Weekly Report of Human Rights Violations

Israel continues to build the Annexation Wall inside the West Bank despite its catastrophic impact on the lives of Palestinian civilians. (PCHR)


Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Continue Systematic Attacks on Palestinian Civilians and Property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)

  • 9 Palestinians, including a child, were killed by IOF in the West Bank.
  • 4 of the victims were extra-judicially executed by IOF.
  • 12 Palestinians, including 7 children and a woman, were wounded by IOF.
  • IOF conducted 30 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank.
  • IOF arrested 32 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children.
  • IOF have continued to impose a total siege on the OPT; IOF have isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world and IOF positioned at various checkpoints in the West Bank arrested 5 Palestinian civilians, including a child.
  • IOF have continued to construct the Annexation Wall inside the West Ban; IOF have started to construct a section of the
  • Wall around “Avni Hevetz” settlement, east of Tulkarm.

    Summary

    Israeli violations of international law and humanitarian law continued in the OPT during the reported period (14 - 20 December 2006):

    Killing: During the reported period, IOF killed 9 Palestinians, including a child, in the West Bank.

    On 14 December 2006, IOF shot dead a Palestinian civilian in Kufor al-Dik village, southwest of Nablus, when they chasing a number of children who threw stones at their military vehicles. On 16 December 2006, IOF killed a member of the Palestinian resistance in the old town of Nablus during an exchange of fire. On 19 December 2006, IOF shot dead 13-year-old child near the Annexation Wall in Far’oun village, southwest of Tulkarm. On 20 December 2006, IOF shot dead two members of the al-Quds Brigades (the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad) in Seilat al-Harthiya village, west of Jenin.

    On 14 December 2006, IOF extra-judicially executed two members of the Palestinian resistance in ‘Ein Beit al-Maa’ refugee camp, west of Nablus. Six civilian bystanders (5 children and a woman) were wounded. On 19 December 2006, IOF extra-judicially executed a members of the Palestinian resistance and wounded and arrested two others inside a hospital in Nablus. This attack violates article 8 of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 1949, which prohibits subjecting hospitals to attacks, and calls on the parties to the conflict to respect and protect hospitals. Also on 19 December, IOF extra-judicially executed a member of the Palestinian resistance and wounded a civilian bystander in ‘Allar village, north of Tulkarm. These executions were committed by IOF undercover unit after the Israeli High Court rejected a petition demanding the prohibition of such killings.

    Palestinians mourn during the funeral of 13 year old Do’a Nasser Hamid, killed by Israeli gunfire early in the morning, during her funeral in the West Bank city of Tulkarem, December 20, 2006. (MaanImages/Mouid Ashqar)


    In addition to nine Palestinians who were wounded in these attacks, two Palestinian children were wounded by IOF in Bal’ein village, west of Ramllah, and a worker was wounded by the IOF gunfire when he attempted to reach his work place inside Israel.

    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.

    Gaza Strip

    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 since 25 June 2006, even though they do not directly control it. During the reported period, the crossing point was reopened for 4 days, 3 of which were devoted for pilgrims wishing to travel to Saudi Arabia. IOF have partially reopened commercial crossings, especially al-Mentar (Karni) crossing, but many goods and medical supplies have been lacked in markets in the Gaza Strip. IOF have also continued to close Erez crossing in the northern Gaza Strip. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip have been prevented from traveling through this crossing. IOF have allowed international workers to pass through the crossing. With this closure, only few Palestinian patients have been able to travel to hospitals in Israel and the West Bank. In addition, IOF have continued to prevent Palestinian fishermen from fishing for nearly 6 months.

    West Bank

    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, IOF positioned at various checkpoints in the West Bank arrested 5 Palestinian civilians, including a child.

    Annexation Wall: IOF have continued to construct the Annexation Wall inside the West Bank. During the reported period, IOF started to raze areas of Palestinian land near “Avni Hevetz” settlement, east of Tulkarm, to construct a new section of the Wall. According to local sources, IOF have confiscated 144.6 donums[1] of agricultural land for the purpose of the construction of the new section. In violation of international humanitarian law and human rights law, the Israeli High Court rejected on 13 December 2006, a petition against the route of the Wall in al-Rama and Dahiat al-Barid areas, north of East Jerusalem. The court refused to order a change to the route of the Wall, claiming that it does not affect Palestinian civilians. In a step towards enhancing the Advisory Opinion issued by the International Court of Justice on 9 July 2004, which considers the Annexation Wall illegal, the UN General Assembly endorsed on Friday, 16 December 2006, by an overwhelming majority of votes in favor a resolution to establish a UN registry to handle Palestinian claims of damages resulting from the construction of the Wall in the West Bank.

