Weekly Report on Human Rights Violations

Israeli soldiers take positions during an arrest operation near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, 21 March 2007. (Fadi Tanas/MaanImages)


Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Continue to Commit War Crimes in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)

  • Two Palestinians, including a child, killed by IOF in the West Bank.
  • Thirteen Palestinian civilians, including seven children were wounded by IOF.
  • Eight of these civilians were wounded in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah; four were injured by IOF gunfire at checkpoints.
  • IOF conducted 31 incursions into Palestinian communities in the OPT, including a minor incursion into the Central Gaza Strip.
  • IOF arrested 61 Palestinians, including six children, in the West Bank.
  • Four civilians, including two fishermen, arrested from the Gaza Strip.
  • IOF have continued to impose a total siege on the OPT.
  • IOF positioned at a checkpoint in the West Bank arrested one Palestinian civilian.
  • The Gaza Strip has suffered from shortages in fuels and basic goods.
  • IOF have continued settlement activities in the West Bank.
  • Three houses were demolished by IOF in Sour Baher village, southwest of Jerusalem.
  • Israeli settlers launched several attacks on Palestinian civilians and property in Hebron.

    Summary

    Israeli violations of international law and humanitarian law continued in the OPT during the reporting period (15 - 21 March 2007):

    Shooting:

    During the reporting period, IOF killed two Palestinians on Wednesday, 21 March 2007. One of the victims was a child. In the early morning hours of that day, IOF killed an armed resistance activist in the Old Askar refugee camp, northeast of Nablus, when he resisted the IOF incursion into the refugee camp. The activist is Fadi Akram Abu Keshek (24). He was killed by a bullet to the heart. And in an incident showing excessive use of force, IOF shot and killed a Palestinian child in the village of Aboud, north of Ramallah. The child was killed when youth threw stones at an IOF patrol in the area.

    IOF wounded 13 Palestinians, including seven children. Four of the injured were wounded at two IOF checkpoints. In the first on Sunday (18 March), IOF troops at Beit Eiba checkpoint fired sound bombs at Palestinian civilians attempting to pass through. Two civilians were injured. The second incident took place in the vicinity of Tarqoumia checkpoint on Monday (19 March), where IOF shot at Palestinian workers and injured two of them with bullets in the legs. And in the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian child was wounded by IOF gunfire directed at civilians scavenging for metals in the abandoned industrial zone in the north of the Gaza Strip. Furthermore, eight Palestinians were injured by tear gas grenades and rubber-coated metal bullets in the weekly demonstration against the Annexation Wall in Bal’ein, west of Ramallah.

    And in the Gaza Strip, IOF troops fired at sheep herders near border east of Wadi Gaza village in the center of the Gaza Strip. No injuries were reported. However, the shootings hindered the herders work.

    Incursions

    During the reporting period, IOF conducted at least 31 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the OPT. During those incursions, IOF arrested 63 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Thus, the number of Palestinians arrested by IOF in the West Bank since the beginning of this year has mounted to 806. It is noted that IOF raids and searches systematically include destruction of property and ransacking houses. In addition, police dogs are occasionally used. The residents of targeted houses are also systematically abused.

    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 reporting period, the crossing point was reopened on 15, 19, and 21 March 2007, and hundreds of Palestinians were able to travel through it. It was also supposed to be open on 20 March 2007, but IOF prevented EU observers from reaching the crossing point.

    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 more than nine months. During the reporting period, 50 Palestinian fishermen were detained by IOF and taken to Ashdod port for interrogation. All except two were released after several hours.

    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. 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. During the reporting period, IOF troops at Ennab checkpoint east of Tulkarm and Za’tara checkpoint south of Nablus bared Jenin residents from passing these checkpoints. In addition, one Palestinian was arrested at an IOF checkpoint in the West Bank.

    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, and IOF continued settlement expansion activities. IOF demolished three houses in occupied Jerusalem, the town of Halhoul, and village of Jeet. In addition, settlers from the outpost of Havat Ma’on east of Yatta in Hebron razed 10 dunums of agricultural land. Settlers from the settlement of Kiryat Arba southeast of Hebron prevented Muslim worshippers from accessing El-Ras Mosque for several hours. And about 50 settlers from the same settlement took over a residential building in El-Ras area.

