The International Community Remains
Silent While the Israeli Human Rights Violations Continue in the OPT

 

· 15 Palestinian civilians, including 5 children, were
killed by Israeli forces

· 4 Palestinians were killed in extra-judicial assassinations

· Israeli
forces conducted a series of incursions into Palestinian areas, accompanied by
indiscriminate shelling

· The
Israeli retaliatory campaign
continued against families of
wanted Palestinians and those who carried out armed attacks against Israeli
targets 

· Israeli
forces used Palestinian civilians as human shields during military operations

· A
number of Palestinians
were arrested

· The
strict siege of the OPT has continued and a number of Palestinians arrested at
Israeli military checkpoints

 

Introduction

 

Israeli
occupying forces have perpetrated more illegal actions and human rights
violations against Palestinian civilians, including willful and extra-judicial
killings, shelling of and incursions into Palestinian areas, house demolitions,
and agricultural land leveling.  This week, from 26 December 2002 – 1
January 2003, 15 Palestinian civilians, including 5 children, were killed by
Israeli forces.

On
Wednesday, the 1 January 2003, Israeli occupying forces shot dead three
Palestinian children from Jabalya refugee camp, claiming that they had knives,
with which they attempted to infiltrate into "Elli Sinai" settlement,
north of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip. Clear information about the incident was not available as the area is a
very dangerous one and no eyewitnesses were present. Nevertheless, initial investigations prove
that Israeli forces used excessive force against the three children foregoing
the use of less lethal means or attempting to arrest them. They were children
and did not have weapons that would threaten the lives of Israeli
soldiers. Medical examinations revealed
that the children were shot in the upper part of the body from a very close
distance. PCHR’s field worker in the
northern Gaza Strip, who saw the bodies, reported that the children had been
shot in the head exposing their brain tissue. It is worth mentioning that three Palestinian children were killed in
similar circumstances in the same area on 2 January 2002 (see PCHR’s reports). 

Also this
week, Israeli forces shot dead five other Palestinian civilians, including a
child, in cases of willful killing, while three civilians including a child,
were killed by Israeli shelling. In
addition, four Palestinian civilians were extra-judicially assassinated by
Israeli forces. 

In a
continuation of the policy of extra-judicial assassinations officially adopted
by the Israeli political and military establishments against Palestinian
activists
, on
Thursday, the 26 December 2002, Israeli occupying forces perpetrated three new
extra-judicial assassinations that left dead four Palestinian. Early in the
morning, Israeli forces assassinated Yousef Mohammed Khalil Abu al-Rub, 40,
from Qabatya village in Jenin. Also in
the morning, an undercover unit of Israeli forces assassinated Jamal Nader
Mohammed Yahia, 32, from Tulkarm. At the
same time, an undercover unit of Israeli forces assassinated Bassam Lutfi
al-Ashqar, 26, from ‘Ein ‘Arik village in Ramallah, and shot dead a passing
civilian, Mahdi Samir ‘Obaid, 17, from Ramallah. 

In
violation
of international and
humanitarian law which prohibits collective punishment, Israeli forces took
retaliatory measures against families of Palestinians who have carried attacks
against Israeli targets in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and those wanted
by Israeli forces.  In this context, they destroyed seven houses in
Hebron, Jenin, Nablus and Khan Yunis. 

Israeli
forces have maintained the total siege imposed on the OPTs, collectively
punishing the Palestinian people. Israeli forces have partitioned
Palestinian areas, transforming them into cantons,
violating Palestinian civilians’ economic, social and cultural rights
They have also
imposed curfews on several different areas
. On account of this, a Palestinian patient died this
week as Israeli forces and settlers obstructed his evacuation to hospital
.



 
The Shelling of and Encroachment into Palestinian Areas

 

Thursday, 26 December 2002

 

At approximately 10:30, Israeli occupying forces,
reinforced with heavy military vehicles, moved into the old town of Nablus,
chasing a number of Palestinians allegedly wanted by the Israelis. Israeli
soldiers took position inside a number of houses, from which they fired at
passing Palestinians. Mohammed Mohye
al-Din ‘Aashour, 17, was killed by two live bullets in the chest. According to eyewitnesses, ‘Ashour was shot
dead while he was on his way to school without having done anything that may
have raised suspicions. According to
‘Abdul Rahim ‘Omar al-Qussini, 35, a journalist working in the city, the area
where ‘Aashour was killed was totally calm and the distance between Israeli
soldiers and the victim was no more than 20m. 