    The outcome of crimes committed by IOF since 25 June 2006:

  • 483 Palestinians, 306 of whom are civilians, including 92 children and 30 women, have been killed by IOF. In the Gaza Strip alone, 405 Palestinians, 243 of whom are civilians, including 84 children, 28 women and 4 paramedics, haven been killed by IOF.
  • At least 1628 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including 345 children, 110 women. In the Gaza Strip alone, 1275 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including 345 children, 104 women, 4 paramedics and 7 journalist, have been wounded by the IOF gunfire.
  • At least 328 air-to-surface missiles and hundreds of artillery shells have been fired at Palestinian civilian and military targets in the Gaza Strip.
  • Buildings of the Palestinian Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of National economy, the office of the Palestinian Prime Minister and a number of educational institutions have been destroyed.
  • The electricity generation plant, providing 45% of the electricity of the Gaza Strip, was destroyed, and electricity networks and transmitters have been repeatedly attacked.
  • 6 bridges linking Gaza City with the central Gaza Strip and a number of roads have been destroyed.
  • Hundreds of donums of agricultural land and dozens of houses have been destroyed.
  • Hundreds of Palestinian civilians, including 10 ministers and 31 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), including the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and Secretary, have been arrested. Minster of Prisoners’ Affairs, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Labor and Second Deputy Speaker of the PLC were released.
  • The Palestinian governmental compound in Nablus has been destroyed.
  • Many families in Rafah, Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahia have been forced to leave their houses.
  • IOF intelligence has warned some Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip by phone to evacuate their houses, which would be attacked.
  • 73 houses belonging to activists of Palestinian factions have been destroyed by IOF warplanes.
  • IOF have imposed a strict siege on the OPT, and have isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world.

    Palestinian security forces carry the body of their colleague Hamdan Barhoum, during his funeral in Rafah, southern Gaza. Barhoum died from injuries incurred a week previously, during an Israeli military attack on the beach at Rafah, December 21, 2006. (MaanImages/Hatem Omar)


    Israeli Violations Documented during the Reporting Period (14 - 20 December 2006)

    1. Incursions into Palestinian Areas and Attacks on Palestinian Civilians and Property in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip

    Thursday, 14 December 2006

  • At approximately 00:15, IOF moved into al-Naqoura village, northwest of Nablus. They raided and searched a number of houses. IOF withdrew from the village at approximately 04:30 and no arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into ‘Anza village, south of Jenin. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested two Palestinian civilians: Ra’ed ‘Abdul Hadi Sadaqa, 19; and ‘Alaa’ Nafe’ ‘Obaid, 24. They released the two civilians at approximately 06:00 near Ya’bad village, southwest of Jenin.
  • Also at approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Tulkarm refugee camp. They raided and searched a house belonging to the family of Mohammed Suleiman Srouji, 18, and arrested him.
  • Also at approximately 01:00, IOF moved into ‘Izbat al-Tabib villae, east of Qalqilya. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested two Palestinian children:

    1. As’ad Hamed Sha’our, 15; and
    2. Ahmed Jasser al-Tabib, 15.

  • Also at approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Yatta village, south of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to the family of Ra’ed Ibrahim Abu ‘Arram, 25, and arrested him.
  • At approximately 01:45, IOF moved into Balata and ‘Askar refugee camps, east and northeast of Nablus respectively. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested 5 Palestinian civilians, including a child:

    1. Jubair Mohammed al-Bourini, 23;
    2. Adham Mohammed al-Bourini, 21;
    3. Khalil Mahmoud Wlaiwel, 22;
    4. Ahmed Maher Dabbah, 22; and
    5. Samer Mohammed Janajra, 17.

