Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Yellow Areas

Israeli governments have sought throughout the years of occupation since 1967 to damage the geographic and natural features of the Occupied Territories. A policy of creating new facts on the ground has been implemented through the building of Israeli settlements and systematic attempts to empty the land of its indigenous population. This policy is still evident even after the signing of the Interim Agreement. The policy of building and expanding settlements was even accelerated in all of the Occupied Palestinian Territories following the Interim Agreement.

The Israeli settlement mentality has materialized during the Interim Agreement. The agreement categorized the so-called “Yellow Areas,” which have been put under a special security arrangement under Israeli control. Since the start of the redeployment process in May 1994, Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights in the Yellow Areas have accelerated. This acceleration cannot be seen but within the context of the persistent attempt to force the residents of the area to leave their homes while guaranteeing the Israelis the full ability to exercise control over the area.

The following part of this report documents human rights violations in the Yellow Areas from May 1994 until the end of 1998. These Israeli violations include the following seven categories:

  1. Bulldozing and confiscation of land;

  2. Restriction of movement through the closure of roads and imposition of checkpoints;

  3. Restrictions on construction;

  4. Damaging crops and equipment;

  5. Shooting, beating, and arresting people;

  6. Striking civilians with vehicles (road accidents); and

  7. Raiding the fishermen’s wharves.

 

Leveling and Confiscating of Land

The last five years have witnessed scores of cases of leveling and confiscating of land in an attempt to expand existing settlements in the Gaza Strip. Most of these activities were carried out in the Mawasi areas due to their strategic importance for the expansion of settlements in the area. Settlers often make an initial attempt to grab land, but fail after an intervention by the DCO. Later, the settlers make another attempt and often succeed despite the earlier efforts by the DCO to suspend their work

 

The Year 1994

  1. On July 17, 1994, Israel paved a road near the settlement of Neve Dekalim after taking control of the land of the Najjar and Laham families in the Mawasi area. The road’s length is 170 meters and the width is 18 meters.

  2. On September 13, 1994, Israeli authorities began to construct a new road connecting the settlement of Neve Dakalim with the settlement of Kfar Yam. Hundreds of Palestinian fruit trees were uprooted, however, the construction on the road was suspended after the intervention of the Palestinian side of the DCO. The Israelis decided to suspend the work until a settlement could be reached.

 

The Year 1995

On June 11, 1995, the Israeli authorities resumed the work on the above-mentioned road between Neve Dakalim and Kfar Yam. Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) field workers noted that Israeli vehicles unloaded gravel in preparation for constructing the street. On June 13, under the protection of Israeli soldiers, the construction of the road continued. Land-owners confronted the soldiers and the work stopped after 80 meters of the road had been covered with gravel. The work was again suspended, pending a settlement, after another intervention from the DCO.

On September 15, a road was constructed between the settlement of Kfar Darom, to the east of Deir El-Baleh, and the greenhouses of the settlement, located at a distance of 600 meters from the settlement. The construction of the road was carried out during the night hours on the land of Rushdie Bashir.

On September 17, the Israeli army returned to work on the same road between Neve Dakalim and Kfar Yam. A military siege was imposed on the area and the Palestinian side of the DCO was not allowed in until the road was already paved – creating a de facto change in the status of the land.

On December 6, Israeli bulldozers, under the protection of Israeli soldiers, leveled a piece of land owned by Abdul Khader Abu Houli from Qarara. The land, which is located near Gush Katif settlement, had a length of 400 meters and a width of 17 meters bulldozed prior to the arrival of the Palestinian side of the DCO. The work on this land resumed on December 8 and 12, but again stopped after the intervention of the DCO.

 

The Year 1996

On December 26, 60 dunams of Palestinian public land, located to the west of Netzer Hazani settlement, were leveled and surrounded by the Israeli authorities.

 

The Year 1997

On April 23, a settler from Kfar Yam settlement, to the west of Khan Younis, surrounded an area of five dunams by building up sand dunes with a bulldozer. On April 29, the municipality of Khan Younis called for a sit-in demonstration to protest the settler’s activities. On the very same day, a compromise was reached by the Palestinian and Israeli authorities to suspend the work in the area.

On June 15, settlers leveled a piece of land estimated at 100 dunams near the settlement of Netzer Hazani. The activities of the settlers were suspended after confrontations with Palestinian civilians.

On October 20, 20 dunams of land were leveled by settlers near Kfar Yam. The land was reported to be public land farmed by Abdullah Hamdan El-Sha’er. He had been cultivating the land there since 1974.

On December 14, 8 dunams of land were leveled near the settlement of Gan Or.

 

The Year 1998

On January 5, settlers, under the protection of Israeli soldiers, began leveling 325 dunams of land in preparation for confiscating it. The land is located in the Yellow Areas near the settlement of Neve Dekalim. After the intervention of the Palestinian side, the leveling was suspended, but only after 20 dunams of the total had been leveled.

On January 21, settlers began leveling public land east of Neve Dekalim settlement.

On January 28, 10 Israeli vehicles unloaded gravel on a 5-dunam piece of land owned by Youssef Agha from Khan Younis. The land is located near the Palm Beach Hotel in the Gush Katif settlement bloc. The intention was to pave a parking area for the hotel, however, the work was suspended after the intervention of the DCO.

On February 12, 15 settlers armed with pistols and M-16s enclosed with barbed wire the very same piece of land leveled on January 5.

On May 3, leveling activities were carried out under the protection of Israeli soldiers near the settlement of Neve Dekalim.

On May 4, an Israeli bulldozer accompanied by four military vehicles damaged the crops in a 4-dunam piece of land farmed by Hamad Al-Sha’er in the Khan Younis Mawasi.