 

In an apparent willful killing, in the afternoon,
Israeli soldiers broke into Ramallah Hospital and fired at its guards, killing
one of them
. According
to information available to PCHR, at approximately 15:25, while five guards of
Ramallah Hospital were sitting inside their guardroom, they heard knocking on
the door. One of the guards, Samer
Khalil Mohammed al-Shamali, 25, a policeman from al-Amari refugee camp, opened
the door. A strange man was standing
there. He asked al-Shamali for water,
claiming that his car was hot. When
al-Shamali went to bring water, he and his colleagues were surprised by three
persons in civilian clothes pointing their pistols towards them through the
windows. Al-Shamali went to the
bathroom. The armed persons opened fire
at the room from a distance of 1m. Al-Shamali was wounded by two live bullets. His colleagues were not hurt
as they were lying on the ground while the shooting continued for 30
minutes. When the fire ceased, the
guards who survived got out of the room surrendered. Israeli soldiers checked their identity cards
and interrogated them. Then, Israeli
soldiers arrested the four guards. They
were taken to "Beit ‘Eil" detention center, where they were severely
beaten. Three of them were released
several hours later, while the fourth, Hassan Mohammed al-Turabi, 23, from
Surra village in Nablus, remained in custody. 

 

At approximately 11:00, Israeli soldiers on tanks in
the vicinity of "Enab" settlement, east of Tulkarm, fired live
ammunition and sound bombs at Palestinian houses in Ramin village. A sound bomb fell near Moraweh Hussein
‘Othman, 55, while he was near his house, and caused him a heart attack. Immediately, his relatives evacuated hi to
hospital, but he died before arriving at hospital.

 

Friday, 27 December 2002

 

At approximately 01:00, Israeli occupying forces in
military locations in the vicinity of "Gani Tal" settlement, northwest
of Khan Yunis, opened fire at Palestinian houses and agricultural land in
al-Rabwat area in the northwest of the town. They also fire flare in the air. A flare fell onto an agricultural store and an animal farm owned by
Suleiman Ahmed al-Astal. The store and
the farm burnt down and a number of animals died. The Palestinian Civil Defense was called to
put out the fire before it spread to nearby houses. 

 

At approximately 18:30, Israeli soldiers on a gunboat
that was sailing near Beit Lahia coast in the northern Gaza Strip opened fire
at a number of Palestinian fishing boats that had stopped there. Three boats, owned by Khaled Radwan Baker and
his
brothers, burnt, and two
other boats, owned by Sa’id Mohammed Abu Riala, were severely damaged. PCHR’s field worker in the northern Gaza
Strip reports that the boats were empty and that the shooting took place
without any prior warning as the area had not witnessed any incidents. The
Palestinian fishermen were not able to put out the fire as the Israeli gunfire
lasted for two hours. 

 

 

Saturday, 28 December 2002

 

At approximately 14:00, Israeli forces, reinforced
with heavy military vehicles, moved approximately 600m into al-Birka area in
the southwest of Deir al-Balah. An
Israeli military bulldozer started razing areas of Palestinian agricultural
land
:

 

 1. It
razed a 7-donum area of agricultural land planted with guavas, olives and
palms, demolished a 20-square-meter room and destroyed a water pump owned by
Kamel Ahmed al-Salqawi
. 

 2. It
razed a 3-donum area of agricultural land planted with guavas, demolished a
20-square-meter room and destroyed a water pump owned by Hamdan ‘Abdul ‘Aziz
al-Salqawi. 