  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Dura village, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested two Palestinian civilians, including a child:

    1. Hasan Ahmed Darawish, 17; and
    2. Mash’hour Mohammed Shadid, 21.

  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into al-‘Asakra village, southeast of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested 3 Palestinian civilians:

    1. Mohammed Salem ‘Owaida, 21;
    2. ‘Azzam Mohammed Shawriya, 21; and
    3. Ibrahim Hasan ‘Asakra, 31.

  • Also at approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Beit Qad village, east of Jenin. They raided and searched a number of houses, but no arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into ‘Arraba village, southwest of Jenin. They raided and searched a house belonging to the family of ‘Abdul Latif Bassel al-Shaibani, 22, and arrested him.
  • At approximately 10:15, two IOF military jeeps moved into Kufor al-Dik village, southwest of Nablus. A number of Palestinian children gathered and threw stones at the two jeeps. IOF soldiers chased the children. They broke into an old house under reparation in the center of the village. When a worker, 26-year-old Waheeb Musleh Nayef al-Dik, looked down from the second floor, IOF soldiers shot him dead with 6 live bullets. The victim was married and a father of 4 children.

    In his testimony to PCHR, Mohammed Rateb al-Dik stated:

    “At approximately 10:15 on Thursday, 14 December 2006, I was in an old house under reparation in the center of Kufor al-Dik. I was supervising a number of workers who were repairing, including Waheeb Musleh Nayef al-Dik, 26. In the meantime, two IOF military jeeps moved into the village. A number of children threw stones at the jeeps. Soon, 7 IOF soldiers broke into the house and opened fire at the first floor. We told them that we are workers and did not intervene into what was going outside the house. When al-Dik looked from the second floor to see what was happening down, an IOF soldier opened fire at him. He fell from the second floor onto the ground. He was instantly killed as he was hit by 5 live bullets to the heart and a 6th one to the neck.”

  • At approximately 16:00, IOF moved into Tulkarm. They raided and searched an apartment building belonging to Fathi al-Teerawi, and arrested two Palestinian civilians:

    1. Ameen Khaled Maskawi, 21; and
    2. Ahmed Waleed Abu Tammam, 19.

    IOF soldiers also confiscated flims from a number of journalists who were covering the IOF raid.

    Friday, 15 December 2006

  • At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into Abu Rumman and al-Bassa neighborhood in the southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested two Palestinian civilians:

    1. ‘Abdullah Hanafi Abu Shama, 36; and
    2. Mohammed Ragheb Abu Shama, 41.

    Saturday, 16 December 2006

  • At approximately 00:30, IOF moved into al-Zahiriya village, southwest of Hebron. They fired live bullets and sound bombs. They patrolled in the streets and stopped and searched Palestinian civilian vehicles. They withdrew from the village and no casualties and arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 00:40, IOF moved into the old town of Nablus. They raided and searched a number of houses. A number of members of the Palestinian resistance clashed with IOF. A members of the resistance was killed by a live bullet to the chest. The victim was later identified as Ameen Marwan Jom’a Makhlouf, 20.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into al-Sammou’ village, south of Hebron. They fired live bullets and flash bombs. They patrolled in the streets and raided and searched a police station. They later withdrew from the village and no casualties or arrests were reported.

    Monday, 18 December 2006

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into al-Ja’bari neighborhood near “Kiryat Arba” settlement, east of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Hisham Ja’far al-Ja’bari, and arrested 3 of his sons: Eyad, 24; Mohammed, 22; and Ahmed, 20.
  • At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into Taffouh village, west of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to the family of Hamza Hisham al-Ja’bari, 23, and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Bani Na’im village, northeast of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mohammed Khalil al-Jundi and arrested his two son: Khalil, 33; and Tha’er, 21.
  • Also at approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Dura village, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to the family of Yousef Suleiman al-Swaiti, 25, and arrested him.
  • Also at approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Beit Kahel village, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to the family of Khalil Ahmed al-Haj Zohour, 30, and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Jenin. They patrolled in the streets and raided and searched a number of shops. They withdrew from the town a few hours later and no arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into al-‘Arroub refugee camp, north of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to the family of Khader Mahmoud al-Najma, 23, and arrested him.
  • Also at approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Sourif village, north of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to the family of Ibrahim Anwar Abu Fara, 16, and arrested him.