On May 11, leveling activities were witnessed on a piece of land to the south of Kfar Darom. The leveling activities were stopped after the intervention of the DCO. On May 18, Maher Najjar from Khan Younis received a written warning to evacuate his land in the Mawasi area within 15 days. On July 7, Israeli bulldozers began to level this 5-dunam piece of land in preparation for annexing it to the Neve Dekalim settlement.

On July 17, Israeli bulldozers began to level a piece of land estimated at 26 dunams owned by the Sharafa family in the Yellow Areas in the north of the Gaza Strip. The leveling continued until July 19 when the work was suspended following negotiations within the DCO.

On July 28, settlers returned again to the very same piece of Sharafa land and enclosed it with barbed wire. On August 1, Palestinian security forces removed the barbed wire.

Between July 19 and 21, Israeli bulldozers resumed leveling land in Khan Younis Mawasi. Forty dunams were leveled.

On October 18, 50 dunams of land were leveled near the settlement of Bnei Atzmon to the west of Rafah.

On October 29, settlers resumed leveling activities in the Khan Younis Mawasi. Fifty dunams were leveled.

On November 12, digging activities were undertaken to extend a water pipe from the settlement of Kfar Darom to the settlers’ greenhouses to the east of the settlement. The pipeline would cross private Palestinian land in the Yellow Areas. The work stopped after the intervention of the DCO, but on November 22 settlers continued and accomplished their work.

On November 26, an Israeli bulldozer began leveling Palestinian land near Netzer Hazani settlement. The intention was to establish a one-kilometer alternative road for Palestinian vehicles to avoid using a road traveled by settlers.

On December 2, Israeli bulldozers began leveling a 150-dunam piece of land near the settlement of Peat Sadeh. The land is located in the Rafah Mawasi.

On December 6, Israeli bulldozers began leveling Palestinian land in Rafah Mawasi adjacent to the road connecting settlements within the Gush Katif bloc.

Also on December 6, Israeli bulldozers leveled a 5-dunam piece of agricultural land near the border with Egypt in Rafah.

Between December 13 and 17, settlers resumed leveling activities on the very same land they targeted on October 29.

On December 15, settlers renewed leveling activities near Neve Dekalim settlement. More than 20 dunams were leveled in Khan Younis Mawasi.

On December 16, another 20 dunams near the settlements of Gan Or and Bedolah near Rafah were leveled.

 

The Closure of Roads

Under security pretexts Israeli forces often block the roads leading to Yellow Areas. PCHR believes that such practices restrict the movement of civilians and make living conditions in these areas intolerable for local residents. Most of these practices, however, were reported to be carried out in the Mawasi of Rafah and Khan Younis.

The Mawasi of Rafah and Khan Younis constitutes approximately 70 percent of the total Yellow Areas in the Gaza Strip. This area has been targeted by Israel for its strategic location near Israeli settlements. Israel seeks to annex the area to the Gush Katif settlement bloc by making conditions so unbearable for local Palestinians that they will decide to leave. This explains why Israeli governments since the early days of the occupation prevented any improvement in living conditions and isolated the area from Rafah and Khan Younis.

Prior to the Oslo Accords, there were six roads leading to the Mawasi of Rafah and Khan Younis. The roads included: 1) Tel Sultan-Rafah-Mawasi; 2) Oreiba (Morag)-Mawasi; 3) Beach Road between the Mawasi and Khan Younis; 4) Satter-Mawasi; 5) Deir El-Baleh-Mawasi; and 6) the main coastal road crossing the Gaza Strip from north to south. Other unpaved roads were also used by farmers to transport their crops to Khan Younis, Rafah, and Deir El-Baleh.

After the re-deployment of Israeli forces in 1994, however, many of these roads were blocked by Israeli forces which increased the suffering of residents, including farmers, workers, and students. For example, the blocked Satter-Mawasi route had been a major road for more than 200 students and 500 farmers. They used to walk or drive a distance of 1.5 kilometers, but now after the closure of the road they have been forced to use an alternative route of approximately 10 kilometers. The coastal road mentioned above was obstructed by the establishment of a hotel and a resort for settlers on both sides of the road in 1991. According to the Interim Agreement, however, Palestinians are entitled to move freely on this coastal road. Despite this agreement, Israeli soldiers deny access from time to time so that people are forced to drive an alternative route of five kilometers instead of driving a route of 700 meters immediately adjacent to the resort.

Since the redeployment of Israeli forces in 1994, Palestinians are allowed to use the three following roads: Tel Sultan-Mawasi, Khan Younis-Mawasi, and Deir El-Baleh-Mawasi. Movement on these three roads is restricted, however, by Israeli soldiers. The checkpoints along these roads are almost equivalent to border crossings. Israeli soldiers require precise checking of persons, their IDs, and their vehicles. This is carried out in a very humiliating manner. The so-called Tufah Crossing (the Israeli checkpoint located on the road between Khan Younis and Mawasi) is closed occasionally and consequently hinders the free movement of people and even small school children as young as six and seven years old. During the last five years, since the implementation of the Interim Agreement in 1994 until 1998, PCHR reported an increase in the cases of closure imposed on the Yellow Areas. Among these cases, PCHR has documented 33 such instances of closure in the Yellow Areas.

 

The Year 1994

On May 18, Israeli soldiers blocked the major Salaheddin Street crossing the Gaza Strip from the north to the south. They blocked the road near the settlement of Kfar Darom thus splitting the Gaza Strip into two parts – northern and southern. The soldiers blocked the road for four hours.