 3. It
demolished a 20-square-meter room and destroyed a water pump owned by Ahmed
Baraka
. 

 4. It
demolished a 20-square-meter room and destroyed a water pump owned by Jamil
Mohammed al-Salqawi
.

 5. It
demolished a 20-square-meter room and destroyed a water pump owned by Isma’il
‘Aashour al-‘Assar
. 

 

In the evening, Hanin ‘Abdul Qader Abu Suleiman, 8,
from al-Nimsawi neighborhood in Khan Yunis, was killed by a live bullet fired
by Israeli soldiers positioned in military locations in the vicinity of
"Neve Dekalim" settlement, west of the town. In his testimony to PCHR, the victim’s
father, ‘Abdul Qader Saleh ‘Abdul Qader Abu Suleiman, 54, said: 

 

"At approximately
17:00 on Saturday, 28 December 2002, while I was sitting with my child Hanin,
8, and my other children in the street close to my house, approximately 700m
east of ‘Neve Dekalim’ settlement, I heard sounds of intense shooting coming
from a military location in the settlement. My children and I ran towards our house to avoid being injured. Hanin fell to the ground. I ran to her and noticed that she was
bleeding from the head. Immediately, I
took her in a civilian car to Nasser Hospital. There, doctors informed me that she was critically wounded by a live
bullet in the head. Few minutes later,
an ambulance transferred her to the European Hospital in Khan Yunis. On the way to the hospital, a paramedic told
me that her heart stopped beating. When
we arrived at the hospital, she was dead."

 

At approximately 18:30, Israeli forces at the
northern border of the Gaza Strip, north of Beit Hanoun, fired three flechette
shells (tank shells containing up to 10,000 flechettes) at two Palestinian
civilians who were approximately 2000m south of the border. The two were wounded by shrapnel:

 

 1. Mohammed
Samih Zaki al-Kafarna, 22, seriously wounded by shrapnel in the neck; and

 2. Mahmoud
‘Omar Jaber ‘Abdu, 28, wounded by shrapnel in the right thigh
. 

 

Monday, 30 December 2002

 

At approximately 12:05, Israeli occupying forces
moved into the old town of Nablus. They
opened fire at Palestinian houses and passing civilians, wounding Jamal Zuhair
Yousef Zabara, 20, with an explosive live bullet in the head. He was evacuated to hospital but was already
clinically death. At approximately
12:40, he was pronounced dead. 

 

At approximately 13:30, Israeli soldiers in a
military jeep positioned opposite to ‘Omar Ben al-Khattab School in al-Makhfia
neighborhood in Nablus fired at Hamdi Ghazi Hamdan al-Sarwan, 16, wounding him
with a live bullet in the back. According to eyewitnesses, Israeli soldiers fired at him when he exited
school, while the area was completely quiet. 

 

At approximately 14:00, Israeli soldiers on tanks and
armored personnel carriers positioned at the northern entrance of Balata
refugee camp, east of Nablus, fired at Ahmed Isma’il Mutlaq al-Qeissi, 17,
wounding him with a live bullet in the mouth. According to medical sources, al-Qeissi was wounded by an explosive
bullet that cut a part of his tongue and fractured bones of the lower jaw, so
he was in critical condition. 

 

At approximately 17:00, Israeli soldiers on Wahba
building in Hittin Street in Nablus fired, for no apparent reason, at Mo’ayad
Hamed Mohammed Saleh al-Sayeh, 21, wounding him with a live bullet in the
abdomen. According to medical sources,
al-Sayeh
is in critical
condition, as the live bullet cut his intestines causing an internal
hemorrhage. 

 

Tuesday, 31 December 2002

 

At approximately 15:30, Israeli soldiers in tanks in
the vicinity of the Egyptian border, south of Rafah, opened fire at Palestinian
residential areas in the town. Hassan
Husni al-Sha’er, 15, was wounded by a live bullet in the head. PCHR’s field worker in Rafah reported that
the child was wounded when he was near his house in al-Jonaina neighborhood,
approximately 1200 away from the border. 

 

Wednesday, 1 January 2003

 

At approximately 14:00, two Israeli tanks and a
military bulldozer moved approximately 400m north of "Kfar Darom"
settlement, east of Deir al-Balah. They
razed areas of Palestinian agricultural land and demolished two houses
:

 1. They razed a 12-donum area of
agricultural land planted with olives owned by Kamel Mohammed Jaber Sarsour and
brothers
. 

 2. They razed a 2-donum area of
agricultural land planted with vegetables and palms owned by heirs of ‘Awad
Ibrahim Sarsour
.

