· Four
Palestinian citizens are killed by Israeli shelling;

· Man is killed
extra-judicially

· Patient dies
due to the siege;

· Dozens of
Palestinian civilians, including children, are wounded by the Israeli
occupation forces;

· 238
Palestinian civilians in Khan Yunis suffer from a highly effective gas;

· Dozens of
Palestinian civilians are deprived of the right to make pilgrimage; and

· Leveling of
Palestinian agricultural land and demolition of Palestinian homes continues.

 

 

                                                                                              

Introduction

 

This
report covers Israeli human rights violations against Palestinian civilians in
the Occupied Palestinian Territories during the period of February 15-21,
2001.  During the third week of February
2001, there has been a significant escalation of Israeli human rights
violations against Palestinian civilians and their properties in the Occupied
Palestinian Territories.

 

Israeli
forces fired a barrage of artillery shells, heavy caliber bullets, and medium
caliber bullets at Palestinian houses and civilian facilities in the West Bank
and the Gaza Strip.  This killed four
Palestinian civilians, wounded dozens more with live bullets and shrapnel, and
caused severe damage to dozens of houses and civilian facilities.

 

On
Monday, February 16, 2001, Israeli occupation forces positioned in the
so-called “Avraham Avino settlement center” in the middle of Hebron shelled a
Palestinian neighborhood in the city. 
Consequently, E’ssam Rashad El-Tawil, 29, was killed by an explosive
live bullet in the chest.  This
escalation coincided with the shelling of a cow farm north of Hebron, during
which Shaker Sueiman Ya’qoub El-Manasra, 23, from Bani Na’eim village, was
killed with heavy caliber bullets in the chest and the abdomen.  Two workers were also wounded.  Ahmed Ismail Farajallah, 35, from Ethna
village near Hebron, was wounded with two live bullets in the neck and the
abdomen.  He died from the wounds on
February 18, 2001.

 

On Thursday, February 15, 2001, Israeli
forces opened fire on Nasser Mohammed Mohammed El-Hassanat, 19, from Deir
El-Balah, killing him with several live bullets throughout the body.  PCHR has been unable to obtain certain and
complete information regarding the circumstances of the incident.  The Israeli occupation forces claimed that
El-Hassanat attempted to sneak into greenhouses east of Kfar Darom
settlement.  They killed him in willfully
and without provocation and no attempt was used to first employ less lethal
means.

 

On
Monday, February 19, 2001,
Israeli forces committed a new crime of willful, extra-judicial killing
against Mahmoud Suleiman El-Madani, 25, from Balatta refugee camp.  He was killed by four explosive live bullets
in the chest and the abdomen that were fired by an Israeli undercover unit.

 

In
addition to those killed, dozens of Palestinian civilians, including a number
of children, were wounded by Israeli gunfire. 
This occurred both during clashes and in their absence.  Among the wounded were: Mohammed Hussein Abu
El-Jadayel, 25, from Al-Sammou’ village near Hebron, who was seriously wounded
with a live bullet in the chest during clashes at the entrance of the village;
and Hakema Mosabbeh Suleiman Abu Khobbeiza, 70, from Al-Moghraqa area to the
south of Gaza City, who was wounded with a live bullet in the right leg on
February 19, 2001, near Netzarim settlement, when there were no clashes in the
area.

 

In Khan
Yunis, the Israeli occupation forces used a new and more virulent gas against
Palestinian civilians.  From its first
use on February 12, 2001 until February 20, 2001, the gas has affected 238
Palestinian civilians, including women and children.  Of these, 27 are still receiving medical care
at the Palestine Red Crescent Society hospital and Nasser hospital in Khan
Yunis.

 

Furthermore,
Israeli forces continued to raze Palestinian agricultural land and demolish
Palestinian houses and civilian facilities in the Gaza Strip.

 

In
addition, PCHR documented a number of incidents during which the Israeli
occupation forces opened fire upon on-duty medical personnel and
ambulances.  According to an
investigation carried out by PCHR, a live bullet in the chest seriously wounded
Jehad Abdel-Karim Abu Attaya, a 44-year-old medic.  On February 13, 2001, Israeli forces fired
upon Abu Attaya while he was inside an ambulance in Khan Yunis. 

 

Not even
local and international journalists are immune to being fired upon by Israeli
forces.  Several journalists have been
injured while covering clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian
civilians.

 

During
the past week, the Israeli occupation forces continued to impose a total siege
on the Occupied Palestinian Territories. 
They also continued to reinforce their presence on the main roads and at
the entrances of Palestinian cities.  On
February 16, 2001, Abdel-Rahman Mahmoud Joma’a, 70, from Beit Lied village near
Tulkarm, died when the Israeli occupation forces prevented the car transporting
him to hospital from passing.  This
incident was the fifth of its kind during the past three weeks. 

 

This
week, the Israeli occupation forces prevented 52 Palestinian citizens from the
Gaza Strip from traveling to Saudi Arabia for the annual pilgrimage.  Thousands of Palestinian pilgrims who had
originally planned to depart from Gaza International Airport were forced to
travel by bus to Al-A’rish Airport in the Sinai from where they flew to Saudi
Arabia.  The Israeli occupation forces
also continued to prevent the entry of Palestinian citizens into Jerusalem,
thus preventing them from praying at Islamic and Christian holy sites.  (For more information about the siege imposed
on the Gaza Strip and its disastrous consequences, see
Closure Update, a
report by PCHR on the closure imposed by the Israeli occupation forces on the
Gaza Strip.)

