37;
2. Eyad al-Farroukh, 25;
3. Murad al-Malhi, 26.
A number of Palestinian civilians gathered and threw stones at IOF vehicles. Immediately, IOF fired at these civilians, wounding Mahmoud Zuhri Jabarin, 20, with a live bullet to the hand.
Friday, 11 August 2006
Saturday, 12 August 2006
Sunday, 13 August 2006
1. Halima ‘Obaid Abu Sa’id, 39, wounded by a live bullet to the right thigh; and
2. Sa’ed Sayel Abu Sa’id, 12, wounded by a live bullet to the chest.
Monday, 14 August 2006
1. Sameeh Mohammed al-Atrash, 23; and
2. ‘Ali Subhi al-Baba, 18.
1. ‘Othman Zuhair Melhem, 20; and
2. Mohammed ‘Omar Melehm, 19.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 07:50, 4 members of the al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad, launched a missile at Israeli territory from inside the Agricultural Secondary School in the north of Beit Hanoun. They then left the school through a hole in the fence, leaving the launcher in place.
As the resistance members were leaving the area, a number of residents of the area intercepted, and attempted to attack them. Soon, a number of other residents of the area intervened to protect the resistance activists, but a number of gunmen from the area fired into the air and attempted to attack the resistance activists. Later, the four resistance activists were able to leave the area unhurt.
Nearly half an hour later, a number of boys living in the area moved into the school through the same hole in the fence to take the rocket launcher left by the resistance activists to sell it as scrap, but a number of residents of the area attempted to prevent them. As Palestinian civilians gathered, IOF fired a missile at these civilians, killing 3 of them:
1. Zuhair Mohammed Shehada al-Kafarna, 50;
2. ‘Othman Hussein Mahmoud al-Bo’, 50; and
3. Ahmed Yousef ‘Abed ‘Aashour, 13.
Three civilians were also wounded:
1. Hussam ‘Othman Hassan al-Bo’, 17;
2. Bilal Ahmed Hussein al-Kafarna, 15; and
3. Ma’awia Ya’qoub al-Kafarna, 19.
According to field investigations conducted by PCHR staff, the attack took place near the southwestern fence of the school, which has a hole in it used by Palestinian resistance activists to get into and out of the school. There was also a rocket launcher near the fence. The launcher is 2.5-3 meters high and stands on 3 legs. Shrapnel found in the area was big and had flippers, electronic layers and iron pieces. The shrapnel is similar to that of surface-to-surface missiles previously launched by IOF on the Gaza Strip.
Tuesday, 15 August 2006
1. Jalal ‘Abed Qeshta, 25;
2. Median Mashour ‘Amawi, 20; and
3. Ahmed Mohammed Daoud, 19.
1. Rifqa Mulaq al-Ja’bari, 43; and
2. Nabeeh Kamel al-Ja’bari, 32.
1. ‘Omar Salah Ordoniya, 15, wounded by two rubber-coated metal bullet to the right ear and the left hand;
2. Kamal Hisham Abu Keshek, 21, wounded by a live bullet to the left foot;
3. Ra’fat Salah Jadallah, 17, wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the back;
4. Ibrahim Na’im Ameer, 15, wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the back;
5. Jameel Mohammed Minawi, 16, wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the face;
6. Mohammed Nidal Samara, 11, wounded by shrapnel to the left foot;
7. Tha’er Hussein Abu al-‘Ez, 14, wounded by a live bullet to the left foot;
8. Mahmoud Waleed Bahloul, 17, wounded by shrapnel to the left foot; and
9. Murad Waleed al-Houtari, 14, wounded by shrapnel to the nose.
1. ‘Omar Hussein Khabbas, 23; and
2. Tamer Nasser Taha, 22.
1. ‘Alaa’ ‘Abdul Shakour al-Natsha, 23; and
2. ‘Omar ‘Abdul Shakour al-Natsha, 26.