 

On May 30, settlers from Kfar Darom closed Salaheddin Street once again. They organized a demonstration and the Israeli soldiers did not interfere with the demonstration despite the fact that it was blocking traffic.

 

On June 9, an Israeli patrol stopped three Palestinian buses carrying university students on the coastal road from Gaza to Khan Younis. This led to a major traffic jam for over two hours. After checking I.D. cards and luggage, the buses were allowed to pass. They were stopped once again, however, near the settlement of Netzarim. At this point, settlers threw stones at the buses. The buses were allowed to pass after the DCO intervened.

 

On July 1, Israeli forces closed Salaheddin Street for the entire day, thereby denying access between the north and south of Gaza.

 

On July 13, a comprehensive closure was imposed by the Israeli army on the Khan Younis Mawasi. Nobody was allowed in or out of the area.

 

On July 23, Palestinians from Tel Janan community in the Khan Younis Mawasi were ordered by Israeli soldiers not to use the road between their houses and the beach between the hours of 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.

 

On August 2, Israeli forces near the settlement of Kfar Darom once again closed Salaheddin Street.

 

On December 14, Israeli forces closed Satter Al-Gharbi road near Ganei Tal settlement after an Israeli soldier was attacked. Israeli soldiers prevented Palestinian citizens and wagons from entering the area. The road has not been opened since then.

 

 

The Year 1995

 

On January 3, Israeli forces near the settlement of Kfar Darom prohibited Palestinian farmers from reaching their land within the Yellow Areas via a road running adjacent to the settlement. The farmers used to travel this road prior to the Interim Agreement, but since May 1994 the Israeli authorities paved the road and used it for their exclusive use.

 

On January 6, Israeli forces closed the road between Khan Younis and Mawasi, near the settlement of Neve Dekalim. Scores of Palestinian citizens were denied access until the late hours of the day.

 

On April 19, Israeli soldiers closed Salaheddin Street near the settlement of Kfar Darom.

 

On May 2, the same street was closed once again. The closure of the street continued until May 5.

 

On June 25, all the roads leading to Rafah and Khan Younis Mawasi were closed, except for one road (Tel Sultan-Khan Younis).

 

 

The Year 1996

 

On January 6, Palestinians under the age of 30 were denied access to the road between Khan Younis and Mawasi. This situation continued for two days. As a result, students were denied access to their schools in Khan Younis. This action was taken immediately following the assassination of Yehyah Ayyash (the Engineer) on January 5 by the Israeli Intelligence Service.

 

On July 31, Salaheddin Street was blocked once again near the settlement of Kfar Darom for four hours.

 

On August 25, Israeli soldiers at the Tufah checkpoint between Khan Younis and Mawasi prohibited Nabil Laham and his son from returning to their house in the Khan Younis Mawasi. They were forced to wait for more than two hours before the two decided to go to the DCO with their problem. Only then were they allowed to return to their homes.

 

On November 24, Salaheddin Street was once again closed near the settlement of Kfar Darom.

 

 

The Year 1997

 

On April 24, a military closure was imposed by Israeli forces on the Khan Younis Mawasi. The residents of Mawasi – including more than 300 students mainly from the elementary and primary school levels – were not allowed to return to their houses. This measure was taken one day after Palestinian civilians prevented settlers from confiscating Palestinian land in the area. As a punitive response the area was blocked off the following day.

 

On October 10, Israeli soldiers blocked the coastal road between Khan Younis and Rafah for approximately two hours.

 

On October 28, Israeli soldiers blocked the road between Deir El-Baleh and Mawasi for three hours.

 

On November 3, Salaheddin Street was closed once again near the settlement of Kfar Darom.

 

On November 17, Salaheddin Street was closed yet again near the settlement of Kfar Darom.

 

 

The Year 1998

 

 

On January 15, Salaheddin Street was closed once again near the settlement of Kfar Darom. This time the road-closing appeared to be in response to a peaceful Palestinian demonstration protesting the confiscation of a piece of Yellow Areas land near the settlement. The street was blocked for two hours.

 

On March 18, Israeli soldiers closed Tel Sultan-Mawasi road for four hours.

 

On June 12, Israeli soldiers closed the road adjacent to Netzarim settlement in the middle of Gaza.

 

On July 2, Israeli soldiers blocked the coastal road between Khan Younis and Gaza. Hundreds of citizens, including the Palestinian minister Abdel Aziz Shaheen, were denied access. Minister Shaheen and others rejected the order and carried out a sit-in demonstration on the spot. After negotiations within the DCO lasting into the early hours of the morning, the road was opened again and people were permitted once again to travel along it.

 

On July 7, Israeli settlers blocked the coastal road near the Palm Beach Hotel in the Gush Katif settlement bloc. Access for vehicles was denied, including a convoy of 12 cars of international and Arab diplomatic officials. A number of journalists and foreign correspondents were also denied access. The convoy had been en route to a field tour of the Mawasi area. They were allowed to pass after negotiations within the DCO, however, when they reached the Tufah crossing they were blocked once again.

 

On September 2, a UN staff member, Imad Okal, was denied access to the Mawasi when he was driving through the Tufah checkpoint. Okal was doing UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) monitoring work at the time.

 

On September 29, Israeli soldiers at Tufah checkpoint prevented Ali Habeel, an UNRWA senior staff officer, from entering Mawasi. He was allowed in after negotiations of nearly an hour within the DCO.

 

On October 2, the Tufah checkpoint on the road between Rafah and Mawasi was closed and no Palestinians were allowed to enter.

 

On October 29, the roads between Rafah and Mawasi were closed.

 

 

Restrictions on Building

 

Despite the many restrictions imposed by Israel in the Interim Agreement, building was not prohibited in the Yellow Areas. In fact, however, Israeli authorities have not allowed any building or development in the area, even after the signing of the agreement in 1994.

