Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Escalate Attacks on Palestinian Civilians and Property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)
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 attacks on Palestinian civilians and property.
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 lift the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip. PCHR also warns the international community of the consequences of the policy of collective punishment and reprisals practiced by IOF against the Palestinian civilian population, especially the destruction of energy resources and the denial of the flow of fuels needed for providing basic services.
Israeli violations of international law continued in the OPT during the reported period (31 August - 6 September 2006):
Killing: During the reported period, IOF killed 9 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. On 2 September 2006, IOF killed a man and his son during an incursion into the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun. On 5 September 2006, IOF extra-judicially executed 4 Palestinians in two separate attacks in Rafah. Three other Palestinians, including a child, were killed by IOF in separate attacks, in which IOF used excessive force. In addition, 51 Palestinians, including 12 children and a woman, were wounded by the IOF gunfire.
Thus, the number of Palestinians killed by IOF in the Gaza Strip since 25 June 2006 has increased to 226, including 47 children and 12 women. In addition, 726 others, mostly civilians, including 196 children, 27 women, 4 paramedics and 4 journalists, have been wounded.
IOF also launched at least two air strikes on two houses 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.
In the West Bank, two Palestinians were killed by IOF. On 31 August 2006, killed a Palestinian during an incursion in the old town of Nablus. The victim was described as the leader of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of Fatah movement, in the West Bank. On 6 September 2006, IOF extra-judicially killed a member of the al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad, in Jenin.
In addition, 16 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children and two paramedics, were wounded by IOF gunfire.
Incursions: During the reported period, IOF conducted at least 32 military incursions into Palestinian communities, during which they raided dozens of houses and arrested 36 Palestinian civilians. In addition, IOF raided a charitable society in Tubas village, southeast of Jenin. In the Gaza Strip, IOF conducted 4 incursions into Palestinian communities, the widest of which were into Beit Hanoun town and Khuza’sa village. They killed a number of Palestinian civilians, arrested 3 others, razed at least 50 donums of agricultural land and destroyed 6 houses completely and a number of others partially.
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. During the reported period, IOF partially reopened al-Mentar (Karni) crossing. 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. During the reported period, IOF positioned at various checkpoints in the West Bank arrested 4 Palestinians, including Head of the Presidential Guard in Ramallah.
Annexation Wall: IOF have continued to construct the Annexation Wall inside the West Bank. During the reported period, IOF issued a military order seizing 152 donums of land in Um Salmouna village, south of Bethlehem, to be used for “military purposes to establish a fence and a number of secure roads.” According to local sources, the seizures of land aims to construct a section of the Wall in the area, and establish a settler bypass road. On 2 September 2006, fire broke out on areas of agricultural land in Nabi Elias village, east of Qalqilya, which are isolated behind the wall. As a result, 467 trees were burnt. According to Palestinian farmers, the incident was an arson attack. IOF also used force to disperse a peaceful demonstration organized by Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli peace activists in protest to the construction of the Wall in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah.
The outcome of crimes committed by IOF since 25 June 2006:
Israeli Violations Documented during the Reporting Period (31 August - 6 September 2006)
1. Incursions into Palestinian Areas and Attacks on Palestinian Civilians and Property in the West Bank
Thursday, 31 August 2006
1. Amjad Sharif al-Wraidat, 29;
2. Eyad Sharif al-Wraidat, 24;
3. Mohammed ‘Areef al-Wraidat, 24;
4. Ra’ed Mahmoud al-Wraidat, 33;
5. Anwar Mohammed al-Wraidat, 30.
1. Mohammed ‘Abdul Majid ‘Amru, 30; and
2. Sa’id Sa’di al-Harbawi, 21.
1. Jamal Mahmoud al-Sader, 23, seriously wounded by a live bullet to the pelvis;
2. Firas Jameel al-Qaddoumi, 22, a paramedic, wounded by a live bullet to the left leg and shrapnel to the abdomen;
3. Fursan Jameel al-Qaddoumi, 20, a paramedic, wounded by a live bullet to the right forearm;
4. Majed Hassan Nada, 52, the ambulance driver, wounded by shrapnel to the head;
5. Majdi Sa’id al-Wawi, 20, wounded by a live bullet to the lower jaw; and
6. ‘Abdul Hadi ‘Abdul Rahim al-Qaddoumi, 28, wounded by shrapnel to the legs.
Later, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a military wing of Fatah movement, mourned Qaffisha as its leader in the West Bank. It is worth noting that Qaffisha survived a number of extra-judicial execution attempts by IOF. In one of those attempts, his right forearm was cut. Before their withdrawal from the city, IOF arrested Ussama Ahmed Harazallah, 20.
