In its weekly summary of Israeli attacks for the week of 19 – 25 June 2008, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) reports that Israeli forces killed 3 Palestinians, including 2 who were killed in extrajudical assassinations in direct violation of international law and signed agreements. In addition, 18 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli forces in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, including 12 injured during an Israeli invasion of Ne'lin village.
Israeli attacks in the West Bank:
In the West Bank, Israeli forces killed 2 Palestinians and wounded 13 others, including 5 children, during the last week.
Israeli forces conducted 36 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 36 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, the widest of which was into Qalqilya. During these incursions, Israeli forces abducted 48 Palestinian civilians, including 14 children. To date, 1,382 Palestinian civilians have been abducted by Israeli forces in the West Bank since the beginning of 2008. Israeli forces also demolished 2 uninhabited houses and partially demolished 3 houses, in Qalqilya.
On Thursday, 19 June 2008, at approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into Qalqilya. They besieged a 3-storey apartment building belonging to 'Aqel Hassanain Hajjoul in the south of the town. They ordered the 23 residents of the building through megaphones to get out and they obeyed the order. Israeli forces fired a number of missiles at the building. As a result, the façade was heavily damaged. Israeli troops them broke into the building and heavily damaged it from the inside before arresting the owner's four sons: Sa'ed; Ziad; Ibrahim; and Saleh. They also demolished 2 uninhabited houses near Hajjoul's building.
On 24 June 2008, Israeli forces extra-judicially executed 2 Palestinians in Nablus; a prominent activist of the al-Quds Brigades (the armed wing of Islamic Jihad) and a university student. This attack came after the Egypt-brokered truce between Palestinian resistance groups in the Gaza Strip and Israel entered into force on 19 June 2008, which indicates that Israeli forces may escalate attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank.
On the same day, 12 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children, were wounded when Israeli forces used force to disperse a peaceful demonstration organized in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall in Ne’lin village, west of Ramallah. A Palestinian child was also wounded in similar circumstance in Far’oun village, south of Tulkarm.
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 Bal’ein and Ne’lin villages, west of Ramallah; al-Ma’sara village, south of Bethlehem; and Far’oun village, south of Tulkarm.
On 20 June, 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 troops fired rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters at the demonstrators. They also used a new weapon called “Scream”, which makes a very loud sound that impacts the equilibrium of people. Israeli troops fired many tear gas canisters at demonstrators, which made fire break out in olive fields in the area.
Also following the Friday Prayer on 20 June, scores of Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders demonstrated in al-Ma’sara village, south of Bethlehem. Israeli troops 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. Two Palestinian civilians were injured.
On Tuesday morning, 24 June, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders gathered in the center of Ne’lin village, west of Ramallah. They moved towards the area where Israeli forces were razing land to construct a section of the Wall in the village. Immediately, Israeli troops fired rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters at the demonstrators and at houses in the village. As a result, 12 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children, were wounded.
Israeli settlement activity:
Israeli forces have continued settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attacks Palestinian civilians and property.
This week, an elderly Palestinian man was run down by an Israeli settler; Israeli settlers burned large areas of agricultural land in Bourin village, south of Nablus, and five Palestinian shepherds were injured by Israeli settlers in 2 separate attacks in Yatta village, south of Hebron.
Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip:
In the Gaza Strip, on 19 June, Israeli forces killed an activist of the Palestinian resistance and wounded 3 others in Gaza Valley village, nearly 500 meters away from the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel. An Israeli military aircraft fired a missile at those activists just one hour before the truce entered into force.
On 23 June, Israeli troops positioned at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northwest of Beit Lahia town in the northern Gaza Strip fired at a number of Palestinian children who were close to the border. A number of Palestinian farmers were working on their lands nearly 400 meters away from the border.
On 24 June, an elderly Palestinian civilian was wounded by the Israeli forces gunfire in similar circumstance in Khuza’a village, east of Khan Yunis.
Israeli forces have continued to close all border crossings to the Gaza Strip for more than two years. The Israeli forces siege of Gaza, which has tightened since June 2007, has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, and has violated the human, economic and social rights of the approximately 1.5 million Palestinian civilian population, particularly their rights to appropriate living conditions, health and education. The siege has also paralyzed the Gazan economy.
Recommendations to the International Community:
Despite a truce between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas, Israeli attacks on the Palestinian people have continued. Due to this fact, the PCHR made a number of recommendations to the international community, including a recommendation that the international community recognize the Gaza disengagement plan, which was implemented last year, for what it is – not an end to occupation but a compounding of the occupation and the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.
In recognition of the International Committee of the Red Cross as the guardian of the Fourth Geneva Convention, PCHR calls upon the ICRC to increase its staff and activities in the OPT, including the facilitation of family visitations to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.