    Tuesday, 19 December 2006

  • At approximately 18:00, IOF moved into Wad Shaheen neighborhood in the center of Bethlehem. They raided and searched belonging to the Hmaid family and arrested 5 Palestinian civilians:

    1. Muneer Hmaid, 26;
    2. ‘Emad Hmaid, 24;
    3. Nayef ‘Ebayat, 25;
    4. Bilal al-‘Arouj, 27; and
    5. ‘Aadel Hmaid, 22.

    Wednesday, 20 December 2006

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into ‘Allar village, north of Tulkarm. They raided and searched a house belonging to the family of Tariq Ziad Zahran, 21, and arrested him.
  • Also at approximately 01:00, IOF moved into ‘Attil village, north of Tulkarm. They raided and searched a house belonging to the family of Mos’ad Rushdi Abu Mousa, 23, and arrested him.
  • At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into Yatta village, south of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to the family of Ussama Khaled al-‘Amour, 24, and arrested him.
  • Also at approximately 01:30, IOF moved into Sourif village, north of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to the family of Mazen Mohammed Ghnaimat, 28, and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Nablus and the neighboring Balata and ‘Askar refugee camps. They raided ands searched a number of houses and arrested 6 Palestinian civilians:

    1. Mohammed Hasan al-Mansi, 23;
    2. Wajdi Sa’id al-‘Affouri, 25;
    3. Tayseer Zaki al-Tashtoush, 19;
    4. Mohammed Sa’id Msa’ed, 24;
    5. Sameer Sa’id Msa’ed, 30; and
    6. Yasser Khwaira, 25.

  • At approximately 03:00, an explosion and an exchange of fire were heard on the main road near Seilat al-Harthiya village, west of Jenin. Soon after, IOF military vehicles, accompanied by two bulldozers and covered by intense gunfire, moved into the village and took position in al-Zyoud area in the center of the village. They ordered residents of the area through megaphones to get out of houses and gather near military vehicles. The residents got out of their houses and IOF soldiers held them in a house belonging to Ahmed Mohammed Zayoud. IOF then searched the area and opened fire at houses. A number of Palestinian militants exchanged fire with IOF for nearly half an hour. At approximately 10:00, IOF withdrew from the village. Residents of the village found the bodies of two Palestinians near a house belonging to Sa’id Jbara. The two victims were identified as:

    1. Salah Hafez Sawafta, 25, from Tubas village southeast of Jenin, hit by several live bullets to the upper part of the body; and
    2. Hussam Mahmoud Ibrahim al-‘Eissa, 22, from Sanour village southeast of Jenin, hit by several live bullets to the upper part of the body.

    2. Extra-Judicial Executions

    During the reported period, IOF committed 3 extra-judicial executions in the West Bank. Four Palestinians (members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an armed wing of Fatah movement) were killed, and 9 others, including 7 civilian bystanders were wounded. These executions were committed by IOF undercover unit after the Israeli High Court rejected a petition demanding the prohibition of such killings.

    According to investigations conducted by PCHR:

  • At approximately 13:30 on Thursday, 14 December 2006, an IOF undercover unit moved into ‘Ein Beit al-Maa’ refugee camp, west of Nablus, traveling in two civilian vehicles with Palestinian registration plates. The two vehicles stopped in Maqdoush quarter, and IOF soldiers opened fire at a Palestinian civilian vehicle, killing its driver, 26-year-old Mohammed Ameen Mahmoud Zaitawi, with several live bullets to the upper part of the body, and wounding 33-year-old ‘Ammar Mohammed Salem Zaqzouq, who was sitting on the front seat, seriously with two live bullets to the chest and the shoulder. Zaqzouq died at a hospital in Nablus on Tuesday morning, 19 December 2006. Additionally, 6 civilian bystanders (5 children and a woman) were wounded:

    1. Ashraf Nasser Sa’id, 12, seriously wounded by a live bullet to the neck;
    2. Areej Mohammed Zaitawi, 5, seriously wounded by a live bullet to the chest;
    3. Nadera Majdi Subhi, 12, seriously wounded by a live bullet to the abdomen;
    4. Aseel Jihad Qattawi, 3, wounded by shrapnel to the body;
    5. Aayat Mohammed Zaitawi, 3, wounded by shrapnel to the head; and
    6. Najat Mahmoud Zaitawi, 35, wounded by shrapnel to the body.