 

 

Palestinians in the Yellow Areas are deprived of their right to adequate housing, health institutions, and educational institutions. No investments are permitted for the development of the area or its infrastructure. In the Mawasi of Khan Younis and Rafah, for example, students have to walk a distance of several kilometers to reach their schools in Rafah and Khan Younis. Over the decades of occupation, the Israeli authorities rejected the establishment of any school to serve the area. After prolonged negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, a school was established in the Khan Younis Mawasi in 1998.

 

Between 1994 and 1998, PCHR documented the following cases relevant to the restrictions on buildings.

 

 

The Year 1994

 

On September 1, 1994, the people of the Swedish village were notified by an Israeli official that part of the local mosque would be demolished. The notification was turned in to the DCO. Also on September 1, three residents received similar notifications on the upcoming demolition of their houses. The three residents were reported to have made some improvements to their houses, but without expansion or significant change. They were notified that they should demolish their homes within two weeks. The houses were owned by Abdul Hadi Qun, Isa Ali, and Muhammad Najjar.

 

On September 4, Israeli settlers and soldiers forced Palestinians from a cabin on the beach of Khan Younis. Fourteen other cabins were reported to have been forcibly evacuated earlier and then controlled by settlers.

 

On November 12, Israeli forces demolished two houses in the Khan Younis Mawasi. The houses were owned by Sufian Qanan and Khalil Qanan. PCHR field workers reported that the demolitions were carried out without prior notification and that the families were not even allowed to take out the furniture. Israeli authorities claimed that the two houses were built without permission.

 

 

The Year 1995

 

On June 20, Israeli authorities demolished the greenhouses of Muhammad Al-Astal in the Khan Younis Mawasi. Losses were estimated at more than $50,000. PCHR field workers reported that Al-Astal was notified by an Israeli official in October 1994 to remove his greenhouses. The official claimed that they were established on public land. Al-Astal rejected the claim and said that he had been entitled to the land by a ruling from an Israeli military court in Khan Younis in 1977. On June 18, 1995, Al-Astal was again notified to remove the greenhouses, but he refused. Two days later the greenhouses were demolished by Israeli forces.

 

 

The Year 1996

 

On January 17, Israeli forces demolished three houses in Oreiba, northwest of Rafah. The houses were owned by Said Abu Samhadana, Salem Arjani, and Ibrahim Attair. The demolitions were carried out without prior notification and the people were not allowed to take out their furniture and goods ahead of the demolitions. During the demolitions, roads leading to the area were blocked and the Palestinian side within the DCO was not allowed to have access to the site.

 

On June 18, Tamin Al-Aqad was notified by Israeli authorities to remove a hut built on private property.

 

 

The Year 1997

 

No relevant cases were documented by PCHR.

 

 

The Year 1998

 

On January 18, Israeli authorities notified the Governor of Rafah, Abdullah Abu Samhadana to remove a house built on his private land in Rafah Mawasi. The house was built in 1945, and recently the Governor had carried out some repairs on it.

 

On February 7, Israeli authorities demolished part of the house of Ahmed Abu Haddaf in Qarara under the pretext that the distance between the house and the road was less than 75 meters.

 

On February 11, Israeli authorities demolished a wall surrounding the private land of Muhammad Nada in Rafah Mawasi.

 

On May 5, Israeli authorities destroyed a fish farm in Tel Jenan area of the Khan Younis Mawasi. The losses were estimated at $13,000.

 

On May 30, Naim Qidra was ordered by Israeli soldiers to stop construction on his new house on his land in Deir El-Baleh near the settlement of Kfar Darom.

 

On June 16, Palestinian workers from the Ministry of Public Works were prohibited by Israel from building a 100-meter length wall on the beach of Rafah Mawasi for the wharf of Rafah.

 

On October 4, Israeli soldiers demolished part of the wall surrounding the primary school near the Kfar Darom settlement. Soldiers infiltrated into the school there and terrorized the children.

 

 

Damaging crops and agricultural equipment

 

Under the pretext of security, Israeli soldiers launched attacks against agricultural land. These attacks resulted in great losses for farmers in the Yellow Areas. Israeli soldiers and settlers uprooted trees, burned crops, and stole equipment. Even fertilizers brought by farmers to the area were not allowed to be used. Concentrated Israeli activities took place between 1996 and 1998 according to PCHR documentation.

 

 

The Year 1996

 

On June 29, settlers from the Palm Beach Hotel burned their garbage in close proximity to land planted with guava, palm trees, and figs. The land is owned by Yehya Astal. Twenty trees were burned as a result of the fire.

 

 

The Year 1997

 

In early February, Israeli soldiers at the Tufah checkpoint prohibited Palestinian vehicles to carry fertilizers to the Mawasi area without permits. Prior to this date this practice did not exist.

 

On September 21, Israeli soldiers destroyed the special net set up by farmers to catch quail flying low over the Mediterranean Sea. The length of the net was 200 meters and it was set up 100 meters from the Kfar Yam settlement.

 

On November 10, Israeli soldiers attacked the land of Muhammad Al-Farrah in Khan Younis Mawasi. His pipelines were stolen and his potato crop was damaged. The next day, Al-Farrah was ordered by the Israeli soldiers to leave his land and not cultivate it.

 

On December 16, an Israeli settler provided a local Palestinian resident with 29 barrels of toxic materials to get rid of in the Mawasi for $500. Palestinian security forces discovered the barrels before the man managed to dispose of them. They examined the material in a laboratory and it was evident that the material was highly toxic and would damage the aquifers in the area. After contacts with the Israeli side in the DCO, the barrels were returned to the Israeli side on May 29, 1998.

