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Weekly Report: On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (01 March 2001)

 

 

 

· Four Palestinian civilians are
killed by the Israeli occupation forces;

 

· Dozens of Palestinian civilians,
mostly children, are wounded by the Israeli occupation forces;

 

· Journalists and medical personnel
are fired upon by the Israeli occupation forces;

 

· Palestinian houses and civilian
facilities are shelled;

 

· Leveling of Palestinian
agricultural land and demolition of Palestinian homes continue; and

 

· A number of Palestinian civilians
are deprived of the right of pilgrimage.

 

 

 

Introduction

 

This
report covers Israeli human rights violations against Palestinian civilians in
the Occupied Palestinian Territories during the period of February 22-28,
2001.  Despite the significant decrease
in clashes between Palestinian civilians and Israeli forces, these forces
continued to resort to excessive and lethal force when no threats were posed to
the lives of soldiers.  During the fourth
week of February 2001, there has been a significant escalation in Israeli human
rights violations against Palestinian civilians and their properties in the
Occupied Palestinian Territories.

 

The
Israeli occupation forces continued to fire at Palestinian civilians, mostly
children, who participated in small peaceful demonstrations and marches.The
Israeli forces fired live and rubber-coated metal bullets at demonstrators
without first employing less lethal means to disperse them.  Although some of the forces fired
indiscriminately, snipers also targeted demonstrators.

 

During
the last week of February 2001, two Palestinian civilians, including a
15-year-old child, were killed when the Israeli occupation forces opened fire
on Palestinian demonstrators.  On
February 23, 2001, Rae’d Mahmoud Hussein Mousa, 21, from Al-Khader village near
Bethlehem, was killed with a live bullet in the chest, when the Israeli forces
fired upon demonstrators from distance of approximately 150m.  On February 26, 2001, the child Hussam E’mad
El-Diesi, 15, from Ramallah, was killed with four silenced live bullets in the
back and the abdomen.  These were fired
by an Israeli sniper during clashes near Qalandya refugee camp.

     

In
addition to those killed, dozens of Palestinian civilians, including a number
of children, were wounded by Israeli gunfire. 
Among the wounded was the child Mohammed Mahmoud Helles, 13, from
Shojaeya neighborhood in Gaza City.  He
was critically wounded with a live bullet in the head when Israeli soldiers
opened fire on stone-throwing children near the border to the east of Gaza
City.  The child is still at the
intensive care unit of Shifa’ hospital in Gaza City.

 

Furthermore,
during the last week of February 2001, the Israeli occupation forces shot
Palestinian civilians in the absence of clashes.  On February 25, 2001, Mahmoud Maso’ud
El-Jallad, 44, from Tulkarm, was killed by a live bullet in the head fired by
Israeli soldiers who were positioned approximately 300m away, southwest of
Tulkarm.  On February 26, 2001, Israeli
soldiers on a tank at Rafah border, fired upon the 15-year-old child, Mustafa
Hussein Khalil El-Louqa, from Rafah, without provocation.  El-Louqa was wounded by a live bullet in the
right arm.  On February 27, 2001, the
5-year-old child, Fatema Khaled Abu Salah, from Abasan, east of Khan Yunis, was
wounded with a live bullet in the left foot. 
She was in front of her kindergarten when she was shot by Israeli
soldiers who were positioned at the border, approximately 1,000m away. While
covering clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian civilians, local and
international journalists were also fired upon by Israeli forces who were
firing both willfully and indiscriminately.

 

Also
during the last week of February 2001, the Israeli occupation forces escalated
shelling and firing of heavy and medium caliber bullets at Palestinian
residential neighborhoods in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.  On February 27, 2001, Nae’im Ahmed
El-Badarin, 55, from Al-Bireh, was killed when an artillery shell fired by
Israeli forces hit his house. 

 

On
February 23, 2001, Talal Hassan Abu A’rida, a seventeen year old from Rafah,
was critically wounded with a heavy caliber bullet in the head fired by Israeli
soldiers at the Rafah border.  At the
time he was shot, Abu ‘Arida was in an auto repair shop, approximately 1,500m
away.  On the same day, Mohammed
Abdel-Karim El-Roum, a fifteen-year-old from Qaddoura refugee camp near
Ramallah, was critically wounded with a live bullet in the neck when Israeli
forces fired upon his family’s house. 
Others wounded by Israeli shelling include Mohammed Jehad Khalil Qeshta,
a 10-year-old child from Rafah, who was wounded with shrapnel when his school
was shelled on February 24, 2001. 