 

1. Shooting at Palestinian
Civilians

 

Thursday, February 15, 2001

        

Early in the morning, at approximately 4:00 local
time, Israeli occupation soldiers positioned in Kfar Darom settlement opened
fire on Nasser Mohammed Mohammed El-Hassanat, 19, from Deir El-Balah, killing
him with several live bullets throughout the body. PCHR has been unable to
obtain certain and complete information regarding the circumstances of the
incident.  Israeli forces claimed that
El-Hassanat attempted to sneak into greenhouses east of Kfar Darom
settlement.  They kept El-Hassanat’s body
until 14:00 local time.

 

Friday, February 16, 2001

 

At approximately 13:30 local time, the Israeli
occupation forces opened fire on a number of Palestinian civilians.  At the time, the civilians were demonstrating
approximately 150m south of the road connecting Salah El-Din Street (the main
road between the north and south of the Gaza Strip) with Netzarim settlement
south of Gaza City.  As a result, two
Palestinian civilians were wounded and were evacuated to Shifa’ hospital in
Gaza City.  The wounded were:

 

 1) Abdel-Rahman Mohammed
El-Hajjar, 15, wounded with a live bullet in the left thigh; and

 2) Nasser El-Nabahin, 23,
wounded with a rubber-coated metal bullet in the head.

 

In the afternoon, a number of Palestinian youth
demonstrated approximately 100m away from the Israeli occupation forces’
position, located near the Al-Simia area at the entrance of Al-Sammou’ village
near Hebron.  At approximately 14:30
local time, an Israeli sniper fired a live bullet at Mohammed Hussein Abu
El-Jadayel, 25, from Al-Sammou’ village. 
The bullet pierced his chest and exited his back, hitting the spinal
column.  According to medical sources at
Al-Ahli hospital in Hebron, parts of his liver and spleen were also
destroyed.  He is still receiving medical
treatment at the intensive care unit.

 

At approximately 16:30 local time, Khaled Ali Aqel,
30, from Al-Boreij refugee camp, was wounded with a live bullet in the abdomen,
fired by Israeli forces at Al-Shuhada’ (Netzarim) junction, south of Gaza
City.  In his testimony to PCHR, Aqel
said that he was traveling by taxi from Al-Boreij refugee camp to Gaza
City.  Due to clashes between the Israeli
occupation forces and Palestinian demonstrators, the driver stopped the taxi
approximately 100m to the south of the junction and decided to travel back to
Al-Boreij refugee camp.  Aqel exited the
taxi on the main road and waited for another taxi in order to travel to Gaza
City.  Then, Israeli occupation soldiers
fired at him, wounding him with a live bullet in the abdomen.  It is important to note that he had not
participated in the clashes and was approximately 200m north of Palestinian
demonstrators.

 

In the afternoon, Palestinian civilians in Deir
Nezham village, west of Ramallah, confronted Israeli forces attempting to burst
into their village.  Israeli forces
opened fire on Palestinian children and youth who were throwing stones.  Consequently, 14 were wounded, mostly
children under 18.  Among the wounded
were:

 

 1) Abdullah Tayseer
El-A’araj, 16, wounded with a rubber-coated metal bullet in the right hand;

 2) Ahmed Mustafa Saleh, 12,
wounded with a rubber-coated metal bullet in the left hand;

 3) Mohammed Nasser Mezher,
14, wounded with a rubber-coated metal bullet in the right hand;

 4) Abdullah Mustafa Saleh,
17, wounded with a rubber-coated metal bullet in the abdomen;

 5) Jad Hussein Ziad, 21,
wounded with a rubber-coated metal bullet in the testes;

 6) Tariq Mahmoud Amir, 14,
wounded with a rubber-coated metal bullet in the chest;

 7) Hassan Ahmed E’id, 18,
wounded with a rubber-coated metal bullet in the spinal column;

 8) Fadhel Hussein Ziad, 26,
wounded with a rubber-coated metal bullet in the left foot;

 9) Shaher Abdel-Qader Mosa’d,
wounded with a rubber-coated metal bullet in the shoulder; and

 10) Fadi Mohammed Mosa’d, 19,
wounded with a rubber-coated metal bullet in the left foot.

 

In the afternoon, clashes erupted between
Palestinian civilians and the Israeli occupation forces at the northern
entrance to Al-Bireh as well as in the center of Hebron.  The Israeli occupation forces opened fire on
Palestinian civilians, wounding six with live bullets and another 19 with
rubber-coated metal bullets.

 

In addition, in the afternoon, at approximately
16:00 local time, Israeli occupation forces, positioned near Al-Mentar (Karni)
Outlet, east of Gaza City, fired upon a number of Palestinian children who were
demonstrating approximately 100m away from two tanks of these forces.  As a result, three children were
wounded.  One of the children, Mohammed
Tayseer El-Abed Sa’d, 15, from Al-Shojaeya neighborhood in Gaza City, was
wounded with an explosive live bullet in the buttocks and was evacuated to
Shifa’ hospital in Gaza City.  The other
two children were:

 

 1) Hazem Mohammed Hassan
Sa’d, 14, from Al-Shojaeya neighborhood in Gaza City, wounded with a
rubber-coated metal bullet in the head; and

 2) Hassan Mohammed Ghazal,
wounded with a rubber-coated metal bullet in the head.

