Israeli forces have continued with systematic attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) for the reporting period of 19 – 25 February 2015.Israeli attacks in the West Bank & Gaza:

Shootings:

During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian in excessive use of force and wounded 10 others, including 3 children, in the West Bank. In the Gaza Strip, Israeli navy forces continued to chase and target Palestinian fishermen. Moreover, Israeli forces continued to open fire at border areas.

In the West Bank, in excessive use of force, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian in al-Duheisha refugee camp, south of Bethlehem, on 24 February 2015.

Israeli forces continued the use of excessive and systematic force against peaceful protests organized by Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international solidarity activists against the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities in the West Bank. As a result, 5 Palestinian civilians, including a child, sustained bullet wounds.

In the same context, a 16-year-old child was wounded during a protest at the southern entrance of al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah.

On 23 February 2015, 4 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded when Israeli undercover units moved into Ayda refugee camp, north of Bethlehem.

In the Gaza Strip, in the context of targeting fishermen, on 24 February 2015, Israeli navy forces stationed off al-Waha resort, northwest of Beit Lahia village in the north of the Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats. As a result, fishermen were frightened and sailed back, but neither casualties nor material damage were reported. However, a number of fishermen lost their fishing nets.

Incursions:

During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 43 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 41 Palestinians, including 10 children and 5 women. Twenty of these Palestinians, including 9 children and the 5 women, were arrested in Jerusalem.

On 22 February 2015, Israeli forces moved into Zabouba village, northwest of Jenin. They fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters at stone throwers. A soldier fired a tear gas canister into the grand mosque in the centre of the village. As a result, dozens of worshipers suffered tear gas inhalation and were medically treated on the spot by paramedics.

Restrictions on movement:

Israel continued to impose a tight closure of the oPt, imposing severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.

The illegal closure of the Gaza Strip, which has been steadily tightened since June 2007 has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli authorities impose measures to undermine the freedom of trade, including the basic needs for the Gaza Strip population and the agricultural and industrial products to be exported. For 8 consecutive years, Israel has tightened the land and naval closure to isolate the Gaza Strip from the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, and other countries around the world. This resulted in grave violations of the economic, social and cultural rights and a deterioration of living conditions for 1.8 million people. The Israeli authorities have established Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shaloum) as the sole crossing for imports and exports in order to exercise its control over the Gaza Strip’s economy. They also aim at imposing a complete ban on the Gaza Strip’s exports. During the reporting period, Israeli forces arrested a Palestinian patient who obtained a permit to travel to the West Bank for medical treatment, while another civilian accompanying his father was arrested while the father was denied travel for medical treatment.

Settlement activities and attacks by settlers against Palestinian civilians and property:

On 24 February 2015, Israeli forces backed by Israeli Civil Administration and a digger moved into al-‘Edeisa area, east of Sa’ir village, east of Hebron. They demolished an under-construction house with an area of 170 square meters under the pretext of building without a license in area (c).

On 25 February 2015, Israeli forces backed by Israeli Civil Administration and a digger moved into Khellet al-Sharabti, northeast of Hebron. The digger demolished a water well with a capacity of 300 cubic meters, while Israeli soldiers confiscated a caravan used as a room for a farm workers.

On 19 February 2015, a group of settlers from ‘Metspi Yaer’ settlement, east of Yatta, south of Hebron, cut off 40 olive trees with electric saws.

On the same day, a settler from ‘Metspi Yaer’ settlement, east of Yatta, south of Hebron, attacked Jebrin Mousa Suleiman Abu ‘Eram (51), from Kherbet Qwawis, east of the city.

On 25 February 2015, a group of Israeli settlers set fire to al-Jaba’a village mosque, west of Bethlehem and wrote racist slogans on its walls.

On the same day, a group of settlers from ‘Beit Hadasa’ settlement outpost in Hebron’s Old City cut off 100 olive trees.

In the context of settlers’ attacks in occupied East Jerusalem, at approximately 17:00 on Tuesday, 25 February 2015, a jeep belonging to the settlement guards ran down Mariam Karim Da’na (10) when she was around her family’s house in Ein al-Louza area in Silwan village, south of Jerusalem’s Old City.

Use of excessive force against peaceful demonstrations protesting settlement activities and the construction of the annexation wall:

During the reporting period, Israeli soldiers used excessive force against peaceful demonstrations organized by Palestinian civilians, international and Israeli human rights defenders in protest at the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities in the West Bank. As a result, 5 Palestinian civilians, including a child, sustained bullet wounds during Kufor Qaddoum weekly protest, northeast of Qalqilya.