Wednesday, 16 August 2006
According to investigations conducted by PCHR at approximately 01:00, the IOF intelligence called ‘Abdul Hadi Hassan Radwan Sha’at, 31, an activist of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, on his mobile phone. They ordered him to evacuate his house as it would be bombarded in a few minutes. Sha’at was not in the house at the time of the call, and he called his family to inform them of the warning. The 180-square-meter, 3-storey house is located in the densely populated Sheikh Nasser area in the east of Khan Yunis. The household started to evacuate the house at night and in the dark as electricity was cut off from the area at the time. During the evacuation, the IOF intelligence called Mustafa Sha’at, 29, ‘Abdul Hadi’s brother, who is also an activist in the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. They informed him that the house would be bombarded in a few minutes. Fifteen minutes after the first call and as the household were evacuating, an IOF fighter jet dropped a bomb on the house, destroying it completely. Hassan Radwan Shahin Sha’ath, the 69-year-old owner of the house, and his son Ibrahim, 45, were killed. Their bodies were found 10 meters away from the house. They were killed by cement blocks shattered by the bombardment. In addition, three civilians, including an owner’s son were wounded:
1. ‘Abdul Rahman Hassan Sha’at, 35;
2. ‘Abdullah Nizar Abu Taha, 29; and
3. Mohammed Suliman Mustafa Sha’ath, 35.
In addition, 5 nearby houses sheltering 10 families of 75 members sustained damage by the bombardment
1. ‘Aadel Mohammed Nassar, 33;
2. Mohammed Mohammed Nassar, 25; and
3. ‘Abed Salem Nassar.
1. Ja’far Ahmed Sammar, 22;
2. Yahia Bassam Khamaisa, 23; and
3. Hardan Mahmoud ‘Abahr, 20.
2. Continued Siege on the OPT
IOF have continued to impose a tightened siege on the OPT and imposed severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including Occupied East Jerusalem.
Following an attack launched by Palestinian militants on 25 June 2006 near the Israeli-Egyptian border, southeast of Rafah, which left two IOF soldiers and two of the attackers dead and a third IOF soldier missing, IOF have closed all border crossings of the Gaza Strip:
The closure of border crossings deprives the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip of their right to freedom of movement, education and health.
IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on fishing in the Gaza Strip. Following the attack on IOF on 25 June 2006, IOF prevented fishing. Approximately 35,000 people in and around Gaza’s coastal communities rely on the fishing industry, including 2,500 fishermen, 2,500 support staff and their families. Fishermen have been subjected to intensive monitoring by IOF, which use helicopter gunships and gunboats to monitor the fishermen. On a number of occasions, IOF has opened fire against the civilian fishermen in order to enforce the 9 nautical mile limit imposed on them. The Oslo Accords make provision for Gaza’s sea to be fished to 20 nautical miles.
The West Bank
IOF have imposed a tightened siege on the West Bank. They have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians and imposed curfews on a number of Palestinian communities.
On Saturday morning, 12 August 2006, IOF positioned at Jaba’ checkpoint, northeast of Jerusalem, arrested Anwar Hafze Hannoud, 27, from al-Far’a village northeast of Nablus, when he was on his way to his work in Ramallah.
At approximately 09:00 on Wednesday, 16 August 2006, IOF positioned near the Ibrahimi Mosque in the south of Hebron arrested Eyad Sa’di Banat, 22.
On Monday evening, 14 August 2006, IOF positioned at a checkpoint near “Male Adomim” settlement arrested Sameeh Ahmed Salahat, 36, from Bethlehem.
On Thursday evening, 10 August 2006, IOF positioned at Beit Eiba checkpoint, west of Nablus, arrested two Palestinian girls, who study at an-Najah National University:
1. Nuha ‘Abdul Fattah Bushnaq, 22, from Kufor ‘Abboush village south of Tulkarm; and
2. Haya Mazen Janem, 20.
IOF released the second girl later, whereas the first one remained in custody.