 

Sunday, February 18, 2001

 

At approximately 16:00 local time, Israeli
occupation forces, positioned at the border in Rafah, opened fire on a number of
Palestinian children in Al-Salam neighborhood, adjacent to the border.  According to eyewitnesses, there were no
clashes at the time.  Children shouted at
Israeli occupation soldiers positioned on a tank as it passed the border, near
Palestinian houses in Al-Salam neighborhood. 
Although no threat was posed to their lives, the Israeli soldiers opened
fire on Palestinian children, wounding four as follows:

 

 1) Mahdi Nasser Omar, 15,
wounded with a live bullet in the right thigh which severed an artery.  He was evacuated to Nasser hospital in Khan
Yunis and then to Shifa’ hospital in Gaza City;

 2) Ahmed Joma’a Abu Taha, 14,
wounded with a live bullet in the back. 
He was evacuated to Nasser hospital in Khan Yunis and then to Shifa’
hospital in Gaza City, where medical sources stated that he suffered from
hemophilia;

 3) Asma’ Abdel-Hamid Qeshta,
18, wounded with shrapnel in the shoulder; and

 4) Mohammed Ahmed Mattar, 14,
wounded with shrapnel in the back.

 

Monday,
February 19, 2001

 

At approximately 9:15 local time, Israeli
occupation soldiers, positioned at Al-Shuhada’ (Netzarim) junction, willfully
opened fire on a 70-year-old woman, although there were no clashes in the area
at the time.  Hakema Mosabbeh Suleiman
Abu Khobbeiza “El-Khoratti,” 70, from the Al-Moghraqa area near Netzarim
settlement was wounded with a live bullet in the right leg.  In her testimony to PCHR, “El-Khoratti” said
that shortly after exiting the taxi in which was traveling from Nusseirat
refugee camp to her residence, Israeli occupation soldiers fired two live
bullets at her from a distance of 70m. 
One of these hit her right leg. 
Ten minutes later, a civilian car that happened to be passing the area
transferred her to a clinic in Nusseirat refugee camp.  From there, she was transferred to Shifa’
hospital in Gaza City.

 

At approximately 12:30 local time,
the Israeli forces committed yet another willful extra-judicial killing, this
time against Mahmoud Suleiman El-Madani, 25, from Balatta refugee camp, a
student at the College of Legislation of An-Najah National University in
Nablus.  According to eyewitnesses, after
El-Madani exited a mosque at the entrance of Balatta refugee camp, adjacent to
the main Nablus-Ramallah road, a civilian car suddenly stopped.  Two undercover armed persons exited the car
and opened fire on El-Madani from a distance of only 10m.  They then got in the car and fled the
area.  Eyewitnesses said at the same
time, Israeli forces positioned on Jerzim Mount opened fire, providing cover to
protect the assassins  and enabling them
to flee.  El-Madani was wounded with
three live bullets in the chest and the abdomen.  He was immediately evacuated to Rafidya
hospital in Nablus, where he was pronounced dead at approximately 18:00 local
time.  Later, the Israeli occupation
forces declared that an undercover unit committed the assassination.  El-Madani was a political activist of the
Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas).

 

At approximately 15:00 local time,
Israeli occupation forces, positioned at the border opposite to Al-Salam
neighborhood in Rafah, opened fire on a number of Palestinian children.  As a result, Nahedh A’wwad El-Tarabin, 14,
was wounded with shrapnel in the left foot. 
PCHR’s field officer in Rafah reported that the child was passing a
nearby street when Israeli soldiers fired upon him without provocation.

 

Tuesday, February 20, 2001

 

At
approximately 7:30 local time, Israeli occupation forces, positioned in the
so-called “Avraham Avino settlement center,” in the middle of Hebron, opened
fire on Palestinian students on their way to Al-Ya’qobia school for girls.  Consequently, Rae’da No’man El-Atrash, 16, a
tenth grate student, was wounded with two rubber-coated metal bullets in the
right hand and left leg.

 

At approximately 12:00 local
time, the Israeli occupation forces opened fire on a number of Palestinian
youth and children who were demonstrating approximately 200m south of the
forces’ position at Al-Shuhada’ (Netzarim) junction.  The child Mohammed Abdullah Younis, 14, from
Al-Boreij refugee camp was wounded with a live bullet in the right foot.

 

In addition, at approximately
13:00 local time, Israeli occupation forces fired at PCHR’s field officer in
Khan Yunis Abdel-Halim Abu Samra, 39, and an American journalist, Ron Warzer, a
press photographer for
The Seattle Times.  As part of a PCHR’s program to inform the
international media about Israeli against Palestinian civilians and their
property, Abu Samra was accompanying Warzer in order to acquaint him with
Israeli leveling of Palestinian agricultural land and demolition of civilian
facilities.  The two were on a branch
road east of Salah El-Din Street (the main street between the north and south
of the Gaza Strip) which leads to Kissufim Crossing on the eastern borderline
of the Gaza Strip.  According to Abu
Samra, Israeli occupation soldiers opened fire from tank in order to drive them
away from the area, forcing the two to immediately leave the area.

