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 reporting period (1-7 February 2007):
Killing: During the reporting period, IOF killed a Palestinian child in the northern West Bank town of Tulkarm. They fired one bullet at him when he attempted to escape. They left him bleeding to death. The victim was not armed. According to the child’s family, the child attempted to escape as IOF had repeatedly raided his family home searching for him.
During the reporting period, 9 Palestinian civilians and a British journalist were wounded by IOF.
On 26 January 2007, two Palestinian civilians and a British journalist were wounded when IOF used force against a peaceful demonstration organized in Bal’ein village in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall. On 30 January 2007, 3 Palestinian civilians were wounded when IOF opened fire at a taxi near Jenin. On 31 January 2007, a woman and a child were wounded by IOF in Nablus.
In the Gaza Strip, two Palestinian civilians were wounded on 28 January 2007, when IOF positioned at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel fired at them. The two civilians were hunting birds nearly 500 meters away from the border.
Incursions: During the reporting period, IOF conducted 40 incursions in Palestinian population centers in the West Bank, raiding commercial & residential buildings. IOF imprisoned 67 civilians, including 5 children and one woman. Thus, the total number of West Bank Palestinians imprisoned by IOF since the beginning of 2007 reached 388 prisoners. During an incursion into Nablus, IOF demolished the house belonging to the family of Ala and Hani Oweijan, brothers killed by IOF earlier. In addition, IOF raided the building of the Beir Nabala municipality and the Charitable Islamic Society offices in Beit Ola. Equipment from both institutions was confiscated.
Annexation Wall: The Israeli Prime Minister approved moving the Annexation Wall near Ramallah 5 kilometers further inside West Bank Territory, to include the settlement of Mode’in Elit on the western side of the Wall. This will move approximately 20,000 Palestinians into enclaves surrounded by the Wall. In addition, the decision increases the length of the Wall by 12 kilometers.
Destruction of Islamic Holy Sites: IOF bulldozers started to demolish a hill, wooden bridge, and two rooms leading to Magharba gate, one of the gates to Al-Aqsa Mosque. The demolition targets are properties of the Islamic Waqf. PCHR warns against the consequences of IOF attacks on Islamic and Christian holy sites in occupied Jerusalem. These attacks include passing legislation to annex the city, ethnic cleansing of the city’s Palestinian population, confiscation of Palestinian property, establishing and expanding Jewish settlements, and transgressions against holy sites through demolitions and excavations in Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Centre reminds the international community that similar attacks on the civil, political, and cultural rights led to the eruption of a mass popular uprising in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) at the end of September 2000.
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 reporting period, the crossing was opened for two hours on 6 February 2007 to allow the delegations of Hamas and Fatah to head to Saudi Arabia. During this time, only 300 humanitarian cases traveled both ways of the crossing. Dozens of patients remain waiting on the crossing. 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. During the reporting period, the crossing was opened only for one day. 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 8 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. Contrary to Israeli claims, IOF positioned at various checkpoints in the West Bank have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. In addition, IOF soldiers positioned at various checkpoints in the West Bank imprisoned 7 Palestinian civilians, including two children.
IOF troops stationed at El-Karama Border Crossing between the West Bank and Jordan prevented the Palestinian Deputy PM and the Minister of Planning from leaving to Saudi Arabia.
The outcome of crimes committed by IOF since 25 June 2006:
Israeli Violations Documented during the Reporting Period (1 - 7 February 2007)
1. Incursions into Palestinian Areas and Attacks on Palestinian Civilians and Property in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip
Thursday, 1 February 2007
1. Riziq Khader Rayyan (22); and
2. Mazen Abdel Hamid Rayyan (23).
1. Mohammad Jaber Okal (16);
2. Samed Mahmoud Abdel Majid Jibril (16);
3. Zeyad Zuhdi Mahfouth (15);
4. Mohammad Abdel Latif Abu Sal (23); and
5. Mohannad Jaber Shehada (24).
1. Tawfiq Ali Hasan Khamaysa (41), a member of the town council;
2. Hisham Abdel Qadir El-Tarada (24);
3. Ibrahim Ahmad Khamaysa (32);
4. Ahmad Jaber Mahmoud El-Tarada (33); and
5. Ibrahim Mohammad Khalil El-Tarada (32).
In addition, IOF delivered summons to 5 others to meet IOF intelligence officers in an intelligence compound south of Hebron. PCHR’s fieldworker learned the identity of four of the summoned civilians:
1. Yousef Ali El-Tarada;
2. Mohammad Ahmad El-Tarada;
3. Hussein Ahmad El-Tarada; and
4. Khalil Ahmad El-Tarada.
1. Amer Bassam Mohammad Kalabona (21), killed by bullets to the abdomen and back; and
2. Wa’el Khamis Saleh Awad (21), killed by bullets to the back and hand.
The ambulance driver and paramedic who went to save the wounded stated,
“At 2:35 on Thursday, 1 February 2007, we were informed by our officer in the Red Crescent Society in Khillet El-Amoud Quarter in Nablus, that there is an injured person in Khan El-Tujar area in the old city. We went to the area, and tried to enter. However, the Israeli army was blocking the entrances to the old city. We tried to enter to from the market area, which leads to the area where the injured were. However, IOF jeeps in the area prevented us from entering. The soldiers instructed us to get out of the ambulance, and take off our clothes. We obeyed their orders. They ordered us to sit in the middle of the street for half an hour. Then they told us to stand on the sidewalk. After an hour, they allowed us into the area where the injured were reported to be. However, we did not find the injured there.”