    Israeli Violations Documented during the Reporting Period (15 - 21 March 2007)

    1. Incursions into Palestinian Areas and Attacks on Palestinian Civilians and Property in the OPT

    Thursday, 15 March 2007

  • At approximately 00:30, IOF moved into the town of Ateel, north of Tulkarm, and surrounded the house belonging to Abdel Latif Abu Khazna in the eastern part of the town. They forced the hosue occupants to stand outside the house in the rain, and ransacked the house. They arrested the houseowner’s son, Murad (28) and took him to an undisclosed location.
  • At approximately 00:30, IOF moved into Shuweika Quarter in Tulkarm, and searched and ransacked a number of houses, and arrested three civilians, including one child:
    1. Tha’er Nafeth Mohammad Rahayma (17);
    2. Fathi Ahmad Fathi Matar (19); and
    3. Mohammad Tawfiq Hasan Abu El-Enein (18).
  • At approximately 1:00, IOF moved into Nour Shams refugee camp, east of Tulkarm. They raided and searched the house belonging to Yousef El-Shalabi, and arrested his son Ahmad (25) and took him to an undisclosed location.
  • At approximately 1:15, IOF moved into the town of Jenin and the Jenin refugee camp. They raided and searched many houses, and arrested two civilians:
    1. Mahmoud Mohammad Ahmad Jabarin (24); and
    2. Mohammad Mahmoud Shabrawi (22).
  • At approximately 1:15, IOF moved into the town of Fahma, southwest of Jenin. They raided and searched a number of houses, and arrested four civilians, including one child:
    1. Ahed Walid Nawasra (25);
    2. Ali Qaher Asabna (17);
    3. Hasan Mohammad Abdallah Wadi’ (24); and
    4. Ali Ramzi Rafiq Asabna (33).
  • At approximately 1:30, IOF moved into Qalqilya. They raided and searched a number of houses in the Quarters of Soufin, Kfar Saba, and Naqqar. They arrested two civilians:
    1. Majdi Mohammad Mustafa B’deir (28); and
    2. Ibrahim Mohammad Ibrahim Shana’a (28).
  • At approximately 1:30, IOF moved into the town of Marada, north of Salfit, and raided and searched the house belonging to Rasmi Samih Khafash (54), and arrested two of his sons:
    1. Ahmad Khafash (19); and
    2. Walid Khafash (23).
  • At approximately 1:45, IOF moved into the town of El-Khader, southwest of Bethlehem. They raided and searched the house belonging to Ali Mohammad Issa, and arrested his son Eyad (27) and took him to an undisclosed location.
  • At approximately 2:30, IOF moved into the town of Bieta, southeast of Nablus. They raided and searched a number of houses, and arrested two brothers:
    1. Tha’er Ahed Ahmad Hamayel (21); and
    2. Yaser Ahed Ahmad Hamayel (19).
  • At approximately 3:00, IOF moved into the town of Beit Fujjar, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a number of houses, and arrested three civilians, including a child:
    1. Ala Mohammad Taqatqa (17);
    2. Mohammad Salah Taqatqa (22); and
    3. Eyad Mohammad Taqatqa (27).
  • At approximately 11:00, IOF moved into the town of Qarawit Bani Hasan, west of Salfit. They raided and searched a number of houses and a sewing workshop owned by Fuad Othman Salim Rayyan. They arrested three civilians:
    1. Fuad Othman Salim Rayyan (30);
    2. Hamza Yousef Hasan Mer’e (22);
    3. Ayyoub Ahmad Hasan Mer’e (28).

    Friday, 16 March 2007

  • At approximately 1:00, IOF moved into the village of Deir Samet, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched a number of houses, and arrested four civilians:
    1. Mousa Ahmad Ismail El-Haroub (43);
    2. Tawfiq Abdel Fattah El-Haroub (35);
    3. Mousa Mohammad Abdallah Safi (48); and
    4. Ismail Ahmad Abdallah El-Haroub (35).

    It is noted that IOF have detained 35 civilians from this village since the beginning of the year.