 

 2. Shelling of Residential
Neighborhoods

 

Thursday,
February 15, 2001

 

In the
afternoon, Israeli occupation forces positioned on Jerzim Mount in Nablus
shelled the roof of a 15-story building in Al-Dhahia neighborhood in
Nablus.  The roof contained broadcasting
equipment belonging to Nablus Television Channel, a private channel.  The Israeli occupation forces fired artillery
shells, heavy caliber bullets, and medium caliber bullets, causing severe
damage to the station as well as water saving tanks of the building.

   

At
approximately 20:00 local time, Israeli occupation forces positioned at
Al-Tuffah roadblock, in the west of Khan Yunis, fired heavy and medium caliber
bullets at Palestinian houses in Khan Yunis refugee camp.  PCHR’s field officer in Khan Yunis reported
that the forces also fired three canisters of a highly effective gas at the
Palestinian houses.  He added that Wardan
Hassan El-Jed, 20, was wounded with shrapnel in the left foot.  Another 11 Palestinian civilians, mostly
children, suffered from suffocation and spasms due to inhalation of the gas,
which was first used by Israeli forces on February 12, 2001 (for more details
about such gas and its unusual symptoms, see the previous
Weekly Report
by PCHR.)  Furthermore, a number of
Palestinian houses were severely damaged. 
Medium caliber bullets also penetrated the windows of the Radiography Department
of UNRWA’s clinic in Khan Yunis refugee camp.

 

Friday
February 16, 2001

 

At
approximately 3:00 local time, Israeli occupation forces reinforced with tanks
and bulldozers burst into Al-Slalam neighborhood, adjacent to the border in
Rafah, in order to raze areas of agricultural land and demolish a number of
houses.  They fired heavy and medium
caliber bullets at Palestinian houses in Al-Barazil and Al-Salam neighborhoods,
wounding four Palestinian civilians.  The
civilians were in front of their homes at the time, having left them due to the
shelling.  The wounded were:

 

 1) Mousa Hmadan Abu Mo’ammar, 14,
wounded with shrapnel in the right leg;

 2) Hassan Ibrahim El-Sattari, 19,
wounded with shrapnel in the head; and

 3) Mohieddin Ismail Mansour, 27,
wounded with shrapnel in the head.

 

At
approximately 13:00 local time, the Israeli occupation forces shelled the area
again, wounding two Palestinian civilians. 
The wounded were:

 

 1) Yusri Hassan Owedha, 38, wounded
with shrapnel in the left foot; and

 2) Mohammed Jamil Abu Koush, 10,
wounded with a live bullet in the left foot.

 

At
approximately 9:30 local time, Israeli occupation forces positioned west of
Khan Yunis fired heavy and medium caliber bullets at Palestinian houses in Khan
Yunis refugee camp.  At approximately
20:00 local time, the Israeli occupation forces began shelling Khan Yunis
refugee camp, lasting until 22:30 local time. 
Dozens of houses were severely damaged. 
Among them was a six-story house owned by O’udeh Abu A’kker, which
penetrated the kitchen window of the third floor, on which his son, Farid’s
six-member family live.  PCHR’s field
officer in Khan Yunis reported that the shell burnt the kitchen.  Additionally, bullets hit the walls of the
house, making 3-5cm holes and destroying a number of windows.

 

At
approximately 15:00 local time, Israeli occupation forces, positioned both in
“Beit Eil” and at the northern entrance of Al-Bireh, fired artillery shells,
heavy caliber bullets and medium caliber bullets at Al-Balou’ neighborhood in
Al-Bireh.  This caused severe damage to
the headquarters of the Palestinian Ministry of Local Government as well as
several civilian buildings and facilities.

 

At
approximately 20:45 local time, Israeli occupation forces positioned at the
center of Hebron indiscriminately shelled Palestinian houses in the city,
killing two Palestinian civilians and wounding another five, one of whom was in
critical condition.  On his way back home
in Talae’t El-Karantina Street opposite to the so-called “Avraham Avino
settlement center.” E’ssam Rashad El-Tawil, a 29-year-old Hebron Municipality
employee, was killed with an explosive bullet in the chest.  Israeli forces in north Hebron shelled a cow
farm owned by the Palestinian Islamic Charity Society and located northeast of
Al-Rama neighborhood.  Wounds from
several heavy and medium caliber bullets in the chest and the abdomen killed
Shaker Ya’qoub El-Manasra, a 23-year old farm worker from Bani Nae’im village,
east of Hebron.  Additionally, another
two farm workers were wounded.  They are:

 

 1) Ahmed Ismail Frajallah, 35, from
Ethna village, wounded with two live bullets in the neck and the abdomen; and

 2) Yousef Suleiman El-Manasra, 30,
wounded with a live bullet in the right shoulder and shrapnel in the left hand.

 

Also, as
a result of indiscriminate shelling of Hebron, Malaka Ziad El-Bakri, 42, was
wounded with shrapnel in the back, when a car in which she was traveling, was
fired upon by Israeli forces.  Also,
Ya’qoub and Nawal Hamdi Marar were wounded with shrapnel while they were at
home in El-Karantina neighborhood.

