According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR)'s Weekly Report, during the week of 10- 16 January 2008, 22 Palestinians were killed and 51 were injured by the Israeli military.8 of the victims were civilians, including 2 brothers, a child and an elderly man. 17 of the victims were killed during an Israeli incursion into the east of Gaza City. 7 of the victims were extra-judicially executed by Israeli forces.
51 Palestinians, including 3 elderly men, a woman and 2 brothers, were wounded by Israeli gunfire this past week.
Israeli attacks in the West Bank:
Israeli forces conducted 22 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank during the last week.
Troops abducted 50 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children. Since the beginning of 2008, Israeli forces have arrested 147 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. During the reporting period, Israeli forces also transformed 5 houses into military sites.
In addition, Israeli forces transformed 5 houses in Nablus and Qabatia into military sites during invasions of those two cities.
Israeli forces have imposed a tightened siege on the West Bank. Israeli forces have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians inside and around the towns of Hebron, in the southern West Bank, Nablus, in the northern West Bank, and Tulkarem, in the northern West Bank.
On Thursday, 10 January, Israeli forces closed Wad al-Teen checkpoint, south of Tulkarm, until 09:00. On Saturday, 12 January, Israeli forces positioned at Ennab checkpoint, east of Tulkarm, conducted prolonged checking of Palestinian civilians. On Saturday morning, 12 January, Israeli troops positioned at Beit Eiba checkpoint, west of Nablus, and Za’tara checkpoint, south of the city, conducted prolonged checking of Palestinian civilians. On Sunday morning, 13 January, Israeli forces positioned at Za’tara checkpoint, south of Nablus, conducted prolonged checking of Palestinian civilians. Additionally, Israeli troops positioned at Hawara checkpoint, south of Nablus, violently assaulted Palestinian civilians who were waiting to pass through the checkpoint. A number of civilians sustained bruises. On Monday morning, 14 January, Israeli troops positioned at various checkpoints around the city imposed additional restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians.
On Wednesday morning, 16 January, Israeli forces imposed a curfew on the center of Hebron, following clashes with Palestinian civilians who were protesting Israeli attacks against the Gaza Strip.
Also on Wednesday, 16 January, Israeli forces moved into Qabatya village, southeast of Jenin. They besieged a 2-story house belonging to ‘Alaa’ Mahmoud Ekmayel in the east of the village. They also raided 3 neighboring houses, and transformed them into military sites.
Israeli settlement activities:
Israeli forces have continued settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attacks Palestinian civilians and property.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces started construction of a settlement that would include 66 housing units for Israeli settlers in the Ras al-‘Aamoud neighborhood in East Jerusalem. According to the Israeli daily newspaper, Haaretz, the project obtained its license from the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem.
On 12 January, dozens of Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian civilians and property in Hebron. Twelve Palestinian civilians were wounded, and Israeli forces arrested 4 of them.
On 15 January, Israeli forces razed at least 40 donums of agricultural land planted with olive and almond trees, and destroyed 6 wells and a number of fences and roads in Beit Oula village near Hebron.
At approximately 12:30 also on Tuesday January 15th, a number of Israeli settlers from “Beit Hadassa” settlement outpost in the center of Hebron threw Molotov Cocktails in the bathroom and the kitchen of a house belonging to Nabeel ‘Abdul Qader Seder, in which 9 people live. Fire broke out in the house, but neighbors were able to extinguish it. Israeli forces then besieged the area and abducted 2 of the owner’s sons for several hours.
Israeli Annexation Wall:
Israeli forces have continued to construct the Annexation Wall inside West Bank territory.
On 11 January, a Palestinian civilian was wounded when Israeli forces used force to disperse a peaceful demonstration organized in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall in Bil’in village, west of Ramallah. Israeli forces had placed barbwire in the area to prevent the demonstrators from reaching the Wall. The demonstrators attempted to move forward. Immediately, Israeli forces fired rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the demonstrators, and violently beat them. As a result, ‘Abdullah Mohammed Abu Rahma, 37, was wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the head.
Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip:
In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces killed 26 Palestinians, and wounded 44 others during the last week.
On 13 January, Israeli forces extra-judicially executed 2 Palestinians and wounded a third. On the same day, Israeli forces shelled a site of the ‘Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades (the armed wing of Hamas), killing 2 members at the site and wounding a third.
On 15 January, Israeli forces killed 17 Palestinians, including 5 civilians, and wounded 30 others, including a woman, during an incursion into the east of Gaza City, which lasted for 4 hours.
In one of the attacks on Tuesday, 15 January 2008, Israeli military vehicles moved nearly 3,000 meters into Palestinian areas around Malaqa Square, which lies between al-Shojaeya and al-Zaytoun neighborhoods in the east of Gaza City. Israeli forces then indiscriminately opened fire at anything that moved within the area. A number of fighters from the Palestinian resistance clashed with Israeli forces, and the Israeli forces responded by firing tank shells. As a result, 5 Palestinian fighters were killed.
On 16 January, 3 Palestinian civilians (a man, his child and his brother) were killed when an Israeli forces aircraft fired a missile at their car. On the same day, Israeli forces extra-judicially executed 2 Palestinians in the central Gaza Strip. Israeli military spokesmen called the missile strike a 'mistake'.
In addition, Israeli forces wounded 6 members of the Palestinian resistance in the northern Gaza Strip on 15 and 16 January. On 15 January, a Palestinian farmer was wounded by the Israeli gunfire in al-Qarara village, east of Khan Yunis. On 16 January, an elderly man was wounded in Jabalya town in the northern Gaza Strip, when an Israeli aircraft fired a missile at a tract of agricultural land.
As previously noted, Israeli forces have continued to close all border crossings to the Gaza Strip for almost eighteen months continuously, with dire consequences for the civilian population of Gaza. Rafah International Crossing Point on the Egyptian border is the only crossing from the Gaza Strip to a country other than Israel. Israeli forces have closed Rafah International Crossing Point, even though they do not directly control the Crossing Point. The Israeli forces have also prevented European Union observers working at the crossing from reaching it. Rafah International Crossing Point has subsequently been closed since 25 June 2006.
The PCHR made a number of recommendations based on the high number of Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights this week.
The PCHR called 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 Occupied Palestinian Territories and to provide immediate protection for Palestinian civilians.
The PCHR also called 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.