Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Continue Systematic Attacks on Palestinian Civilians and Property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)
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.
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.
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.
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 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:
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
1. As’ad Hamed Sha’our, 15; and
2. Ahmed Jasser al-Tabib, 15.
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.
1. Hasan Ahmed Darawish, 17; and
2. Mash’hour Mohammed Shadid, 21.
1. Mohammed Salem ‘Owaida, 21;
2. ‘Azzam Mohammed Shawriya, 21; and
3. Ibrahim Hasan ‘Asakra, 31.
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.”
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
1. ‘Abdullah Hanafi Abu Shama, 36; and
2. Mohammed Ragheb Abu Shama, 41.
Saturday, 16 December 2006
Monday, 18 December 2006
Tuesday, 19 December 2006
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
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.
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:
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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
Recommendations to the International Community
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- PCHR demands that the International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion be immediately implemented by the international community.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.