 

Saturday,
February 17, 2001

 

At
approximately 16:30 local time, Israeli forces positioned in Ramat Yisahi
settlement, overlooking the center of Hebron, shelled Bab El-Zawia and
El-Sheikh neighborhoods and Faisal Street in Hebron.  The shelling which lasted for 1.5 hours,
during which the Israeli occupation forces fired artillery shells,  heavy caliber bullets, and medium caliber
bullets.  This resulted in wounding 11
Palestinian civilians while they were either inside their houses or on
roads.  It also severely damaged a number
of houses.  The wounded were:

 

 1) Seham e’issa Jaradat, 45, wounded
with shrapnel in the head;

 2) Jehad Mohammed Ghaith, 36,
wounded with shrapnel in the head;

 3) Nader O’mran Shahin, 37, wounded
with shrapnel in the head;

 4) E’issa Ahmed Tannina, 40, wounded
with shrapnel in the right leg;

 5) Khaled A’rafa A’rafa, 15, wounded
with shrapnel in the face;

 6) Wadi’e A’wadh El-Haddad, 48,
wounded with shrapnel in the shoulder and the chest;

 7) Amena Khaled El-Shawish, 16,
wounded with shrapnel in the head;

 8) Fahed Abdel-Azzizz El-Natsheh;
24, wounded with shrapnel in the abdomen;

 9) Nedhal Sae’id El-Haimouni, 24,
wounded with shrapnel in the legs;

 10) Beha’ A’tteya Eskafi, 13, wounded
with shrapnel in the right hand; and

 11) Zeidan Mohammed Eskafi, 20,
wounded with shrapnel in the head.

 

At approximately 20:00 local time, Israeli
occupation forces in the so-called “Tsheva” military site fired artillery
shells, heavy caliber bullets, and medium caliber bullets at the Latin
Patriarchy neighborhood in Jenin.  The
shelling also targeted Tayaseer elementary school, causing severe damage to its
walls, windows, school equipment and water saving tanks.  Furthermore, Subeih Mohammed Subeih, 21, was
wounded with a live bullet in the shoulder when he was passing near the area.

 

Sunday,
February 18, 2001

 

At
approximately 10:00 local time, Israeli occupation forces positioned at
Al-Tuffah roadblock and in the vicinity of Neve Dekalim settlement, west of
Khan Yunis refugee camp, fired artillery shells, heavy caliber bullets, and
medium caliber bullets at Palestinian houses. 
This lasted until 13:00 local time. 
During this period, Israeli occupation forces also fired four canisters
containing a new and more virulent gas that was first used on February 12, 2001.  The shelling resulted in wounding:

 

 1) Nada Menwer Abu O’beida, 8, with
shrapnel throughout the body; and

 2) Suha Ghazi Abu A’kker, 10, with
shrapnel in the neck.

 

According
to the owner, at approximately 12:00 local time, an artillery shell hit the
door of a store located approximately 250m to the east of Al-Tuffah
roadblock.  The artillery shell made a
25-cm hole and its shrapnel dispersed inside and outside the commercial store,
wounding the aforementioned children. 
Additionally, the store’s contents were severely damaged.  Also, Yousef Suleiman Zourob, 67, was wounded
with a live bullet in the left foot.

 

Furthermore,
the physiotherapy department at the UNRWA’s clinic in Khan Yunis refugee camp
was hit with two heavy caliber bullets. 
PCHR’s field officer in Khan Yunis reported that the 500 occupants,
including patients and their visitors, were terrified.  It is worth mentioning that UNRWA’s clinic
had been fired upon previously during the few days before the incident.

 

At
approximately 12:00 local time, Ahmed Ismail Farajallah, 35, from Ethna village
near Hebron, was pronounced dead at Al-Mizan hospital in Hebron.  He was critically wounded when the Israeli
occupation forces shelled a cow farm in Hebron (see the above details). 

 

At
approximately 16:20 local time, the Israeli occupation forces fired artillery
shells, heavy caliber bullets, and medium caliber bullets at Khan Yunis refugee
camp.  PCHR’s field officer in Khan Yunis
reported that these forces also fired a new and more virulent gas at Palestinian
houses, forcing most civilians to leave their houses.  The shelling, which lasted for 2.5 hours,
wounded seven Palestinian civilians as follows:

 

 1) Mohammed Khaled Abu A’rram, 8,
wounded with shrapnel of a live bullet near the right eye;

 2) Khaled A’tteya Sha’ath, 27,
wounded with a live bullet in the right hand;

 3) Jamal Mousa El-Sharif, 40,
wounded with shrapnel in the foot;

 4) Ahmed Mohareb Abu Sahloul, 16,
wounded with shrapnel of an artillery shell in the back;

 5) Ghassan Abdel-Jalil El-Salibi,
18, wounded with shrapnel of an artillery shell in the right shoulder;

 6) Jehad Jamal Zaqqout, 12, wounded
with shrapnel of an artillery shell in the right side; and

 7) A’lla’ Fayez Saqer, 12, wounded
with shrapnel in the face.

 

PCHR’s field officer in Khan Yunis reported
that 41 Palestinian civilians, mostly women and children, suffered from
suffocation and spasms due to inhaling the highly effective gas.  He added that 238 Palestinian civilians
suffered from these symptoms inhalation of the gas during the period of
February 12-20, 2001.  Of these, 27 were
still receiving medical treatment at of Palestine Red Crescent Society hospital
and Nasser hospital in Khan Yunis. 

 

Furthermore, a number of Palestinian houses
in Khan Yunis refugee camp and Al-Amal neighborhood were severely damaged after
being hit with heavy and medium caliber bullets.  This included two houses located
approximately 120m to the east of the Israeli occupation forces’ position at
Al-Tuffah roadblock and near Neve Dekalim settlement.  PCHR’s field officer in Khan Yunis reported
that these two houses were frequently shelled without justification over the
past months.  The two houses are:

 

 1) A 250-square-meter, four-story
house, in which 18 people used to live, owned by Abdullah and Ibrahim Hassan
Abu O’beida, was partially destroyed after being with eight artillery
shells.  As a result of this and previous
shelling, the house needs reconstruction. 

