Palestinian Centre  for Human Rights’ weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory (12-18 Feb 09).

19 Feb 09 | Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Continue Systematic Attacks against Palestinian Civilians and Property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and Continue to Impose a Total Siege on the Gaza Strip

  • Three Palestinians, including two children, were killed by IOF in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
  • Fifteen Palestinians, mostly civilians, including 6 children and one woman, were injured by IOF gunfire in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
  • IOF warplanes bombarded targets in the Gaza Strip.
  • A workshop was destroyed in the northern Gaza Strip.
  • A police station in Khan Yunis was repeatedly bombarded.
  • Intensive air strikes continued on the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, resulting in local civilians being forced to evacuate the area.
  • IOF conducted 43 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank.
  • IOF arrested 82 Palestinian civilians, including seventeen children and one woman.
  • IOF raided and damaged the contents of a radio station in Hebron.
  • IOF closed a charity in Tulkarm.
  • IOF have continued to impose a total siege on the OPT and have isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world.
  • IOF have continued settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.
  • IOF confiscated 1,700 donumms[1] of Palestinian land in Bethlehem in order to construct 2,500 new housing units for Israeli settlers.
  • IOF uprooted at least 20 olive trees in Ne’lin village, west of Ramallah.
  • IOF and Israeli settlers began construction of a new road for Israeli settlers south of Hebron.

Summary

Israeli violations of international law and humanitarian law continued in the OPT during the reporting period (12 – 18 February 2009):

Shooting: During the reporting period, IOF killed three Palestinians, including two children, and wounded 15 others, including six children, in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

In the Gaza Strip, on 13 February, IOF extra-judicially executed a Palestinian and wounded another one in ‘Abassan village, east of Khan Yunis, when an IOF drone fired a missile at them while they were riding a motorcycle.

On 14 February, IOF shot dead a Palestinian child while he was herding animals in the east of Jabalia town in the northern Gaza Strip.

On 12 February, 11 Palestinian civilians, including six children and one woman, were injured when IOF warplanes bombarded a store of woods in Jabalia refugee camp.

During the reporting period, IOF warplanes launched a series of air strikes on the Egyptian border, south of Rafah, allegedly to destroy tunnels.

On 18 February, a Palestinian farmer was injured in Khan Yunis, when IOF troops fired at farmers and members of the International Solidarity Movement.

In the West Bank, on 13 February, a Palestinian child was killed when IOF fired at a peaceful demonstration organized by Palestinian civilians in Hebron.

During the reporting period, two Palestinian civilians were injured when IOF used force against peaceful demonstrations organized in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall.

Incursions: During the reporting period, IOF conducted at least 43 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. IOF arrested 82 Palestinian civilians, including 17 children and one woman. IOF also stormed offices of the al-Yamama Radio in Hebron and damaged some of the contents. In addition, IOF ordered closure of Bayariq Charity in Tulkarm on the West Bank, which provides support to at least 1,450 orphans.

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 continued to close all border crossings to the Gaza Strip for more than two years. The IOF siege of Gaza, which has steadily tightened since June 2007, has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the Gaza Strip.

  • 1.5 million people are being denied their basic rights, including freedom of movement, and their rights to appropriate living conditions, work, health and education.
  • The majority of the civilian population lack continual access to safe drinking water.
  • Hundreds of thousands of civilians continue to endue power cuts, which affects their daily quality of life.
  • The Rafah International Crossing Point has been opened for a few days for a limited number of patients who received medical treatment abroad and subsequently needed to return home to the Gaza Strip.
  • IOF have continued to close Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing to Palestinian civilians wishing to travel to the West Bank and Israel for medical treatment, trade or social visits.
  • IOF have imposed additional restrictions on access of international diplomats, journalists and humanitarian workers to the Gaza Strip. They have also prevented representatives of international humanitarian organizations from entering the Gaza Strip in order to assess the humanitarian situation.
  • Health conditions in the Gaza Strip have deteriorated, and all medical facilities are being affected by chronic power shortages.
  • The lives of premature babies continue to be at risk as they depend on medical equipment, such as incubators, that are electrically powered.
  • Standards of living arcoss Gaza have seriously deteriorated, whilst poverty and unemployment levels have sharply increased.
  • At least 900 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails continue to be deprived of all family visits. The visits were first suspended sixteen months ago, in June 2007.

West Bank

IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians throughout the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Thousands of Palestinian civilians from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip continue to be denied access to Jerusalem.

  • IOF have established checkpoints in and around Jerusalem, severely restricting Palestinian access to the city. Civilians are frequently prevented from praying at the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
  • There are approximately permanent 630 roadblocks, manned and unmanned checkpoints across the West Bank. In addition, there are some 60-80 ‘flying’ or temporary checkpoints erected across the West Bank by IOF every week.
  • When complete, the illegal Annexation Wall will stretch for 724 kilometers around the West Bank, further isolating the entire population. 350 kilometers of the Wall has already been constructed. Approximately 99% of the Wall has been constructed inside the West Bank itself, further confiscating Palestinian land.
  • At least 65% of the main roads that leads to 18 Palestinian communities in the West Bank are closed or fully controlled by IOF (47 out of 72 roads).
  • There are around 500 kilometers of restricted roads across the West Bank. In addition, approximately one third of the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, is inaccessible to Palestinians without a permit issued by the IOF. These permits are extremely difficult to obtain.
  • IOF continue to harass, and assault demonstrators who hold peaceful protests against the construction of the Annexation Wall.
  • Palestinian civilians continue to be harassed by IOF in Jerusalem, and across the West Bank, including being regularly stopped and searched in the streets by IOF.

During the reporting period, IOF troops prevented Palestinian farmers from ‘Azzoun ‘Atma village, southeast of Qalqilya, from bringing food items and agricultural materials into the village, as well as from selling their products outside the village. PCHR notes that ‘Azzoun ‘Atma village has been isolated by the Wall since 2003. IOF have also established a military checkpoint at the southern entrance of the village.

Settlement Activities: IOF have continued settlement activities and Israeli settlers living in the OPT have, in violation of international humanitarian law, continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property. On 16 February, IOF uprooted at least 20 olives trees in Ne’lin village, west of Ramallah. On 18 February, IOF and Israeli settlers started to construct a new road for settlers on land belonging to Yatta village, south of Hebron. For this purpose, they leveled areas of Palestinian land near “Carme’el” settlement. During the reporting period, the Israeli Government also decided to confiscate 1,700 donumms of Palestinian land in Bethlehem in order to expand “Efrat” settlement, southwest of Bethlehem. The council of “Gush Etzion” settlement bloc decided to build 2,500 housing units for Israeli settlers on land belonging to Wadi al-Nais, al-Ma’sara and Um Salamouna villages.

Comments
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