Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Continue to Commit War Crimes in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)
Israeli violations of international law and humanitarian law continued in the OPT during the reporting period (22 - 28 March 2007):
On 27 March 2007, IOF killed two Palestinian resistance activists in Nablus when they attempted to resist an incursion into the city. IOF prevented an ambulance from reaching one of them who was moderately injured. As a result, he bled to death. And on Wednesday, 28 March 2007, IOF killed another resistance activist in Jenin refugee camp when he tried to resist an incursion.
IOF injured 10 Palestinians in the OPT. On 22 March 2007, IOF injured a civilian scavenging for scrap metal in the northern Gaza Strip. On 23 March 2007 IOF used excessive force against demonstrators in the village of Bal’ein, west of Ramallah, and injured four by rubber-coated metal bullets. In addition, IOF injured a child scavenging for scrap metal in the northern Gaza Strip. On 28 March 2007, three children were injured by shrapnel, one of them seriously, in the Gaza Strip when IOF fired a missile that landed near civilians in the beach in the north of the Gaza Strip.
During the reporting period, IOF conducted at least 21 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the OPT. During those incursions, IOF arrested 37 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 amounted to 831. 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.
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 for two days (26, 27 March 2007) … 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. During the reporting period, IOF closed al-Mentar crossing on 21 March 2007 most of the 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. 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 freely for more than nine 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. During the reporting period, IOF detained eight Palestinians, including a teenage girl, at various checkpoints in the West Bank.
In his visit to the OPT, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon expressed his shock at the living conditions of Palestinians. He promised to work towards the implementation of international decisions regarding settlement activity and the Annexation Wall. He also criticized the policy of checkpoints, nearly 550 of them, in the West Bank, and the isolation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The UN Secretary-General also criticized the humiliating treatment of UN staff by IOF on roadblocks and checkpoints.
Construction of the Annexation Wall:
On 25 March 2007, IOF issued a military order confiscating 79.6 dunums of land in the villages of Azzoun and Jayyous, near Qalqilya. And on 27 March 2007, IOF bulldozers started leveling 10 dunums of land in Wadi Rahal village, south of Bethlehem, to prepare for the construction of new sections of the Wall in the area.
During the reporting period, the body of a Palestinian sheep herder was found near the settlement of Itamar, near Nablus. The herder was stabbed to death in an area inaccessible by Palestinians due to IOF and settlement guard action. In addition, IOF demolished two Palestinian houses in Khirbit Beit Eskarya near Bethlehem. IOF also confiscated 10 dunums of land in the town of Bal’a to the northeast of Tulkarm. And on 26 March 2007, hundreds of settlers under IOF guard returned to the evacuated settlement of “Homesh” and set up tents there. IOF continues to close off the area and provide protection for the settlers. Two Palestinian boys were severely beaten by settlers in Hebron. The incidents took place under IOF guardianship.
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, 22 March 2007
1. Osama Ayed Deireya (29)
2. Jihad Mohammad Ballo (22)
3. Mohammad Hussein Taqatqa (21)
4. Ibrahim Mohammad Thawabta (22)
5. Hani Mohammad Odeh (32)
1. Montasir Fayez El-Jamal (17)Friday, 23 March 2007
2. Mohammad Abdel Rahim Taha Abu Sneina (16)
3. Mohammad Badawi El-Jamal (15)
4. Adel Awni Abu Meyala (18)
5. Musab Roshdi El-Atrash (16)
6. Qosai Abed Abu Rmouz (16)
Saturday, 24 March 2007
Sunday, 25 March 2007
Tuesday, 27 March 2007
1. Ala’ Zeyad El-Ghalieth (22) was injured by a bullet in the left buttock. He was left to bleed to death for an hour and a half.