  • At approximately 06:55 on Tuesday, 19 December 2006, an IOF undercover unit moved into Nablus, traveling in two civilian vehicles that were carrying 3-4 travel bags. The two vehicles stopped at the main gate of the Women’s Union Hospital in the Northern Mount neighborhood. Soon after, a number of IOF soldiers got out of the two vehicles and opened fire at a Palestinian civilian vehicle parking in the west of the hospital yard. As a result, Rami Rasheed ‘Ennab Abu Keshek, 27, was killed by several live bullets to the upper part of the body. Two other Palestinians, who were with Abu Keshek in the vehicle, were wounded and arrested by IOF soldier. Abu Keshek was a member of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Balata refugee camp.

    In his testimony to PCHR, a nurse working at the hospital stated:

    “At approximately 06:55 on Tuesday, 19 December 2006, I woke up hearing sounds of shooting in the vicinity of the hospital as I was on a night duty. I looked through the window of the room on the third floor of the hospital at the street and the hospital yard. I saw a civilian vehicle with a Palestinian registration plate stopping at the entrance of the hospital. A number of IOF soldiers got out of the vehicle and opened fire at a Palestinian civilian vehicle (a red Subaru). I saw also a taxi, which was carrying 3-4 travel bags, in the hospital yard. Five persons in civilian clothes were inside the taxi. They opened fire at the Palestinian civilian vehicle, which was only 5 meters away from them. Soon after, I saw two persons getting out from the targeted vehicle. One of them fell onto the ground, whereas the other fell near IOF soldiers. Two IOF soldiers moved towards the targeted vehicle and opened fire inside it. Soon after, they brought a dog, which moved into the vehicle. Later, I saw IOF soldiers taking two persons to their vehicles and leaving the area. I and other people hurried towards the targeted vehicle. We found its driver dead as he was hit by several live bullets to the head and the upper part of the body. He was identified as Rami Rasheed ‘Ennab Abu Keshek, 27, from Balata refugee camp.”

  • At approximately 13:00 on Tuesday, 19 December 2006, an IOF undercover unit moved into ‘Allar village, north of Tulkarm, traveling in a taxi with a Palestinian registration plate. The taxi stopped neat a car wash station belonging to Bilal Ibrahim Shadeed, 25, near Baqa al-Sharqiya intersection. Three armed persons wearing civilian clothes got out of the vehicle and moved towards Mohammed Ahmed Mahmoud Hamad, 24, from Saida village north of Tulkarm, who was sitting near his car. They fired at his head and chest from a zero range. IOF soldiers prevented ambulance from attending him. He bled to death. In addition, Anas Ahmed ‘Ajaj, 23, was seriously wounded while he was sitting near his car. Soon after, IOF military vehicles arrived at the area and evacuated the undercover unit. IOF soldiers also arrested Shadeed and ‘Ajaj. Hamad was the leader of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in al-Sha’rawiya area north of Tulkarm.

    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.

    Gaza Strip
    IOF have continued to close all border crossings of the Gaza Strip. During the reported period, these crossings were partially reopened to allow the entry of basic foodstuffs, medical supplies and other necessities into the Gaza Strip. The total siege imposed by IOF on the Gaza Strip has left disastrous impacts on the humanitarian situation and has violated the economic and social rights of the Palestinian civilian population, particularly the rights to appropriate living conditions, health and education. It has also paralyzed most economic sectors. Furthermore, severe restrictions have been imposed on the movement of the Palestinian civilian population.

  • Rafah International Crossing Point: Rafah International Crossing Point on the Egyptian border is the sole outlet for the Gaza Strip to the outside world. 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. The crossing point has been closed since 25 June 2006. During the reported period, the crossing point was partially reopened for 4 days, 3 of which for pilgrims wishing to travel to Saudi Arabia. On the first of the three days devoted for pilgrims, Friday, 15 December 2006, the crossing point was opened for only 3 hours.

    On 15 November 2006, the Palestinian - Israeli agreement on border crossing, which was concluded under US and European supervision, expired. Under this agreement, IOF have maintained indirect control over of the crossing point. The European observation team working at the crossing point extended their task for additional 6 months. On 15 November 2005, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and Israel reached an agreement over the border crossings of the Gaza Strip. Under the agreement, on 25 November 2005, the Rafah International Crossing Point, on the Egyptian border in the south of the Gaza Strip, was opened for civilian travel to Egypt and the rest of the world. The Palestinians and European Union (EU) observers would run the Palestinian side of the crossing point. In addition, the EU observers would transmit live images to a joint control room several kilometers away. The EU observers repeated withdrew from the crossing following receiving warnings from IOF that there were threats to them. However, all warnings proved to be void, and the observers resumed their work.

  • Beit Hanoun (Erez) Crossing: IOF have completely closed Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing, which links the Gaza Strip with Israel and the West Bank. Before this latest closure, IOF had prevented Palestinian workers from reaching their work places inside Israel through Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing since 12 March 2006. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip had been prevented from traveling through this crossing. IOF have allowed international workers to pass through the crossing. With this closure, few Palestinian patients have been able to travel to hospitals in Israel and the West Bank. Palestinian female patients aged under 40 from passing through the crossing, even though most of these patients are in serious conditions and suffer from serious diseases.
  • Al-Mentar (Karni) Commercial Crossing: IOF have closed the crossing, which is the main commercial crossing for the Gaza Strip. 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 the crossing. They allowed the importation of foodstuffs and medicines into the Gaza Strip, and the exportation of some goods from the Gaza Strip to Israel and the West Bank. The number of trucks allowed into the Gaza Strip daily is 400, whereas only 50 trucks loaded with exported goods from the Gaza Strip are allowed to pass through the crossing. Prices of goods have increased due to the increase in transportation costs at the crossing; the transportation cost of a container has increased from 2,000 NIS to 9,000 NIS. IOF totally closed the crossing on Sunday, 17 December 2006, for no apparent reason.
  • Sofa Crossing: During the reported period, IOF partially reopened Sofa crossing, northeast of Rafaha, for 5 days only, allowing the entry of aggregate and some food aids for some humanitarian organizations. However, IOF have continued to close Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing.
    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. The Oslo Accords allow Palestinian fishermen to go fishing up to 20 nautical miles away from the Gaza seashore.

    Palestinians try to pass an Israeli checkpoint near the West Bank city of Qalqilia, December 16, 2006. (MaanImages/Khaleel Reash)


    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.