 3. They razed a 500-square-meter area of
agricultural land planted with carrots owned by Subhi Mohammed Sarsour
.

 4. They razed a 2-donum area of
agricultural land planted with vegetables owned by Mohammed Ahmed al-Fallit
.

 5. They demolished a 160-square-meter,
under-construction house owned by Ayman Shihda Abu Nussair
.

 6. They demolished a 200-square-meter,
under-construction house owned by Marzouqa Salama Abu Nussair
. 

At approximately midnight, about 20 Israeli tanks,
supported by two helicopters and covered by sporadic gunfire, moved
approximately 150m into al-Boreij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. A Palestinian civilian, ‘Essam Mahmoud
Wishah, 27, was wounded by a live bullet in the right thigh, while near his
house. A number of houses were
damaged. In addition, a number of Israeli
soldiers raided and searched the house of Bassam Ahmed Abu ‘Oteiwi, and destroyed
the windows of his car. They also raided
a flat that serves as office for the Popular Front for the Liberation of
Palestine (PFLP) and destroyed its furniture. 

 

 

Extra-Judicial Assassinations

 

In a
continuation of the policy of extra-judicial assassinations officially adopted
by the Israeli authorities against Palestinian activists, the Israeli occupying
forces, on Thursday, 26 December 2002, perpetrated three extra-judicial
assassinations in the West Bank that left four Palestinians dead.

At approximately 02:00, ten heavy military vehicles,
a number of Israeli military jeeps and an Israeli
ambulance moved into Qabatya village, southeast of
Jenin. They seized control over the
village. Then, they moved to the western
area of the village, where they
surrounded a number of Palestinian houses and mounted others. At approximately 02:35, they called on Bilal
Helmi ‘Ezzat Abu al-Rub through loudspeakers to evacuate his house. Afterwards they interrogated him, beat him
and his family, and put him in a pool of rainwater. Then the Israeli soldiers
forced him to go to his neighbor’s house, Yousef Mohammed Khalil Abu al-Rub,
40, known as "Hamza", to tell him to leave the house. The wife and
children left the house, while Hamza remained inside. Israeli soldiers then forced the wife and
children to go back to the house and tell him to surrender. Hamza got out of the door and informed the
Israeli soldiers of his intention to surrender with the presence of the ICRC or
any other international agency to ensure his safety, but they refused. Israeli snipers positioned on neighboring
buildings fired at him. He was killed by
ten live bullets throughout the body, including the head and the chest. After Israeli soldiers forced neighbors to
remove his body, they destroyed the house. 

 

At approximately 11:30, an undercover unit,
reinforced with Israeli troops, infiltrated the western part of Tulkarm. They surrounded the house of Jamal Nader
Mohammed Yahia, 32. They knocked the
door and Yahia opened it without knowing who was there. Immediately, Israeli soldiers opened fire at
him from a very close distance. He was
wounded by seven live bullets throughout the body, including in the neck, the
chest and the abdomen. Israeli soldiers
did not allow Palestinians to offer him help. Soon, other Israeli forces arrived at the area to support the undercover
unit. They forced people away from Yahia
and left him bleeding to death. Then,
they took his body and withdrew from the area. 

 

At the same time, an Israeli undercover unit moved in
a truck, which had a Palestinian license number
, into al-Manara square in the center of Ramallah. The truck stopped there. When Bassam Lutfi al-Ashqar, 26, from ‘Ein
‘Arik village in Ramallah, passed by the area in his private car, a number of
gunmen got out of the truck and fired at him from a close distance, killing him
with two live bullets in the head and the abdomen. When Palestinians discovered the presence of
the Israeli undercover unit in the area, they tried to attack them, but a
number of Israeli military jeeps arrived at the area and opened fire. Mahdi Samir ‘Obaid, 17, from Ramallah, was
critically wounded by three live bullets in the chest and the abdomen. He was evacuated to hospital, but all efforts
made to save his life failed. Israeli
forces took al-Ashqar’s body and withdrew from the area. 

 

Shooting at Palestinian Civilians

 

Sunday, 29 December 2002

 

In an apparent willful killing, Israeli soldiers in a
tank and in a number of military jeeps, positioned opposite the ‘Ezbat al-Jarad
village east of Tulkarm, opened fire at a number of Palestinian school
children, who were on their way home after having finished their midterm
exams. A child was killed and another
was wounded. 

