According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR)'s Weekly Report, during the week of 17 – 23 January 2008, 22 Palestinians were killed and 71 were injured by the Israeli military.Of the 22 killed, 3 died of injuries sustained earlier. 7 of the victims, including 2 women, were extra-judicially executed by Israeli forces.
In addition, according to the PCHR Report, Israeli forces transformed a wedding party in Gaza into a tragedy when they killed the bridegroom’s aunt.
Of those injured this week, 24 are children and 3 are women.
Israeli attacks in the West Bank:
Israeli forces conducted 33 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank during the reporting period, and abducted 58 Palestinian civilians, including 7 children.
On 18 January 2008, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian and wounded 2 others, including a child, in Balata refugee camp, east of Nablus. They besieged a house belonging to ‘Ali Mohammed al-Qar’ani. They opened fire at the house and ordered its residents through megaphones to get out. The residents gout out and Israeli forces troops interrogated them. A child, 3-year-old Mohammed ‘Ali al-Qar’ani, was wounded by shrapnel from gunfire. A number of fighters with the Palestinian resistance clashed with Israeli forces. During the exchange of fire, an activist, Ahmed Mohammed Snaqa, 21, was killed by 7 gunshots to the head, the chest and the left leg. Another one, Mahmoud Mohammed Shattawi, 20, was wounded by a gunshot to the leg. Before their withdrawal from the camp, Israeli forces troops abducted 4 Palestinian civilians.
On 20 January 2008, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian during an incursion into Thinnaba suburb, east of Tulkarem, and wounded a civilian in al-Shyoukh village, northeast of Hebron.
On 23 January 2008, a Palestinian civilian from Nablus died from a previous wound. Additionally, 3 Palestinian civilians were wounded when Israeli forces used force to disperse a peaceful demonstration organized in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah.
Israeli settlement activities:
Israeli forces have continued settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attacks Palestinian civilians and property.
At approximately 12:30 on Saturday, 19 January 2008, dozens of Israeli settlers from “Kiryat Arba” and “Kharsina” settlements, southeast of Hebron, launched a series of attacks against Palestinian civilians and property in Wadi al-Nasara, Wad al-Hussain and al-Ras neighborhoods in the southeast of Hebron. The settlers used in their attacks stones and sticks. Israeli forces troops present in the area did not intervene to stop such attacks. Four Palestinian women sustained bruises.
Israeli Annexation Wall:
Israeli forces have continued to construct the Annexation Wall inside West Bank territory.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces used force against peaceful demonstrations organized by Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders in protest to the construction of the Wall in Bil’in village, west of Ramallah, and Zabbouba village, west of Jenin.
Following the Friday Prayer on 18 January 2008, scores of Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders demonstrated in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah, in protest of the construction of the Wall. Israeli forces troops had placed barbwires in the area to prevent the demonstrators from reaching the Wall. The demonstrators attempted to move forward. Immediately, Israeli forces troops fired rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the demonstrators, and violently beat them. As a result, 3 Palestinian civilians were wounded.
At approximately 14:00 on Saturday, 19 January 2008, scores of Palestinian civilians organized a peaceful demonstration near the Annexation Wall in Zabbouba village, west of Jenin. Israeli forces troops positioned in the area fired tear gas canisters at the demonstrators and chased them into the village. Hamama Namiq Sha’abna, 70, suffered from tear gas inhalation as a tear gas canister fell onto her house. Israeli forces troops also abducted 3 Palestinian civilians.
Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip:
Israeli forces conducted 5 incursions into the Gaza Strip, during which they abducted 32 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children.
In one such invasion, on January 22nd, Israeli forces moved nearly 1,500 meters into al-Shouka village, east of Rafah. A number of fighters with the Palestinian resistance clashed with Israeli forces. During the exchange of fire, Israeli forces killed an activist, 25-year-old Yahia Suleiman al-Bayouk, with a gunshot to the head.
Israeli forces have continued to close all border crossings of the Gaza Strip for nearly 18 months. The total siege imposed by Israeli forces 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. During the reporting period, Israeli forces cut off food and fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces committed 4 extra-judicial executions in the Gaza Strip, which killed 7 Palestinians, including 3 civilian bystanders, and wounded 3 others, including 2 civilian bystanders.
In one instance, at approximately 13.20 on Thursday, 17 January 2008, an Israeli plane fired two missiles at a civilian vehicle near Sheikh Zayed intersection in Beit Lahia town in the northern Gaza Strip. The vehicle was directly hit, and its two occupants were killed immediately. They were identified as 30-year-old Ra’ad Shihda Abu Fuol, a member of the al-Quds Brigades (the armed wing of Islamic Jihad), and his 35-year-old female civilian neighbor, Fatheya Yusef al-Hassoumi.
Recommendations to the International Community
Based on the number and severity of violations documented this past week, the 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.