According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR)'s Weekly Report, during the week of 14 – 20 February 2008, 6 Palestinians were killed, 2 died from earlier injuries, and 13 were injured by the Israeli military. One of those killed this week was an 11-year old child. Of the injured, one is a woman, and one is a journalist.Israeli attacks in the West Bank:
Israeli forces conducted 23 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank this week. During the invasions, Israeli forces abducted 48 Palestinian civilians.
One patient died because Israeli forces obstructed her access to medical treatment in the West Bank. On 14 February, a Palestinian civilian died from an injury sustained on 7 February during an incursion by Israeli forces into Qabatya village, southeast of Jenin.
On the same day two Palestinian civilians were wounded in ‘Anabta village, east of Tulkarm, when Israeli forces opened fire during an incursion into the village.
A Palestinian journalist was also injured when Israeli forces used force to disperse a peaceful demonstration protesting the construction of the Annexation Wall in Bil’in village, west of Ramallah on February 15th.
Israeli forces have imposed a tightened siege on the West Bank. During the reporting period, Israeli forces imposed additional restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians.
Israeli forces have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. On the evening of Friday, 15 February, Israeli forces erected a checkpoint at Beit ‘Einoun intersection, east of the town of Hebron. On Sunday 17 February, at approximately noon, Israeli forces stopped and checked dozens of Palestinian civilians near the Ibrahimi Mosque. Israeli forces have also continued to close the northwestern entrance of Hebron for the fourth consecutive week.
Israeli forces have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in Nablus, Tulkarem and Jerusalem. On Thursday, 14 February, Israeli forces positioned at various checkpoints around the city imposed additional restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians, by preventing civilians aged 16-35 from passing through checkpoints. In the evening of the same day, Israeli forces closed a number of roads with sand barriers and rocks. On the morning of 16 February 2008, Israeli forces positioned at Za’tara and Hawara checkpoints, south of Nablus, and Beit Eiba checkpoint, west of the city conducted prolonged checking on Palestinian civilians.
Israeli settlement activities:
Israeli Forces have continued settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.
On Sunday morning, 17 February, Israeli forces placed a barbwire fence on the eastern lands of ‘Azzoun village, east of Qalqilya, near Nablus – Qalqilya road. According to local sources, the fence was placed dozens of meters away from the road, which would deprive Palestinian farmers of access to their lands as it would be secured behind the fence. Israeli forces claimed that this measure was taken in order to prevent local Palestinians throwing stones at Israeli vehicles.
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 a peaceful demonstration 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.
Following the Friday Prayer on 15 February 2008, scores of Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders demonstrated in Bil’in village, west of Ramallah, to protest the construction of the Wall. Israeli forces fired rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the demonstrators, and violently assaulted them. As a result, ‘Emad Mohammed Bernat, 36, was wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the chest. Dozens of demonstrators also suffered tear gas inhalation.
Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip:
During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed 6 Palestinians, including a child, in the Gaza Strip. One Palestinian died of wounds sustained earlier.
In the Gaza Strip, on 17 February, Israeli forces killed 5 Palestinians, including 2 civilians, and injured 9 others, including a woman, during an incursion into al-Shouka village, southeast of Rafah. On the same day, a Palestinian resistance activist died from an injury he had sustained on 12 February during armed clashed with Israeli forces who had invaded Wadi al-Salqa village in the central Gaza Strip. On 19 February, Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian child during an incursion into the same village, Wadi al-Salqa.
In one attack, on the 15th of February, Israeli forces positioned at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of Gaza City, launched a surface-to-surface missile at ‘Izbat Bein Hanoun area in the northern Gaza Strip. The missile hit the rooftop of a 400-square-meter house belonging to Hassan Hussein Kalloub, in which 18 people live. The roof, the kitchen and the bathroom were all destroyed, although no casualties were reported. In addition, nine neighboring houses were damaged.
Israeli forces have further tightened the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip since Hamas’ takeover of the Gaza Strip, and the living and economic conditions of Palestinian civilians have further deteriorated. In September 2007, the Israeli government declared the Gaza Strip a “Hostile entity". Since then, Israeli forces have sharply decreased food and fuel supplies allowed to enter the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces have continued to prevent the entry of raw materials into the Gaza Strip, and subsequently many factories have been forced to close.
Regarding the movement of civilians, Israeli forces permit an extremely limited number of Palestinian civilians to pass through Beit Hanoun (Erez) Crossing in order to travel to the West Bank. Rafah International Crossing Point on the Egyptian border is therefore the Gaza Strip's sole gateway to the outside world. However, Israeli forces have closed Rafah International Crossing Point, although they do not directly control the Crossing. In addition, they have prevented European observers working at Rafah International Crossing Point from reaching the Crossing in order to monitor it.
Based on the number and severity of Israeli violations of international law and signed accords this week, the PCHR made several recommendations. They include a recommendation that the international community pressure Israel to lift the severe restrictions imposed by the Israeli government and its occupation forces on access for international organizations to the occupied Palestinian territories.
In addition, 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.