In his testimony to PCHR, Firas Jameel al-Qaddoumi, a paramedic who was wounded, stated:
“At approximately 05:00 on Thursday, 31 August 2006, a received a call on my mobile phone, informing me that a person was wounded in al-Qaryoun yard in the old town of Nablus, and that he was in a critical condition. Immediately, my brother Fursan, who is my colleague, and I went out and moved to the area, which is only a few meters away from our house. When we arrived there, we found a person on the ground. He was bleeding as he was wounded by a live bullet to the chest. We could identify him as Fadi Qaffisha. He was still alive. We called an ambulance of Palestine Red Crescent Society. We then carried the wounded person to a place known as al-Taweel yard. We tried to provide him first medical aid, but we were not able to stop the hemorrhage. Nearly 15 minutes later, he succumbed to his wound. As the ambulance did not come, I repeated phoned Palestine Red Crescent Society, and I was informed that the ambulance was held by IOF at the entrance of the old town. Approximately an hour later, the ambulance arrived at al-Qaryoun yard. We carried the body towards the ambulance, which was only 20 meters away from us. As soon as we got close to the ambulance, fire was opened on us. My bother, I and other people were wounded. We were all evacuated to Rafidya Hospital in Nablus. There, I was informed that IOF soldiers positioned in the first floor of a house belonging to ‘Awni al-‘Awartani fired at us.”
1. Ayman Khaled Tanja, 13, wounded by a live bullet to the abdomen; and
2. Mahmoud Sarhan, 19, wounded by a live bullet to the neck.
Soon, IOF vehicles moved into the camp to secure the withdrawal of the undercover unit.
Friday, 1 September 2006
1. Muhannad Mohammed Jaber, 29; and
2. Tariq Mas’oud Jaber, 23.
Saturday, 2 September 2006
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 02:30, an IOF undercover unit moved nearly two kilometers inside the Gaza Strip into the town of Beit Hanoun. The unit advanced towards al-Amal neighborhood in the northeast of the town, and besieged a number of houses in the area. Under a cover of intense gunfire, the IOF troops stormed a house belonging to Naser Subeih Abu Lfeeta, 48, to arrest one of his sons. The house’s owner was wounded in the abdomen and legs. The troops ordered the household to leave their house. Mohammad Isma’il Abu ‘Odeh, 53, went out of his nearby house to see what was going on. IOF fired at him from a range of 20 meters, killing him with live bullets to the head. A few minutes later, Abu Odeh’s son, Isma’il, 27, went out of the house to look for his father. The IOF undercover unit fired at him, killing him with live bullets to the chest and neck. He fell near his father. Abu ‘Odeh’s daughters, 17-year-old Hanan and and 16-yesr-old Azhar, went out to look for their father and brother. The troops fired at them. Both were wounded by gunshots throughout their bodies. They fell at the entrance of their house. The remaining members of the Abu ‘Odeh family pulled the girls into the house. The soldiers sent Sari Abu Lfeeta, 21, whom they were using as a human shield to check Abu Odeh’s house. He informed the troops about the wounded girls. The troops ordered him to bring them out and put them inside one of the tanks stationed in the area, and he did. Following nearly two hours of bleeding, Palestinian medical crews were allowed into the area to evacuate the girls to Kamal ‘Edwan Hospital. Both girls were in a critical condition. During the incursion, IOF destroyed 9 homes. Six of them were completely destroyed. One of the destroyed houses belongs to Mohammed ‘Abu ‘Oudeh, who was killed by IOF and mentioned above. At approximately 10:00, during the withdrawal of IOF from the area, a helicopter fired a missile at a house belonging to Eyad Taha ‘Abed Rabbu al-Kafarna. The house was severely damaged. In addition, al-Kafarna’s wife, and their 3 children were lightly injured: Ahmed, 2; Mohammed, 1, and Dina, 6. PCHR’s fieldworker in the northern Gaza Strip reported that IOF arrested 3 allegedly wanted Palestinians: Younis Naser Subeih Abu Lfeeta, 22; and Mahmoud Mohammad al-Tarabin, 22.
1. Sa’id Mahmoud ‘Ajour, 30;
2. Ibrahim Diab Mousa, 20; and
3. ‘Abed Mohammed ‘Aashour, 26.
Sunday, 3 September 2006
Monday, 4 September 2006
1. Mohammed Salem al-Muraqtan, 25; and
2. Mahmoud Mohammed Shahrour, 23.
1. Anas Hisham Kmail, 16;
2. Mo’men Hisham Kmail, 18; and
3. Yousef Hisham Kmail, 21.
At approximately 08:00, IOF withdrew from the village towards the main road leading to it. A number of Palestinian boys gathered and threw stones at IOF vehicles. Immediately, IOF fired at the stone throwers, wounding 3 of them, including two children:
1. Hamada Mohammed Kmail, 15, seriously wounded by a live bullet to the abdomen;
2. Rabee’ Rida Turkman, 26, wounded by a live bullet to the side; and
3. Mohammed Yasser Nazzal, 16, wounded by shrapnel to the head.
1. Ameer Muneer Abu Khalifa, 22;
2. Majdi ‘Aadel ‘Olaiwi, 26;
3. Lu’ai Ahmed Barakat, 21; and
4. Jaber Kalbouna, 26.
1. Yousef Taleb al-Silwadi, 24; and
2. Haitham ‘Ezzat Ramadan, 23.
1. Hussam Abu ‘Allan, a photographer of Palestine News Agency (Wafa);
2. Nayef al-Hashlamoun, a cameraman of Reuters news agency; and
3. Najeh al-Hashlamoun, a cameraman.
IOF soldiers threatened the journalists and attempted to prevent him from covering the incidents in the area. IOF left the aforementioned houses two hours later.
