|Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory|
|Thursday, 16 March 2006 00:00|
Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Continue Attacks on Palestinian Civilians and Property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)
· IOF stormed Jericho Prison: IOF arrested Ahmed Sa'adat, his comrades, Fu'ad al-Shoubaki, a number of political and criminal prisoners and a number of members of Palestinian security forces; and two Palestinians were killed and at least 50 others were wounded by the IOF gunfire
· IOF continued to shell Palestinian areas in the Gaza Strip; 3 Palestinian civilians were inured in Beit Hanoun.
· IOF conducted 34 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank.
· Houses were raided and 65 Palestinian civilians, including 6 children, were arrested by IOF.
· 9 houses were transformed by IOF into military sites.
· IOF have continued to impose a total siege on the OPT; a Palestinian woman gave birth at Qalandya checkpoint near Ramallah; and IOF arrested 6 Palestinian civilians at checkpoints in the West Bank.
· IOF have continued to construct the Annexation Wall in the West Bank; IOF shot dead a Palestinian civilian near the Wall to the west of Ramallah; IOF resumed land leveling in Dahiat al-Barid area, north of Jerusalem; IOF confiscated 220 donums of agricultural land in Bethlehem; and IOF used force against Palestinian civilians demonstrating against the construction of the Wall.
· Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property in the OPT; 5 Palestinian civilians were injured; and IOF started to establish a police station to the east of Jerusalem, and a settler road in the center of Hebron.
On Tuesday morning, 14 March 2006, IOF stormed Jericho Prison in the West Bank to apprehend Ahmad Sa'adat, Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council; a number of activists of the PFLP who are accused of assassinating the late Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze'evi; and Major General Fu'ad al-Shoubaki who is accused of smuggling weapons. During the operation, IOF bombarded the prison and governorate complex before and after bulldozing the buildings inside. The bombardment included tank shells and missiles fired by helicopter gunships. The operation ended with the detention of the aforementioned as well as scores of political and criminal prisoners, security guards and members of the Palestinian National Security Forces, who use the governorate building as their headquarters. In addition, 2 Palestinians were killed; a prison guard and a prisoner detained on criminal charges. At least 50 Palestinians were also injured.
This operation came shortly before holding to the Israeli elections on 28 March 2006. Palestinians are used as a fuel for the election campaigns of competing rightist parties. This operation was initiated 15 minutes after the sudden withdrawal of American and British monitors charged with guarding Saadat, in accordance with an agreement brokered by the United States. Israeli, American, and British officials attempted to deny any prior coordination among them. However, the Israeli Defense Minister, Shaul Mofaz, stated to the Israeli daily Haaretz after the operation that Israel knew before hand about the time of the monitors’ withdrawal from Jericho Prison. Further, he stated that the army had been prepared for over a week to storm the prison and kidnap the prisoners. PCHR had previously stressed that no party, whether the IOF, Palestinian National Authority or international community, has the right to formulate an agreement that violates international humanitarian law. This position was stated in reference to the agreement regarding Sa'adat’s detention in Jericho Prison (see PCHR's press release on 4 June 2002). Thus, PCHR raises questions over the international community’s role in enforcing past and future agreements to which Israel is a party.
Israeli violations of international law continued in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) during the reporting period (9 – 15 March 2006):
Killing: On Tuesday morning, 14 March 2006, IOF killed two Palestinians during their raid on Jericho Prison. One of the victims was a guard of the prison and the other one was a criminal prisoner. In addition, 50 Palestinians were injured. On Wednesday evening, 15 March 2006, IOF shot dead a Palestinian civilian in Kherbat al-Misbah village, west of Ramallah, near the Annexation Wall.
During the reported period, IOF shelled Palestinian communities in the Gaza Strip. On 9 March 2006, a man, his wife and their child were injured when an artillery shell hit their flat in Beit Hanoun.