 

Furthermore,
Israeli shelling also caused severe damage to Palestinian houses and civilian
facilities, which were hit with artillery shells and heavy and medium caliber
bullets.  Among the facilities hit was
the headquarters of the Palestinian Ministry of Local Government in Al-Balou’
area in Al-Bireh.  On February 27, 2001,
it was hit by three artillery shells. 
The office of Palestinian Minister of Local Government was also completely
burnt.  

 

Furthermore,
Israeli forces continued to raze Palestinian agricultural land and demolish
Palestinian houses and civilian facilities in the Gaza Strip.

 

During
the past week, the Israel continued to impose a total siege on the occupied
Palestinian territories as well as continue to reinforce their presence on the
main roads and at the entrances of Palestinian cities.

 

On
February 24, 2001, the Israeli forces prevented 11 Palestinian civilians from
the Gaza Strip from traveling to Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage.  Thousands of Palestinian pilgrims who had
originally planned to depart from Gaza International Airport were forced to
travel by bus through Rafah Border Crossing to Al-A’rish Airport in the Sinai
from where they flew to Saudi Arabia. 

 

Furthermore,
the Israeli occupation forces continued to prevent the entry of Palestinian
citizens into Jerusalem, thus preventing them from praying at Islamic and
Christian holy sites.  (For more
information about the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip and its disastrous
consequences, see
Closure Update, a report by PCHR on the closure
imposed by the Israeli occupation forces on the Gaza Strip.)

 

1. Shooting at Palestinian
Civilians

 

Thursday,
February 22, 2001

        

At
approximately 17:00 local time, three Palestinian children were wounded with
live bullets fired by the Israeli occupation forces in the east of Gaza
City.  They are:

 

 1) E’id Samih Ja’rour, 15,
from Al-Remal neighborhood in Gaza City, wounded with a live bullet in the left
side;

 2) Nidhal E’zzat El-Sheikh
Khalil, 14, from Al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City, wounded with a live bullet
in the left hand; and

 3) Abdel-Rahamn Hashem
Dhaban, 13, wounded with a live bullet in the right shoulder.

 

In
his testimony to PCHR, the child E’id Ja’rour said that he and another 20
children came within 50m of an Israeli bulldozer that, under tank escort, was
leveling agricultural lands near a settler bypass road, south of Al-Mentar
(Karni) Outlet.  Israeli soldiers
stationed on the tank opened fire on the children, and wounding Ja’rour and his
peers with live bullets.  They were
evacuated to Shifa’ hospital in Gaza City. 
Ja’rour was also wounded with a live bullet in the back on November 19,
2000.

 

In Yabad village near
Jenin, a number of Palestinian civilians suffocated and fainted due to tear gas
inhalation.  At approximately 16:00 local
time, clashes erupted between Palestinian youth and the Israeli occupation
forces in the East Mount area in the village. 
The forces fired tear gas canisters, two of which fell onto the house of
Samir Ahmed Hamarasheh, located approximately 200m from military sites of the
Israeli occupation forces.  As a result,
his three children suffocated while they were in the balcony of the house and were
treated in the area.  Additionally, his
five month pregnant wife, Wafa’ Hassan Hamarsheh, 35, fainted and was evacuated
to Jenin hospital after she miscarried.

 

Friday,
February 23, 2001

 

At
approximately 10:30 local time, the Israeli forces opened fire on a number of
journalists, in an apparent attempt frighten and deter them from covering the
closure off the coastal road between Gaza City and the middle area of the Gaza
Strip, opposite to Netzarim settlement. 
Those journalists were approximately 200m away from the soldiers’
position when they were fired at. 
Although they were forced to leave the area, no injuries were reported
among them. They journalists are:

 

 1) Suhaib Hussam Jadallah, a
24-year-old Reuters cameraman from Gaza City;

 2) Saber Ibrahim Shehadeh
Nour El-Din, a 21-year-old Agence France Presse (AFP) photographer from Gaza
City;

 3) Hatem Mahmoud Mustafa
Mousa, a 26-year-old of Wafa (the Palestinian press agency) photographer, from
Gaza City; and

 4) Peter Andro, a 40-year-old
Canadian Reuters cameraman.