  • At approximately 3:00, IOF moved into the town of Sa’eer, northeast of Hebron. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Sharif Abdel Ghaffar Jaradat and his sons, in Habayel Abu Zubeida area. They arrested Sari Sharif Jaradat (22). He is the third family member arrested by IOF, who previously detained two of his brothers.
  • At approximately 7:00, IOF stationed on the Gaza Strip border to the east of Maghazi refugee camp detained two Palestinians who attempted to infiltrate through the border to search for work. The detainees are:
    1. Amer Nabhan El-Arouqi (20); and
    2. Anwar Mousa Abu Mo’eliq (20).
  • At approximately 10:00, IOF moved into the town of Kufl Haris, north of Salfit. They raided and searched religious buildings. Residents informed PCHR’s fieldworker that IOF raid these places claiming that they are Jewish religious sites, and thoroughly search them and conduct some excavations.
  • At approximately 16:00, IOF moved into IOF moved into the eastern part of Azzoun, east of Qalqilya. Children gathered and threw rocks at IOF troops, who beat the child Ahmad Mustafa Kharfan (13). The child suffered a broken arm, and was taken to the UNRWA hospital in Qalqilya for treatment.
  • At approximately 18:00, IOF moved into IOF moved into the southern part of Qalqilya. They raided and searched a car repair and paint shop, and arrested two civilians:
    1. Lafi Subhi Sa’id Sa’sa (25); and
    2. Mohammad Mas’oud Abu El-Nimr (24).
  • At approximately 20:00, IOF moved into the town of Habla, south of Qalqilya, and raided an internet cafe owned by Mohye El-Deen Asad Mahmoud Mara’ba. They beat a customer in the cafe, Mahran Abdallah Odeh (20), who was battered and bruised.

    Saturday, 17 March 2007

  • At approximately 5:00, IOF moved into the town of Abu Dies, east of occupied Jerusalem. They raided and searched a number of houses, and arrested three children:
    1. Seif El-Deen Khalil Dawoud Abu Helal (16);
    2. Mustafa Jamal Mohsin (16); and
    3. Ghassan Hasan Mohammad Lafi (16).

    Sunday, 18 March 2007

  • At approximately 1:00, IOF moved into the town of Toubas, southeast of Jenin, and patrolled the streets, firing bullet in the air. No injuries of detentions were reported.
  • At approximately 2:30, IOF moved into the city of Jenin and the Jenin refugee camp, and patrolled the streets, firing bullet in the air. No injuries of detentions were reported.
  • At approximately 18:30, IOF moved to the southern entrance of Ein El-Far’a refugee camp, southeast of Jenin. Children and youth threw rocks at the troops, who responded with rubber-coated metal bullets. Mu’tasem Mohammad Mousa Abdel Jawwad (22) was injured by one such bullet in the leg. He was taken to Shifa Hospital in Toubas for treatment.

    Monday, 19 March 2007

  • At approximately 1:15, IOF moved into the town of Qabatya, southeast of Jenin. They raided and searched a number of houses, and arrested three civilians:
    1. Qeis Sobhi Hanaysha (26);
    2. Khaled Kumeil Abu Zeid (22); and
    3. Shadi Sami Mohammad Zakarna (21).
  • At approximately 1:30, IOF moved into the town of Kufr Qadoom, east of Qalqilya. They raided and searched a number of houses, and arrested five civilians:
    1. Yamen Yousef Mohammad Obeid (22);
    2. Thameen Abdel Latif Ali Borhom (24);
    3. Rami Abdel Jabbar Ahmad Jum’a (23);
    4. Ala Abdel Mo’min Yousef (22); and
    5. Amjad Abdel Mo’min Yousef (24).
  • IOF detained 50 Palestinian fishermen off the Gaza Strip coast, and interrogated them in Ashdod port. Forty-eight were released after a few hours; and two remained in prison. The fisherman Esam Khader El-Nadi (34) gave the following testimony to PCHR’s fieldworker:
    At approximately 2:00 on Monday, 19 March 2007, I sailed into the sea off the coast of Rafah on a small fishing boat with three other fishermen. In total, there were 13 fishing boats and 50 fishermen from the Rafah Mawasi area out at sea. After sailing three miles, the fishermen started to work till approximately 6:00. On our way back to shore, four Israeli naval boats intercepted us. Israeli navy troops started firing bullets and shells in our direction. Then, the ordered us, using loudspeakers, to take off our clothes, and to swim to the Israeli boats. We complied. I had difficulty doing that as I suffer from a handicap in the right leg. In addition, the weather and water were very cold. When we reached their boats, they bound us and blindfolded our eyes. Then they took us to Ashdod port. It was approximately 13:00. Each fisherman was interrogated by an intelligence officer on weapon smuggling. The interrogations continued to 21:00. At approximately midnight, the Israeli boats brought us back to our boats on the Rafah shore. Then we discovered that two fishermen were not returned, and were imprisoned: Hasan Khalil El-Najjar (46) and Hatem Jum’a Abu Selmeyya (32). This incident inflicted damages on us, as our catch for the day was sold as old fish, and not fresh.

