In its weekly summary of Israeli attacks for the week of 24 – 29 July 2008, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) reports that 2 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were killed by Israeli gunfire in the West Bank this week. 17 Palestinian civilians, including 2 children, and 2 international journalists were wounded by Israeli gunfire in the West Bank.
Israeli attacks in the West Bank:
During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed 2 Palestinians, including a child, and wounded 17 civilians, including 2 children, in the West Bank.
On Saturday, 26 July 2008, Israeli forces killed a member the ‘Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades (the armed wing of Hamas) in Hebron. Israeli forces shelled the house where the victim was hiding and then demolished it over him. During this operation, Israeli forces used the victim’s parents as human shields. Israeli forces also wounded a Palestinian child in the same area.
On Tuesday, 29 July 2008, Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian child in Ne’lin village, west of Ramallah, when he and another children got close to the area where Israeli bulldozers were leveling land in the village for the purpose of the construction of a section of the Annexation Wall. Israeli forces fired at the child without warning.
On 24 and 26 July 2008, Israeli forces wounded 5 Palestinian civilians in Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron.
On 17 July 2008, Israeli forces wounded 2 Palestinian civilians, including a child, during an incursion into Nablus and neighboring refugee camps.
During the reporting period, 11 Palestinian civilians, including a child, and 2 international journalists, were wounded when Israeli forces used force to disperse peaceful demonstrations organized in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall in Bal’ein and Ne’lin villages, west of Ramallah.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 33 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested 42 Palestinian civilians. Thus, the number of Palestinian civilians arrested by Israeli forces in the West Bank since the beginning of 2008 has mounted to 1,669.
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 peaceful demonstrations organized by Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders in protest to the construction of the Wall in Bil’in and Ne’lin villages, west of Ramallah.
Following the Friday Prayer on 25 July 2008, 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 to 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 also suffered from tear gas inhalation. An Israeli journalist, David Rib, was also hit by a tear gas canister.
At approximately 15:30 on Sunday, 27 July 2008, 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 forces fired rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters at the demonstrators. As a result, 7 demonstrators were wounded.
On Tuesday morning, 29 July 2008, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders organized a peaceful demonstration in protest of the construction of the Annexation Wall in Ne’lin village, west of Ramallah. At approximately 18:00, a number of Palestinian children got close to the area where Israeli bulldozers were working. Immediately, Israeli forces fired at the children without warning. As a result, 11-year-old Ahmed Hussam Yousef Mousa was killed by a gunshot to the head. It is worth noting that the Israeli daily Ma’ariv reported in March 2008 that the Israeli authorities instructed Israeli forces positioned along the Wall to fire directly at anyone who may demonstrate against its construction, provided that no international or Israeli human rights defenders are present.
Israeli settlement activities:
Israeli forces have continued settlement activities, and Israeli settlers living in the West Bank in violation of international humanitarian law have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.
On Thursday, 24 July 2008, Israeli radio reported that the Israeli Parliament Foreign and Defense Committee approved the construction of 20 new housing units in “Maskiot” settlement in the northern Jordan Valley despite a promise to the United States in 2007 to stop settlement activities in this settlement.
On Sunday morning, 27 July 2008, a number of Israeli settlers set fire to olive fields in Ematin village, northeast of Qalqilya. Dozens of olive trees standing on at least 50 donums of agricultural land were burnt.
On Monday, 28 July 2008, Israeli forces demolished a 4-storey apartment building belonging to Majed Abu ‘Eisha in Beit Hanina village, north of Jerusalem. The building, which was partially licensed, was a home for at least 70 people.
Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip:
On 23 July 2008, Israeli forces wounded a Palestinian civilian in Beit Hanoun town in the northern Gaza Strip, when he was collecting metals nearly 300 meters away from the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel.
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.
The closure of border crossings deprives the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip of their right to freedom of movement, education and health. Israeli forces have continued to impose severe restrictions on fishing in the Gaza Strip. Fishermen have been subjected to intensive monitoring by Israeli forces, which use helicopter gunships and gunboats to monitor the fishermen. The Oslo Accords allow Palestinian fishermen to go fishing up to 20 nautical miles away from the Gaza seashore.
Recommendations to the international community:
Due to the number and severity of Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights this week, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights made a number of recommendations to the international community. Among these were 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.
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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