 

In
the afternoon, the Israeli occupation forces opened fire indiscriminately on
Palestinian civilians peacefully 
demonstrating at the northern entrance of Al-Bireh.  As a result, six Palestinian civilians were wounded
with live bullets, 49 were wounded with rubber-coated metal bullets, and others
fainted and suffocated due to tear gas inhalation.  Among the wounded was Mark Singer, an AFP
photographer, who was wounded with a rubber-coated metal bullet in the
shoulder.  Additionally, Israeli forces
wounded three Palestine Red Crescent Society medical personnel and two
volunteers of the Palestinian Medical Relief Committees.  They were:

 

 1) Tariq E’issa A’abed, 24,
wounded with two rubber-coated metal bullets in the head and the chest;

 2) Ahlam Nabil Nasser, 24,
wounded with a rubber-coated metal bullet in the left side;

 3) Nizar Faro’un, 21, wounded
with a rubber-coated metal bullet in the right shoulder;

 4) Nader Fawzi A’adel, 17,
wounded with a rubber-coated metal bullet in the left thigh; and

 5) Hussam Hammouda, 18,
wounded with a rubber-coated metal bullet in the left hand.

 

At
approximately 15:00 local time, Jamal E’issa Qabalan, 17, from Qalqilya, was
wounded with a rubber-coated metal bullet in the left leg when Israeli forces
fired upon Palestinians demonstrating at the southern entrance of Qalqilya.

 

At
approximately 16:00 local time, Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinians
demonstrating 150m away near the western entrance of Al-Khader village near
Bethlehem.  Consequently, Rae’d Mousa
Hussein Mousa, 21, was killed with by live bullet in the chest, and another
five Palestinian civilians were wounded by live bullets.

 

Also
at approximately 16:00 local time, Israeli forces opened fire on a number of
Palestinian children demonstrating in Al-Moghraqa area in the south of Gaza
City.  As a result, two children were
wounded, one by a rubber-coated metal bullet in the head.  PCHR’s area field officer reported that the
children were demonstrating approximately 150m to the south of an Israeli tank
and jeep positioned 200m west of Al-Shuhada’ (Netzarim) junction at the
junction of Salah El-Din Street (the main road between the north and south of
the Gaza Strip) and the access road to Netzarim settlement.  The wounded children were:

 

 1) Tamer El-Dayem, 12, from
Nusseirat refugee camp, wounded with a rubber-coated metal bullet in the head;
and

 2) Ismail Hamdan, 16, also
from Nusseirat refugee camp, wounded with a live bullet in the left thigh. 

 

The
PCHR’s field officer added that the Israeli forces closed Salah El-Din Street
at Al-Shuhada’ (Netzarim) junction and prevented the two wounded children’s
evacuation in a Palestine Red Crescent Society ambulance to Shifa’ hospital in
Gaza City.  They were therefore evacuated
to a clinic in Deir El-Balah. 

 

Also
in the afternoon, the Israeli occupation forces opened fire on Palestinian
civilians, mostly children, who were demonstrating near Al-Mentar (Karni)
Outlet, to the east of Gaza City. 
Consequently, four demonstrators, including three children, were wounded
as follows:

 

 1) Wajdi Nahedh Salim, 14,
from Shojae’ya neighborhood in Gaza City, wounded with a live bullet in the
face;

 2) Ahmed Ismail El-Sersek,
14, wounded with a live bullet in the right shoulder;

 3) Rezeq Mahmoud Abu Noufal,
17, wounded with a live bullet in the left thigh, and

 4) E’id Khader A’yyad, 24,
wounded with a live bullet in the back.

 

Sunday,
February 25, 2001

 

At
approximately 12:00 local time, during clashes east of Gaza city between a
number of Palestinian children and Israeli forces, Fraj E’ssam Attallah, a
fourteen year old from Al-Daraj neighborhood in Gaza City, was wounded with a
live bullet in the left thigh.  In his
testimony to PCHR, the child Attallah said that approached and when he was 10m
from the tank, he threw a stone at an Israeli tank stationed at a settler
bypass road south of Al-Mentar (Karni) Outlet and then fled.  Then, Israeli occupation forces fired at him
from inside the tank.  He was wounded and
evacuated to Shifa’ hospital in Gaza City.

 

At
approximately 19:00 local time, Israeli forces positioned south of Tulkarm
opened fire on Palestinian civilians and killed Mahmoud Maso’ud Sae’id
El-Jallad, 45, with a live bullet in the head. 
According to eyewitnesses, El-Jallad was inside his car, approximately
300m away from a military site of the Israeli occupation forces when he was
shot.  Furthermore, Mazen Ali Salaeh Abu
Zour, 20, was wounded with a live bullet in the hand, when he tried to offer
help to El-Jallad, who was again wounded in the shoulder.  When an ambulance of the Palestine Red
Crescent Society arrived at the area to evacuate the wounded, Israeli forces
fired upon it.  Two live bullets
penetrated the ambulance, but no injuries were reported among its personnel,
A’mmar El-Jari, Odai El-Jallad and Jamal Balatta.