    Tuesday, 20 March 2007

  • At approximately 00:00, IOF moved into the town of Surief, northwest of Hebron. They raided and searched a number of houses, and arrested three civilians:
    1. Mahmoud Ibrahim Abdel Qadir El-Hor (44);
    2. H’meid Mahmoud H’meidat (20); and
    3. Ahmad Nofal Awad (20)
  • At approximately 1:00, IOF moved into Mahawer Quarter in Hebron. They raided and searched the house of Hamdi Hussein Ata El-Muhtaseb (20) and detained him.
  • At approximately 14:00, IOF moved approximately 50 meters inside the Gaza Strip to the east of Maghazi refugee camp. They razed and leveled the land adjacent to the border.
  • At approximately 21:00, IOF moved into El-Ram, north of occupied Jerusalem. They raided and searched a number of houses, and detained two civilians:
    1. Omar El-Rimawi (22); and
    2. Azzam El-Rimawi (23).

    Both are from the town of Beit Rima, northwest of Ramallah.

    Wednesday, 21 March 2007

  • At approximately 1:00, IOF moved into Beit Fujjar, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a number of houses, and detained five civilians:
    1. Osama Ayed Diereyya (29);
    2. Jihad Mohammad Ballou (22);
    3. Mohammad Hussein Tagatga (21);
    4. Ibrahim Mohammad Thawabta (22); and
    5. Hani Mohammad Odeh (32).
  • At approximately 2:00, IOF moved into the town of Durra, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched the house belonging to Walid Abdel Aziz Suweiti, and arrested his son Abdel Aziz (18).
  • At approximately 2:00, IOF moved into the town of Halhoul, north of Hebron. They raided and searched the house belonging to Baha El-Deen Abdel Rahman El-Wohoush (27), and arrested him.
  • IOF killed a Palestinian activist who resisted the incursion into Old Askar refugee camp to the northeast of Nablus. PCHR’s preliminary investigation indicates that at approximately 23:00 on Tuesday (19 March 2007), IOF moved into the city of Nablus from the west and south. They patrolled the streets and took positions on high buildings, firing gunshots and sound charges, and raided and searched a number of houses. At approximately 3:30 on Wednesday, IOF extended their operations to Balata and Old Askar refugee camps. A number of armed activists resisted the incursion. IOF surrounded them and responded with heavy gunfire from all sides. Fadi Akram Abu Keshek (24) was hit and killed by a single bullet to the heart. IOF also arrested five civilians, including a child:
    1. Taha Yassin Elewei (17);
    2. Shadi Salah El-Dabeek (22)
    3. Hadi Mohammad Mas’oud (24);
    4. Bashar Sami Zaghloul (20); and
    5. Rami Azzam Yassin (30).
  • At approximately 17:15, IOF troops stationed on the northern border of the Gaza Strip in the vicinity of the old Erez industrial zone, fired at a group of civilians scavenging for scrap metal in the area. The child Amin Taysir Abu Odeh (16) from Beit Hanoun was moderately injured by a bullet in the left thigh.
  • At approximately 18:30, IOF killed a Palestinian child by excessive use of force. A group of children were gathered at the northeast entrance of the village of Abboud, west of Ramallah. They threw rocks at an IOF jeep that passed in the area. Soldiers fired directly at the children. Mohammad Ibrahim Ismail Jaber (17) was hit and fell to the ground. IOF prevented a Palestinian ambulance from accessing the area. The troops took him inside Israel, apparently dead. The body was still detained at the publication of the report.

    2. 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 for the ninth consecutive month. 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. As a consequence of the total siege imposed on the Gaza Strip, at least 73 percent of the families in the Gaza Strip live below the poverty line, and unemployment has been estimated at 55 percent. In addition, the living conditions in the Gaza Strip have further deteriorated with the non-payment of salaries for the public sector for seven months as international donors have frozen aids provided to Palestinians, and Israeli authorities have suspended the transfer of tax revenues to the Palestinian National Authority since March 2006. Moreover, the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip has severely impacted the flow of food, medical supplies and other necessities such as fuel, construction materials and raw materials for various economic sectors.

    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 reporting period, the crossing point was reopened on 15 March, allowing hundreds of travelers to pass both ways. Then it was closed for three consecutive days. The crossing was slated to open for three days (19-21 March). However IOF prevented the European monitors from reaching the crossing on 20 March. Thus it was open only on 19 and 21 March.

  • 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. 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. IOF have prevented 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. Since the beginning of this year, IOF have allowed only 45 patients to travel to hospitals in Israel and the West Bank through the crossing. IOF have also continued to prevent members of the Palestinian Legislative Council representing Hamas from traveling to the West Bank and Jerusalem.

    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. IOF have allowed only 300 traders to pass through the crossing point, whereas they have continued to prevent family visitation to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

    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. The crossing witnessed some easing in restrictions after the first three months of hermetic closure. It was partially opened on a number of occasions. During the reporting period, the crossing was completely closed on 21 March 2007 for imports and exports. And on 18 March 2007, it was closed for exports. The remaining days witnessed activity in the crossing daily from 9:00 till 17:00. It is noted that this time is not sufficient to allow all imports or exports to pass through. The daily average number of trucks brought through the crossing was 500 trucks containing construction materials and food stuffs. The daily average of export trucks was 50 containing citrus fruits, vegetables, and flowers.

    Nahal Oz Crossing

    This crossing is designed for the entry of fuels. IOF allow the entry of limited amounts of fuels into the Gaza Strip, which do not meet the needs of its population. During the reporting period, IOF completely closed the crossing on 20 and 21 March. And on 16 March, IOF hindered the flow of benzene and kerosene. And on 19 March, IOF prevented to flow of benzene.

    Sofa Crossing

    During the reporting period, the crossing remained closed from the Palestinian side in protest of an attack on the crossing’s director by unknown gunmen. In addition, IOF have continued to close Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing, southeast of Rafah.

    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.

    Nablus

    IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. On Thursday, 15 March 2007, IOF soldiers positioned at Beit Eiba checkpoint, west of Nablus, and Hawara checkpoint, south of the city, imposed additional restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. They conducted prolonged and humiliating checking on Palestinian civilians, forcing them to pass through electronic gates. And in the evening of the same day, IOF troops stationed at Jeet checkpoint imposed repressive search procedures against civilians. PCHR’s West Bank Coordinator waited nearly three hours before passing through, and underwent thorough and slow search procedures. And on Saturday, 17 Saturday 2007, IOF closed the Bathan checkpoint. Vehicles were allowed to pass later after undergoing strict search procedures.

    And on Sunday, 18 March 2007, IOF closed the northeast entrance of Nablus by imposing strict and slow search procudes on the Bathan and Beit Eiba checkpoints. On the Beit Eiba checkpoint, IOF prevented movement at approximately 11:00 and ordered Palestinians to stay away at least 500 meters, claiming to have detained a child carrying explosives. Some people moved away, and others went towards the checkpoint. IOF fired sound bombs at them. Two people were injured: Qasem Khader As’ad Hamdan (59), from Kufr Qadoom east of Qalqilya, was injured by a sound bomb in the left leg; and Ali Zeyad Ribhi Shuman (17), from Tulkarm, injured by a sound bomb in his right leg. Hamdan gave the following testimony to PCHR’s fieldworker:

    At approximately 11:00 on Sunday, 18 March 2007, IOF troops at Beit Eiba checkpoint closed it in both directions. They ordered Palestinians who want to pass through to stand no less than 500 meters away. The troops claimed to have found a Palestinian carrying explosives that they want to detonate. I did not notice anything suspicious at the checkpoint; and IOF did not detonate anything. A few minutes later, people started going back to the checkpoint from the eastern end. IOF tried to force them back and threw sound bombs at them. One of the bombs fell behind me in my coffee stand that is 150 meters away from the checkpoint. I was injured in the left leg. I was taken to Rafedia Hospital for treatment from burns and a deep gash behind the knee.
    Also on Sunday, 18 March 2007, IOF troops at Huwara checkpoint savagely beat Mohammad Riyad Issa El-Jabali. They concentrated the beating on his testicles. He was taken to hospital for treatment, where part of his right testicle was extirpated. He gave the following testimony to PCHR’s fieldworker:
    At approximately 11:00 on Sunday, 18 March 2007, I reached the Huwara checkpoint from El-Najah University in Nablus. I was standing in line for nearly half an hour. I looked to the east and saw a soldier standing in front of the queue line for females. He asked my why I called him “black.” I denied that I called him that. Then I was taken to the inspection room, where five soldiers accused me of calling the soldier black. The soldier who made the first accusation hit me in the testicles. Then he left and came back with another soldier; and they started beating me all over the body. They left and came back after 15 minutes. There was a lady from ‘Machsom Watch’ near me. They shouted at her and kicked her out. Then they beat me on the testicles again. I was in great pain. The soldiers left me to talk on the phone. I called him and told him that I was in great pain. The “Machsom Watch” lady came near. They kicked the lady out, and beat me again. After an hour and half I was released. I went to a taxi that took me to a private hospital in Nablus. I underwent an operation, and doctors told me that they extirpated part of my right testicle and blood clots.
    Tulkarm

    IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. On Thursday, 15 March 2007, IOF soldiers positioned at Wad al-Teen checkpoint, south of Tulkarm, obstructed the passage of Palestinian civilian vehicles to and from the town. On Friday, 16 March 2007, IOF soldiers positioned at Wad al-Teen checkpoint, south of Tulkarm, imposed additional restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. They stopped and searched Palestinian civilian vehicles, including the use of police dogs. On Monday, 19 March 2007, IOF troops stationed at Ennab checkpoint imposed additional movement restrictions, and prevented dozens of residents of El-Kufreyyat area from going to the city.

    Qalqilya

    IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. During the reporting period, they repeatedly closed the two main entrances of the town. On Saturday, 17 March 2007, IOF erected two checkpoints on the eastern entrance of the city and on the entrance of Hebla tunnel. They prevented Israeli vehicles from reaching the city. It is noted that Palestinians from Israel come to shop in Qalqilya every Saturday due to the cheaper prices compared with Israel.

    Jenin

    IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. On Saturday morning, 17 March 2007, IOF soldiers erected a checkpoint on Martyrs Triangle in the Jenin-Nablus road and another checkpoint between the towns of Oraba and Fahma on the same road. A third checkpoint was erected on the road between Jenin and the Arab American University. IOF troops hindered movement of vehicles on all checkpoints. And on Sunday, 18 March 2007, IOF erected four checkpoints on the Jenin-Nablus road, and subjected Palestinian vehicles to search procedures. And on Monday, 19 March 2007, IOF erected a checkpoint at the entrance of Oqaba on the Jenin-Toubas road. They hindered civilian movement, especially during the morning traffic rush of employees and students.

    Hebron

    IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians inside and around Hebron. During the reporting period, IOF restrictions on movement of Palestinians barred thousands of civilians from accessing the mosques, markets, and residential areas in the old city of Hebron. The restrictions were most severe on Friday and Saturday (16, 17 March), when IOF only allowed the elderly to pray at the Ibrahimi Mosque. IOF troops on all checkpoints leading to the mosque used inhumane and humiliating search and detention procedures against civilians, including women and children. And in the early morning of Sunday, 18 March 2007, IOF erected a number of checkpoints in the western part of the town of Yatta, south of Hebron. They conducted prolonged and humiliating checking on Palestinian civilians and vehicles. And on Monday, 19 March 2007, IOF troops stationed in the vicinity of Tarqoumia crossing, northwest of Hebron, fired at Palestinian workers heading to work in a nearby construction site. Two workers from Beit Ola were injured. They were detained and transferred to an Israeli hospital. The workers are:

    1. Hosni Hasan Mohammad Tafish (22), injured by a bullet in the leg; and
    2. Shams Abdel Hamid Ahmad El-Maqousi (27), injured by a bullet in the leg.

    Bethlehem

    On Thursday, 15 March 2007, IOF troops stationed at a checkpoint in El-Nashash area on the southern entrance of El-Khader (west of Bethlehem) detained Mohammad Khalil Ma’ali (22) from the nearby town of Doha. And in the morning of Saturday, 17 March 2007, IOF erected a checkpoint on the Wadi El-Neis intersection and another checkpoint on the Za’tara intersection to the south of Bethlehem. They conducted prolonged and humiliating checking on Palestinian civilians and vehicles. And at approximately 16:00 on Sunday, 18 March 2007, IOF erected a checkpoint on the Menya-Taqou’ intersection, and conducted prolonged and humiliating checking on Palestinian civilians and vehicles.

    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.

