In its weekly summary of Israeli attacks for the week of July 03 – 08, 2008, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) reports that a Palestinian child from Rafah died from the explosion of an unidentified object left by the Israeli military. In addition, 23 Palestinian civilians, including 8 children, and a French human rights defender, were wounded by Israeli military gunfire. 11 of these civilians were wounded during peaceful demonstrations organized in protest of the construction of the Annexation Wall.Israeli attacks in the West Bank:
During the last week, Israeli forces conducted 30 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During those incursions, Israeli forces abducted 58 Palestinian civilians, including four children.
In addition, Israeli forces wounded 23 Palestinian civilians and a French human rights defender in the West Bank. On 3 July, 13 Palestinian civilians, including 7 children, were wounded when Israeli forces fired at a number of Palestinian children and young men who threw stones at Israeli military vehicles that had moved into al-Far’a refugee camp, south of Tubas.
Israeli forces raided 2 mosques in Beit Reema and Silwad villages near Ramallah. In addition, Israeli forces raided and closed a number of charities, cultural centers and commercial buildings in Nablus.
Israeli forces demolished two Palestinian houses in 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. On Saturday morning, 5 July 2008, Israeli forces positioned at Za’atara checkpoint, south of Nablus, and Beit Eiba checkpoint, west of the city, conducted prolonged checking of Palestinian civilians. On Sunday morning, 6 July, Israeli forces positioned at Za’atara checkpoint, south of Nablus, conducted prolonged checking of Palestinian civilians. On Monday morning, 7 July, Israeli forces positioned at various checkpoints around the city imposed additional restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians.
Israeli Annexation Wall
During the reporting period, 11 Palestinian civilians, including a child, and French human rights defender were wounded when Israeli forces used force to disperse peaceful demonstrations organized in protest of the construction of the Annexation Wall in Bil’in and Ne’lin villages, west of Ramallah, and al-Ma’sara village, south of Bethlehem.
On Tuesday evening, 8 July, Israeli forces abducted 3 Palestinian children from ‘Arbouna village, northeast of Jenin, claiming that they got close to the Annexation Wall: Salem Mahmoud Abu Hassan, 16; Mahdi Maher Bani Hassan, 16; and ‘Odai Talal Bani Hassan, 12.
On Thursday morning, 3 July, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders gathered in the center of Ni’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 forces fired rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters at the demonstrators. As a result, 9 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded. The injured included Ahmed Yousef al-Shaf’ei, 15, wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the head.
On Saturday morning, Israeli forces closed all entrance to Ni’lin village, declared it a closed military zone and imposed a curfew. Israeli forces denied access of Palestinian civilians to medical care, and obstructed bringing the body of a resident of the village who died at Ramallah hospital into the village for burial.
Following the Friday Prayer on 4 July, scores of Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders demonstrated in Bil’in village, west of Ramallah, in protest at 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 at the closure of gates. Immediately, Israeli forces fired rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters at the demonstrators. As a result, an international human rights defender and an old man and were wounded. Dozens of demonstrators also suffered from tear gas inhalation.
Also following the Friday Prayer on 4 July, 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 had been confiscated by Israeli forces. Israeli forces fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters and violently beat a number of demonstrators. A number of demonstrators sustained bruises and others suffered from tear gas inhalation. Israeli forces also detained 2 Palestinian civilians for several hours.
Israeli settlement activity:
Israeli forces have continued settlement activities and Israeli settlers living in the OPT have, in violation of international humanitarian law, continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property. During the reporting period, the Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, approved the construction of a boarding school for “Beit Rumano” Jewish School in Hebron. According to Israeli sources, the construction of the school had been suspended for a number of years pending the Israeli Defense Minister’s approval. At least 250 Israeli settlers study at the Beit Rumano school, and the building was occupied by Israeli settlers in 1981.
In East Jerusalem and its suburbs, Israeli forces demolished two Palestinian houses, rendering 21 individuals, including 11 children, homeless.