On Saturday afternoon, 12 August 2006, IOF positioned at a checkpoint opposite to Qousin village, west of Nablus, arrested Ameer Shaker Da’as, 24, from Kufor Qaddoum village east of Qalqilya.
On Wednesday evening, 16 August 2006, IOF positioned at Bala’a checkpoint, east of Tulkarm, arrested Fekri Abu al-Haija, 27, a police officer, from Nour Shams refugee camp east of Tulkarm.
On Saturday morning, 12 August 2006, IOF positioned at a checkpoint at the eastern entrance of al-Zababda village, southeast of Jenin, arrested Ahmed Sameeh Abu al-Rub, 30, from Qabatya village, when he was on his way to his work in Tubas village.
3. Construction of the Annexation Wall
IOF have continued to construct the Annexation Wall inside West Bank territory.
1. Leo Moor, 25, an Israeli solidarity activist, seriously wounded by two rubber-coated metal bullets to the head and the neck;
2. Nemer Mustafa, 22, wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the chest; and
3. Wa’el Nasser Hussein, 29, wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the hand.
IOF soldiers also violently beat ‘Abdullah Abu Rahma, 35, member of the Committee against the Wall in the village. He sustained bruises.
4. Settlement Activities and Attacks by Settlers against Palestinian Civilians and Property
Israeli settlers (living in the OPT in violation of international humanitarian law) have continued their attacks against Palestinian civilians and property:
Recommendations to the International Community
1. PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their legal and moral obligations under Article 1 of the Convention to ensure Israel’s respect for the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. PCHR believes that the conspiracy of silence practiced by the international community has encouraged Israel to act as if it is above the law and encourages Israel continue to violate international human rights and humanitarian law.
2.PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to convene a conference to take effective steps to ensure Israel’s respect of the Convention in the OPT and to provide immediate protection for Palestinian civilians.
3.PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to comply with its legal obligations detailed in Article 146 of the Convention to search for and prosecute those responsible for grave breaches, namely war crimes.
4. PCHR recommends international civil society organizations, including human rights organizations, bar associations and NGOs to participate in the process of exposing those accused of grave breaches of international law and to urge their governments to bring these people to justice.
5. PCHR calls upon the European Union to activate Article 2 of the Euro-Israel Association Agreement, which provides that Israel must respect human rights as a precondition for economic cooperation between the EU states and Israel. PCHR further calls upon the EU states to prohibit import of goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements in the OPT.
6. PCHR calls upon the member States of the EU, and all other states, to adopt a voting pattern at the UN bodies, particularly the General Assembly, Security Council and Commission on Human Rights which is keeping with international law.
7. PCHR demands that the International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion be immediately implemented by the international community.
8. PCHR calls on the international community to recognize the Gaza disengagement plan, which was implemented last year, for what it is - not an end to occupation but a compounding of the occupation and the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.
9. In recognition of ICRC as the guardian of the Fourth Geneva Convention, PCHR calls upon the ICRC to increase its staff and activities in the OPT, including the facilitation of family visitations to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
10. PCHR appreciates the efforts of international civil society, including human rights organizations, bar associations, unions and NGOs, and urges them to continue their role in pressuring their governments to secure Israel’s respect for human rights in the OPT and to end its attacks on Palestinian civilians.
11. In light of the severe restrictions imposed by the Israeli government and its occupying forces on access for international organizations to the OPT, PCHR calls upon European countries to deal with Israeli citizens in a similar manner.
12. PCHR reiterates that any political settlement not based on international human rights law and humanitarian law cannot lead to a peaceful and just solution of the Palestinian question. Rather, such an arrangement can only lead to further suffering and instability in the region. Any peace agreement or process must be based on respect for international law, including international human rights and humanitarian law.
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is an independent legal body based in Gaza City dedicated to protecting human rights, promoting the rule of law and upholding democratic principles in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. It holds Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations and is an affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists, the FÚdÚration Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l’Homme (FIDH), and the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network. PCHR is a recipient of the 1996 French Republic Award for Human Rights.