  • After Friday prayers on 16 March 2007, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli solidarity activists demonstrated in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah in protest to the construction of the Wall. The demonstrators moved towards the gate established by IOF at the Wall and attempted to open it. Immediately, IOF soldiers fired rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the demonstrators, and violently beat them. As a result, eight demonstrators, including five children, were injured. Four others were detained, including two Israeli activists. The injured are:
    1. Odeh Ribhi Abu Rahma (17), injured by a rubber-coated metal bullet in the thigh;
    2. Hamza Suliman Yassin Bornat (14), injured by a tear gas grenade in the abdomen;
    3. Abdel Qadir Mohammad Abu Rahma (13), injured by a rubber-coated metal bullet in the hand;
    4. Mohammad Nabil Ahmd Abu Rahma (14), injured by a rubber-coated metal bullet in the leg;
    5. Mustafa Jamil Abu Rahma (15), injured by a rubber-coated metal bullet in the back;
    6. Fadi Mohammad Ali Naser (22), injured by a rubber-coated metal bullet in the head;
    7. Ahmad Mohammad Hasan Hamad (35), injured by a rubber-coated metal bullet in the leg; and
    8. Kayed Khalil Abu Rahma (20), injured by a tear gas grenade in the leg.

    The detainees are:

    1. Shai Pollack, Israeli activist;
    2. Kobi, Israeli activist;
    3. Rateb Mahmoud Abu Rahma
    4. Mohammad Abdel Karim El-Khatib

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

  • In the morning of Tuesday, 21 March 2007, Israeli police and border guards accompanied a bulldozer that demolished the house of the late Mohammad Hanak in Sheikh Jarrah Quarter in occupied Jerusalem. The one-storey house was demolished under the pretext that it was not licensed.
  • On Tuesday, 20 March 2007, IOF moved into the village of Jeet, east of Qalqilya and demolished the two-storey house belonging to Bassam Mousa Yamen.
  • At approximately 7:30 on Tuesday, 20 March 2007, IOF demolished the house belonging to Ahmad Ibrahim Hasan Abu Yusef in the town of Halhoul, north of Hebron. The Halhoul Mayor informed PCHR’s fieldworker that IOF moved into the town at approximately 6:30 in the morning and surrounded the targeted house. The house was leveled to the ground within an hour under the pretext that it was not licensed. The house is one of three that received demolition notices six months ago. A case on the issue is still under consideration in the Israeli High Court. It is noted that the houses are located more than 400 meters away from Road 60 (a settler bypass road that passes close to Halhoul).
  • On Friday, 16 March 2006, settlers in the Havat Ma’on settlement outpost, to the east of Yatta in southern Hebron, razed 10 dunums of agricultural land planted with winter harvest. The land is situated approximately one kilometer from the settlement outpost. The razing and destruction of harvest was perpetrated under watch of IOF troops guarding the settlers. This attack is part of continuous assault by the settlers aiming to take over the land of Hussein Dawoud Harieni.
  • At approximately 15:20 on Monday, 19 March 2007, settlers from Kiryat Arba, southeast of Hebron, besieged El-Ras Mosque to the west of the settlement. At gunpoint, they prevented worshippers from entering the mosque for hours. IOF guarding the settlers did not intervene to stop the attack.
  • In the evening of Monday, 19 March 2007, settlers from Kiryat Arba attacked a residential building in the El-Ras Quarter near Wadi El-Nasara junction southwest of the settlement. They took over the building. PCHR’s preliminary investigation indicates that at approximately 16:00, a group of about 50 settlers under IOF protection stormed a four-story residential building under construction. They brought in furniture, mattresses, water tanks, and food. They also raised the Israeli flag over the building. A number of high-ranking Israeli officers were present on the scene. IOF informed the TIPH in Hebron that the settlers claim to have bought the building. When TIPH asked to see the purchase documents, their request was denied. It is noted that the house belongs to Mohammad Fayez El-Rigbi, who denied the settler allegations.

    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 calls for the immediately implementation of the Advisory Opinion issued by the International Court of Justice, which considers the construction of the Annexation Wall inside the West Bank illegal.

    5. 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.

    6. PCHR calls upon the European Union to activate Article two 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.

    7. 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.

    8. 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.

    9. 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.

    10. PCHR calls upon the international community to pressure Israel to lift the severe restrictions imposed by the Israeli government and its occupation forces on access for international organizations to the OPT.

    11. 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.

    Related Links

  • Palestinian Centre for Human Rights