 

The year 1998

 

On January 10, Israeli soldiers entered the land of Muhammad Barakeh, a resident of Deir El-Baleh, near the settlement of Kfar Darom. Soldiers provided no reasons for their search and the resulting damage to the plants on the land.

 

On March 20, Israeli soldiers launched searching activities in many houses and on agricultural land in the Nada community in Rafah Mawasi. The search continued until the next day and resulted in damage to three dunams of potatoes owned by Omar Abu Shalouf and the demolition of the greenhouses of Ismail Al-Bardawil. Al-Bardawil estimated his losses at $1,500.

 

On March 29, Israeli soldiers confronted Palestinian civilians who were planting trees on a piece of land threatened with confiscation by Israeli authorities near the border with Egypt. After contacts between Palestinians and Israelis in the DCO, both sides left the area. That very same day during the evening, Israeli soldiers returned and uprooted all the trees.

 

On May 4, Israeli soldiers destroyed and damaged the crops, trees, and water network on a 4-dunam piece of land in Khan Younis Mawasi. The land was owned by Hamad Shaer. He estimated his losses at $800.

 

On May 5, Israeli soldiers carried out the very same practice on a 6-dunam piece of land in Rafah Mawasi. The land was planted with potatoes and was owned by Suleyman Zorub. The losses were estimated at $7,500.

 

On November 19, Israeli soldiers uprooted trees on the land of Hamdi Madi. As a result, three dunams of land planted with guavas and apples were damaged as were the water lines.

 

On December 19, the sewage water of the settlements of Peat Sadeh, Gan Or, and Bedolah flooded the land of Said Zorub in Rafah Mawasi. Four dunams of land planted with guavas and vegetables and a well to irrigate the land were over-flown with sewage water. The losses were estimated at $10,000.

 

 

Shootings, beatings, and arrests of Palestinian civilians

 

In situations that pose no threat to their lives, Israeli soldiers and settlers nevertheless apply excessive force against Palestinian civilians who protest against the confiscation of their land. On many occasions, Israeli soldiers and settlers fire live ammunition, plastic bullets, and rubber bullets against civilians without reason. Palestinian civilians often endure beatings and cruel treatment by Israeli soldiers at checkpoints. Many Palestinians also risk arrest at these checkpoints.

 

 

The Year 1994

 

On May 9, a settler fired from inside the Neve Dekalim settlement at Ahmed Ibrahim Tabash, 13 years old. He was hit in the chest and killed.

 

On May 28, Israeli soldiers fired at Sa’ad Al-Farrah, 48 years old from Khan Younis, injuring him in the leg and hand. Al-Farrah was cultivating his land in the Khan Younis Mawasi when the incident took place.

 

On June 4, Israeli soldiers stopped a bus of university students on the coastal road between Khan Younis and Gaza. All the students were ordered out of the bus and Maisara Dukhan was arrested.

 

On June 18, Sami Abu Samhadaneh, a senior Palestinian security officer, was fired at while driving his car near the settlement of Netzarim. The shots were fired from within the settlement. Abu Samhadaneh approached Israeli soldiers in a nearby military post and reported the shooting to them. The Israeli soldiers promised to investigate. No investigation took place, however, and no perpetrator was ever determined.

 

On July 2, a settler beat Muhammad and Muheb Agha (aged 14 and 15) on the beach in Khan Younis Mawasi. He beat the children for one hour despite his proximity to Israeli soldiers. These soldiers saw what was happening but failed to intervene. Soldiers even prohibited a Palestinian soldier from intervening to stop the beating. When the settler left, the farmer was allowed to aid the injured children by taking them to the hospital. They remained in the hospital for several days.

 

On August 7, Israeli soldiers arrested Tareq Zaqout, 14 years old from Khan Younis, after soldiers pursued Palestinian teenagers throwing stones at an Israeli military post near Khan Younis. Zaqout was subjected to heavy beating from the soldiers and then tied his hands before taking him to a nearby military installation. Later on that day, he was released by the Israeli soldiers after an intervention from the Palestinian side in the DCO.

 

On August 8, clashes were reported in the very same area near Khan Younis. Israeli soldiers fired at civilians and three were injured with rubber bullets.

 

On August 26, two Israeli settlers beat Suleyman Naji, 47 years old, from Malalha in Khan Younis Mawasi when he was going to his work in Israel early in the morning. Naji testified to PCHR that the two settlers stopped their cars and stepped toward him. One of the settlers pretended to shake hands and the other hit him with a metal bar in his face. They continued beating him until they fell down unconscious. They then escaped. Naji was later informed that he was transferred in a Palestinian car to the hospital.

 

On September 1, Salem Nabhan, 15 years old from Khan Younis, was injured in his leg when Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition against teenagers protesting near the Israeli post to the west of Khan Younis.

 

On September 8, Israeli soldiers in the very same place in Khan Younis fired against civilian protesters. Ali Husseini, 13 years old from Khan Younis, was shot with several rubber bullets and transferred to the hospital.

 

On October 1, Israeli soldiers near the settlement of Kfar Darom stopped Salim Abu Shanar, Kemal Abu Nimr, and Wa’el Abu Hadrus while they were driving from Gaza to Khan Younis. The three men were arrested but released on the very same day following intervention by the Palestinian side of the DCO.

 

On October 2, an Israeli settler stopped Mushir Al-Farrah while he was driving his car. The settler ordered him to step out and fired his gun over his head to terrorize him. The settler then searched the car and confiscated film. Al-Farrah later complained to the DCO and the British embassy as he is a citizen of the United Kingdom.