In the same context, a 16-year-old child sustained a bullet wound to the left thigh during a protest at the southern entrance of al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah.

(PCHR keeps the names of the wounded in fear of being arrested by the Israeli forces within its policy to oppress the peaceful protests and prevent Palestinian civilians from participating).

Demonstrations against the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activity

Following the Friday prayer, on 20 February 2015, in spite of the bad weather, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders organized a peaceful demonstration in Bil’in, west of Ramallah, in protest at the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities. The demonstrators took the streets raising the Palestinian flags and portraits of Khaled al-Sheikh, the youngest Palestinian prisoner from Beit Anan village, northwest of Jerusalem, who was arrested 2 months ago, and headed to the liberated territories near the annexation wall. Early in the morning, Israeli forces closed all entrances to the city to prevent Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders from participating in the protests. Protestors marched by the annexation wall and tried to cross the fence. Israeli soldiers stationed behind the wall, in the western area, and a large number of soldiers deployed along it, fired live bullets, tear gas canisters, rubber-coated steel bullets, sound bombs and wastewater at them and chased them into the olive fields. As a result, a number of demonstrators suffered tear gas inhalation and others sustained bruises as they were beaten up by Israeli soldiers.

Around the same time, dozens of Palestinian civilians organised a peaceful demonstration in the centre of Ni’lin village, west of Ramallah, in protest at the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities. The demonstrators took the streets and headed to the annexation wall. Israeli forces closed the gates of the wall with barbwires and prevented the demonstrators from crossing to the land behind it before they responded by throwing stones. Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition, rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the civilians, and chased them into the village. As a result, a number of demonstrators suffered tear gas inhalation and others sustained bruises as they were beaten up.

Also following the Friday prayer, at approximately 12:20, Palestinian civilians and international solidarity activists organized a protest in the center of Kufor Qaddoum village, northeast of Qalqilya, heading to the eastern entrance of the village in protest against closing that entrance since the beginning of al-Aqsa Intifada with an iron gate. The demonstrators threw stones at Israeli soldiers, who fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters in response. As a result, 5 Palestinian civilians, including a child, sustained bullet wounds. A 16-year-old child sustained a bullet wound to the right leg, a 35-year-old civilian sustained a bullet wound to the chest, a 45-year-old civilian sustained 2 bullet wounds to the back and left hand; a 42-year-old civilian sustained a bullet wound to the left hand and a 32-year-old civilian sustained a bullet wound to the left thigh.

Other demonstrations

Also following the Friday prayer, on 20 February 2015, in spite of the stormy weather, dozens of children and young men gathered at the southern entrance of al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah. They were about 300 meters away from the fence of ‘Beit Eil’ settlement. Israeli forces stationed in the area fired live ammunition, rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters. As a result, 16-year-old child sustained a bullet wound to left thigh. He was taken to Palestine Medical Compound in Ramallah. His wound was moderate.

Continued closure of the oPt:

Israel continued to impose a tight closure on the oPt, imposing severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.

Gaza Strip

Israeli forces continuously tighten the closure of the Gaza Strip and close all commercial crossings, making the Karm Abu Salem crossing the sole commercial crossing of the Gaza Strip, although it is not suitable for commercial purposes in terms of its operational capacity and distance from markets.

Israeli forces have continued to apply the policy, which is aimed to tighten the closure on all commercial crossings, by imposing total control over the flow of imports and exports.

The total closure of al-Mentar (‘Karni’) crossing since 02 March 2011 has seriously affected the economy of the Gaza Strip. Following this closure, all economic and commercial establishments in the Gaza Commercial Zone were shut off. It should be noted that al-Mentar crossing is the biggest crossing in the Gaza Strip, in terms of its capacity to absorb the flow of imports and exports. The decision to close al-Mentar crossing was the culmination of a series of decisions resulting in the complete closure of the Sofa crossing, east of the Gaza Strip in the beginning of 2009, and the Nahal Oz crossing, east of Gaza City, which were dedicated for the delivery of fuel and cooking gas to the Gaza Strip, in the beginning of 2010.

Israeli forces have continued to impose a total ban on the delivery of raw materials to the Gaza Strip, except for very limited items and quantities. The limited quantities of raw materials allowed into Gaza do not meet the minimal needs of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip.

