According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR)'s Weekly Report, during the week of 24 – 29 April 2008, 9 Palestinians, including 5 children and a woman, were killed by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip. The victims include a woman and her 4 children who were killed when Israeli forces shelled their house in Beit Hanoun town. 29 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including 6 children and a woman, were wounded by Israeli forces. A Palestinian civilian was wounded by Israeli settlers in the West Bank.
Israeli attacks in the West Bank:
During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 36 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. Israeli forces abducted 37 Palestinian civilians, including 2 children. Thus, the number of Palestinian civilians abducted by Israeli forces in the West Bank since the beginning of 2008 has mounted to 1,051.
Israeli forces have continued to impose a tightened siege on the West Bank and imposed severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.
Contrary to Israeli claims of easing restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians, Israeli forces have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians throughout the West Bank. Thousands of Palestinian civilians from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have been denied access to Jerusalem. Israeli forces have established many checkpoints around and inside the city. Restrictions of the movement of Palestinian civilians often escalate on Fridays to prevent them from praying at the al-Aqsa Mosque. Israeli forces often violently beat Palestinian civilians who attempt to bypass checkpoints and enter the city
Israeli forces also erected more checkpoints on the main roads and intersections in the West Bank. During the reporting period, Israeli forces dismantled the 17 checkpoint near Nablus, but maintained their presence in the area and continued to search Palestinian civilian vehicles. During the reporting period, Israeli forces positioned at various checkpoints in the West Bank abducted 6 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children.
Israeli settlement activity:
Israeli forces have continued settlement activities and Israeli settlers living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in violation of international humanitarian law have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property. During the reporting period, the local council of al-‘Aqaba village, northeast of Tubas, received a copy of a decision issued by the Israeli High Court, which rejected a petition submitted against the demolition of at least 60% of the houses in the village, and the decrease of the area of land on which the village stands from 3,000 to 100 donums only.
Israeli settlers also continued to attack Palestinian civilians and their property. During the reporting period, a Palestinian civilian was wounded in Yassouf village, east of Salfit, when Israeli settlers fired a number of Palestinian civilians in the village.
In Hebron, dozens of Israeli settlers from “Kiryat Arba” settlement, southeast of the town, attacked Palestinian houses and cars in Wadi al-Nassara, al-Hussain and al-Ras neighborhoods using stones and iron bars.
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. Israeli forces fired rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the demonstrators. As a result, dozens of demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation.
Also following the Friday Prayer on 25 April 2008, scores of Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders demonstrated in al-Ma’sara village, south of Bethlehem. The demonstrators moved towards Palestinian land which were confiscated by Israeli forces. Israeli forces placed barbwire near the land to prevent the demonstrators from moving forward. They also violently beat a number of demonstrators. As a result, 3 Palestinian civilians sustained bruises.
Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip:
During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed 9 Palestinians, including 5 children and a woman, and wounded 29 others, including 6 children and a woman in the Gaza Strip. The victims include a woman and her 4 children who were killed when Israeli forces shelled their house.
On 24 April 2008, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian and wounded 5 others in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun. On the same day, Israeli forces wounded 2 fighters with the Palestinian resistance and 2 civilians in ‘Abassan village, east of Khan Yunis.
On 26 April 2008, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian child and wounded her mother seriously in Beit Hanoun. Israeli forces opened fire at the house and abducted the father. Three civilians were also wounded in the same attack.
On 28 April 2008, Israeli forces killed a woman and her 4 children and wounded 10 civilians, including 4 children in Beit Hanoun town. They also killed an activist of the Palestinian resistance and wounded another one. The woman and her children were killed when an Israeli forces aircraft fired missiles at activists of the Palestinian resistance near the house. On the same day, Israeli forces shelled Palestinian areas in the northern Gaza Strip. A fighter with the Palestinian resistance was killed and 9 Palestinians, including a child, were wounded.
Israeli forces have continued to close all border crossings of the Gaza Strip for more than one year and a half. 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 nearly 1.5 million 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. 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.
Recommendations to the International Community:
Due to the number and severity of Israeli violations this week, the PCHR made a number of recommendations to the international community. Among these recommendations were 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.
The PCHR reiterated 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.
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