1. Riad As’ad al-‘Azza, 19, wounded by shrapnel to the forehead; and
2. Mohammed Jamal Ghanayem, 16, wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the left foot.
Tuesday, 5 September 2006
1. Anwar Hassan Salah, 28;
2. Isma’il Mohammed ‘Abdul Karim, 41; and
3. Nader No’man Subaih, 29.
Wednesday, 6 September 2006
1. ‘Ammar Mohammed Abu Raida, 18, wounded by shrapnel to the face;
2. Mohammed Suleiman Abu Raida, 22, wounded by shrapnel to the right hand; and
3. ‘Omar Ahmed Abu Raida, 19, wounded by shrapnel to the right leg.
IOF drones fired a third missile, but it went astray.
IOF bulldozers razed areas of agricultural land, and IOF aircrafts and tanks opened fire at the area.
At approximately 10:00, IOF raided a number of houses and transformed their roof into military sites.
At approximately 11:00, two Palestinian civilians were wounded by the IOF gunfire:
1. ‘Eissa Waleed Shnainu, 19, wounded by a live bullet to the abdomen; and
2. Salah Ibrahim Abu Tu’aima, 21, wounded by shrapnel to the thighs.
At approximately 11:30, Isma’il Majed Abu Rouk, 16, was wounded by a live bullet the entered the back and exited the chest, when IOF opened fire at a number of Palestinian civilians.
At approximately 20:00, an IOF drone fired a missile at a number of Palestinian civilians and resistance activists. As a result, 5 Palestinians, including a child, were wounded:
1. Mohammed Talal Abu Raida, 16;
2. Mohammed Ibrahim Musabbeh, 20;
3. Mohammed Mohammed Musabbeh;
4. Khaled ‘Ali al-Shawaf, 22; and
5. Nasser Mohammed Musabbeh, 22, whose leg was amputated.
1. Hani Mohammed Saif, 21;
2. Tha’er Mansour Shehada, 15;
3. Mahmoud Mansour Shehada, 18; and
4. Mohammed ‘Abdul ‘Aal Shehada, 25.
The last three civilians were released later, but the first one remained in custody.
2. Extra-Judicial Executions
During the reported period, IOF committed 3 extra-judicial execution. On Tuesday evening, 5 September 2006, IOF committed two extra-judicial executions in Rafah in two hours, which killed 4 members of the ‘Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, and wounded 27 civilian bystanders, including 5 children. On Wednesday evening, 6 September 2006, IOF extra-judicially executed a member of the al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad, in Jenin
According to preliminary investigations conducted by PCHR:
1. ‘Aa’ed ‘Abdul Qader al-Bashiti, 33; and
2. ‘Ali ‘Eissa al-Nashar, 26.
In addition, a civilian bystander was wounded.
3. 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 Tuesday morning, 5 September 2006, IOF positioned at Halmish checkpoint, northwest of Ramallah, arrested ‘Eid Ramadan al-Dik, from Kufor al-Dik village west of Salfit.
At approximately 18:00 also on Tuesday, IOF positioned at ‘Attara checkpoint, north of Ramallah, arrested Colonel Mahmoud Damra, 45, from Mazare’ al-Noubai village northwest of the town, Head of the Palestinian Presidential Guard in Ramallah.
On Monday evening, 4 September 2006, IOF positioned at al-Ramadin intersection, southwest of Hebron, stopped and held 5 Palestinian workers who were on their way back home. IOF soldiers violently beat the workers. The workers sustained bruises throughout the body:
1. Muneer ‘Ali al-Ka’ka, 21;
2. ‘Emad ‘Ali al-Ka’ka, 25;
3. Mohammed Haneen al-Ka’ka, 25;
4. Muhannad Malek al-Ka’ka, 19; and
5. Mohammed Faisal Ed’ais, 27.
At approximately 09:00 on Wednesday, 6 September 2006, IOF positioned at the 17 checkpoint at the northern entrance of Nablus arrested Reem ‘Abdul Fattah Beerawi, 20, a university student from Northern ‘Assira village, north of Nablus.
On Saturday morning, 2 September 2006, IOF positioned at Far’oun intersection, south of Tulkarm, arrested Lu’ai As’ad Nassar, 20.
4. Construction of the Annexation Wall
IOF have continued to construct the Annexation Wall inside West Bank territory.
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.