  • Nablus: IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. On Saturday morning, 16 December 2006, IOF imposed additional restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. According to eyewitnesses, IOF soldiers positioned at Za’tara checkpoint, south of the city, obstructed the passage of Palestinian civilians. On Sunday morning, 17 December 2006, IOF soldiers positioned at Za’tara checkpoint prevented Palestinians aged under 35 from passing through the checkpoint. On Monday noon, 18 December 2006, IOF erected a number of checkpoints to the west and northwest of Nablus. On Tuesday morning, 19 December 2006, IOF imposed additional restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. According to eyewitnesses, IOF soldiers positioned at Za’tara checkpoint, south of the city, obstructed the passage of Palestinian civilians.
  • Tulkarm: IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. They have also continued to prevent Palestinians aged under 35 from crossing checkpoints around the town. On Thursday, 14 December 2006, IOF soldiers positioned at wad al-Teen checkpoint, south of Tulkarm, imposed severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. They conducted prolonged searches on Palestinian civilians vehicles. On Friday, 15 December 2006, IOF erected a checkpoint at Bala’a intersection, east of Tulkarm. They stopped and searched Palestinian civilian vehicles using trained dogs. On Saturday, 16 December 2006, IOF closed ‘Ennab checkpoint, east of Tulkarm, from 05:00 to 09:00. When they reopened it, they imposed severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. On Sunday, 17 December 2006, IOF soldiers positioned at Wad al-Teen checkpoint, south of Tulkar, imposed additional restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. They conducted prolonged checking on civilians. On Monday, 18 December 2006, IOF erected a checkpoint at Beit Leed intersection on Tulkarm - Nablus road. They stopped and checked Palestinian civilians. On Tuesday morning, 19 December 2006, IOF erected a checkpoint at Far’oun intersection, south of Tulkarm. The imposed severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians, and prevented residents of Far’oun and ‘Ezbat al-Shoufa villages from traveling to Tulkarm. IOF soldiers positioned at Wad al-Teen checkpoint, south of the town, used dogs to check Palestinian civilians and their luggage.
  • Jenin: IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in Jenin. On Saturday morning, 16 December 2006, IOF erected a checkpoint at ‘Ejja intersection, south of Jenin. They stopped and searched Palestinian civilian vehicles. IOF also erected two checkpoints at the northern and southern entrances of Tubas village, southeast of Jenin. They stopped and searched Palestinian civilian vehicles. In the evening, IOF erected a checkpoint at the southeastern entrance of al-Zababda village. They stopped and searched Palestinian civilian vehicles. On Monday morning, 18 December 2006, IOF imposed additional restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians to and from the northern Jordan Valley.
  • Ramallah: IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians at various checkpoints around the town, especially ‘Attara checkpoint, north of the town, and Jaba’ checkpoint, south of the town. On Saturday morning, 16 December 2006, IOF soldiers positioned at ‘Attara checkpoint imposed severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians coming from the northern West Bank towards Ramallah. On Sunday morning, 17 December 2006, IOF soldiers positioned at ‘Attara checkpoint imposed additional restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. On Tuesday morning, 19 December 2006, IOF erected a checkpoint at Surda village, north of Ramallah, and another one at “Oufra” settlement intersection, east of the town. They stopped and searched Palestinian civilian vehicles.
  • Hebron: IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians inside and outside Hebron. During the reported period, IOF erected a number of checkpoints in addition those permanent ones inside the town. They stopped, checked and interrogated Palestinian civilians. At approximately 17:00 on Friday, 15 December 2006, IOF erected a checkpoint at Namera intersection in the east of Hebron. They stopped and checked and interrogated Palestinian civilians. On Sunday morning, 17 December 2006, IOF erected a checkpoint at Wadi al-Hariya intersection in the southwest of Hebron. They stopped, checked and interrogated Palestinian civilians.

    On Sunday morning, 17 December 2006, IOF soldiers patrolling near Arab al-Ramadin village, southwest of Hebron, fired at Ayman Yousef Samamra, 25, from al-Zahiriya village. He was wounded by a live bullet to the right foot. He was attempting to reach his work place inside Israel.

    On Sunday afternoon, 17 December 2006, IOF soldiers positioned at the northwestern entrance of al-‘Arroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, arrested Khader Mahmoud al-Najma, 28.

    On Monday morning, 18 December 2006, IOF soldiers positioned at the northern entrance of Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron, arrested Ibrahim Anwar Abu Fara, 17, from Sourif village.

  • Bethlehem: On Saturday morning, 16 December 2006, IOF erected a number of checkpoints at the entrances of a number of villages located to the south of Bethlehem and separated them one from another. IOF stopped and checked Palestinian civilians and forced them to travel back to their villages.

    At approximately 21:00 on Monday, 16 December 2006, IOF erected a checkpoint on al-Jab’a - Bethlehem road. They stopped and searched a Palestinian civilian vehicle and arrested 3 Palestinians:

    1. Mufeed Mohammed Abu Louha, 28, the mayor of al-Jab’a village;
    2. Wissam Khalil Hamdan, 30, a police officer; and
    3. Haitham Na’im Hamdan, 26.

    4. Construction of the Annexation Wall

    IOF have continued to construct the Annexation Wall inside West Bank territory.

