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 (15 - 21 February 2007):
Shooting: On Wednesday morning, 21 February 2007, IOF extra-judicially executed a member of the al-Quds Brigades (the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad) on Jenin.
During the reporting period, 12 Palestinian civilians, including two journalists and 5 children, and an Israeli solidarity activist, were wounded by the IOF gunfire in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
In the West Bank, 11 Palestinian civilians, including 5 children and two journalists, were wounded by the IOF gunfire. On 15 February 2007, a Palestinian civilian was wounded when IOF fired at a number of Palestinian demonstrators. On the same day, a Palestinian child was wounded in ‘Azzoun village in similar circumstances. On 16 February 2007, a Palestinian civilian and a journalist were wounded when IOF fired at demonstrations organized in Hebron and the neighboring Beit Ummar village in protest to excavations in the vicinity of the al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem. In addition, 7 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children and a journalist, and an Israeli solidarity activist were wounded when IOF fired at a peaceful demonstration organized in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah, in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall.
In the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian civilian was wounded in Beit Lahia town in the north, when IOF fired at a number of Palestinian civilians who were gathering metals near the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel.
Incursions: During the reporting period, IOF conducted at least 40 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During these incursions, IOF raided houses and arrested 46 Palestinian civilians, including 7 children. Thus, the number of Palestinians arrested by IOF in the West Bank since the beginning of this year has mounted to 509. IOF also raided and searched offices of a number of institutions in Hebron and Qalqilya.
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, IOF reopened the crossing point for one. 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. On Friday, 16 February 2007, IOF opened the new Erez International Crossing Point under new procedures. Palestinians from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank have to obtain permits from the IOF Civil Administration as it was the case before. However, Palestinians living in East Jerusalem have to hand their identity cards the Israeli Ministry of Interior to get travel documents. In the past, they had to hand identity cards to IOF at Erez crossing. This includes 800-1000 women from East Jerusalem married to men in the Gaza Strip. According to Palestinians who traveled through the new crossing point, IOF imposed the same restrictions on their movement as in the past. 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. Two Palestinian civilians died as IOF soldiers at checkpoint obstructed their evacuation to hospitals. During the reporting period, IOF soldiers positioned at various checkpoints in the West Bank arrested one Palestinian civilian.
Annexation Wall: IOF have continued to construct the Annexation Wall inside the West Bank. During the reporting period, IOF issued a new military order seizing 44600 square meters of land in Brouqin and Kufor al-Dik, southwest of Nablus, for alleged military purposes to establish a security fence. IOF plan to initiate a new stage of the construction of the Wall in the area. The construction of this section of the Wall will isolate large areas of land in the two villages, and will deprive them of their need for expansion. Additionally, IOF issued 17 military orders concerning areas of land isolated by the Wall to the west of Ethna village, west of Hebron. According to the orders, 11 Palestinian families would be forced to leave their houses and not to build any structure in the area.
Settlement Activities: During the reporting period, Israeli settlers living in the West Bank in violation of international law continued their systematic attacks on Palestinian civilians and property. IOF also continued to destroy civilian property for the purpose of settlement expansion. During the reporting period, IOF demolished 12 houses and a number of animal farms, claiming that they were built without licenses. IOF also demolished a house in Qutna village, northwest of Jerusalem, for the same reason. Additionally, IOF confiscated 21 donums of land in Tulkarm, and 665 square meters in Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron. Israeli settlers launched 5 attacks on Palestinian civilians, which injured 3 Palestinian civilians (two children and an old man).
The outcome of crimes committed by IOF since 25 June 2006:
Israeli Violations Documented during the Reporting Period (15 - 21 February 2007)
1. Incursions into Palestinian Areas and Attacks on Palestinian Civilians and Property in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip
Thursday, 15 February 2007
Zuhair Ibrahim Kousa, 54, arrested to pressure his son to surrender to IOF, but was released 7 hours later; and Mohammed Suleiman al-Banna, 17.
Mujahed Sami Abu al-Reesh, 18;
Tamer Bassam Abu al-Reesh, 20; and
Marwan ‘Ata Abu al-Reesh, 25.
Khaled Ibrahim Swaiti, 30;
Ma’ath ‘Abdul Hamid Qahoush, 17; and
Ahmed ‘Aayed Swaiti, 18.