The cooking gas crisis has fluctuated due to the closure of Karm Abu Salem for security claims. According to PCHR’s follow-up, Israeli authorities only allow an average of 98 tons of cooking gas into Gaza per day. This limited quantity is less than half of the daily needs, which is 200 tons per day of the civilian population in the Gaza Strip during winter. The crisis has unprecedentedly aggravated for around six weeks due to cold weather and overconsumption in addition to the power outage and using gas as an alternative in many instances of electricity. The lack of diesel and benzene led to the aggravation of the crisis as a result of using the gas cylinder for cars or as an alternative for benzene to run generators. As a result, the demand for gas further increased.

For almost 7 consecutive years, Israeli forces have continued to prevent the delivery of construction materials to the Gaza Strip. Two years ago, Israeli forces approved the delivery of limited quantities of construction materials for a number of international organizations in the Gaza Strip. On 17 September 2013, they allowed the entry of limited quantities of construction materials for the private sector. However, on 13 October 2013, they re-banned it claiming that these materials are used for constructing tunnels. Last week, Israeli forces allowed the entry of construction materials only for UNRWA and UNDP projects. As a result, construction works have completely stopped impacting all sectors related to construction and an increase in unemployment levels. During the 51-day Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip in July and August 2014, Israeli authorities did not allow the entry of any construction materials. As a result, vital and infrastructure projects have been obstructed so far.

Israeli forces also continued to impose an almost total ban on the Gaza Strip exports, including agricultural and industrial products, except for light-weighted products such as flowers, strawberries, and spices.

Israel has continued to close the Beit Hanoun (“Erez”) crossing for the majority of Palestinian citizens from the Gaza Strip. Israel only allows the movement of a limited number of groups, with many hours of waiting in the majority of cases. Israel has continued to adopt a policy aimed at reducing the number of Palestinian patients allowed to move via the Beit Hanoun crossing to receive medical treatment in hospitals in Israel or in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel denied permission to access hospitals via the crossing for new categories of patients from the Gaza Strip.

West Bank

Israel has imposed a tightened closure on the West Bank. During the reporting period, Israeli forces imposed additional restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians:

· Hebron: Israeli forces have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. At approximately 09:30 on Sunday, 22 February 2015, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance of Sa’ir village, east of Hebron. Later, the checkpoint was removed, and no arrests were reported.

At approximately 07:30 on Monday, 23 February 2015, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance of Ethna village, west of Hebron. At approximately 08:00, Israeli forces established another checkpoint at the entrance of Beit ‘Awa village, southwest of Dura, southwest of Hebron. At approximately 15:00, another checkpoint was established at the northern entrance of Hebron. Later, the checkpoints were removed, and no arrests were reported.

At approximately 08:00 on Tuesday, 24 February 2015, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance of al-‘Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron. Around the time, a checkpoint was established at the entrance of Beit Kahel, west of the city. Later, both checkpoints were removed and no arrests were reported.

At approximately 16:00 on Wednesday, 25 February 2015, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance of Deir Samit village, southwest of Dura, southwest of Hebron. Later, the checkpoint was removed and no arrests were reported.

· Qalqilya: Israeli forces have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. At approximately 10:45 on Thursday, 19 February 2015, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the eastern entrance of the city. Later, the checkpoint was removed and no arrests were reported.

At approximately 18:45 on Saturday, 21 February 2015, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance of Jeet village, northeast of Qalqilya. At approximately 19:45, the checkpoint was removed, and no arrests were reported.

At approximately 13:20 on Sunday, 22 February 2015, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance of Amatin village, northeast of the city. At approximately 23:30, another checkpoint was established at the entrance of ‘Ezbet al-Tabib village, east of the city. Later, both checkpoints were removed and no arrests were reported.

At approximately 08:50 on Sunday, 23 February 2015, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance of ‘Azoun village, east of Qalqilya. At approximately 09:55, another checkpoint was established at the entrance of Ezbet al-Tabib village, east of the city. Later, both checkpoints were removed and no arrests were reported.

· Tulkarm: Israeli forces have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. At approximately 14:00 on Thursday, 19 February 2015, Israeli forces stationed at the gate no. (609) of the annexation wall near ‘Atil village, north of tulkarm closed the aforementioned gate. Local sources said to a PCHR filedworker that the israeli forces closed the gate to the permit holders for unknown reasons. The gate was reopened, and no further incidents were reported.

At approximately 18:00 on Sunday, 22 February 2015, Israeli forces stationed at ‘Annab military checkpoint which is established on the road between Tulkarm and Nablus, east of the city, tightened their restrictions against civilians and obstructed their movement. Later that day, the tightening ended and no arrests were reported. The tightening renewed at approximately 07:30 on Tuesday, 24 February 2015.

