on March 22, 2001
is the 34th special update in a series published by the Palestinian
Centre for Human Rights on the total closure imposed by the Israeli occupation
forces on the Gaza Strip, documenting the impacts of such closure.
The Israeli occupation authorities have continued to impose a total siege
on the occupied Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem and areas of the
Palestinian National Authority since September 2000, despite calls by the
international community to lift such siege.
Thursday, March 8, 2001, the Israeli occupation forces closed the main road
between Ramallah and Bir Zeit, isolating the northwestern villages of Ramallah
and Al-Bireh governate from the other villages of the governate.
As a result, Palestinian citizens were not able to move freely, and Bir
Zeit University students were not able to attend classes at their university.
on Friday, March 9, 2001, the Israeli occupation forces re-imposed curfew on
Hawara village near Nablus, and on Saturday, March 10, 2001, they re-imposed
curfew on the part of Hebron under their control.
the Gaza Strip, the Israeli occupation forces tightened the siege imposed on
Palestinian cities and villages, which refutes all claims by these forces in
regard to easing such a siege. On
Monday, March 12, 2001, the Israeli forces concluded establishing an barbwire
fence, 80-120m long, on both sides of Al-Shuhada’ (Kissufim) Street.
Similarly, on Tuesday, March 13, 2001, they started to establish a
barbwire fence on both sides of a road from Al-Matahen junction on Salah El-Din
Street (the main road between the north and south of the Gaza Strip) up to the
coatal road leading to Gush Qatif settlement block in the west.
information indicates that impact of the total siege imposed on the Occupied
Palestinian Territories have resulted from continued restrictions on commercial
transactions, further deterioration of medical conditions, denial of access to
workplaces for thousands of Palestinian laborers, denial of the right of
visitation of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, restrictions on the
movement of students, and preventing the travel of dozens of Palestinian
pilgrims to Saudi Arabia.
Further Deterioration of the Palestinian Economic Sector
Israeli occupation forces claimed that they eased the siege imposed on the Gaza
Strip, but on the ground, there are still restrictions imposed on movement
through commercial crossings. Beit
Hanoun (Erez) Crossing, one of the major crossings of the Gaza Strip has been
closed in the face of commercial transactions since October 8, 2000.
In the past, convoys of trucks loaded with both goods imported through
Israeli harbors and goods for export such as agricultural products (e.g. flowers
and strawberries). It was partially
reopened for Palestinian laborers several times, but it was finally closed on
February 15, 2001. Furthermore,
Rafah Commercial Crossing, which is under the control of the Israeli occupation
forces, has been closed to Palestinian traders since October 8, 2000, with the
exception of some foodstuffs and medical assistance that are blocked at the
Reopening Sofa Crossing under New Unjust Israeli Conditions:
Friday, March 16, 2001, the Israeli occupation forces reopened Sofa Crossing
under the following conditions:
Work at the crossing
(transporting aggregate from inside the Green Line to the crossing) shall
commence at 7:00 local time and end at 12:30 local time, after it was from 7:00
to 17:00 local time.
Palestinian trucks are not
allowed to enter the crossing into the Green Line to bring aggregate.
These trucks are allowed to enter the crossing area only.
They were replaced by Israeli trucks that bring aggregate to the crossing
and then Palestinian trucks transport it from the crossing into the Gaza Strip.
The area where aggregate is
gathered was reduced from 80 donums to only 20 donums.
The amount of aggregate allowed
entry into the Gaza Strip was reduced from 9,000 tons to 7,000 tons only.
The cost of one ton of aggregate
has increased from 23 NIS to 65 NIS, including its price and the cost of loading
The crossing is still closed to
approximately 1,200 Palestinian laborers, who were allowed entry into the Green
Line only for three days, February 13, 14 and 15, 2001, and thereafter were
regard to internal commercial exchange in the Gaza Strip, it sharply decreased
under the siege imposed on the Strip. Deterioration
of the economic sector has resulted in an increase of the rates of unemployment,
poverty and purchasing power. During the major Islamic holiday, 'Eid al Kabir (or greater
feast), many people were unable to buy their needs to celebrate it.