Also during the reporting period, Israeli settlers living in the OPT launched five attacks against Palestinian civilians and property in Hebron and Jenin. These attacks included the interception of a French diplomatic delegation which was conducting an official visit to Hebron.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 08:30 on 5 July, four Palestinian farmers went to tend to their agricultural lands in Shu’ab al-Baqqar area to the south of al-Sammou’ village. At approximately 09:30, an Israeli settler living in the nearby “Eitzail” settlement outpost, sneaked into the lands and set fire to sections of the land. The farmers attempted to extinguish the fires, but Israeli settlers attacked them with sticks and stones and forced three of the farmers to leave the area. Four Israeli settlers caught the fourth farmer, 30-year-old Midhat Radwan Abu Karsh. They brutally beat him and forcibly pulled him to a place near the Eitzail settlement outpost. According to Abu Karsh, who suffers from a disability in the left leg, the settlers tied him to an electricity tower and violently beat him from more than 40 minutes. Although Israeli forces arrived at the area, they did not intervene to stop the attack. When they saw a number of Israeli police officers and some peace activists coming to the area, Israeli forces ordered the settler to untie Abu Karsh and stop beating him. They poured water on his face and body in an attempt to hide any signs of injuries. The settlers then left the area, but Israeli forces prevented an ambulance from evacuating Abu Karsh to the local hospital for almost an hour. They also interrogated him for 20 minutes. They then took him to an Israeli ambulance, which handed Abu Karsh to a Palestinian ambulance 2 hours later. Abu Krash sustained acute bruises and cuts all over his body.
On 6 July, at approximately 02:35, the driver of a civilian car that has an Israeli registration plate, in which 3 masked persons were traveling, fired at a Palestinian taxi, in which 7 passengers, including 2 children, were traveling near ‘Arraba intersection, west of Jenin. As a result, one of the passengers, 29-year-old Haitham Jad Sabri Jad, was wounded by a gunshot to the face. The taxi continued to travel towards an Israeli forces military checkpoint at the entrance of Barta’a village. There, the taxi driver informed an Israeli forces officer of what happened. Jad was evacuated in an Israeli ambulance to an Israeli hospital. PCHR notes that Israeli settlers often travel on the road on which the attack took place.
On Sunday morning, 6 July, a number of Israeli settlers from “Asfar” settlement, southeast of Bethlehem, violently beat Helmi ‘Abdul Hamid Shalalda, 80, and his son ‘Abdullah, 28, from Sa’ir village near Hebron, when they were grazing animals near Taqqou’ village. They sustained bruises and cuts throughout the body.
At approximately 12:30 also on Sunday, Israeli settlers living in settlement outposts in the center of Hebron intercepted and provoked a French diplomatic delegation during a visit to Hebron, and Israeli forces held the delegation and detained a guard for more than an hour. According to information obtained by PCHR, a French diplomatic delegation, comprised of 5 MP’s and the Deputy Consul General in Jerusalem, accompanied by 2 French bodyguards and a Palestinian guide, were having a field tour in the old city of Hebron. While the delegation was in al-Sahla Street, an Israeli settler, David Wyder, who is a spokesman of Israeli settlers in Hebron, intercepted members of the delegation and demanded to be their guide instead of the Palestinian. Wyder claimed that the delegation was on an Israeli land. When members of the delegation refused, Wyder intercepted them and then started to photograph them. The bodyguards intervened to prevent the settler from photographing the delegates and to convince him to move away. He sat on the ground and cried claiming that the bodyguards had attacked him. Israeli forces were present in the area all the time and witnessed the events. A female Israeli settler then attempted to attack members of the delegation, but the bodyguards prevented her from doing so. Israeli forces detained members of the delegation and abducted one of the bodyguards. He was interrogated at an Israeli police station as David Wyder had claimed the bodyguard had attacked him. The bodyguard was later released. Meanwhile, Israeli forces held the other members of the delegation in the street for more than an hour.
Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip:
According to the PCHR, Israeli forces have continued to impose a total siege on the Gaza Strip and have isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world. Although the Egypt-brokered truce between Palestinian resistance groups and Israel entered into force on June 19, no major changes have been observed regarding the movement of persons and goods through the six Gaza Strip border crossings.
The Israeli 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. In addition, the siege has severely impacted the flow of food, medical supplies and other necessities such as fuel, construction materials and raw materials for various economic sectors. Israeli forces have continued to prevent the entry of raw materials into the Gaza Strip, and many factories have been forced to close. Severe restrictions have been imposed on the movement of the entire Palestinian civilian population.
Recommendations to the International Community:
Due to the number and severity of Israeli human rights violations this week, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights made a number of recommendations to the international community. These recommendations include calling upon the international community to 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 also 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. The group stated that any peace agreement or process must be based on respect for international law, including international human rights and humanitarian law.
For the full report, click on the link below.