Friday, 2 February 2007
1. Mohammad Jamal Rabi’ (19);
2. Ma’moun Ibrahim Bader (18); and
3. Tha’er Ali Wahiesh (18).
1. Khaldoun Juma Taleb Shuman (30) was killed by bullets to the head; and
2. Mohammad Atta Abdel Qadir Abu Arab (34) was killed by bullets to the chest.
Saturday, 3 February 2007
Sunday, 4 February 2007
1. Adham Tawfiq Tamboura, 21, from Beit Lahia, wounded by a bullet to the feet; and
2. Mohammed Lutfi al-Kafarna, 21, from Beit Hanoun, wounded by a bullet to the left foot.
Monday, 5 February 2007
1. Esam Raja Abu El-Heija (20);
2. Ala Raja Abu El-Heija (22);
3. Rami Ahmad Lahlouh (19);
4. Ra’ed Ahmad Lahlouh (22); and
5. Ammar Fathi Abu Eita (21).
1. Fuad Mohammad Yousef Qasrawi (18);
2. Esam Aref Abdallah Qasrawi (18);
3. Tha’er Ezzat Salim Abu El-Rob (19); and
4. Abdel Rahman Abu El-Rob (19).
Tuesday, 6 February 2007
1. Majdi Bilal Abdel Fattah El-Saqqa (28);
2. Sharif El-Kharraz (22);
3. Samer El-Kharraz (19);
4. Mohammad Ahmad Hassouna (24);
5. Afif Ahmad Hassouna (18);
6. Mohammad Yassin (20);
7. Rami Yassin (22);
8. Ammar Masrouja (35);
9. Mohammad Taysir Yassin El-Tiek (30);
10. Mousa Walid El-Shawwa (32); and
11. Emad El-Desh’k (35).
Wednesday, 7 February 2007
1. Abdel Salam Salah Omar (25);
2. Ali Salah Omar (26); and
3. Izzedeen Salah Omar (30);
1. Fadel Abu Salem (20); and
2. Mohammad Ali Hashash (21).
2. Extra-judicial Executions:
At approximately 16:30 on the same day, an undercover IOF unit moved into Tulkarm refugee camp using a vehicle with Palestinian license plates. Near the southern entrance of the refugee camp, three civilian-clothed persons and a fourth in military clothes got out of the car. They came near three people standing in the place, and opened fire at them. The child Rafiq Mowafaq Heikal Dumeiri (16) was injured by a bullet in the right thigh. Jaser Nader Ahmad Abu Zugheib (24) was hit by a bullet to the chest and fell on the ground. The attackers dragged Zugheib on the ground, fired 5 more bullets at him from point blank range, and put him a vehicle. He died in the vehicle. Zugheib is an activist in Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an armed wing of Fatah. A third Palestinian was seriously injured by a bullet to the chest. He is Amer Mahmoud El-Baraka (25), an activist in Al-Quds Battalions (armed wing of Islamic Jihad). Regular IOF troops arrived at the scene and evacuated the undercover unit. In addition, they abducted the body of the dead and injured activists. A 10-year old bystander was also injured by a bullet in the right leg: Mahmoud Zaki Mohammad Qozah.
The injured, Rafiq Mowafaq Rafiq D’meiri gave the following statement to PCHR’s fieldworker:
“At approximately 16:30 on Thursday, 1 February 2007, I was at the southern entrance of Tulkarm refugee camp. I was standing with Jaser Nader Ahmad Abu Zugheib and Amer Mahmoud El-Baraka. We were scheduled to meet because I wanted to buy a computer from Jaser. Amer came with him. As we were speaking, a white Volkswagon minibus with Palestinian license plates stopped near us. Seven people came out of the bus, four were wearing civilian clothes marred by paint. The other three were in military clothes. One of the ones wearing civilian clothes was huge, with a beard, and spoke Arabic. He hit me, and pushed me to the ground. He fired two bullets, one aimed at the ground, and the other aimed at my head. However, I raised my legs, and the bullet hit my thigh. Jaser fired at the minibus with a pistol he had, and then entered an alley. One of them followed him, and fired one shot at him, then dragged him to the street. Then he fired five bullets at Jaser’s chest from a distance of less than half a meter. Jaser was alive when he was dragged. Other soldiers came and carried Yaser to the minibus. The fired another two bullets at his abdomen and leg. Then they asked for our names. We told them. They told us that their task was Jaser and Amer. The pushed me away and I fell to the ground. Some women pulled me away; and I was taken to the governmental hospital in Tulkarm in a taxi.”
3. Annexation Wall:
The Israeli PM authorized moving the annexation wall five kilometers further inside the West Bank territory near the settlement of Mode’in Elit. The move aimed to place the settlements of Nilli and Na’aleh to the west of the Wall. The move reinforces PCHR’s position that the purpose of the Wall is annexation, not security, to unilaterally draw the borders of Israel. The move places nearly 20,000 Palestinian civilians in two new enclaves. It is noted that this is the first time that Israel moves the Wall eastward after approving its route.
In addition, there are plans to pave a new road to connect the settlements of Mode’in Elit, Nilli, and Na’aleh with the settlement of Ofrim. Palestinians will not be allowed to use this road. Two tunnels will be constructed under this road near the villages of Na’lin and Sheqba to ensure that Palestinians are not forced to use the road.
Excessive use of force:
At approximately 13:00 on Friday, 2 February 2007, about dozens of Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli solidarity activists demonstrated in protest to the construction of the Wall in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah. The demonstrators headed to the Wall section in the area. IOF soldiers positioned near the Wall ordered them back under the excuse that this is a closed military zone. They fired rubber coated bullets, sound bombes and tear gas canisters at the demonstrators, and then beat them with batons. Three demonstrators were injured:
1. Mo’tasem Ibrahim Ahmad Abu Rahma (20), injured by a rubber coated bullet in the back;
2. Ibrahim Abdel Fattah Ibrahim Bornat (25), injured by a rubber coated bullet in the leg; and
3. Ashraf Mohammad Jamal El-Khatib (26), injured by a rubber coated bullet in the back;
Destruction of Islamic Holy Sites in Jerusalem:
On Tuesday, 6 February 2007, IOF bulldozers started to demolish a hill, a wooden bridge, and two rooms at the foot of the hill, which are property of the Islamic Waqf. The properties lead to the Magharba Gate, one of the gates of Al-Aqsa Mosque that constitutes an integral part of the mosque. The demolition activities directly threaten Al-Aqsa Mosque and its surroundings. It is noted that the Israeli archeological authority announced that it started the destruction activities to establish a bridge connecting Al-Buraq area with Al-Aqsa Mosque. The destruction is a prelude to erecting support pillars for the bridge on the road leading to Magharba gate. At the same time, Israeli occupation forces (IOF) prevented the Islamic Waqf, which supervises Islamic holy sites in occupied Jerusalem, from conducting any renovation activities on the hill, which is a component of Al-Aqsa Mosque.