A Decrease of Flower Export
flower cultivation was a new vital project that began in the Gaza Strip after
the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority.
It has been severely damaged under the current total siege imposed on the
to an official Palestinian source, approximately 550 donums of agricultural land
in the Gaza Strip are planted with flowers, including 450 donums in Rafah and
100 donums in the northern area of the Strip. The number of Palestinian farmers working in this field is
approximately 120 farmers. The cost
of one donum planted with flowers this season is approximately 24,000 NIS
(approximately US$ 6,000). Revenues
of one donum planted with flowers in normal conditions are estimated at
approximately 37,000 NIS (approximately US$ 9,250), with a gain of approximately
13,000 NIS (approximately US$ 3,250).
amount of flowers annually exported from the Gaza Strip is estimated at
approximately 65 million flowers, according to last year's statistics, when 60
million flowers were exported to England, the Netherlands, Germany and USA, and
1 million were exported to Israeli markets.
were loaded on trucks equipped with freezers, which used to pass through Beit
Hanoun (Erez) Crossing to a station inside Israeli, which is owned by the
Israeli Gresco Company that exports flowers to Europe.
Since October 2000, after Beit Hnoun (Erez) Crossing was closed, flower
export has occured through
Al-Mentar (Karni) Outlet. Since
then, flowers have been transported by trucks equipped with freezers to be
transferred to Israeli trucks that transport them to the aforementioned station
in Israel. As a result of this
procedure, farmers' losses have increased.
Losses are also attributed to other factors, such as:
Approximately 25% of exported
flowers damaged, so Palestinian farmers were requested to bear the costs of
transporting them to importing countries. The cost of one flower is estimated at 0.25 NIS, and it is
sold with 0.50 NIS.
The cost of flower transportation
id high, as Palestinian farmers have to pay 370 NIS (approximately US$ 92) at
Al-Mentar (Karni) Outlet, and 700 NIS (approximately US$ 175) to transport them
from the Outlet to the station of import inside Israel.
Large amounts of flowers damaged
due to closing internal roads between the south and north of the Gaza Strip, as
most flower farms are in Rafah.
Large amounts flowers damaged as
their transportation was obstructed at Al-Mentar (Karni) Outlet, either for
heavy pressure on the Outlet or because of closing the Outlet.
Many Palestinian farmers were not
able sometimes to reach their flower farms, due to the ongoing security
situation, which obstructed taking care of and cultivating flowers.
Flower package materials were not
available due to the siege and other measures adopted by the Israeli occupation
The high price of fertilizers and
other agricultural materials.
income of the Gaza Strip from flower export for this season is estimated at
approximately US$ 2.5 million, while it was US$ 5 million last year, taking into
consideration that the area of agricultural land planted with flowers is the
same in the two years.
Continued Restrictions on Internal and External Movement
Restrictions on Free Movement inside the Gaza Strip
Israeli occupation forces have continued to impose an internal siege on
Palestinian cities and villages in the Gaza Strip. They have continued to position their troops on the main
roads, threatening the security and safety of Palestinian civilians.
They also close main roads whenever they wish.
Friday, February 23, 2001, the Israeli occupation forces closed Salah El-Din
Street (the main road between the north and south of the Gaza Strip) at
Al-Shuhada’ (Netzarim) junction, and the coastal road between Gaza City and
the middle area of the Gaza Strip. Under
such closure, the Israeli forces prevented the passage of Palestinian cars and
citizens through the aforementioned roads, after they put concrete blocks at
Al-Shuhada’ (Netzarim) junction, and reinforced their presence on the coastal
road with tanks, military vehicles and troops.
Palestinian citizens wishing to move between Gaza City and the middle
area of the Strip were forced to walk at the seashore, and sometimes were forced
by Israeli soldiers to cross the seawater.