 

On October 8, Israeli soldiers near the settlement of Kfar Darom arrested Nael and Zaki Barbeh from Khan Younis. They both were driven to an Israeli military installation. Two hours later Nael was released while Zaki remained under arrest. Nael later testified to PCHR that both of them were beaten while being interrogated by the Israeli soldiers.

 

On October 13, Israeli soldiers arrested Salem Abu Obeideh, a resident of Khan Younis, when he was on the beach of Khan Younis. They drove him to the Bedolah settlement. Abu Obeideh was released after an intervention of the DCO.

 

On November 3, Ali Al-Astal, a farmer from Khan Younis, was returning with his two children from his land in the Mawasi to his home in Khan Younis. He was riding on his mule-led wagon when he was stopped by a settler near the settlement of Neve Dekalim. The settler pointed his gun at him in order to terrorize Al-Astal and his children. He then damaged the boxes of guava and beat Al-Astal before leaving the scene.

 

On November 5, Israeli soldiers in the military post near Khan Younis fired gas canisters at children throwing stones at the post. No injuries were reported.

 

 

The year 1995

 

On May 31, Israeli soldiers at the military checkpoint near the settlement of Kfar Darom stopped Mahmoud Laham, a resident of Khan Younis Mawasi, while he was driving to his home. The soldiers asked him for I.D. Laham stepped out of his car as ordered to by the soldiers. They then asked him to raise his hands above his head. He refused and one of the soldiers kicked him in the stomach. Laham fell down and received a kick from another soldier. Laham later testified to PCHR about his beating. He added that he saw tens of Palestinian civilians raising their hands in the sun when he was stopped. He also mentioned that several Palestinian vehicles carrying vegetables were also stopped and that soldiers ordered drivers to unload their goods. The soldiers then buried the vegetables in the sand. The people were then allowed to leave.

 

On June 18, Mahmoud Al-Astal was driving his car with his children en route to his home in Khan Younis Mawasi when he was stopped by two settlers near the Gani Tal settlement. The settlers cursed them and told them to get out of the car. They then searched Al-Astal and his car before beating him with their guns. He fell down and the children were screaming. The settlers then left. Al-Astal testified to PCHR that the beating took place just 500 meters from an Israeli military post near Gani Tal settlement.

 

On September 17, Salim Al-Dad from Khan Younis, was driving his car to the Khan Younis beach with his family when he was stopped at the Israeli military checkpoint. The soldiers asked the family to step out of the car and then proceeded to beat Al-Dad.

 

 

The year 1996

 

On January 22, Israeli soldiers fired at two Palestinians near the Nitzer Hazani settlement in the Deir El-Baleh area. No injuries were reported and the two escaped from the area. Israeli soldiers pursued them and searched nearby houses and the surrounding agricultural area. Several civilians were reported to be arrested. They were eventually all released following the intervention of the Palestinian side of the DCO.

 

On July 12, Arif Abu Shabab, a resident of Khan Younis, was stopped and beaten by Israeli soldiers while riding his bike near the settlement of Nitzer Hazani en route to his home.

 

On July 17, Basil Abadleh was cultivating his land in Khan Younis Mawasi when Israeli soldiers approached and beat him.

 

On August 31, Israeli soldiers entered the house of Marwan Al-Najjar in Khan Younis Mawasi. The soldiers beat Al-Najjar and his son. They destroyed the furniture and terrorized the whole family. The wife started screaming and neighbors gathered before the soldiers left the area while shooting randomly in the air.

 

On October 18, Adnan Abu Araj, a resident of Khan Younis, was shot in the foot by Israeli soldiers while he was going to his work in the settlement of Gan Or. He was transferred to the hospital with a broken and bleeding ankle. The doctors were unable to stop the bleeding. In a later development, PCHR was informed that the foot of Adnan had to be amputated.

 

On November 16, Omar Darausha, a resident of Khan Younis Mawasi, was arrested at the military checkpoint known as Tufah between Khan Younis and the Mawasi.

 

 

The year 1997

 

On March 24, Ayman Kishda and his brother Muhammad were riding their wagon to Rafah Mawasi when they were stopped at the Israeli checkpoint and soldiers denied them access until they could show a license which they did not then have with them. A short time later they returned back with the license but were nevertheless again denied access. The brothers testified to PCHR that there was no reason to deny them access; only that the soldiers wanted to take provocative action by denying access and then shooting in the air in order to terrorize them. They added that they could not control the donkey as a result of the shooting. The donkey ran away with the two on top of the wagon. The soldiers fired at them and Ayman was injured in the shoulders and the pelvis.

 

On June 12, Abdel Karim Al-Astal and Saleh Nismeh were injured in their thighs when Israeli settlers fired at Palestinian civilians who gathered near the crossroad to the Gush Katif settlement bloc in order to protest the establishment of a statue in memory of Israeli soldier killed in the events that transpired in September 1996. Ariel Sharon, a cabinet minister, and Benny Ayalon, a right-wing member of the Knesset, participated in the ceremony. Palestinian civilians threw stones toward settlers’ cars and the settlers reacted by firing weapons at Palestinians at which point the two were injured.

 

On the same day, Palestinian civilians organized a sit-in near Deir El-Baleh to protest the confiscation of 70 dunams of land to the west of Nitzer Hazani settlement. An Israeli settler fired at the Palestinian civilians despite the presence of Israeli settlers. Muhammad Salkawi was injured in the foot as a consequence of the settler’s action. Shortly thereafter, Israeli armed settlers began to level the land with their bulldozers and the civilians confronted them to prevent these illegal activities. Tens of Israeli soldiers reinforced those soldiers already there and attempted to dismiss the civilians by shooting live ammunition and tear gas. As a result of this act, Maher Al-Assar, 16 years old from Deir Al-Baeh, was shot in the chest and died immediately.