PCHR warns against the consequences of IOF attacks on Islamic and Christian holy sites in occupied Jerusalem. These attacks include passing legislation to annex the city, ethnic cleansing of the city’s Palestinian population, confiscation of Palestinian property, establishing and expanding Jewish settlements, and transgressions against holy sites through demolitions and excavations in Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Centre reminds the international community that similar attacks on the civil, political, and cultural rights led to the eruption of a mass popular uprising in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) at the end of September 2000.
4. 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 reporting 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.
During the reporting period, the crossing was opened for two hours from 15:00 - 17:00 on 6 February 2007, allowing about 300 humanitarian cases to cross both ways. In the morning of the same day, the crossing was opened to allow the passage of the Fatah and Hamas delegations to Saudi Arabia.
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 Wednesday, 7 February 2007, IOF troops stationed at El-Fahs checkpoint between Yatta and Hebron arrested Hussein Mohammad Hussein El-Shawahin (27) as he was on his way to university. He is from Yatta.
On Monday, 5 February 2007, IOF erected a checkpoint near El-Ras village, and obstructed movement to and from Qalqilya. And on Tuesday, 6 February 2007, IOF erected a checkpoint at the entrance of Shweika Quarter, north of Tulkarm, and subjected vehicles to stringent search using police dogs. All youth between 12-20 years of age were detained for hours at the checkpoint. And on Wednesday, 7 February 2007, IOF troops stationed at Ennab and Wadi El-Teen checkpoints prevented all people under 35 years of age from passing through. Some were on their way to El-Karama border crossing with Jordan. However they were denied entry despite having their visas and other travel documents.
At approximately 13:30 on Friday, IOF troops deployed at the checkpoint on the Sanour - Jenin road fired at Basem Ahmad Tayeh Abu Ali (34) from the village of Sieries, south of Jenin. He was hit by a bullet in the buttock. He was attempting to pass through the checkpoint on foot, and did not obey commands to stop. It is noted that he suffers from a mental disorder.
On Friday, 2 February 2007, IOF troops detained Firas Mahmoud Abu Arra (28) from the town of Oqaba. He was detained at a checkpoint at the southern entrance of Toubas.
On Saturday, 3 February 2007, IOF detained Mohammad Attallah Sabbah (25) from the village of Birqien, west of Jenin. He was forced out of his car at an IOF checkpoint on the Jenin - Nablus road.
On Monday, 5 February 2007, IOF troops at Tayaseer checkpoint detained a Palestinian whose identity remains unknown at the time of publication.
On Wednesday, 7 February 2007, IOF detained Younis Ibrahim El-Soudi (21) from Wadi El-Far’a village. He was detained at a checkpoint between Wadi El-Far’a and El-Far’a refugee camp.
On Saturday evening, 3 February 2007, an Israeli border police patrol detained Issam Hussein El-Khatib at a checkpoint at the entrance of El-Ezereyya village, east of Jerusalem.
3. Construction of the Annexation Wall
IOF have continued to construct the Annexation Wall inside West Bank territory. During the reporting period, IOF used force against a peaceful demonstration organized by Palestinian civilian in protest to the construction of the Wall in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah.
1. Jason, 30, a British journalist, hit by a sound bomb to the head;
2. Muheeb al-Barghouthi, 42, hit by a sound bomb to the head; and
3. Majdi ‘Abdul Mo’men Abu Rahma, 16, hit by a tear gas canister to the back.
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.