Monday, February 26, 2001, the Israeli occupation forces reopened Salah El-Din
Street at Al-Shuhada’ (Netzarim) junction and the coastal road.
However, they continued to put military roadblocks and to position tanks
and armored vehicles on the main roads of the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian citizens traveling between the north and south of the Gaza
Strip have to pass near some settlements and to cross nearby military
roadblocks, such as Netzarim and Kfar Darom settlements and Gush Qatis
settlement block. They are often exposed to abuse by the Israeli forces,
sometimes including arrest or shooting.
Monday, February 26, 2001, the Israeli occupation forces put barriers on the
road between Abu Houli military roadblock and Al-Matahen roadblock, where their
tanks are positioned. This resulted
in a traffic jam on both directions of the road.
Monday, March 12, 2001, the Israeli occupation forces concluded the
establishment of a barbwire fence, 80-120m long, on both sides of Al-Shuhada’
(Kissufim) Street, from Salah El-Din Street (the main road between the north and
south of the Gaza Strip) to Kissufim Crossing on the eastern border of the Gaza
Strip. Under this measure, the
Israeli forces seized more than 200 donums of Palestinian land, and established
five military sites. Similarly, on
Tuesday, March 13, 2001, the Israeli forces established a barbwire fence on both
sides of a road between Al-Matahen junction on Salah El-Din Street and the
coastal road in the west leading to Gush Qatif settlement block.
Under these measures, the south of the Gaza Strip became isolated from
the north. Palestinians wishing to
move between the south and north of the Strip are allowed to do so only through
Salah El-Din Street, where they have to endure long waits at two Israeli
roadblocks at Al-Matahen and Abu Houli junctions, where tanks are positioned.
this context, Palestinian citizens, resident of Rafah and Khan Yunis, expressed
their resentment towards such measures, and stated that traveling to Gaza City
takes them more than two hours on each direction, in comparison with half an
hour before the outbreak of Al-Aqsa Intifada.
As a result, the economic, social, educational and health sectors were
negatively affected, since work hours of employees from the southern area of the
Gaza Strip were reduced. These
measures also obstructed the access of Palestinian university students to their
universities, and the movement of transportation. According to a Palestinian taxi driver, on Wednesday,
February 28, 2001, Israeli occupation forces positioned at Abu Houli junction,
denied the passage of vehicles loaded with petrol and gas to Rafah and Khan
Yunis. It is worth mentioning that
the Israeli forces have prevented the access of oxygen, gas and fuel to the
European Hospital and the southern area of the Gaza Strip for two weeks.
roadblocks of the Israeli occupation forces have created daily suffering for
Palestinian citizens that affected all categories. The situation has become unbearable due to the continued
siege imposed on the Gaza Strip by the Israeli occupation forces.
Restrictions on Free Internal and External Movement of the PLC
Israeli occupation forces continued to obstruct the activities of the elected
Palestinian legislature. In this
context, the Israeli forces continued to obstruct free movement of the
Palestinian Legislative Council between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Consequently, the P LC was not able to carry out its duties.
Since the outbreak of Al-Aqsa Intifada, the PLC has not been able to hold
even one session, in which all members of PLC from the West Bank and the Gaza
Strip would participate. Consequently,
the PLC was forced to hold separated session in the West Bank and the Gaza
Strip. It is worth mentioning that
PLC Members hold VIP cards of the second category, which should allow them to
move freely between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Instructions on such cards provide that their bearers are VIP’s of the
Palestinian National Authority, who should not be checked by the Israeli forces.
They have the right to move freely by his car.
Despite all of this, the Israeli forces obstructed their free movement
between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and their travel abroad.
Friday, February 23, 2001, the Israeli occupation forces prevented the travel of
the Speaker of the Palestinian National Council Salim El-Za’noun, and PCL
Members Ibrahim Abu El-Naja, Rawia Al-Shawa, Dalal Salama and Hussam Kahder, to
Abu Dhabi, to participate in a periodical meeting of the Arab Parliamentary
Union, which was held on Sunday, February 25, 2001.