 

According to information available to PCHR, at
approximately 10:00, while school children of al-Salam elementary school were
on their way home, Israeli soldiers in a tank and in a number of military
jeeps, positioned opposite
the school, which is located at the entrance of ‘Ezbat al-Jarad village, provoked them. A number of children gathered and threw
stones towards the Israeli military vehicles. Immediately, Israeli soldiers fired at the children. ‘Abdul Karim Yasser ‘Abdul Karim Salama, 11,
was killed by a live bullet in the head, and ‘Aassef
Mohammed Sharshir, 12, was wounded by a rubber-coated
metal bullet in the right leg. According
to eyewitnesses, Israeli soldiers fired at the children from a distance of only
30m, without the children having posed any threat to the lives of soldiers
. 

 

At approximately 12:30, Israeli soldiers at a
military checkpoint at the entrance of the al-Mawasi area in the west of Rafah
opened fire at local and international participants in a sit-in organized by
residents of the area. The aim of the sit-in was
to call on the Israelis to allow residents of
al-Mawasi to go back to the area through the checkpoint, which has been closed
since 6 November 2002. Twenty members of
the International Solidarity Movement participated in the sit-in, which took
place approximately 200m away from the Israeli military checkpoint. Tamer Nasser al-Din Sa’di Ziara, 20, a
cameraman of the Associated Press, was wounded by a live bullet in the
head. PCHR’s field worker in Rafah
reported that Ziara was wearing a suit that had the press badge and that the
there had been no clashes in the area. 

 

Monday, 30 December 2002

 

In an apparent willful killing, Israeli soldiers in a
military jeep opened fire from close distance at ‘Aassem Fu’ad ‘Abdul Rahman
Massad, 37, from Faqqou’a village, north of Jenin, killing him with eight live
bullets
. 

 

According to information available to PCHR, at
approximately 13:30, Massad was traveling in his private car from his village
to Jenin through a branch road. When he
crossed the Jenin-Nazareth road, north of Jenin, to get on a
branch road leading to the town, an Israeli military
jeep, coming from al-Jalama military checkpoint, chased him and collided with
his car. None was hurt. Massad stopped his car and got out of it with
his hands up, but an Israeli soldier in the jeep shot him dead from a close
distance. Then, Israeli forces closed the area and denied Palestinian
ambulances access. At approximately
15:30, Israeli forces allowed a Palestinian ambulance to evacuate the body to
hospital. According to medical sources,
Massad was shot by eight live bullets in the head, chest and abdomen. Later, Israeli forces claimed that Massad was
armed, but eyewitnesses refuted this claim and asserted that he got out of the car
with his hands up. 

 

Wednesday, 1 January 2003

 

Late at night, Israeli occupying forces delivered the
bodies of three Palestinian children to the Palestinian side. The children were killed by Israeli forces in
the northern Gaza Strip in the afternoon
. 

 

According to PCHR’s investigation, at approximately 17:30, Israeli soldiers in the vicinity
of "Elli Sinai" settlement, north of Beit Lahia, opened fire at three
children from Jabalya refugee camp, killing them. The Israeli radio in Arabic claimed that
Israeli forces shot dead three Palestinians, who had knives, with which they
attempted to infiltrate the settlement. The radio did not mention the ages of the Palestinians. At approximately 22:45, the three bodies were
delivered to Palestinian ambulances at the Erez crossing in the northern Gaza
Strip. The bodies of the children were
evacuated to Shifa’ Hospital in Gaza City, where they were identified as:

 

 

 1. Mohammed ‘Atiya Dawas, 14, shot by
several live bullets in the head, the abdomen and the limbs
; 

 2. Tariq Ziad Dawas, 15, shot by several
live bullets in the head and the body; and

 3. Jihad Joma’a ‘Aabed, 15, shot by
several live bullets throughout the body
. 

 

Additional information about the circumstances of the
incidents was not available, as the area is dangerous and no eyewitnesses were
present. Nevertheless, initial
investigation proves that Israeli forces used excessive force against the three
children without resorting to less lethal means or attempting to detain them. Medical examinations revealed that the
children were shot in the upper part of the body from close distance. 