At approximately 19:00 on Monday, 23 February 2015, Israeli forces established a checkpoint on the main road between Tulkarm and Nablus near the intersection of Beit Leed village in area called “Abu Martein”, east of Tulkarm. The checkpoint was later removed, and no arrests were reported.

· Jenin: Israeli forces have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. At approximately 20:00 on Friday, 20 February 2015, Israeli forces stationed at Barta’ah checkpoint established at the entrance of Eastern Bart’ah village, which is isolated from its surroundings due to the annexation wall, southwest of Jenin, detained ‘Arab Ref’at ‘Abdel Qader Abu Baker (16) while passing through the checkpoint. Around 3 hours later, he was released. It should be mentioned that the afomrnetioned checkpoint is the sole outlet for the village residents to the outside world and hwen it is closed, the village turns into a big prison.

At approximately 01:00 on Tuesday, 24 February 2015, Israeli forces established a checkpoint on the main road between Jenin, Tulkarm and Nablus near the intersection of Silet al-Thaher village, south of Jenin. The checkpoint was removed later, and no arrests were reported.

At approximately 22:30 on Tuesday, 24 February 2015, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the intersection of Zabouba village, northwest of Jenin. The checkpoint was removed later, and no arrests were reported.

· Salfit: Israeli forces have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. At approximately 19:10 on Sunday, 15 February 2015, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the northern entrance of Salfit. The checkpoint was removed later, and no arrests were reported.

At approximately 06:55 on Tuesday, 24 February 2015, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance of Kafl Haris, north of Salfit. Later, the checkpoint was removed later, and no arrests were reported.

Arrests and Maltreatment at Military Checkpoints

At approximately 14:30 on Monday, 16 February 2015, Israeli forces stationed at al-Karamah board crossing on the Jordanian border arrested Mojahed Sa’ed Tariq ‘Aqoub (28) from Nablus when he was on his way back from Jordan to Palestine.

At approximately 15:50 on Monday, 17 February 2015, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at Jeet village entrance, northeast of Qalqilya. At approximately 17:50, Israeli forces arrested Sharhabil Samir al-Shweiki (20) and took him to an unknown destination. The checkpoint was removed later.

At approximately 20:30 on Wednesday, 25 February 2015, Israeli forces stationed in the vicinity of lands belonging the residents of Zabouba village, northwest of Jenin, arrested Ahmed ‘Abdel Qader Abu T’eimah (29) who suffers a psychological disorder while he was on the agricultural lands adjacent to the annexation wall, west of the village. He was taken to an unknown destination.

On the same day evening, Israeli forces stationed at Za’atarah Checkpoint, south of Nablus arrested Eman ‘Ezz al-Deen Ahmed ‘Amarnah (20) from Ya’abod village, southwest of Jenin. They stopped a taxi in which where the aforementioned young woman was traveling and forced her to get out. She was taken to al-Jalmah detention centre, north of Jenin. An Israeli court will hold a session for on Thursday, 26 February 2015, to extend her detention to continue questioning her.

Settlement activities and attacks by settlers against Palestinian civilians and property:

On Thursday morning, 19 February 2015, a group of settlers from ‘Metspi Yaer’ settlement, east of Yatta, south of Hebron, cut off 40 olive trees with electric saws. The trees aging 30 years belong to Jamal Mohammed Isma’il Hoshiya (52).

At approximately 11:30, on Thursday, 19 February 2015, a settler from ‘Metspi Yaer’ settlement, east of Yatta, south of Hebron, attacked Jebrin Mousa Suleiman Abu ‘Eram (51), from Kherbet Qwawis, east of the city. The settler attacked him when he was grazing sheep near a bypass road leading the said settlement. As a result, he sustained bruises and a wound in the left leg.

On Wednesday, 25 February 2015, a group of Israeli settlers set fire to al-Jaba’a village mosque, west of Bethlehem, and wrote racist slogans on its walls. No’man Hamdan head of the village council, said that at approximately 04:00 on the abovementioned day, settlers set fire to al-Huda mosque in the village. Part of the mosque was burnt and some of its contents were damaged. A number of workers heading to their workplaces and other civilians intervened and extinguished fire.

On the same day, a group of settlers from ‘Beit Hadasa’ settlement outpost in Hebron’s Old City cut off 100 olive trees. It should be noted the trees were planted a year ago in Tal al-Rumaida neighborhood in the center of Hebron with the assistance of a number of Palestinian and international activists.