Thursday, March 8, 2001, the Israeli forces prevented the travel of the PNC
Speaker Salim El-Za’noun to Egypt through Rafah Border Crossing, on his way to
Oman, Cuba amd Chile, despite advanced coordination with the Israeli side.
Saturday, March 10, 2001, the Israeli occupation forces prevented PLC Members
‘Abbas Zaki and Marwan Barghouthi from coming to the Gaza Strip to participate
in the session of the sixth of the PLC. It
is worth mentioning that this session was the first one in which all PLC Members
participated since the outbreak of Al-Aqsa Intifada.
Sunday, March 18, 2001, the Israeli occupation forces prevented the travel of
the Palestinian Minister of Communication Emad El-Falouji to Egypt, through
Rafah Border Crossing, to participate in a conference on information technology.
The Israeli forces claimed that there had not been prior coordination.
Continued Prevention of Free
Movement between Palestinian Areas and Traveling abroad
the current siege imposed on the Gaza Strip, the Israeli occupation forces
prevented Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to travel to the West Bank and
Jerusalem and abroad, across the Israeli territories. They also denied the access of Palestinians from the West
Bank and Jerusalem to the Gaza Strip. These
measures have been in effect for more than five months.
measures negatively impacted thousands of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip,
including university students, businessmen, official delegations, patients,
traders and persons wishing to visit their relatives.
such restrictions, on Friday, March 2, 2001, the Israeli occupation forces
prevented the access of Palestinian lawyers from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip
to participate in a meeting of the general assembly of the Palestinian Bar
Association, in order to hold election. As
a result, the session was canceled due to the lack of quorum.
Thursday, March 8, 2001, the Israeli occupation forces prevented the entry of
dozens of Palestinians living in Israel into the Gaza Strip to spend the major
Islamic holiday, 'Eid al Kabir (or greater feast) with their relatives.
These Palestinians gathered at Beit Hanoun (Erez) Crossing, condemning
Continued Closure of Rafah Border
Israeli occupation forces have closed Rafah Border Crossing since Wednesday,
February 14, 2001. Under this
closure, Palestinians have not been able to travel though the Crossing, with the
exception of pilgrims and some humanitarian cases, such as patients and
students. On February 20, 2001, the
Israeli occupation forces started to allow the entry of returning Palestinian
travelers into the Gaza Strip through the crossing. They also allowed the travel of Palestinians bearing
residence permits in other countries, and those who have visit permits, either
Palestinian, Arab or foreign, through Rafah Border Crossing.
Sunday, March 18, 2001, the Israeli occupation forces re-closed Rafah Border
Crossing in the face of travelers, including humanitarian cases, after the
Palestinian side rejected Israeli conditions regarding entry of Palestinian
employees into the Palestinian wing of the crossing. The Israeli side had requested that Palestinian employees
walk one kilometer on foot, instead of traveling by vehicles.
Rafah Border Crossing was frequently closed very often since the outbreak
of Al-Aqsa Intifada, as shown in annexed tables.
is worth mentioning that the Palestinian staff at the crossing is still reduced.
Only nine Palestinian employees, including directors of security and
civil directors, work at the crossing. This
has resulted in delays for arriving Palestinian travelers, particularly pilgrims
arriving over the past two weeks.
Rafah Commercial Crossing has been closed since October 8, 2000, with the
exception of the entry of a little medical and food assistance, which is blocked
at the Israeli side of the Crossing.
Closing Gaza International Airport and Continued Violation of the
Right to Free Worship
of Palestinian pilgrims from the Gaza Strip were not able to return to the Gaza
Strip through Gaza International Airport as a result of the Israeli closure of
the Airport since Tuesday, February 13, 2001.
Instead, they were forced to resort to Al-Arish Airport in Egypt and then
to return through Rafah Border Crossing, which was reopened for traders and some
returnees on Tuesday, February 27, 2001. Palestinian
pilgrims endured long waits at Rafah Border Crossing.