 2) A 130-square-meter, two-story
house, in which 11 people used to live, was partially destroyed after having
been hit with four artillery shells.  As
a result of this and previous shelling, the house needs reconstruction.

 

Monday, February 19, 2001

 

At approximately 19:30 local time, Israeli
occupation forces positioned in Psagot settlement, east of Al-Bireh, fired
artillery shells, heavy caliber bullets, and medium caliber bullets at
Palestinian houses and civilian facilities at both Al-Jenan neighborhood and
Jabal Al-Tawil Street in Al-Bireh.  The
shelling, which lasted until 21:30 local time, caused severe damage to a number
of houses.  This  includes the home of Bassel Sabri Al-Shawa,
whose furniture partially burnt. 

 

The shelling also targeted the National
School for Blind Females, terrifying its 75 students and destroying walls of a
bedroom, windows, water saving tanks, a water network and part of the
furniture.  Furthermore, severe damage
was caused to walls and water saving tanks of the headquarters of the
Palestinian Poetry House at Jabal Al-Tawil Street.

    

Tuesday, February 20, 2001

 

At
approximately 22:30 local time, the Israeli occupation forces started to
indiscriminately shell Palestinian residential neighborhoods in Beit Jala City
and Al-Khader village.  The shelling
lasted for approximately two hours, during which time the Israeli occupation
forces fired artillery shells, heavy caliber bullets, and medium caliber
bullets from their positions west of Beit Jala and in Gilo settlement. 

 

Ossama
Mohammed Ibrahim El-Qorabi El-Massalma, 18, from Beit Jala, was killed when
shelling of his family’s house in Al-Iraq neighborhood caused a wall to
collapse on him.  He was pulled with
difficulty from under the debris of the completely destroyed house and
transferred to hospital dead.  Additionally,
his father and mother were wounded with artillery shell shrapnel throughout the
body. 

 

Artillery
shells also hit the house of Sa’d Ahmed Salah in Al-Khader village, destroying
the second floor and wounding three members of the family.  This included the child Mohammed Ahmed Salah,
13, who was wounded with shrapnel in the extremities.  The shelling resulted in slightly or
moderately wounding 12 people and damaging five houses, in addition to the
aforementioned two.

    

 3. A new victim of the siege

 

On
Friday, February 16, 2001, at approximately 11:00 local time, Abdel-Rahaman
Mahmoud Joma’a, 76, from the village of Beit Lied in Tulkarm, died when the
Israeli occupation forces obstructed his transfer to hospital.  The deceased suffered from severe pains in
the chest at 10:00 local time.  His
family intended to transfer him by a private car to hospital in Tulkarm.  However, Israeli occupation soldiers
positioned at a roadblock at the southern entrance of Tulkarm prevented the
passage of the car, despite having been warned of Joma’a critical
condition.  The soldiers allowed his transfer
to hospital only if he were transferred in another car brought from
Tulkarm.  According to the patient’s
companions, this unjustifiable measure caused a one-hour delay.  The patient died on the way as he was being
transferred to the hospital. 

 

It is
worth mentioning that this incident was the fifth of its kind in the past
weeks.  Four other Palestinian patients
died when Israeli occupation forces at roadblocks to entrances of Palestinian
cities and roads in the West Bank obstructed their transfer to hospitals by
ambulances or private cars.  (
For more details, see previous
weekly reports by PCHR.
)

 

 4. The Israeli occupation
forces reinforce their military sites in Khan Yunis

 

Thursday, February 15, 2001

 

In the morning, the Israeli occupation forces
reinforced their presence west of Khan Yunis refugee camp.  Four tanks were seen entering military sites
in the vicinity of Al-Tuffah roadblock, separating Khan Yunis from its
Al-Mawasi (agricultural) area, under the control of the Israeli occupation
forces.  Those tanks were added to five
stationary military sites surrounding Khan Yunis refugee camp from the north,
the northwest, and the southwest.  They
also established a new 20-m-long observation tower near Al-Tuffah
roadblock.  The tower is believed to be
equipped with sophisticated technology, video cameras, and sophisticated
weapons that can be controlled from the base of the tower.  On Tuesday, February 20, 2001, the Israeli
occupation forces established another similar observation tower near a military
site to the west of Al-Amal neighborhood.

 

Monday, February 19, 2001

 

In the morning, the Israeli occupation forces
established a new military site at the branch road of Salah El-Din Street (the
main road between the north and south of the Gaza Strip), leading to Kissufim
Crossing on the eastern border of the Gaza Strip.  The new site is approximately 70m to the east
of Salah El-Din Street and was established on a 20-donum area of land owned by
Khalaf Abu Hajjaj, that was razed by the Israeli occupation forces last
November.  On Tuesday, February 20, 2001,
the Israeli occupation forces began establishing another military site located
approximately 200m east of the previous one. 