2. Mohannad Bassam Mariesh (21) was killed by a bullet to the head.
Wednesday, 28 March 2007
1. Amjad Sa’id Jawabra (20)
2. Shadi Ibrahim Athamna (18)
1. Samir Mohammad Abu Athba (20)
2. Sa’id Mohammad Abdel Karim Ju’eidi (25)
3. Abdel Naser Arafa El-Rabi (23)
4. Sa’id Marwan Omar Theyab (26)
5. Omar Marwan Omar Theyab (27)
6. Ahmad Hasan El-Samman (22)
7. Samman Hasan El-Samman (24)
8. Saleh Mesleh Dawoud Bakir (21)
9. Ahmad Ali Bakir (19)
10. Shadi Bilal Hourani (20)
11. Musab Hasan Abu Olba (20)
12. Ahmad Hasanein Abu Sneifa (23)
13. Saleh Ibrahim Suyani (23)
14. Mahmoud Tariq El-Kharouf (18)
15. Ibrahim Husam Ateyya (18)
16. Tariq Husam Ateyya (20)
17. Hosni Sharif El-Neis (21)
18. Ali Abed Yousef Shreim (22)
1. Sa’id Saber Abu Warda (17), injured by shrapnel in different parts of his body2. Continued Siege on the OPT
2. Ibrahim Adham Abu Warda (16), injured by shrapnel in the abdomen and legs
3. Sa’ad Farid Ahmad Abu Warda (16), injured by shrapnel in different parts of his body
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 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 Monday (26 March) from 9:00 - 17:00, allowing an estimated 685 travelers to leave and 830 to return to the Strip. On Tuesday (27 March), the crossing was opened from 9:00 - 17:00, allowing an estimated 956 travelers to leave and 829 to return.
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 partially closed on Sunday (25 March) from the morning till 14:00 for “security reasons.” As a result, import trucks for the day declined to 394, and exports to only 30. On Monday (26 March), drivers in the crossing went on a partial strike from 9:00 - 12:00 to protest an attempt by an Israeli company to monopolize transportation inside the crossing. On Tuesday, the crossing worked from 9:30 - 17:30, with 65 trucks exported and 55 imported for the day.
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 allowed significant quantities of fuel to enter the Strip without preventing any cargo. And on Tuesday (27 March), IOF allowed 601 tons of natural gas to enter, noted that the standard daily quota is approximately 300 tons.
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. Sofa crossing was opened only for one day on Thursday (22 March) from 8:00 - 15:00. 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.
IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. This week, IOF imposed new restrictions in the Rief el-Gharbi area after hundreds of settlers returned to the evacuated settlement of Homesh.
On Thursday, 22 March 2007, IOF troops on the Bathan checkpoint imposed additional restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. They forced them to wait in long queues under the pretext of checking their IDs.
On Saturday, 24 March 2007, IOF erected a checkpoint near Eskaka village, south of Nablus. They detained tens of vehicles, checked passenger IDs, and searched the vehicles. And in the evening of the same day, IOF erected checkpoints on Deir Esteya intersection, Qarawit Bani Hasan entrance, and between the towns of Mas’ha and El-Zawya. They detained hundreds of vehicles in long queues, checked passenger IDs, and searched the vehicles.
On Sunday, 25 March 2007, IOF started bulldozing operations along the boundaries of Sahel Deir Sharaf area, west of Nablus, with the intention of preventing Palestinian vehicles from passing through this plain. Residents of Jenin and Rief Shamali areas use this area.
On Monday, 26 March 2007, IOF erected a checkpoint on the Nablus-Tulkarm road, near the intersection leading to the Shavi Shamron settlement. Tens of Palestinian vehicles were detained, under the pretext of “security check.” In addition, IOF erected checkpoints in the Rief El-Gharbi area to protect the return of hundreds of settlers to the evacuated settlement of Homesh, northwest of Nablus. As a result, Palestinians were barred from accessing the Nablus-Jenin road in the area between Deir Sharaf near Nablus and Sielet El-Thaher near Jenin. The ban continued till the end of the week.
On Tuesday, 27 March 2007, IOF troops stationed at the Beit Foriek checkpoint imposed additional restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. They prevented commercial vehicles from passing through, except after getting a special permit from IOF command.
At approximately 9:30 on Friday, 23 March 2007, IOF troops stationed at the Bathan checkpoint detained Qosai Ibrahim Sawafta (22) and Mohammad Jum’a Abu Gharib (23). Both are from Toubas, near Jenin.
On Saturday, 24 March 2007, IOF troops stationed at Beit Eiba checkpoint, west of Nablus, detained Ala Abdallah El-Aswad (20). He is from the village of El-Lubad near Tulkarm, and was on his way home from al-Najah University in Nablus.
On Tuesday, 27 March 2007, IOF troops at Huwara checkpoint, south of Nablus, detained a Palestinian whose identity has not been ascertained till the time of publication. IOF claimed to have found a home made hand grenade with him. The bomb was detonated; and he was transferred to Israeli security for interrogation.
IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. On Thursday, 22 March 2007, IOF erected a checkpoint at the eastern entrance of Nour Shams refugee camp, east of Tulkarm. They detained tens of vehicles, and imposed slow and humiliating search procedures against passengers and vehicles. In addition, IOF troops stationed at Ennab checkpoint detained all Palestinians under 35 years of age, and forced prevented them from passing through. Youth who attempted to bypass the checkpoint were pursued and beaten before being returned to where they came from.
On Saturday, 24 March 2007, IOF erected checkpoints at the Faroun village intersection and entrance of the village of Beit Leed. They subjected civilians passing to and from Tulkarm to additional restrictions, and prevented many from passing through.
On Sunday, 25 March 2007, IOF erected a checkpoint at the entrance of El-Ras village. They imposed strict and humiliating search procedures against civilians, including the use of police dogs.
At approximately 6:00 on Monday, 26 March 2007, IOF closed the Wadi El-Teen checkpoint, and prevented civilians from passing through. Youth who attempted to bypass the checkpoint were detained for hours.
IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. On Sunday, 25 March 2007, IOF imposed additional restrictions on Palestinian civilians in the upper Jordan Valley, and prevented people from entering or leaving the area. Troops stationed at Tayaseer checkpoint east of Toubas prevented passage both ways.
On Monday, 26 March 2007, IOF erected a checkpoint on the road between the villages of Oqaba and El-Kafeer on the Toubas-Jenin road. The troops detained many vehicles and subjected passengers to strict search procedures. In addition, IOF troops on the Tayaseer and El-Hamra checkpoint prevented the passage of trucks carrying livestock from passing through to the Jordan Valley, demanding that drivers bring special permits from IOF command.
On Monday, 26 March 2007, IOF troops at El-Hamra checkpoint detained a Palestinians, whose identity has not been ascertained till the time of publication.
IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians inside and around Hebron. On Thursday (22 March) and Saturday (24 March), IOF troops deployed in Hebron prevented the calls for prayer for the afternoon (Aser) and evening (Esha) prayers in the Ibrahimi Mosque for “security reasons.” In addition, IOF troops subjected school children on visits to the Mosque to humiliating searches on the checkpoints and gates leading to it.
On Sunday, 25 March 2007, IOF troops in Hebron prevented renovations in the Zahed area in the old city. In addition, IOF prevented construction materials from reaching the Qantaret El-Shaloudi area in the old city. And at approximately 8:30, IOF erected a checkpoint on the northern entrance of Hebron, and subjected vehicles and passengers to security checks.
At approximately 10:00 on Monday, 26 March 2007, IOF patrols in Hebron stopped vehicles and pedestrians, subjected them to humiliating security searches.
At approximately 14:00 on Thursday, 22 March 2007, IOF erected a checkpoint at the eastern entrance of Sourif, north of Hebron, and arrested Ibrahim Awad El-Heih (25). On the same day, IOF troops in the Ibrahimi Mosque Street in the old city of Hebron detained and severely beat three Palestinians:
1. Ibrahim Khaled Abu Subeih (25)Qalqilya:
2. Mahmoud Ayed Abu Subeih (22)
3. Ala Ishaq El-Nijma (26)
At approximately 16:00, IOF troops stationed at an iron gate on the Annexation Wall north of the village of Jayyous (north of Qalqilya) detained Murad Abdel Qadir Abdel Jaber Khaled (32). He was on his way back home from his farm beyond the Wall.
On Tuesday, 27 March 2007, IOF troops on the checkpoint between Bethlehem and Jerusalem detained a 15-year-old Palestinian girl from Bethlehem. IOF claimed to find a knife with the girl, and that she planned to stab a soldier.
3. Construction of the Annexation Wall
IOF have continued to construct the Annexation Wall inside West Bank territory. During the reporting period, IOF issued military orders confiscating additional Palestinian civilian property for the purpose of the Wall. In addition, 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. Mohammad Ahmad Issa Yassin (17), injured by a rubber-coated metal bullet in the thighFour others were injured by beating:
2. Basem Ahmad Issa Yassin (29), injured by a rubber-coated metal bullet in the leg
3. Ashraf Mohammad Jamal El-Khatib (25), injured by a rubber-coated metal bullet in the thigh
4. Wajdi Shawkat El-Khatib (19), injured by a rubber-coated metal bullet in the leg
1. Mohammad Abdel Karim El-Khatib (32)
2. Ayed Abdel Rahman Burnat (28)
3. Mustafa Abdel Karim El-Khatib (45)
4. Anna Maria (50), a Danish activist.
4. 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 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 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.
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.