According to one pilgrim, they were forced to wait for more than 12 hours
to be allowed entry into the Gaza Strip and were forced to stay at busses
despite their exhaustion The
Israeli occupation forces also prevented dozens of Palestinians from making the
pilgrimage; this includes the families of martyrs who were denied travel, with
Israeli siting security claims.
Palestinian police at Rafah Border Crossing told PCHR’s field officer in Rafah
that on Saturday, March 17, 2001, the Israeli occupation forces arrested Haj
Seif El-Din Abu Nahel, 21, from Al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City.
He was arrested upon his return from Saudi Arabia (through Egypt) where
he had accompanied his mother on pilgrimage.
Israeli occupation forces also continued to violate the right to free worship
through the denial of access to Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to holy sites
in Jerusalem. They also attacked
holy places in several areas in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, continuing
to shell Al-Nour mosque in Rafah.
A Continued Siege on Al-Mawasi Area in Rafah
the beginning of October 2000, the Israeli occupation forces have continued to
impose a siege on Al-Mawasi area in Rafah.
Palestinian farmers have been prevented from transporting their
agricultural products from Al-Mawasi area to Rafah City and from entering cars
and agricultural equipment into their area since February 8, 2001.
the Israeli forces deployed armored vehicles into the area for patrolling, and
closed main roads. Since February
14, 2001, Palestinian fishermen have been prevented from entering the sea up to
120m. Five fishermen were arrested
on this ground, in addition to Khaled Ibrahim ‘Oudeh who was arrested by the
Israeli forces on Wednesday, March 13, 2001.
of Al-Mawasi area were denied their rights to free movement and education; they
were also prevented from bringing foodstuffs into the area.
In addition, they were terrified and provoked; some were arrested by the
Further Deterioration of the Medical Conditions
the current siege, which includes closing main roads, border crossings and Gaza
International Airport, the medical conditions in the Gaza Strip deteriorated.
On Friday, February 23, 2001, Israeli occupation forces positioned at
Netzarim roadblock, to the south of Gaza City, denied the passage of an
ambulance that transported Talal Hassan Abu ‘Arida, 17, from Rafah, who was
critically wounded with a live bullet in the head, to Shifa’ hospital in Gaza
City. The ambulance was forced to
travel back to Al-Joneina hospital in Rafah.
Thursday, March 1, 2001, Israeli occupation forces positioned at Abu Houli
roadblock, to the south of Deir El-Balah, denied the access of a Palestinian car
loaded with, medicine to the European Hospital in Rafah and detained its
occupants for several hours and assaulted them.
to an official source at the Palestinian Ministry of Health, the disastrous
consequences of the current siege are:
Obstructing the vaccination of
children against diseases.
Denying the access of medical
personnel to hospitals and medical centers.
The accumulation of garbage at
streets of Palestinian cities and villages, which will inevitably cause
Obstructing the evacuation of the
wounded and patients to hospitals and first medical aid centers by ambulances,
which poses danger to the lives of them.
Delaying the passage of cancer
patients at roadblocks, and maltreatment and assaults against Palestinian
patients at Israeli hospitals.
Obstructing the transfer of the
wounded to Arab countries.
Obstructing the entry of medical
personnel from Arab countries into the Gaza Strip.
Obstructing the travel of Arab
medical personnel who were in Palestine back to their countries.
Obstructing the entry of
medicines at Al-Karama Border Crossing in the West Bank.
Delaying the return of the
wounded who received treatment in Arab countries to Palestine.
The cancellation of school health
programs which provided medical services to more than 500,000 students.