 

 5. Attacks on, and Arrests of
Palestinian Citizens

 

Thursday, February 15, 2001

 

At approximately 14:00 local time, the
Israeli occupation forces arrested five Palestinian fishermen on a fishing boat
sailing near Khan Yunis seashore.  An
Israeli forces’ vessel intercepted the fishing boat, which was sailing within
the permitted fishing areas at the time, and arrested five Palestinian
fishermen.  They are:

 

 1) Mohammed Mohammed Al-Najjar, 27,
from Rafah;

 2) Khader Khalil Abdullah Al-Najjar,
29, from Rafah;

 3) Sae’id Abdullah Al-Najjar, 26,
from Rafah;

 4) Hassan Khalil Al-Najjar, 35, from
Rafah; and

 5) Mohammed Hassan El-Habil, 37,
from Rafah.

 

In another incident, the Israeli occupation
forces arrested Nafez Othman El-A’aidi, a 31-year-old bus driver from
Rafah.  He was transporting pilgrims to
the Rafah Border Crossing when the Israeli occupation forces arrested him.

 

In the afternoon, Israeli occupation soldiers
detained for several hours and violently beat Nejem Mohammed Oweis, a
36-year-old teacher from the Eastern Lobban village in Nablus.  After Oweis left school, Israeli occupation
soldiers stopped him at the main road near the village and, without
justification, beat him violently with their rifle butts.  As a result, he suffered from breaks in the
right hand as well as injuries and bruises throughout the body.

 

Friday, February 16, 2001

 

At
approximately 11:30 local time, Mohammed Ahmed Abu Hemeida, 16, was riding his
bicycle near his family’s house on the main road between Rafah and Khan Yunis,
to the southwest of Morag settlement.  A
military jeep of the Israeli occupation forces deviated its course and ran over
him.  As a result, he suffered from
breaks in the hand and bruises throughout the body.  The soldiers left him lying on the ground
without offering him any help.  Passing
Palestinian civilians evacuated him to Nasser hospital in Khan Yunis where he
was still receiving medical care.

 

Sunday, February 18, 2001

 

At approximately 12:00 local time, Israeli
occupation soldiers positioned at a military roadblock to the south of Deir
El-Balah (Abu Houli roadblock) arrested Ayman Ahmed Al-O’weini, 33, and Sami
Mohammed Hassouna, 25, from Khan Yunis. 
Al-O’weini accompanied by Hassouna, was driving his car when Israeli
occupation soldiers stopped them and took them to a military site near Kissufim
Crossing on the eastern border of the Gaza Strip.  They were interrogated by an Israeli
intelligence officer and released five hours later.

 

At approximately 14:00 local time, at Rafah
Border Crossing, the Israeli occupation forces arrested Ziad Abdel-Hamid
Mohammed El-Haj, 24, from Nusseirat refugee camp while he was on his way to
Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage.  El-Haj went
to Rafah Border Crossing on the previous day, but the Israeli occupation forces
prevented his travel.    

 

Monday, February 19, 2001

 

At approximately 7:15 local time, Israeli occupation
soldiers violently beat two taxi drivers and at the entrance of Taqqou’ village
near Jenin and detained them for several hours. 
As a result, the two received injuries and bruises throughout the body.  They were:

 

 1) Hussein Abu Salim, 25, from Taqqou’
village; and

 2) Mohammed Taher Jalqoum, 42, from
Taqqou’ village also.

 

 6. Razing of Agricultural
Land and Demolition of Houses

 

Friday,
February 16, 2001

 

At approximately 3:00 local time, the Israeli
occupation forces started to raze additional Palestinian agricultural land and
demolish more Palestinian houses in Al-Salam neighborhood adjacent to the
borderline in Rafah.  The affected lands
and houses are 30 to 150m north of the border. 
PCHR’s field officer in Rafah reported that the Israeli forces:

 

 1) Demolished a
156-square-meter, one-story house, in which four people used to live, owned by
Farouq Ismail El-Leddawi.  Furniture of
the house was destroyed.  In his
testimony to PCHR, El-Leddawi said that he abandoned his house several months
ago due to the dangerous situation in the area and rented another house in
Rafah refugee camp, to which he transferred part of the furniture.

 2) Razed a 300-square-meter
area of land, owned by Hussein Abdullah El-Sobeihi.  The affected tract of land was fenced and had
two one-room structures.  The rest of the
land was planted with olives and fruits.

 3) Razed a 300-square-meter
area of land, owned by E’mad Khalil Al-Ghoreiz. 
The affected tract of land was fenced and had two one-room
structures.  The rest of the land was
planted with olives and fruits.

 4)  Razed a 300-square-meter area of land, owned
by Ibrahim Abu Hussein.  The affected
tract of land was fenced and had two one-room structures.  The rest of the land was planted with olives
and fruits.

 5) Razed a 150-square-meter
area of land, owned by A’dnan Ibrahim Abu Hussein.  The affected tract of land was fenced and had
a one-room structure.  The rest of the
land was planted with olives and fruits.

 6) Razed a five-donum area of
agricultural land planted with wheat and a four-donum area of agricultural land
planted with almonds, owned by Fayez Suleiman Al-Romeilat.  Additionally, a 60-square-meter store of
agricultural tools and an irrigation network were destroyed. 

 7) Razed a one-donum area of
agricultural land planted with olives and guavas, owned by Mahmoud Mohammed
Daoud El-Shae’r.

 8) Razed a one-donum area of
agricultural land planted with olives, owned by Ahmed Khalil El-Shae’r.  In addition, an irrigation network was
destroyed.