Friday, 16 February 2007
Saturday, 17 February 2007
Sunday, 18 February 2007
Monday, 19 February 2007
1. Hatem Mahmoud Shihada, 52, a physician;
2. Jameel Nemer al-Karaki, 34; and
3. Salah Baker al-Husseini, 38.
1. Isma’il Ibrahim Ehmaidat, 22;
2. Muneeb Mohammed Abu Fara, 20; and
3. Mohammed Anwar Abu Fara, 21.
Tuesday, 20 February 2007
1. Bajes Nakhla, 24; and
2. Eyad Safi, 22.
1. Mohammed Isma’il al-Hroub, 23;
2. Tha’er Isma’il al-Hroub, 22;
3. Mohammed Jaber al-Hroub, 24;
4. Hamza Hussein al-Hroub, 20;
5. Ameen Ahmed al-Hroub, 21;
6. Bahaa’ ‘Ali al-‘Adam, 21; and
7. Wa’el Hasan al-Hroub, 24.
Wednesday, 21 February 2007
1. Ahmed Mahmoud Baida, 17; and
2. Mohammed ‘Abdul Hafeez ‘Abdul Rahman, 17.
1. Mohammed Najeeb Nazzal, 23;
2. Ahmed Najeeb Nazzal, 22;
3. Ahmed Mohammed ‘Abdul Raziq, 23;
4. Mo’tassem Ziad Nazzal, 18; and
5. Mohammed Sameer Nazzal, 18.
1. ‘Emad Ahmed al-Kuhla, 24; and
2. Mustafa ‘Ali Habayeb, 25.
2. Extra-Judicial Execution
On Wednesday morning, 21 February 2007, IOF extra-judicially executed a member of the al-Quds Brigades (the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad) in Jenin.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 09:15 on Wednesday, 21 February 2007, an IOF undercover unit and a number of soldiers moved into al-Bassatin area in the west of Jenin, using two civilian vehicles. The two vehicles intercepted a car in the area, in which Mahmoud Ibrahim Qassem ‘Obaid, 24, was traveling. IOF soldiers got out of their vehicles and opened fire at ‘Obaid. He was instantly killed. According to medical sources, he was hit by several gunshots to the head. Soon, IOF military vehicles moved into the area to secure the withdrawal of the undercover unit and other soldiers. The victim was a leader of the al-Quds Brigades. It is worth noting that IOF arrested the victim’s brother on Thursday morning, 15 February 2007.
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 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.
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 Thursday morning, 15 February 2007, IOF soldiers positioned at the checkpoint at the southern entrance of Jenin arrested ‘Abdullah Ibrahim ‘Obaid, 21, from Jenin refugee camp.
At approximately 00:00 on Monday, 18 February 2007, ‘Aadel Rasheed ‘Omar, 22, from Beit Ameen village, east of Qalqilya, died as IOF closed the sole entrance of ‘Azzoun ‘Atma village and obstructed his evacuation to the hospital. According to the Mayor of ‘Azzoun ‘Atma village, at approximately 22:45 on Sunday, 17 February 2007, a tractor which ‘Omar was driving turned over him. Soon, a taxi transported him to the hospital. When the taxi arrived at the entrance of ‘Azzoun ‘Atma village, IOF soldiers prevented it from exiting the village. An hour later, IOF soldiers allowed the taxi to pass through, but ‘Omar was then dead.
4. 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. Mohammed Adeeb Abu Rahma, 13, hit by a tear gas canister to the back;
2. ‘Alaa’ Jalal al-Khatib, 13, wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the abdomen;
3. Mousa Hussam Rasheed, 13, wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the thigh;
4. Mohammed Ahmed al-Khatib, 17, wounded by two rubber-coated metal bullets to the back and the thigh;
5. Ramzi Rebhi ‘Ataya, 18, wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the back;
6. Adham Mahmoud Abu Rahma, 22, hit by a tear gas canister to the thigh;
7. ‘Emad Mohammed Bernat, 34, wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the leg; and
8. Nir Arieli, 26, hit by a tear gas canister to the abdomen.
5. Settlement Activities and Attacks by Settlers against Palestinian Civilians and Property
Recommendations to the International Community
1. PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their legal and moral obligations under Article 1 of the Convention to ensure Israel’s respect for the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. PCHR believes that the conspiracy of silence practiced by the international community has encouraged Israel to act as if it is above the law and encourages Israel continue to violate international human rights and humanitarian law.
2. PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to convene a conference to take effective steps to ensure Israel’s respect of the Convention in the OPT and to provide immediate protection for Palestinian civilians.
3. PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to comply with its legal obligations detailed in Article 146 of the Convention to search for and prosecute those responsible for grave breaches, namely war crimes.
4. PCHR recommends international civil society organizations, including human rights organizations, bar associations and NGOs to participate in the process of exposing those accused of grave breaches of international law and to urge their governments to bring these people to justice.
5. PCHR calls upon the European Union to activate Article 2 of the Euro-Israel Association Agreement, which provides that Israel must respect human rights as a precondition for economic cooperation between the EU states and Israel. PCHR further calls upon the EU states to prohibit import of goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements in the OPT.
6. PCHR calls upon the member States of the EU, and all other states, to adopt a voting pattern at the UN bodies, particularly the General Assembly, Security Council and Commission on Human Rights which is keeping with international law.
7. PCHR demands that the International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion be immediately implemented by the international community.
8. PCHR calls on the international community to recognize the Gaza disengagement plan, which was implemented last year, for what it is - not an end to occupation but a compounding of the occupation and the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.
9. In recognition of ICRC as the guardian of the Fourth Geneva Convention, PCHR calls upon the ICRC to increase its staff and activities in the OPT, including the facilitation of family visitations to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
10. PCHR appreciates the efforts of international civil society, including human rights organizations, bar associations, unions and NGOs, and urges them to continue their role in pressuring their governments to secure Israel’s respect for human rights in the OPT and to end its attacks on Palestinian civilians.
11. In light of the severe restrictions imposed by the Israeli government and its occupying forces on access for international organizations to the OPT, PCHR calls upon European countries to deal with Israeli citizens in a similar manner.
12. PCHR reiterates that any political settlement not based on international human rights law and humanitarian law cannot lead to a peaceful and just solution of the Palestinian question. Rather, such an arrangement can only lead to further suffering and instability in the region. Any peace agreement or process must be based on respect for international law, including international human rights and humanitarian law.