Negative impacts on pregnant care
A shortage of vaccines against
on the child Abdel-Fattah Jouhar El-Sbakhi, 4, who suffered from enlargement of
the heart muscle, and in need for treatment abroad, died at Rafah Border
Crossing. The Israeli occupation
forces refused to allow the travel of the child to Palestine hospital in Egypt,
accompanied by his father, through the Crossing. Such measure adopted by the Israeli forces is a blatant
violation of human rights. It cannot be justified by any claims by the Israeli
Violation of the Rights to Work and the Increase of the Level of
Continued Denial of the Access of Palestinian Laborers to Their
Work Places, and an Increase of Unemployment
the current total siege imposed on the occupied Palestinian territories by the
Israeli occupation forces the crisis of Palestinian laborers deteriorates, as
thousands of these laborers have not been able to reach their work places in
Israel for more than five months. Under
Israeli military occupation, the economic infrastructure of the Gaza Strip was
destroyed. The Strip transformed
into a market of labor force for Israel, and the incomes of Palestinian laborers
from the Strip in Israel became an essential part of the Palestinian local
economy. It is worth mentioning
that Paris Economic Protocol between
Palestinians and Israel, signed in 1994 under Oslo Accords, strengthened the
dependence of the Palestinian economy on Israel.
the current siege imposed on the Occupied Palestinian Territories, approximately
25,000 organized Palestinian laborers lost their jobs in Israel, and 2,000
laborers out of 4,200 lost their jobs at Erez industrial zone under security
claims. In addition, thousands of
laborers in Palestinian local factories and economic facilities that stopped
operation or were demolished by the Israeli occupation forces lost their jobs.
According to a recent report by UNSCO, the level of unemployment in the Occupied
Palestinian Territories increased to 38% and then to 42%, according to recent
information. The percentage of
unemployment in the Gaza Strip became more than 50%. The number of Palestinians of the West Bank and the Gaza
Strip living under poverty increased to reach 50%.
According to the aforementioned report of UNSCO, the number of the poor
increased from 650,000 to approximately 1 million.
Continued Denial of the Access of Palestinian Laborers to Their Work
Places inside the Gaza Strip
the Israeli occupation forces declared that they eased the siege imposed on the
Gaza Strip, they continued to position their troops on the main and branch roads
leading to Palestinian cities and villages. Under these measures adopted by the Israeli forces, many
Palestinian laborers were not able to reach their work places, both agricultural
and industrial. This was especially
the case with factories and farms adjacent to Jewish settlements and at areas of
friction with the Israeli occupation forces and Jewish settlers.
Sunday, March 11, 2001, the Israeli occupation forces destroyed two Palestinian
factories of concrete in the area between Al-Mentar (Karni) Outlet and
Al-Shuhada’ (Netzarim) junction. The
first was owned by Haj Fadhel Hussein. The
Israeli occupation forces demolished and destroyed the following:
a 250-square meter building used as offices for the company;
two trucks for transporting manufactured concrete and two concrete
six concrete containers without trucks;
a car maintenance workshop with its equipment;
a 1988-made tractor,
a car equalizer;
an equipment container;
a 120-cubic-meter pool that provided the factory with water;
an electricity generator and the electricity and telephone networks; and
cement saving tanks.
were estimated at US$ 1 million.
other factory was owned by Abu ‘Oudeh El-‘Amawi. This factory and its equipment were completely destroyed.
Losses were estimated at US$ 55,000.
Israeli occupation forces also had prevented the access of Palestinian
laborers to the factories during the past months.
owners and directors of factories were forced to dismiss many of their
laborers,; others gave their laborers non-paid open vacations; and others
organized the work of its laborers on a shift system.
military roadblocks of the Israeli occupation forces obstructed the access of
Palestinian farmers to their farms, preventing them from caring for their
agricultural products, especially at Al-Mawasi area.
A Continued Military Marine Siege
Israeli occupation forces have imposed a military marine siege on the Gaza Strip
since February 15, 2001, under which Palestinian fishermen have not been able to
work. It is worth mentioning that
hundreds of Palestinian families from Al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City, Deir
El-Balah and Al-Mawasi area in Rafah and Khan Yunis work in the field of fishing
and fish trade. According to
Palestinian fishermen from Al-Shati refugee camp, the Israeli occupation forces
allow Israeli fishermen to work in these areas.
the Israeli occupation forces continued to chase and attack Palestinian
fishermen, who did not surrender to such measures. On Wednesday, March 7, 2001, the Israeli occupation forces
kidnapped two Palestinian fishermen in Gaza City, taking them to an unknown
destination. They were Ismail
Mohammed El-‘Aamoudi, 47, and his son Ayman, 27.
the Israeli occupation forces declared that they eased the marine siege imposed
on the Gaza Strip on Thursday, March 14, 2001, Israeli military vessels
continued to attack Palestinian fishermen.