 

A Palestinian Civilian Beaten to Death

 

On Monday evening, 30 December 2002, Israeli soldiers
kidnapped ‘Omran ‘Abdul Ghani ‘Omran Abu Hamdia, 18, from Hebron, and beat him
to death
. 

 

According to information available to PCHR, at
approximately 20:15, while Abu Hamdia was with a number of neighbors in front
of his house, an Israeli military jeep arrived at the area. The jeep stopped and Israeli soldiers got out
of it. They checked the identity cards
of the people in the area and ordered some of them to leave. Then, they took Hamdia in the jeep to the
south of the city. In the jeep, Israeli
soldiers violently beat him and then pushed him out of the jeep onto the road,
approximately 1500m away from his house. His neighbors and other people started searching for him. Nearly 15 minutes later, they found him on
the road near Shahin fuel station. They
tried to evacuate him to hospital in a civilian car, but he died on the
way. According to medical sources, the
victim was severely beaten. He was
bleeding from the nose, the ears and the mouth, which indicates that he
suffered from an internal hemorrhage in the brain. There were also signs of beatings on the
hands and the head.

 

Collective
Punishment Measures against Families of Wanted Palestinians and Those Who have
Carried out Armed Attacks against Israeli Targets

 

In
violation of international humanitarian law, which prohibits collective
punishment, Israeli forces took retaliatory measures against families of
Palestinians who have carried out attacks against Israeli targets in the
Occupied Palestinian Territories and those wanted by Israeli forces.

At approximately 06:30 on Thursday, 26 December 2002,
Israeli
forces destroyed the
180-square-meter house of Yousef Mohammed Khalil Abu al-Rub, 40, after they had
assassinated him. Abu al-Rub lived in
the house with his wife and three children. He rented it after his house had been destroyed by Israeli forces
.

 

At approximately 07:00 on Saturday, 28 December 2002,
Israeli
forces, reinforced with
heavy military vehicles, moved into Dura village, southwest of Hebron. They surrounded the house of the family of
Martyr Jamil Hammad Hamad Abu ‘Atwan in al-Tabaqa neighborhood. They forced the eight residents of the 240
square-meter house out
and destroyed it
. 

 

At approximately 08:30 on the same day, Israeli
forces surrounded the house of ‘Abdul Rahim ‘Abdul ‘Aziz al-Malalha, 27, in
Rajam Abu Hilal area in Dura village. They forced the three residents out of the 140-square-meter, two-story
house and destroyed it. Israeli forces
claim that Talahma is wanted for being a member of the Islamic Jihad. 

 

At approximately 03:00 on Monday, 30 December 2002,
Israeli occupying forces moved into Dura village, southwest of Hebron. They surrounded the house of the family of
Ahmed ‘Aayed Ahmed al-Faqih, 20, in Naqat Noah area. They gave the 11 residents of the
150-square-meter house nine minutes to evacuate their furniture. At approximately 05:30, Israeli forces
destroyed it, claiming that the son, Ahmed, participated in an armed attack
against "Otaniel" settlement on Friday, 27 December 2002. Israeli forces also arrested his father,
‘Aayed al-Faqih, 41, his uncle, Tawifiq Hassan ‘Obaid, and his neighbor,
Ibrahim Hassan al-Talahma, 26, who helped the family evacuate their
furniture. 

 

At approximately 11:00 on Tuesday, 31 December 2002,
Israeli occupying forces surrounded the house of ‘Abed Sa’ada Asmar at
‘Awarta-Rujib junction, east of Nablus. They forced the 11 residents out
of the 150-square-meter, two-story house and
demolished it. According to Asmar,
Israeli forces also demolished his house in 1988 after one of his sons had
carried out an armed attack against them. After the Oslo Accords, Asmar rebuilt the house, but again Israeli
forces demolished it, claiming that he does not have the right to rebuild
it. 

 

At approximately 03:00 on Wednesday, 1 January 2003,
Israeli forces, reinforced with heavy military vehicles, moved into the
al-Rabwat area in the northwest of Khan Yunis. They surrounded the house of Sa’id D’iab Shaker al-Agha, 75, father of
Yassin al-Agha, who was assassinated by Israeli forces on 10 December
2002. They called on the six residents
of the 250-square-meter, two-story house, and the residents of neighboring
house to leave them. They used the
father as a human shield in searching the house. Then, they destroyed it. A neighboring house, a wood store and well
were severely damaged. 

