Press Release

The Israeli Occupying Forces fired at Palestinian Authority’s employees at Rafah border crossing point.

Ref: 71/2000

Date: 1 June, 2000

On Thursday 1 June 2000, at 2pm, the Israeli occupying forces fired at the Palestinian Officials working at Rafah border entrance. According to information received by PCHR, more than 150 Israeli soldiers, armed with automatic weapons, tear gas and water cannon, erupted at Rafah border entrance, in the transit hall in order to arrest Nabil Midires Oukl from Jabalia refugee camp, North of Gaza, who was intending to travel to Jordan through Gaza International Airport. The Israeli forces opened fire against Palestinian Authority employees at the border, including Palestinian border liaison’s Officers, and tax counter’s employees, leading to the injury of ten of them by live bullets. Six of them were immediately transported to Nasser hospital in Khan Younis, and the other four were admitted to Rafah Central Clinic. In addition, ten others were intoxicated by tear gas who were given emergency treatment on the spot. According to medical reports from Nasser hospital in Khan Younis, the conditions of the six wounded officials admitted to the surgery Unit were not critical.

According to information gathered by PCHR from the wounded persons, the attack of the Israeli soldiers was deliberate. They also added that similarly, two weeks ago, the Israeli soldiers attempted to arrest one of the Palestinian civilians crossing, but the Palestinian Authorities managed to prevent such arrest. Moreover, the Palestinian employees at Rafah border mentioned that the entrance was closed at 2:00 p.m of today, and re-opened at 7 pm the same day.

It is worth mentioning that border-crossing points are subjected to joint Israeli-Palestinian supervision according to the interim agreements. Israeli Authorities controls the security of the crossing points including Rafah border between Gaza and Egypt, El Karama crossing point between West Bank and Jordan. Although, Gaza International Airport is the only direct air connection for Palestinian citizens with the outside world, Palestinians are still subjected to Israeli security control at the airport, and all travellers are therefore subjected to lengthy security control procedures. Due to such security and immigration checks, a large number of Palestinians are systematically arrested and prevented from travelling abroad. During year 1999, the Israeli Occupying Forces arrested 26 Palestinian civilians at Rafah border entrance.

PCHR strongly condemns, the attack of the Israeli occupying forces against Palestinian Officials and civilians, which is considered another evidence of the systematic Israeli aggression policy against Palestinians. Moreover, PCHR condemns the ongoing actions of the Israeli occupying forces carrying out waves of arrests of Palestinian civilians particularly those who are living in the Palestinian controlled areas.