At approximately 06:00 on Tuesday, 24 February 2015, Israeli forces backed by Israeli Civil Administration and a digger moved into al-‘Edeisa area, east of Sa’ir village, east of Hebron. They surrounded an under-construction house with an area of 170 square meters belonging to Naser Mousa Shaker Jaradat (50). The digger started demolishing the house under the pretext of building without a license in area (c). It should be noted that Israeli authorities handed the aforementioned person 2 notices to stop construction works and demolish the building in August 2014.

At approximately 09:00 on Wednesday, 25 February 2015, Israeli forces backed by Israeli Civil Administration and a digger moved into Khellet al-Sharabti, northeast of Hebron. The digger demolished a water well with a capacity of 300 cubic meters, while Israeli soldiers confiscated a caravan used as a room for a farm workers belonging to Emad Mohammed al-Rajabi (45). The demolition was carried out under the pretext of non-licensing.

Recommendations to the International Community:

PCHR emphasizes the international community’s position that the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are still under Israeli occupation, in spite of Israeli military redeployment outside the Gaza Strip in 2005. PCHR further confirms that Israeli forces continued to impose collective punishment measures on the Gaza Strip, which have escalated since the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections, in which Hamas won the majority of seats of the Palestinian Legislative Council. PCHR stresses that there is international recognition of Israel’s obligation to respect international human rights instruments and the international humanitarian law, especially the Hague Regulations concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land and the Geneva Conventions. Israel is bound to apply the international human rights law and the law of war sometime reciprocally and other times in parallel in a way that achieves the best protection for civilians and remedy for victims.

In light of continued arbitrary measures, land confiscation and settlement activities in the West Bank, and the continued aggression against civilians in the Gaza Strip, PCHR calls upon the international community, especially the United Nations, the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention and the European Union – in the context of their natural obligation to respect and enforce the international law – to cooperate and act according to the following recommendations:

1. PCHR calls upon the international community and the United Nations to use all available means to allow the Palestinian people to enjoy their right to self-determination, through the establishment of the Palestinian State, which was recognized by the UN General Assembly with a vast majority, using all international legal mechanisms, including sanctions to end the occupation of the State of Palestine;

2. PCHR calls upon the United Nations to provide international protection to Palestinians in the oPt, and to ensure the non-recurrence of aggression against the oPt, especially the Gaza Strip;

3. PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to compel Israel, as a High Contracting Party to the Conventions, to apply the Conventions in the oPt;

4. PCHR calls upon the Parties to international human rights instruments, especially the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to pressurize Israel to comply with their provisions in the oPt, and to compel it to incorporate the human rights situation in the oPt in its reports submitted to the concerned committees;

5. PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fulfil their obligation to ensure the application of the Conventions, including extending the scope of their jurisdiction in order to prosecute suspected war criminals, regardless of the nationality of the perpetrator and the place of a crime, to pave the way for prosecuting suspected Israeli war criminals and end the longstanding impunity they have enjoyed;

6. PCHR calls on States that apply the principle of universal jurisdiction not to surrender to Israeli pressure to limit universal jurisdiction to perpetuate the impunity enjoyed by suspected Israeli war criminals;

7. PCHR calls upon the international community to act in order to stop all Israeli settlement expansion activities in the oPt through imposing sanctions on Israeli settlements and criminalizing trading with them;

8. PCHR calls upon the UN General Assembly to transfer the Goldstone Report to the UN Security Council in order to refer it to the International Criminal Court in accordance with Article 13(b) of the Rome Statute;

9. PCHR calls upon the United Nations to confirm that holding war criminals in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a precondition to achieve stability and peace in the regions, and that peace cannot be built on the expense of human rights;

10. PCHR calls upon the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council to explicitly declare that the Israeli closure policy in Gaza and the annexation wall in the West Bank are illegal, and accordingly refer the two issues to the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Israel to compel it to remove them;

11. PCHR calls upon the international community, in light of its failure to the stop the aggression on the Palestinian people, to at least fulfil its obligation to reconstruct the Gaza Strip after the series of hostilities launched by Israel which directly targeted the civilian infrastructure;

12. PCHR calls upon the United Nations and the European Union to express a clear position towards the annexation wall following the international recognition of the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders, as the annexation wall seizes large parts of the State of Palestine;

13. PCHR calls upon the European Union to activate Article 2 of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, which provides that both sides must respect human rights as a precondition for economic cooperation between the EU states and Israel, and the EU must not ignore Israeli violations and crimes against Palestinian civilians;

14. PCHR calls upon the Palestinian leadership to sign and accede to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the Geneva Conventions, and calls upon the international community, especially the United Nations, to encourage the State of Palestine to accede to international human rights law and humanitarian law instruments.

Full, detailed document, including info on patrols and border crossings available at the official PCHR website.

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