According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR)'s Weekly Report, during the week of 22 – 28 May 2008, 9 Palestinians, including a child and an elderly farmer, were killed by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip. In addition, 33 Palestinians, including 21 civilians, were wounded by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip, and a Palestinian child was wounded by Israeli forces in Jenin refugee camp, in the West Bank. Israeli attacks in the West Bank:
Israeli forces conducted 34 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and abducted 41 Palestinian civilians, including 12 children, in the West Bank. Thus, the number of Palestinian civilians abducted by Israeli forces in the West Bank since the beginning of 2008 has mounted to 1,224.
The widest of those incursions was into Qalqilya town and continued for 24 hours. During that incursion, Israeli forces abducted 10 Palestinian civilians, raided schools and mosques, destroyed 4 cars and confiscated a number of computer sets.
In one example of an Israeli incursion this week, on Saturday the 24th of May, at approximately 00:20, Israeli forces moved into Nablus and the neighboring Balata refugee camp. They patrolled the streets and opened fire. At approximately 02:15, Israeli forces fired a number of incendiary bombs at a restaurant in al-Qauds Street in the east of Nablus, which belongs to Mahmoud Hashem Abu Halima. A fire broke out in the restaurant due to the shelling. According to Abu Halima’s brother, who lives above the restaurant, he told Israeli forces that he had keys to the restaurant, and he would let them into the restaurant if they wanted to search it, but they shelled it anyway. Israeli forces prevented fire engines from reaching the area until 04:00, and the restaurant was completely destroyed. Israeli forces claimed that they were fired at from alleys located near the restaurant. Israeli forces also destroyed a car belonging to Bassam Zaki Abu Mustafa, in the center of Balata refugee camp.
On Tuesday the 27th of May, at approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Qalqilya. They raided and searched dozens of houses, a cemetery, a mosque, a car park and 3 schools. They confiscated 3 computers and cash in the amount of 200 NIS (approximately US$ 60) from houses belonging to Khalil Abu ‘Awad and Jamal Jibara. They also damaged 4 cars. Additionally, Israeli forces demolished a fence of a booth belonging to Mohammed Hassan al-Samman. A few hours later, Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters at school children while on their way to school. At least 10 children suffered from tear gas inhalation. By the time they withdrew from the town, 24 hours after the invasion, Israeli forces had abducted 10 Palestinian civilians.
Israeli forces have imposed a tightened siege on the West Bank. Israeli forces have also continued to prevent Palestinians aged below 35 from passing through some checkpoints, especially in the northern West Bank. During the reporting period, Israeli forces imposed additional restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians.
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 two peaceful demonstrations organized by Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders in protest of the construction of the Wall, in Bil’in village, west of Ramallah, and al-Ma’sara village, south of Bethlehem.
Following the Friday Prayer on 23 May, scores of Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders demonstrated in Bil’in village, west of Ramallah, in protest to the construction of the Wall. The demonstrators moved towards the Wall, but Israeli forces closed all gates designed for crossing the Wall. The demonstrators then set fire to tires in protest of the closure of gates. Immediately, Israeli forces fired rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters at the demonstrators. As a result, dozens of demonstrators suffered tear gas inhalation.
Also following the Friday Prayer on 23 May, scores of Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders demonstrated in al-Ma’sara village, south of Bethlehem. The demonstrators moved towards their land which was earlier confiscated by Israeli forces. Israeli forces placed barbwire near the land to prevent the demonstrators from moving forward. They also fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters and violently beat a number of demonstrators.
Israeli settlement activities:
Israeli forces have continued settlement activities and Israeli settlers living in the West Bank have, in violation of international humanitarian law, continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property. During the reporting period, Israeli forces handed notices to a number of civilians in Bethlehem district informing them that 9 houses, 3 stores and water tank would be demolished under the pretext of the lack of licenses. On 22 May 2008, Israeli settlers attacked a school in the old town of Hebron. A teacher and a child were injured.
Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip:
Israeli violations of international law and humanitarian law continued this week in the Gaza Strip. During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed 9 Palestinians, including a child and an elderly farmer, and wounded 33 others, including 7 children, in the Gaza Strip. A child was also wounded by Israeli forces in the West Bank.
On 22 May, Israeli forces killed an elderly Palestinian during an incursion into Gaza Valley village in the central Gaza Strip. They left him bleeding to death. On the same day, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian child and wounded 16 civilians, including 6 children, when they used excessive force against a demonstration against the ongoing seige, near al-Mentar (Karni) crossing, east of Gaza City.
On 23 May, Israeli forces killed 3 activists of the Palestinian resistance and wounded a fourth during an incursion into al-Fukhari village, southeast of Khan Yunis. On the same day, Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian farmer in the northern Gaza Strip. Also on the same day, Israeli forces killed 2 activists of the Palestinian resistance during an incursion into al-Maghazi refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip.
On 24 May, Israeli forces wounded 8 activists of the Palestinian resistance in al-Qarara village, northeast of Khan Yunis, and al-Sha’af neighborhood in the east of Gaza City.
On 27 May, Israeli forces wounded a Palestinian child in the east of Gaza City. On 28 May 2007, Israeli forces killed 2 fighters with the Palestinian resistance and wounded 6 Palestinians, including 3 civilians, during incursions into al-Shouka village, northeast of Rafah, and al-Fukhari village, southeast of Khan Yunis.
Recommendations to the international community:
Due to the number and severity of violations of international law this week, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights made a number of recommendations to the international community.
Among these 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 West Bank and Gaza Strip.
In addition, the PCHR 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.
For the full report, click on the link below: