Israeli violations of international law in Occupied Palestinian Territories

October 22nd, 2009 | Posted in Palestine

Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) report 08 – 14 October 2009


    Photo: Current Israeli colony construction in the Palestinian West Bank.

During the reporting period, a Palestinian child of wounds inflicted by IOF earlier this year, and 5 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded by IOF gunfire in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

On 12 October 2009, medical sources at al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron declared that Tha’er Sa’id Mohammed Abu ‘Ayash, 17, from Beit Ummar village north of Hebron, died of wounds he had sustained on 04 March 2009. According to PCHR’s documentation, on 04 March 2009, IOF moved into Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron.

They raided a house belonging to Yousef ‘Awadh Badran and transformed its upper floor and rooftop into a military post. Soon, a number of Palestinian children gathered and threw stones at IOF troops. Immediately, IOF troops fired at the children. As a result, ‘Ayash was seriously wounded by a gunshot to the head. He was evacuated to al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron, where he had received medical treatment until he died of his wound.

On 12 October, a Palestinian child was wounded in Yatta village, south of Hebron, when IOF fired at a number of children who demonstrated in protest at the seizure of a Palestinian house in the area.

IOF used force against peaceful demonstrations organized by Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders to protest the construction of the Annexation Wall in the West Bank. As a result, dozens of demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation.

In the Gaza Strip, on 14 October 2009, 4 Palestinian civilians were wounded when IOF warplanes bombarded area located near the border with Egypt, south of Rafah, allegedly to destroy tunnels.

Incursions: During the reporting period, IOF conducted at least 21 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. IOF arrested 18 Palestinian civilians.

Restrictions on Movement: IOF have continued to impose a tightened closure on the OPT and imposed severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.

Gaza Strip

IOF have continued to close all border crossings to the Gaza Strip for more than two years. The illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has steadily tightened since June 2007, has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the Gaza Strip.

* 1.5 million people are being denied their basic rights, including freedom of movement, and their rights to appropriate living conditions, work, health and education.

* The main concern of 1.5 million people living in the Gaza Strip is to obtain their basic needs of food, medicines, water and electricity supplies.

* IOF have continued to prevent the entry of raw construction materials into the Gaza Strip for more than three years.

* IOF have not allowed fuel supplies into the Gaza Strip, excluding limited amounts of cooking gas, since 10 December 2008.

* The Rafah International Crossing Point has been opened for a few days for a number of patients who received medical treatment abroad and needed to return home to the Gaza Strip.

* IOF have continued to close Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing to Palestinian civilians wishing to travel to the West Bank and Israeli for medical treatment, trade or social visits.

* Poverty and unemployment rates stand at approximately 80% and 60% respectively in the Gaza Strip.

* IOF have continued to prevent the entry of spare parts form water networks and sewage systems. Losses incurred to this sector are estimated at US$ 6 million.

* IOF have imposed additional access restrictions on international diplomats, journalists and humanitarian workers seeking to enter the Gaza Strip. They have prevented representatives of several international humanitarian organizations from entering the Gaza Strip.

* Living conditions of the Palestinian civilian population have seriously deteriorated; levels of poverty and unemployment have sharply mounted.

* At least 900 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails have been denied family visitation rights for more than three years.

* IOF have continued to attack Palestinian fishers along the Gaza Strip coast.

West Bank

IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians throughout the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Thousands of Palestinian civilians from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip continue to be denied access to Jerusalem.

* IOF have established checkpoints in and around Jerusalem, severely restricting Palestinian access to the city. Civilians are frequently prevented from praying at the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

* There are approximately permanent 630 roadblocks, and manned and unmanned checkpoints across the West Bank. In addition, there are some 60-80 ‘flying’ or temporary checkpoints erected across the West Bank by IOF every week.

* When complete, the illegal Annexation Wall will stretch for 724 kilometers around the West Bank, further isolating the entire population. 350 kilometers of the Wall has already been constructed. Approximately 99% of the Wall has been constructed inside the West Bank itself, further confiscating Palestinian land.

* At least 65% of the main roads that leads to 18 Palestinian communities in the West Bank are closed or fully controlled by IOF (47 out of 72 roads).

* There are around 500 kilometers of restricted roads across the West Bank. In addition, approximately one third of the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, is inaccessible to Palestinians without a permit issued by the IOF. These permits are extremely difficult to obtain.

* IOF continue to harass, and assault demonstrators who hold peaceful protests against the construction of the Annexation Wall.

* Palestinian civilians continue to be harassed by IOF in Jerusalem, and across the West Bank, including being regularly stopped and searched in the streets by IOF.

Annexation Wall: During the reporting period, IOF denied Palestinian farmers access to their agricultural lands, which are isolated by the Wall, to cultivate olives, claiming that the farmers do not have permits to cross the Wall to their lands. In Jenin, IOF prevented at least 300 Palestinian civilians from al-Taybeh village from reaching their lands, which are isolated by the Wall.

According to the mayor of the village, IOF issued permits for only 160 of 450 farmers. In Beit Jala, IOF prevented Palestinian farmers from reaching their lands in Wadi Ahmed area in the west of the town to cultivate olives and arrested one of them. They also attempted to confiscate cameras belonging to a number of international human rights defenders who accompanied the Palestinian farmers.

Efforts Intended to Establish Jewish majority in East Jerusalem: IOF have escalated arbitrary measures against Palestinian civilians in East Jerusalem to force them to leave the city. IOF have continued to impose a tightened siege on East Jerusalem and the al-Aqsa Mosque since Friday, 09 October 2009. They have erected a number of checkpoints at the entrances of the old town and nearby villages and suburbs.

Thousands of Israeli soldiers and police officers have been deployed in the streets as IOF have declared a state of high alert under the pretext of preventing any clashes that may erupt between Palestinian civilians and Israeli settlers who declared that they would break into the al-Aqsa Mosque. IOF have also denied men aged below 50 access to the al-Aqsa Mosque.

At approximately 13:00 on Friday, IOF fired rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at Palestinian civilians in Ras al-‘Aamoud neighborhood. IOF undercover units disguised as press teams also arrested 3 Palestinian civilians. They violently beat those civilians in front of television cameras. Additionally, at least 10 civilians suffered from tear gas inhalation.

On 12 October 2009, IOF, demolished a 50-square-meter house belonging to Amjad Khamis al-Tiryaqi, in which 5 people, including 3 children live, in Beit Hanina village, north of Jerusalem.

Settlement Activities: IOF have continued settlement activities in the OPT in violation of international humanitarian law and Israeli settlers living have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.

On 12 October 2009, a number of Israeli settlers living in a new settlement outpost in al-Barassin area in the southeast of Kufor Qaddoum village, east of Qalqilya, launched an arson attack against olive s in the area. At least 100 olive trees belonging to Sadiq Hamed Eshtaiwi and ‘Omar Yousef Eshtaiwi were burnt. On the same day, a few hours after beginning the olive harvest in Wadi al-Hussain neighborhood to the west of “Kiryat Arba” settlement, southeast of Hebron, at least 15 Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian farmers with stones. They also robbed buckets and sacks where the farmers put cultivated olives.

On 14 October 2009, an Israeli settler from “Elli” settlement, south of Nablus, attacked a number of Palestinian farmers who were cultivating olives in al-Qlayla area in the west of Qaryout village, and prevented them from working in the area.

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