On Saturday, March 17, 2001, they arrested two Palestinian fishermen and
took them to an unknown destination, and forced another three to leave the sea.
The arrested fishermen were Ahmed Khalil El-Habil and Hassan Ibrahim
El-Habil. According to their
families, they were fishing inside the four-mile area of fishing specified by
the Israeli occupation forces, and these forces forced them to take off their
clothes and remain in underwear when they arrested them.
Continued Violation of the Right to Education
Israeli occupation forces continued to violate the right to education under the
current siege imposed on the Gaza Strip. Military
roadblocks of the Israeli occupation forces posed dangerous threats to the
security and safety of Palestinian university students.
The number of Palestinian university students from the southern area of
the Gaza Strip is approximately 11,000, studying at three universities in Gaza
City, and they have to cross military roadblocks of the Israeli occupation
forces in order to reach their universities.
In this context, many of these students expressed their fear when they
crossed such military roadblocks, and said that they say farewell to their
families when they go to their universities.
Others were forced to rent apartments in Gaza City, in order to avoid
crossing military roadblocks. This
in turn increased the economic burden on their families.
the other hand, Gazan students studying at universities in the West Bank have
been deprived of visiting their families in the Strip, even during the 'Eid al
Kabir, due to the current total siege.
hundreds of Palestinian students studying abroad were not able to travel to
their universities through Rafah Border Crossing. PCHR’s field officer in Rafah reported that on Tuesday,
March 20, 2001, dozens of these students organized a sit-in at Rafah Border
Crossing, in protest to continued Israeli closure of the crossing.
the Israeli occupation forces continued to attack Palestinian schools in the
Gaza Strip. On February 25, 2001,
these forces shelled Deir El-Balah industrial secondary school and Abdullah Ben
Rawaha elementary school, causing severe damage to the two schools.
As a result, instruction at the two schools was interrupted for several
Continued Deprivation of Prisoner Visitation Rights
prisoners in Israeli jails have been deprived of being visited by their families
for more than five months as a consequence of the total siege imposed on the
Occupied Palestinian Territories.
February 11, 2001, the Israeli occupation forces established a program for
visitation of prisoners, under which visits would take place bimonthly and under
specific conditions and timetables. According
to ICRC, in the last two visits, the Israeli occupation forces prevented 200
members of prisoners’ families from visiting their relatives in Israeli jails.
is worth mentioning that the number of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails is
approximately 2,250, 300 of whom are from the Gaza Strip, 1,625 are from the
West Bank and Jerusalem, 300 are from Palestine areas inside the Green Line and
25 are political prisoners.
Israeli occupation forces have continued to impose a total siege on the occupied
Palestinian territories. Under the
siege, the suffering of the Palestinian people is continuous.
The Gaza Strip has been transferred into three isolated collective jails.
Living conditions in the occupied Palestinian territories have
deteriorated on all levels, and their economic, social and cultural rights are
policy of collective punishment adopted by the Israeli occupation forces against
the Palestinian people is internationally prohibited, and contradicts
internationally accepted human rights and the international humanitarian law.
calls for lifting the total siege imposed on the occupied Palestinian
territories and putting an end to the policy of starving adopted by the Israeli
occupation forces against the Palestinian people.
calls upon international organizations and agencies to exert pressure on the
Israeli occupation government to release 3 million Palestinians whim it
unjustifiably detains as hostages. The
current situation in the occupied Palestinian territories is the most disastrous
since they were occupied by the Israeli occupation forces on June 5, 1967.