 

Monday,
February 26, 2001

 

At approximately 15:00, Hussam
E’issa El-Diesi, a fifteen year-old from Ramallah, was killed with four live
bullets in the back and the abdomen, fired at him by Israeli occupation
soldiers.  Earlier, at approximately 9:00
local time, clashes erupted between a number of Palestinian children and the
Israeli occupation forces at the main road near Qalandya refugee camp.  Israeli forces fired live bullets,
rubber-coated metal bullets, and gas canisters at Palestinian children.  According to eyewitnesses, a sniper of the
Israeli occupation forces fired at El-Diesi from approximately 100m, without
the sound of shooting being heard. 
During the same clashes, which lasted until 17:00 local time, another
five Palestinian children were wounded with live and rubber-coated metal
bullets.  Another 13 fainted and
suffocated due to tear gas inhalation. 
The wounded were:

 

 1) Ahmed Mohammed Abu Romeila, wounded with a rubber-coated
metal bullet in the right thigh;

 2) Yousef Abdel-Rahim El-Khatib, 14, wounded with three
rubber-coated metal bullets in the head, the left hand and the right thigh;

 3) Mohammed Abdel-Rahim El-Khatib, 11, wounded with a live
bullet in the right thigh;

 4) Mahmoud Nayef Abu Latifa, 12, wounded with a rubber-coated
metal bullet in the right thigh; and

 5) Tariq Fawaz El-Rojbi, 15, wounded with two rubber-coated
metal bullets in the back.

 

At approximately
13:30 local time, clashes erupted between Palestinian civilians and the Israeli
occupation forces in Deir Nezham village near Ramallah, after the forces
attempted to burst into the village. 
During the clashes, which lasted until evening, seven Palestinian
civilians were wounded with rubber-coated metal bullets as follows:

 

 1) Alla’ Mohammed Mustafa, 21, wounded with a
rubber-coated metal bullet in the chest;

 2) Alla’ Ibrahim Hussein, 17, wounded with a
rubber-coated metal bullet in the right hand;

 3) Mohammed A’adel Abdel-Karim, 12, wounded with a
rubber-coated metal bullet in the right leg;

 4) Saqer Abdel-Fakher, 39, wounded with a rubber-coated
metal bullet in the left thigh;

 5) Bilal Mohammed Mosa’d, 16, wounded with a rubber-coated
metal bullet in the left foot;

 6) Nemer Dieb Saleh, 26, wounded with a rubber-coated
metal bullet in the back; and

 7) Jamil Abdel-Qader Mosa’d, 17, wounded with a
rubber-coated metal bullet in the right thigh.

 

At approximately 16:30
local time, Israeli occupation soldiers, positioned at the Rafah border, fired
upon Mustafa Hussein Khalil El-Louqa, a fifteen year old from Al-Barazil
neighborhood in Rafah.  The live bullet,
fired from a distance of approximately 10m, wounded him in the right arm; he was
also wounded with shrapnel in the chest. 
In his testimony to PCHR, El-Louqa said:

 

“I
was sitting in front of Al-Nour mosque, when I heard sounds of shootings and
explosions.  Then, I saw an Israeli
occupation soldier standing on one tank passing the border from west to east,
and another one coming from the east. 
The two tanks met opposite to Al-Nour mosque, only 10m from the
border.  I saw an Israeli soldier
pointing his machine gun at me.  I heard
sounds of three live bullets being shot. 
I felt something hot penetrate my right arm and my chest.  I was able to flee to Al-Brazil neighborhood,
where I was evacuated to Al-Joneina hospital (in Rafah).”

 

Tuesday, February 27, 2001

 

At approximately 7:30 local
time, the five-year-old child Fatema Khaled Abu Salah, from Abasan village
located east of Khan Yunis, was wounded with a live bullet in the left foot,
fired by Israeli occupation soldiers without provocation.  Her mother said that sounds of shooting near
the border, located east of the village, had been heard since 4:30 (local
time).  At the time she was shot, Abu
Saleh was in front of her kindergarten, approximately 1,000m west of the
borderline.  She was evacuated to the Palestinian
military medical hospital in Abasan and then to Nasser hospital in Khan Yunis.