 

On October 30, Israeli soldiers fired at a student demonstration near a military post to the west of Khan Younis. Farid Abu Muammar, a school teacher who was not participating in the demonstration and was merely passing by, was injured by a plastic bullet in the face. Mahmoud Heikal, a student, was injured with a rubber bullet. Both were transferred to the hospital in Khan Younis for medical treatment.

 

On November 9, Israeli soldiers at Tufah checkpoint to the west of Khan Younis beat Ra’id Zorub while he was going to Mawasi. He was beaten until he fell unconscious because he had no I.D. He was then detained for two hours and was released after an intervention from Palestinians in the DCO.

 

On December 5, 1997, dozens of Palestinians from Rafah gathered for prayer on a piece of land threatened with confiscation in Tel Zorub near Rafah. More than 50 Israeli soldiers arrived at the location and prevented the civilians from praying. They started firing tear gas and beating a number of the civilians. Palestinians then responded by throwing stones at the soldiers. In return, Israeli soldiers began firing randomly with rubber bullets. As a consequence, Ahmed Hijazi, a seven-year-old child, was shot by a rubber bullet in his throat. The boy received a severe injury from the shot. At the time of his injury, Hijazi was playing on the roof of his house. Also Zakariya Abu Al-Jobain, a photographer working with the Associated Press, was beaten by soldiers and his wrist was broken. Iyad Al-Hamz was beaten and his kneecap was broken. Rami Abu Qora was injured in his leg by a fired tear gas canister.

 

On the same day, Palestinian civilians confronted a number of settlers who were leveling an 8-dunam piece of land in Tel Janan in Khan Younis Mawasi. Israeli soldiers immediately intervened and started to beat Palestinian civilians. Four civilians from the Zorub family which owned the piece of land were arrested. They were all transferred to the police station in the settlement of Neve Dekalim and were released the following day.

 

 

The year 1998

 

On January 15, Israeli soldiers in a checkpoint to the south of Kfar Darom settlement fired at a Palestinian car driving on the main street. The driver, Ahmed Byook, a resident of Khan Younis, was injured in the leg. The soldiers claimed that the driver did not obey their orders to stop.

 

On January 16, Israeli soldiers at the Tufah checkpoint fired at Alaa’ Abu Mousa and injured him in the foot.

 

On January 22, Israeli soldiers at the Tufah checkpoint fired at a group of civilians protesting the confiscation of a piece of land in the Khan Younis Mawasi. Four young people were injured. They were: 1) Khalid Siyam, 19 years old who was hit with a sound bomb; 2) Mahmoud Al-Masri, 12 years old, was injured in the nose with a rubber bullet; 3) Na’il Hamdan, 14 years old, was injured with a rubber bullet in the head; and 4) Amar Brika, 13 years old, was hit with a rubber bullet in the head.

 

On the following day, clashes erupted once again between Palestinian civilian demonstrators and Israeli soldiers who fired live ammunition, rubber bullets, and tear gas. Five more civilians were injured. Ismail Wadi, 17 years old, was shot with live ammunition in the stomach. He was taken to the hospital in critical condition. Mahmoud Zorub, 8 years old, was shot in the head with a rubber bullet. Oussama Abu Moussa, 17 years old, was shot with a rubber bullet in the head. Hamouda Shorab, 15 years old, was shot with a rubber bullet in the knee. Naeem Zirabi, 22 years old, was shot in the back with a tear gas canister.

 

On March 15, Muhammad Dahmesh, 16 years old from Deir El-Baleh, along with Yunis Abdel Ghani, were herding their sheep near the settlement of Nitzer Hazani when they were pursued by a settler. Abdel Ghani was able to escape but Dahmesh was caught and beaten by the settler for no reason.

 

On March 26, Israeli soldiers at the checkpoint between Rafah and the Mawasi stopped Yasser and Fadel Ashur when they attempted to cross to the Mawasi. They were beaten and held for four hours.

 

 

Road incidents involving Israeli vehicles and Palestinians

 

Israeli soldiers and settlers passing through the Yellow Areas in their vehicles at a very high speed have injured and even killed Palestinians through their negligence and disregard for the lives of Palestinians. Sometimes Palestinians are even struck by soldiers and settlers deliberately. Since the implementation of the Interim Agreement in May 1994, PCHR has documented 14 road incidents in which four Palestinians were killed and tens of others injured by soldiers and settlers.

 

 

The year 1994

 

 

On June 27, a settler driving his car hit a mule-led wagon loaded with vegetables being driven on a road near Neve Dekalim settlement. Two residents of Khan Younis, Yassin Shorab, 20 years old, and Muhammad Al-Agha, 17 years old, were injured.

 

On July 14, an Israeli settler driving his car hit a mule-led wagon near Neve Dekalim. Rahma Hassan Selote, 45 years old, died as a result of the collision. Her four children, Wael (15), Ramez (8), Bushra (6), and Belal (3) were all severely injured.

 

On August 6, an Israeli settler driving his car on the same road near Neve Dekalim hit a mule-led wagon and the five people on it were all injured. They were: Ali Yazouri (63), his wife Saada (57), his son Muhammad (32), his granddaughter Nida (4), and his grandson Adel (3). The settler attempted to escape but an Israeli military patrol arrived and called for an Israeli military ambulance to aid the wounded Palestinians. Palestinians in the DCO then arrived and a Palestinian ambulance took the injured to the hospital.