Incursions: IOF conducted 34 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During these incursions, IOF raided houses and arrested 65 Palestinian civilians, including 6 children. IOF also arrested dozens of Palestinians from Jericho Prison. In addition, IOF transformed 9 houses into military sites. IOF used undercover units and trained dogs during these incursions.
Restrictions on Movement: IOF have continued to impose a comprehensive siege on the OPT, in violation of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of Palestinian civilians. IOF declared that they would impose a total siege on the OPT from Saturday morning, 11 March, until Wednesday evening, 15 March 2006, for the Jewish Purim. However, they later declared that the closure imposed on the OPT would continue until Sunday morning, 19 March 2006.
IOF have continued to impose a tightened siege on the Gaza Strip, transforming it into a large prison. Rafah International Crossing Point on the Egyptian border, the sole outlet for the Gaza Strip to the outside world, has been partially reopened. The crossing point was closed on 14 March 2005, shortly before the end of the work day as international observers withdrew from the crossing point. During the reported period, IOF repeatedly closed al-Mentar (Karni) commercial crossing, east of Gaza City. The crossing has been closed since 14 March 2006. Many goods have disappeared from the local markets in the Gaza Strip. On 12 march 2006, IOF closed Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing. IOF have also continued to close Sofa crossing, northeast of Rafah, since 14 February 2006.
IOF have continued to impose a tightened siege on Palestinian communities in the West Bank. They have imposed additional restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the West Bank as they imposed a total siege on the OPT for the Jewish Purim. During the raid on Jericho Prison on Tuesday, 14 March 2006, IOF closed al-Karama International Crossing Point on the Jordanian border. The crossing point was reopened on the following day. IOF positioned at various checkpoints in the West Bank have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. During the reported period, IOF positioned at various checkpoints in the West Bank arrested 6 Palestinian civilians, including two children. A Palestinian woman gave birth at Qalandya checkpoint, south of Ramallah, as IOF denied her access to the hospital.
Annexation Wall: IOF have continued to construct the Annexation Wall inside the West Bank. During the reported period, IOF handed notices to a number of Palestinian civilians in al-Walaja and al-Khader villages and Beit Jala town near Bethlehem, informing them that 210 donums of their agricultural land would be confiscated. According to local sources, these areas of land were confiscated for the purpose of the construction of a section of the Wall. Contrary to Israeli security claims regarding the purpose of the construction of the Wall, the acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in interviews published on Friday, 10 March 2006, that Israel plans to impose a border on the West Bank. IOF also used force against a peaceful demonstration organized in Bal'ein village, west of Ramallah, in protest to the construction of the Wall. Four Palestinian civilians were injured, and a number of other civilians suffered from tear gas inhalation.
Illegal Settler Activities: Israeli settlers in breach of international humanitarian law continue to reside in the OPT and have launched a series of attacks against Palestinian civilians and property. During the reported period, Israeli settlers from "Beit 'Ein" settlement to the northwest of Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron, damaged areas of Palestinian agricultural land in the village. Israeli settlers from "Sousia" settlement to the east of Yatta villag, south of Hebron, attacked Palestinian civilians, houses and animal farms in the village. Three Palestinian civilians, including two women, sustained bruises. Israeli settlers living in settlement outposts in the center of Hebron, and "Kiryat Arba" settlement east of the town, attacked Palestinian civilians and their property. Two Palestinian children were injured. During the reported period, IOF started to establish a settler road linking between "Ramat Yishai" settlement outpost in Tal al-Rumaida neighborhood and "Abraham Avion" settlement outpost in the old town of Hebron. IOF started also to establish a police station as part of the settlement project known as "E1" plan, which links "Ma'ale Adomim" settlement bloc with East Jerusalem. The plan includes constructing 3500 housing units for settlers by annexing Palestinian lands in east Jerusalem area and separating the Palestinian territories by blocking any geographical contiguity.
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 1 donum is equal to 1000 square meters.