 

At approximately 03:45 on the same day, Israeli
forces, reinforced with heavy military vehicles and military jeeps, moved into
Madama village. They surrounded the
house of Mohammed Ahmed Ziara. They
forced the four residents of the 160-square-meter house out and destroyed
it. Ziara is the father of ‘Omar Ziara who
carried out a bombing inside Israel in June 2002. 

 

Continued Restrictions of Freedom of Movement

 

Israeli
occupying forces have
again restricted Palestinian’s
movement inside the Gaza Strip. They
have continued to stop and search cars at military checkpoints erected on Salah
al-Din Street, the main road between the north and south of the Gaza
Strip. They have also continued to fire
at Palestinian civilians at those checkpoints. 

At
approximately
11:00 on Thursday, 26 December 2002, Israeli forces closed al-Matahen and
Abu Houli military checkpoints on Salah al-Din Street.  Israeli soldiers
searched a number of cars and checked the identity cards of passengers. 
They interrogated a number of people and detained three Palestinians. 

At
approximately 17:00 on Saturday, 28 December 2002, Israeli forces closed the
two checkpoints again. They searched
dozens of cars and detained a Palestinian, Sami ‘Awad Sa’id al-Astal, 32, a
teacher from Khan Yunis
. 

On Monday,
30 December 2002, Israeli forces closed the two checkpoints and searched a
number of cars. They also fired at a
vehicle of the Palestinian Ministry of Religious Endowments that was on its way
to Khan Yunis, but no casualties were reported
. 

In the
southern Gaza Strip, Israeli forces, at approximately 11:00 on Sunday, 29
December 2002, closed the al-Tuffah checkpoint that separates Khan Yunis from
the al-Mawasi area. In the evening, a
few people were able to cross the checkpoint as a
delegation of the international popular protection intervened. Throughout the two previous days, people
waited at the checkpoint to go back to the al-Mawasi area, but Israeli soldiers
forced them to leave the area. 

In the
west Bank, Israeli occupying forces have maintained a strict siege on
Palestinian communities. On Sunday, 29
December 2002, Hussein Mahmoud ‘Abdul Hamid al-Tamimi, 56, from Nabi Saleh
village, northwest of Ramallah, died as Israeli forces and settlers obstructed
his evacuation to hospital. According to
information available to PCHR, at approximately 12:30, al-Tamimi, the
headmaster of an elementary school, felt sick. He went to a doctor in the village who recommended his transfer to
hospital. His son Ramzi took him in a
taxi to go to hospital. When they
arrived at the junction of "Halmish" settlement, Israeli soldiers
stopped them for 15 minutes and then allowed their passage. When they arrived at the junction of ‘Ein
Kina village, west of Ramallah, a number of Israeli settlers stopped them and
called the Israeli forces. Israeli
soldiers denied them passage. Ramzi
asked the soldiers to check his father or call an ambulance, but they refused
and stopped them for nearly an hour. At
approximately 15:00, al-Tamimi arrived at hospital in Ramallah dead. According to medical sources, he died an hour
earlier from a heart clot and that obstruction of his access to hospital
contributed to the deterioration of his condition. 

********

PCHR calls:

 1. Upon the international community to
provide immediate and independent international protection for the Palestinian
people in the Occupied Palestinian Territories
.

 2. Upon the High Contracting Parties to
the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 to reconvene to take effective measures to
protect Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, in
accordance with their obligations under article 1 and article 146, to ensure
the respect of the Convention.

 3. Upon the international community to
investigate and prosecute those believed to have committed war crimes in the
Occupied Palestinian Territories before international courts
.

 4. Upon the ICRC to enhance its presence,
expand its activities, and intensify its field operations throughout the
Occupied Palestinian Territories
.

 5. Upon the European Union to activate
Article 2 of the Euro-Israeli Association Agreement, which provides that Israel
must respect human rights.

 6. Upon the international community to
provide humanitarian and medical assistance for the Palestinian people, whose
living conditions are continuing to deteriorate as a result of the continued
siege imposed by Israeli occupation forces on the entire Occupied Palestinian
Territories.