 

On August 24, an Israeli settler driving his car hit a mule-led wagon and injured seven people. They were: Hatem Abu Eid (16), Hassan Shibrawi (11), Ashraf Shibrawi (10), Abdel Hamid Shibrawi (17), Yousef Sawi (42), Hisham Sawi (2), and Ra’id Sawi (16). The settler attempted to escape the scene but Palestinian drivers there at the time of the incident obstructed his escape until a force from the DCO arrived and carried out an investigation.

 

On November 21, an Israeli military jeep hit Na’ama Khalafallah while she was walking to her house near Neve Dekalim settlement. She testified to PCHR that Israeli soldiers did not aid her and left the location. Shortly thereafter, a DCO patrol aided her and transferred her to the hospital.

 

 

The year 1995

 

On July 14, a settler driving his car hit pedestrian Mazen Shaer near Neve Dekalim. Shaer died immediately.

 

On November 5, a settler driving his car hit the car of Samir Al-Wadidi who was driving with his family early in the morning from Mawasi to Khan Younis. Al-Wadidi testified to PCHR that the settler was driving very rapidly and hit his car from behind. When Al-Wadidi stopped, the settler stepped out of his car and pointed a pistol at him. An Israeli patrol arrived and the soldiers started beating Al-Wadidi. Meanwhile, the settler left for Neve Dekalim and the soldiers asked for Al-Wadidi’s I.D., ordered the family out of the car, searched the car, beat Al-Wadidi once again, and left.

 

On November 21, a settler rapidly driving his car hit Mahmoud Fawzi Laham while he was returning from his school in Khan Younis to the Mawasi along with his school friends. The settler stopped after 20 meters and telephoned the DCO which arrived very shortly. Israeli soldiers within the DCO called for Israeli doctors who aided the child. He was then taken by helicopter to the Soroka Hospital in Beer Sheva. Laham died later that day.

 

 

The year 1996

 

On July 28, an Israeli settler driving his car hit Wissan Barbakh while he was riding his horse on the road near Neve Dekalim. Both the horse and the rider were injured.

 

 

The year 1997

 

On May 5, an Israeli military vehicle hit Mamdua Abu Shalouf while he was returning from his school in Rafah to the Mawasi. His leg was broken and he was transferred to a hospital.

 

On June 12, an Israeli settler rapidly driving his car hit Sami Imawi near Deir El-Baleh. The settler escaped and later on Palestinians carried Imawi to the hospital with many broken bones.

 

On October 10, a settler driving his car hit Mahmoud Al-Majaida while he was riding his bike in Khan Younis Mawasi.

 

 

The year 1998

 

On May 1, a settler rapidly driving his car hit Hani Saleh Abu Hajaj, 18 years old from Khan Younis. Abu Hajaj died immediately. The incident took place on the bypass road (from Gush Katif to Kissuvim).

 

On June 14, a settler rapidly driving his car collided with the car of Mahmoud Abu Hanouna near Gush Katif. Abu Hanouna and two children (Ahmed Mukhimer, eight years old, and Taha Mukhimer, 15 years old) were injured and transferred to the hospital in Khan Younis.

 

Raiding wharves

 

Palestinian fisherman in Rafah and Khan Younis are subjected to restrictions amounting to an economic stranglehold as a result of the practices of the Israeli authorities which reject any improvement for the fishery sector in the Yellow Areas. Despite the Interim Agreement giving the Palestinians the right to improve fishery wharves and to establish some public services such as offices and storage facilities, Israel has denied any improvements. Furthermore, from time to time Israeli forces pursue fishermen and raid their wharves and even beat them. Between 1997 and 1998, PCHR documented several raids of wharves at Khan Younis and Rafah.

 

 

The year 1997

 

On March 27, Israeli Navy forces pursued a Palestinian fishing boat right up to the beach of Rafah before the six fishermen were able to escape over land. Meanwhile, an Israeli patrol invaded the Rafah wharf to search for them. The fishermen later informed PCHR that they were fishing within the designated area in accordance with the Oslo Agreements. They accused the Israeli authorities of harassing them on a regular basis.

 

On November 15, an Israeli patrol invaded the Rafah wharf and beat Ali and Muhammad Al-Bardawil. The Palestinian coastal police intervened to stop the beating of the two fishermen. In the effort, one of the Palestinian police officers also was beaten.

 

On November 19, Israeli soldiers invaded the wharf and beat several fishermen who were there at the time.

 

On December 16, Israeli soldiers invaded the Khan Younis wharf and searched the storage facilities there in a clearly provocative action against local fishermen. During the search, the Israeli soldiers harassed the fishermen. They came to the same place the next day and searched the fish market.

 

On December 22, Israeli soldiers invaded the Rafah wharf and searched it. The same practice occurred on December 29.

 

The Year 1998

On January 12, Israeli soldiers invaded the Rafah wharf in pursuit of fishermen who apparently entered the wharf. Soldiers beat fisherman Mahmoud Al-Qin and his mother Mariam. Both were transferred to Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis.

On January 18, Israeli soldiers twice invaded the Rafah wharf twice. On the first occasion, soldiers attempted to arrest Jamal and Muhammad Basaleh, but they left after the arrival of the Palestinian side of the DCO. On the second occasion, the Israeli soldiers beat Musalem Abu Shalouf and Muhammad Al-Qin. They then left. They returned to the wharf again the following day and attempted to arrest Ali and Ismail Al-Bardawil, but they left after the intervention of the Palestinian side of the DCO.

On January 22, Israeli soldiers invaded the Rafah wharf and fired at the buildings.

On January 30, Israeli soldiers invaded the Rafah wharf and beat fishermen Ibrahim and Ayman Al-Bardawil.

 

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