  • During the reported period, IOF started to raze areas of Palestinian land near “Avni Hevetz” settlement, east of Tulkarm, to construct a new section of the Wall. According to local sources, IOF have confiscated 144.6 donums of agricultural land for the purpose of the construction of the new section.
  • In a step towards enhancing the Advisory Opinion issued by the International Court of Justice on 9 July 2004, which considers the Annexation Wall illegal, the UN General Assembly endorsed on Friday, 16 December 2006, by a vote of 162 in favor, 7 against, including Israel and the United States and 7 abstentions, a resolution to establish a UN registry to handle Palestinian claims of damages resulting from the construction of the Wall in the West Bank. The registry will have an office in Vienna made up of a 3-member board and a small secretariat.
  • In violation of international humanitarian law and human rights law, the Israeli High Court rejected on 13 December 2006, a petition against the route of the Wall in al-Rama and Dahiat al-Barid areas, north of East Jerusalem. The court refused to order a change to the route of the Wall, claiming that it does not affect Palestinian civilians. The judges claimed that the route of the Wall in the area does not aim at annexing Palestinian areas to Israel, rather it was decided for “security considerations.” The majority of judges further claimed that the route of the Wall in the area is “just” to prevent “terrorists from infiltrating into Israel”, and that protecting Jerusalem from “terrorism” is an urgent security need. The court claimed that there is no basis to assume that the Wall aims at annexing areas in the West Bank to Israel. It is worth noting that the section of the Wall surrounding al-Ram and Dahiat al-Barid areas has cut off at least 58,000 Palestinians living in the two areas from East Jerusalem, in violation of their economic, social and cultural rights. It separates Palestinian areas from other Palestinian areas rather than from Israeli areas contrary to Israeli security claims.
  • At approximately 13:00 on Friday, 8 December 2006, about 250 Palestinian civilians and 50 international and Israeli solidarity activists demonstrated in protest to the construction of the Wall in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah. IOF soldiers positioned near the Wall fired fired rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombes and tear gas canisters at the demonstrators. Two Palestinian civilians were wounded:

    1. Mohammed Mustafa al-Khatib, 17, wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the chest; and
    2. Fadi Mustafa ‘Omar, 16, wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the abdomen.

  • On Tuesday afternoon, 19 December 2006, IOF shot dead a 13-year-old Palestinian child near the Annexation Wall in Far’oun village, southwest of Tulkarm.

    According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 13:35, 13-year-old Do’aa’ Nasser Saleh ‘Abdul Qader and 13-year-old Rasha Khaled ‘Abdul Hafeez Shalabi, both from Far’oun village southwest of Tulkarm, went to visit the latter’s grandmother. When the two children got close to the Wall, IOF soldiers in a military jeep positioned in the area opened fire at the two children. Do’aa’ was seriously wounded by several live bullets to the chest and the hand. IOF evacuated her to an Israeli hospital, but she died at 17:30.

    In her testimony to PCHR, Rasha Khaled Shalabi said:

    “At approximately 13:35 on Tuesday, 19 December 2006, Do’aa’ and I finished our school day. I told her that I wanted to visit my grandmother’s house Artah suburb near al-Taibeh checkpoint. She wanted to go with me. We walked towards my grandmother’s house, which is nearly 3 kilometers away from our school, but we were lost. We found ourselves close to the Wall. We attempted to move closer to the Wall to explore what it is. We went down to see the Wall. We them moved up, but we saw an IOF jeep. We attempted to hide. IOF soldiers fired at us. I went down to hide and told Do’aa’ to do the same, but she did not listen and continued to run. I ran behind her. Suddenly, Do’aa’ held my hand saying: ‘There Is No God But Allah.” She was bleeding. She fell onto the ground. I sat near her. The jeep arrived near us and IOF soldiers attempted to offer her first medical aid. An ambulance then evacuated her to the hospital. Soon after, IOF soldiers interrogated me.”

    5. Settlement Activities and Attacks by Settlers against Palestinian Civilians and Property

  • On Saturday morning, 16 December 2006, a number of Israeli settlers from “Hajai” settlement, southwest of Hebron, attacked a number of houses in al-Harayiq area, using stones and empty bottles. Windows of a number of houses were broken and Palestinian civilians were extremely terrified.
  • At approximately 10:20 on Sunday, 17 December 2006, IOF moved into al-Zahiriya village, southwest of Hebron. They besieged a house and subordinating penthouse and sanitation rooms belonging to ‘Eissa Mohammed al-Wraidat. They forced the family out and demolished the penthouse and sanitation rooms, which stood on a 120-square-meter area of land. IOF claimed that they were built without a license.
  • On Monday, 18 December 2006, dozens of Israeli settlers went to the evacuated “Homesh” settlement in the northern West Bank. They set up tents in the area and spent their night their. They left the area on the following day morning.

    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 Federation 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.

    Related Links

  • Palestinian Centre for Human Rights