PCHR calls for:
Pressing Israel to lift the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip, and to stop
its barbarian aggression against the Palestinian people and their property.
Providing immediate medical and humanitarian assistance for the
Palestinian people, whose living conditions have been increasingly deteriorating
under the siege.
Activating mechanisms of immediate intervention by the UN and its
agencies, and ICRC, to ensure the access of medical and food assistance to the
occupied Palestinian territories under the siege.
Obligating Israel to respect international conventions and to comply with
the UN Resolutions, especially 242 and 338, which call for a complete Israeli
withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territories in 1967.
Taking effective steps by the EU, under Article 2 of the Euro-Israel
Association Agreement, which provides that Israel must respect human rights.
A table that shows closures of crossings since
on September 29, 2000
on October 8, 2000
on November 14, 2000
on January 1, 2001
in the morning of January 14, 2001
on January 15, 2001
on October 2, 2000
on October 10, 2000
on November 19, 2000
reopened January 7, 2001
reopened in the evening of January 14, 2001
reopened on January on January 17, 2001
on October 8, 2000
on January 18, 2001
on February 15, 2001
on January 17, 2001
for laborers only on February 12, 2001
on March 16, 2001
on October 8, 2000 – now
on January 1, 2001
on February 4, 2001
on February 15, 2001
reopened on December 14, 2000, allowing the entry of a limited number of
reopened for laborers on January 22, 2001
reopened for laborers on February 7, 2001
on October 8, 2000
on October 12, 2000
on October 16, 2000
on November 8, 2000
on December 11, 2000, from 10:00 to 12:00 local time
on December 18, 2000
on December 30, 2000
on January 14, 2001
on January 24, 2001
on January 31, 2001
on February 5, 2001
on March 18, 2001
on October 10, 2000, with reduced staff
on October 15, 2000
on October 19, 2000
reopened on November 20, 2000, and was re-closed on the same day
reopened on December 4, 2000
on December 19, 2000
on January 11, 2001
on January 17, 2001
reopened on January 25, 2001
on February 1, 2001
only for pilgrims on February 13, 2001
for returnees on February 20, 2001
on October 8, 2000
on October 29, 2000
on November 8, 2000
on January 1, 2001
on January 15, 2001
on January 31, 2001
on February 5, 2001
on February 14, 2001
on October 15, 2000
on November 6, 2000
reopened on December 1, 2000
reopened on January 12, 2001
reopened on January 18, 2001
on February 1, 2001
only for pilgrims on February 13, 2001
people have the right of self determination.
By virtue of this right they freely determine their political status and
freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
peoples may, for their own ends, freely dispose of their natural wealth and
resources without prejudice to any obligations arising out of international
economic co-operation, based upon the principle of mutual benefit, and
international law. In no case may a
people be deprived of its own means of subsistence.”
Article 1, International
Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1996)
shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.”
Article 17, Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory,
have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence.
Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own.”
Article 12, International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights (1966)
protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally
committed. Collective penalties and
likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.
Pillage is prohibited. Reprisals
against protected persons and their property are prohibited.”
Article 33, the Fourth
Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War
High Contracting Party shall allow the free passage of all consignments of
medical and hospital stores and objects necessary for religious worship intended
only for civilians of another High Contracting Party, even if the latter is its
adversary. It shall likewise permit
the free passage of all consignments of essential foodstuffs, clothing and
tonics intended for children under fifteen, expectant mothers and maternity
Article 23, the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the
Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (1949)
States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right to work, which
includes the right of every one to the opportunity to gain his living by work
which he freely chooses or accepts, and will take appropriate steps to safeguard
Article 6, International
Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966)
States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to the
enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.
steps to be taken by the States Parties to the present Covenant to achieve the
full realization of this right shall include: …
the creation of conditions which could assure to all medical service and
medical attention in the event of sickness.”
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966)
States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to
education. They agree that
education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and
the sense of its dignity, and shall strengthen the respect for human rights and
13, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966)