Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
PCHR: Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Continue Systematic Attacks against Palestinian Civilians and Property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and Continue to Impose a Total Siege on the Gaza Strip
- 20 Palestinian civilians, including 6 children, were wounded by IOF gunfire in the West Bank.
- A number of these civilians were wounded by Israeli settlers during a joint attack with IOF.
- IOF conducted 28 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank.
- IOF arrested 32 Palestinian civilians, including 6 children.
- IOF halted technical preparations related to a reception site intended for the Pope’s visit.
- IOF have continued to impose a total siege on the OPT and have isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world.
- IOF imposed severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian Christians during Easter.
- IOF troops positioned at military checkpoints in the West Bank arrested 5 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children.
- IOF have continued measures aimed at the changing the demographic majority of east Jerusalem’s population.
- IOF started to establish a new settlement neighborhood in the al-Sawahra area, southeast of Jerusalem.
- Media reports disclosed a plan to connect “Kidar” settlement with “Ma’ale Adomim” settlement and annex 12,000 donums of Palestinian land.
- IOF have continued settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.
- IOF resumed the establishment of a settler road to the south of Hebron.
- Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian farmers in the north and south of the West Bank.
Israeli violations of international law and humanitarian law escalated in the OPT during the reporting period (23 – 28 April 2009):
Shooting: During the reporting period, 20 Palestinian civilians, including 6 children, were wounded by IOF and Israeli settlers in the West Bank.
On 24 April 2009, 12 Palestinian civilians, including two children, were wounded when Israeli settlers and IOF troops attacked ‘Ourif village, south of Nablus. This joint attack was the second of its kind in the West Bank this April; IOF and Israeli settlers launched a similar attack on Safa village, north of Hebron, on 08 April, in which 9 Palestinian civilians were wounded.
On 26 April 2009, an Israeli settler fired at a Palestinian child in Madama village, south of Nablus. The child was seriously wounded by a gunshot that entered the back and exited the chest.
On the same day, a Palestinian civilian was wounded when IOF moved into Rantis village, northwest of Ramallah, and opened fire indiscriminately.
Also on the same day, IOF troops positioned at Tarqoumia crossing, southwest of Hebron, fired at an old Palestinian man, wounding him.
During the reporting period, 5 Palestinian civilians, including two children, were wounded when IOF used force against peaceful demonstrations organized to protest the construction of the Annexation Wall.
Incursions: During the reporting period, IOF conducted at least 28 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. IOF arrested 32 Palestinian civilians, including 6 children.
During the reporting period, IOF stormed the public yard opposite ‘Aaida refugee camp, north of Bethlehem. The yard was being readied in advance of the Pope’s intended visit. IOF forced workers to stop technical and construction preparations.
On 24 April 2009, IOF conducted a joint operation with Israeli settlers against ‘Ourif village, south of Nablus. Both forces fired at Palestinian civilians, wounding 12 of them.
Restrictions on Movement: IOF have continued to impose a tightened siege 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.
IOF have closed all Gaza Strip border crossings for more than two years. The IOF siege of Gaza, 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 priority of the 1.5 million people living in the Gaza Strip is to obtain their basic needs of food, medicines, water and electricity supplies.
IOF have prevented the entry of raw construction materials into the Gaza Strip for more than two 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 has reached approximately 80% and unemployment has increased to approximately 60% in the Gaza Strip.
IOF have continued to prevent the entry of spare parts intended for water networks and sewage systems. Damages incurred to this sector are estimated at US$ 6 million.
IOF have imposed additional access restrictions on international diplomats, journalists and humanitarian workers to the Gaza Strip. They have prevented representatives of several international humanitarian organizations from entering the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian civilian population’s living conditions have seriously deteriorated; levels of poverty and unemployment have sharply mounted.
At least 900 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails have been denied family visitation for more than 17 months.
IOF have continued to attack Palestinian fishers along the coast of the Gaza Strip.
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, 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 have 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 leading to 18 Palestinian communities in the West Bank are closed or fully controlled by IOF (47 out of 72 roads).
There are approximately 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.
During the reporting period, IOF troops positioned at military checkpoints in the West Bank arrested 5 Palestinian civilians.
The establishment of a majority Jewish demographic in Jerusalem: IOF have escalated measures against Palestinian civilians in East Jerusalem intended to force them to leave the city. IOF started the construction of a new settlement neighborhood in Arab al-Sawahra area, southeast of Jerusalem, for nationalist Jews. The Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported on 26 February 2009 that the construction of the new settlement neighborhood started approximately one month ago on lands which the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem claim belong to it. The new settlement neighborhood will be located in a Palestinian-populated area. During the reporting period, a committee of the Israeli Ministry of Interior recommended annexing approximately 12,000 donums of land to the “Ma’ale Adomim” settlement, east of Jerusalem, and including “Kidar” settlement – nearly 3 kilometers away from the aforementioned settlement – in its boundaries. The Israeli Military Radio reported on 25 April 2009 that this plan would increase the population of “Ma’ale Adomim” settlement to 34,500 settlers. This plan coincides with another plan revealed a few months ago, according to which 6,000 housing unit would be constructed in “Kidar” settlement and its vicinity in order to create geographical contiguity with the “Ma’ale Adomim” settlement. These plans would cut geographical contiguity between the north and south of the West Bank and would isolate Jerusalem completely from the Palestinian community, thus undermining the establishment of a viable Palestinian State on lands occupied by Israel since 1967.
Settlement Activities: IOF have continued settlement activities in the OPT in violation of international humanitarian law. Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property. On 23 April 2009, IOF resumed leveling areas of Palestinian land in Um al-Khair area near “Carme’il” settlement, south of Hebron, to establish a new settler road. The establishment of the new settler road would force 13 Palestinian families to leave the area. On the same day, Israeli settlers armed with sharp tools chased Fawzi Mousa ‘Awadh, 65, from Beit Uammar village north of Hebron, and forced him to leave his land near “Kfar Etzion” settlement. ‘Awadh was able to escape from the area on his tractor. Also on the same day, armed Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian farmers in Jeet village, east of Qalqilya, and prevented them from farming their land. They also attacked 5 houses in the village. IOF troops escorted the settlers and did not stop such attacks. On 26 April 2009, Israeli settlers from “Bein Ain” settlement to the north of Beit Uammar village north of Hebron, attacked two Palestinian farmers while they were farming their land. The two farmers sustained bruises and cuts.
Israeli Violations Documented during the Reporting Period (23 – 28 April 2009)
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