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Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory

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

 

· Ten Palestinian civilians, including one child and two
journalists, were injured by IOF gunfire in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

 

· IOF warplanes bombarded targets in the Gaza Strip.

 

· IOF conducted 36 incursions into Palestinian communities in
the West Bank.

 

· IOF arrested 26 Palestinian civilians in the West Bank and
nine fishermen in the Gaza Strip.

 

· IOF have continued to impose a total siege on the OPT and
have isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world.

 

· IOF troops positioned at military checkpoints in the West
Bank arrested one Palestinian civilian.

 

· IOF have continued to construct the Annexation Wall inside
the West Bank.

 

· IOF continued to raze area of Palestinian land to the south
of Qalqilya.

 

· IOF confiscated 30 donumms[1]
of Palestinian land in Sho’fat refugee camp near Jerusalem to turn a military
checkpoint into a crossing.

 

· IOF imposed additional restrictions on the movement of
Palestinian farmers on both sides of the Wall.

 

· IOF have continued measures aimed at creating a demographic
Jewish majority in east Jerusalem.

 

· IOF took a series of arbitrary measures to prevent
celebration of Jerusalem as a capital of Arab culture for 2009.

 

· IOF have continued settlement activities in the West Bank
and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and
property.

 

· The Israeli government approved the construction of a new
settlement in Hebron.

 

· The Israeli Defense Minister refused to issue an order to
demolish nine settlement homes in "Oufa" settlement that had been
built "without licenses."

 

 

Summary

 

Israeli violations of
international law and humanitarian law escalated in the OPT during the reporting
period (19 – 25 March2009):

 

Shooting: During the reporting period, IOF wounded
10 Palestinian civilians, including one child and two journalists, in the West
Bank and the Gaza Strip.   

 

In the West Bank, on 24 March 2009, IOF troops positioned at Hawara
checkpoint, south of Nablus, wounded a Palestinian civilian, claiming that he had
attacked soldiers with an iron bar.

 

During the reporting period, eight Palestinian
civilians, including two journalists, were wounded when IOF used force against
peaceful demonstrations organized in protest to the construction of the
Annexation Wall.

 

In the
Gaza Strip, on 22 March 2009, a Palestinian fisherman was wounded when IOF naval
troops opened fire at a number of fishermen in near Gaza Harbor.

 

Incursions: During the reporting period, IOF
conducted at least 36 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the
West Bank and one into the Gaza Strip. IOF arrested 26 Palestinian civilians. On
Thursday, 19 March 2009, IOF arrested four members of the Palestinian
Legislative Council (PLC) affiliated to Hamas and a number of the movement’s
political leaders in the West Bank. These arrests are forms of reprisal and
collective punishment against Palestinian civilians, which are prohibited under
Article 33 of the 1949 Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian
Persons in Time of War. PCHR calls upon the international community,
particularly the High Contracting Parties to the Convention to ensure Israel’s
compliance with the Convention. As an occupying power, Israel has a
responsibility to uphold the Convention, which prohibits acts of reprisals
against protected persons and their property.

 

In the Gaza Strip, IOF conducted a
limited incursion to the east of Khan Yunis, during which they leveled areas of
Palestinian land.

 

During the reporting period, IOF
naval troops arrested nine Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip.

 

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.

 

Gaza Strip

 

IOF have continued to close all border crossings to the Gaza
Strip 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.

 

· IOF have continued to
prevent 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.

 

· IOF have continued to
close Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing in the face of Palestinian civilians wishing
to travel to the West Bank and Israeli for medical treatment, trade or social
visits. In the past two months, five patients, including two children, died due
to being denied access to medical treatment outside the Gaza Strip.

 

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

 

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

 

· At least 900
Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails have been deprived for family visitation
for more than 17 months. 

 

· At least 10% of the population
of the Gaza Strip is living without electricity supplies.

 

West Bank

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

· During the reporting period, IOF troops positioned at
military checkpoints in the West Bank arrested one Palestinian civilian.

 

Annexation Wall: IOF have continued to construct the
Annexation Wall inside the West Bank. During the reporting period, IOF
continued to raze areas of Palestinian land in Wadi al-Rasha and Ras Teera
villages, south of Qalqilya, for the purpose of the construction of a section
of the Wall in the area in the context of the new route of the Wall decided by
the Israeli High Court. According to local sources, IOF have uprooted at least
400 olive trees. On 22 March, the Israeli High Court affirmed a decision taken
by the Israeli Central Court confiscating 30 donumms of Palestinian land in
Sho’fat refugee camp, northeast of Jerusalem, for the purpose of expanding a
military checkpoint established near the entrance of the camp and transforming
it into a crossing. According to local sources, the expansion of the checkpoint
would cut off at least 45,000 Palestinians from Jerusalem, and result in the
destruction of at least 30 shops and stores. The expansion of the checkpoint is
part of plans of the ongoing construction of the Wall in the area.

 

On 25 March, IOF
informed Palestinian civilians living in the southern part of ‘Azzoun ‘Atma
village, south of Qalqilya, that they must obtain permits from the IOF Civil
Administration to be able to move normally in the village. IOF had already
established a fence annexing the southern part of the village. In addition, they
informed local residents that the sole gate that links the villages of Far’oun,
al-Ras, Kherbat Jebara and Kufor Sour with their agricultural land, which has
been isolated by the Wall to the south of Tulkarm, will be closed from 1 April
2009. 

 

Creating a
Demographic Jewish majority in east Jerusalem
: IOF have escalated arbitrary measures against Palestinian
civilians in East Jerusalem to force them to leave the city. During the
reporting period, IOF decided to prevent any Palestinian activities related to
the declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Arab culture for 2009. The
Israel Internal Security Minister, Avi Dichter, issued an order banning any
such activities in the city. To implement this decision, IOF troops were
deployed throughout the city. They also stormed some institutions and schools
and arrested some Palestinian civilians to suppress any attempt to carry out these
cultural activities.

 

Settlement
Activities:
IOF
have continued settlement activities and Israeli settlers living in the
OPT have, in violation of international humanitarian law have continued to
attack Palestinian civilians and property. On 20 March, a number of Israeli
settlers from "Bakir Darom" settlement, northwest of Salfit, attacked
a number of Palestinian farmers from Deir Estia village and prevented them from
reaching their agricultural land in the area.

 

Also during the
reporting period, the Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak approved the
establishment of a new settlement named "Sensina" to the south of
Hebron. According to Israeli plans, the new settlement will include 440 housing
unit, in which at least 2,500 Israeli settlers will live. This decision is
legalizing 50 housing units that had been built in the area without licenses,
according to the Israeli daily Haaretz.

 

During the reporting
period, the Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak abstained from ordering the
demolition of nine Israeli settlement homes that were built on Palestinian
private land and were annexed to "Oufra" settlement, northeast of
Ramallah.

 

The Israeli daily
Haaretz reported on 23 March 2009 that 5 Palestinian civilians from ‘Ein
Yabroud village filed a petition at the Israeli High Court demanding the
Israeli Defense Minister to order the demolition of the illegal structures. In
addition, on 23 March, IOF handed notices to the Yatta Services Council, south
of Hebron, ordering a halt to the maintenance of eight water wells to the
southeast of Hebron, apparently to force Bedouins living in the area to leave.

 

On Wednesday morning,
25 March, dozens of Israeli settlers, escorted by IOF, broke into Joseph Tomb,
east of Nablus, and conducted religious ceremonies.

 

 

Israeli Violations Documented during the Reporting Period (19 – 25 March
2009)

The full report is available PDF format.

 

 



[1] 1 donumm is
equal to 1,000
square meters