 9) Razed a one-donum area of
agricultural land planted with olives and plums, owned by Salah Mahmoud
El-Shae’r.

 10) Razed a two-donum area of
agricultural land planted with olives and lemons, owned by Abdel-Rahman
Mohammed Qeshta.  In addition, a
50-square-meter store of agricultural tools and an irrigation motor were destroyed.

 11) Bulldozed a one-donum
greenhouse planted with vegetables, owned by Medhat Mahmoud El-Shae’r.  In addition, an agricultural pool, an
irrigation network and two stores of agricultural tools were destroyed.

 12) Bulldozed a
300-square-meter bird farm, owned by Salem Mohammed El-Shae’r.

 13) Razed a two-donum area of
agricultural land planted with olives, owned by Hamdi Mohammed Daoud El-Shae’r.

 14) Bulldozed two greenhouses
planted with vegetables, which stood on a two-donum area of agricultural land,
owned by Nassar Hussein El-Shae’r. 
Additionally, three stores of agricultural tools, the fence of the land
and an irrigation network were destroyed, and dozens of fruitful trees were
uprooted.

 15) Razed a one-donum area of
agricultural land planted with olives, owned by Ahmed Abdel-Salam El-Shae’r.

 16) Razed a one-donum area of
agricultural land planted with olives, owned by Hassan Mohammed El-Shae’r.  Additionally, a store of agricultural tools,
a water motor and an agricultural pool were destroyed.

 17) Razed a 500-square-meter
area of agricultural land planted with olives, owned by Abdel-Hamid Mohammed
El-Shae’r.  In addition, two
60-square-meter stores of agricultural tools, an agricultural pool, an
irrigation motor and the fence of the nearby family’s house were destroyed.

 18) Razed a 500-square-meter
area of agricultural land planted with olives, owned by Ne’ma Marzouq Suleiman
El-Shae’r. In addition, a 20-square-meter store of agricultural tools was
destroyed.

 19) Razed a 500-square-meter
area of land, on which a 50-square-meter room stood, owned by Suleiman Mohammed
El-Sahe’r.

 20) Razed a one-donum area of
agricultural land planted with olives, owned by Ahmed Mahmoud El-Shae’r.

 21) Bulldozed a
250-square-meter bird farm, owned by Ahmed Mahmoud El-Shae’r.

 22) Bulldozed an
80-square-meter bird farm, owned by A’mena Mohammed El-Shae’r.

 

Sunday, February 18, 2001

 

At approximately 7:00 local time, Jewish settlers
seized a six-donum area to the northeast of Kfar Darom settlement.  PCHR’s field officer in the middle area
reported that settlers fenced the seized land with barbwires, under escort by
the Israeli occupation forces.  The
seized land is owned by Ahmed Khalil Abu Samra, and was planted with olives,
palms and guavas before the Israeli occupation forces razed it over the past
few weeks.

 

Monday, February 19, 2001

 

At approximately 11:00 local time, Abdel-Latif
Marzouq El-Shae’r was with ten workers cultivating roses at greenhouses on a
tract of agricultural land in Gizan Al-Najjar area in the southeast of Khan
Yunis owned by him and his brothers. 
Then, a bulldozer, two tanks, and a military jeep came from Morag
settlement 50m to the south and declared a curfew on the area using
loudspeakers.  In his testimony to PCHR,
El-Shae’r said that he and the other workers got out of the greenhouses towards
his Peugeot car in order to leave the area, but Israeli occupation forces
ordered them to leave the area on foot, threatening to shoot them.  As soon as they left the area, El-Shae’r
added, the bulldozer started to raze the land and demolish greenhouses, stores
and agricultural equipment.  This lasted
for approximately 2.5 hours.  When
El-Shae’r returned he found that the Israeli occupation forces:

 

 1) Bulldozed two one-donum
greenhouses planted with roses.

 2) Bulldozed three one-donum
greenhouses planted with vegetables.

 3) Razed a 7-donum area of
agricultural land planted with potatoes.

 4) Demolished a well and a
motor room, destroying the motor.

 5) Destroyed an agricultural
pool, an irrigation pump and a herbicide pump.

 6) Destroyed a
250-square-meter store of agricultural equipment.

 7) Destroyed a 1978 Peugeot.

 

****

 

PCHR reiterates its call for the international
community to immediately intervene to stop the killings and criminal acts
perpetrated by the Israeli occupation forces against Palestinian
civilians.  PCHR calls in particular for:

 

1. Establishing without delay an independent commission of inquiry, in
accordance with UN Security Council resolution 1322 (2000), to carry out a
thorough and comprehensive investigation into the abuses and killings
perpetrated by the Israeli occupation forces against Palestinian civilians.

2. Convening a conference of
the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 to ensure
Israel’s compliance with its obligations under the Convention.

3. Immediately providing
international protection for Palestinian civilians in the occupied Palestinian
territories in the face of the killings and criminal acts perpetrated by the
Israeli occupation forces and groups of Jewish settlers who move under the
protection of these forces.

4. Use by the EU of effective
political and economic measures with reference to Article 2 of the Euro-Israel
Association Agreement, which calls for the respect of human rights.

5. Providing humanitarian and
medical assistance for the Palestinian people whose living conditions are
increasingly deteriorating because of the continued total siege imposed by the
Israeli occupation forces on the entire occupied Palestinian territories.

 

 

For more information on the Al-Aqsa Intifada,
see:

www.pchrgaza.org