 

In the afternoon, Israeli
occupation soldiers shot at the child Mohammed Mahmoud Helles, 13, from
Shojaeya neighborhood in Gaza City, and wounded him with a live bullet in the
head.  This incident took place near the
border near Al-Mentar (Karni) Outlet, east of Gaza City.  The child was evacuated to the intensive care
unit at Shifa’ hospital in Gaza City in critical condition.  According to an eyewitness, at approximately
14:00 (local time), approximately 30 Palestinian children moved towards the
border south of Al-Mentar (Karni) Oultelt, where convoys of settlers pass under
Israeli occupation force escort.  At
approximately 14:30, these children moved forward to approximately 50m away
from the border. 

 

The children then started
to throw stones at an Israeli forces’ jeep driving in front of a convoy of
settler cars.  The jeep stopped, and an
Israeli soldier fired two live bullets at children, one of which hit the child
Helles in the left side of the head. 
According to the same eyewitness, the Israeli occupation forces made no
attempt to use less lethal means before firing upon the children.  Immediately, the eyewitness evacuated the
wounded child to Shifa’ hospital in Gaza City.

 

On the previous day,
Monday, February 26, 2001, the Israeli occupation forces established a new
observation tower at the entrance of the aforementioned settler bypass road,
south of Al-Mentar (Karni) Outlet, east of Gaza City.  This act is part of measures adopted by the
Israeli occupation forces to reinforce their presence throughout the Gaza
Strip. 

 

At
approximately 19:30 local time, the Israeli occupation forces burst into Deir
Nezham village near Ramallah, and fired indiscriminately on Palestinian
civilians who confronted such action. 
Consequently, seven Palestinian civilians were wounded as follows:

 

 1) Ramzi Tayseer
El-Tamimi, 18, critically wounded with two live bullets in the abdomen;

 2) Khaled
Mohammed Mosa’d, 16, critically wounded with a live bullet in the side;

 3) Abdullah
Faraj Yahia, 15, wounded with a live bullet in the right hand;

 4) Ahmed Tayseer
El-Tamimi, 14, wounded with a rubber-coated metal bullet in the right shoulder;

 5) Dhia’ Ibrahim
El-Tamimi, 18, wounded with three rubber-coated metal bullets in the legs;

 6) Amjad
Khaldoun Mezher, 12, wounded with a rubber-coated metal bullet in the head; and

 7) Mohammed
Faraj Yahia, 11, wounded with a rubber-coated metal bullet in the back.

 

 

 2. Shelling of Residential
Neighborhoods

 

Thursday,
February 22, 2001

 

At
approximately 17:00 local time, Israeli occupation forces positioned near
Netzarim settlement south of Gaza City, shelled a Gaza Municipal sewage
treatment facility, located approximately 700m north of the settlement.  PCHR’s area field officer reported that,
after the shelling stopped, a tank of the Israeli occupation forces advanced
toward the facility entrance, which is located in areas under full control of
the Palestinian National Authority.  The
shelling resulted in the following damages to the facility:

 

 1) Walls of the facility’s administration building were hit with heavy and
medium caliber bullets which made 2cm holes.

 2) The southern walls of treatment towers were hit with an artillery shell
which made a 15 cm hole and bullets that made 2 cm holes.

 3) A water saving tank was hit with bullets which made holes 2cm in diameter.

 4) A tin car park was hit with bullets which made 2 cm holes.

 

At
approximately 21:00 local time, Israeli occupation forces positioned in eight
military sites north of Netser Hazani settlement south of Deir El-Balah, fired
artillery shells, heavy caliber bullets, and medium caliber bullets at Al-Berka
area in Deir El-Balah.  This lasted for
approximately 45 minutes and damaged two schools and a house located
approximately 400m to the north of the mentioned settlement.  The damage is as follows:

 

 1) The fence and the eastern façades of classrooms at Deir El-Balah
industrial secondary school were hit with heavy and medium bullets which made
2cm holes and destroyed 40 windows.

 2) The eastern façades of classrooms at Abdullah Ben Rawaha elementary
school were hit with heavy and medium caliber bullets which made 2cm holes.

 3) A 300-square-meter, two-story house, in which 25 people live, owned by
Yousef Suleiman Abu Shmas, was hit with five artillery shells that penetrated
its southern walls and made 10cm holes. 
The first floor of the house was also burnt and the furniture severely
damaged.  In his testimony to PCHR, Abu
Shmas said that he and his family were inside their house when it was
shelled.   

 

Friday
February 23, 2001

 

At
approximately 9:00 local time, Talal Hassan Abu A’rida, 17, from Rafah, was
critically wounded with a heavy caliber bullet in the head, when Israeli
reinforcements at the Rafah border arbitrarily fired heavy and medium caliber
bullets at Palestinian civilians and houses in Rafah.  He was evacuated to the intensive care unit
at Shifa’ hospital in Gaza City.  Abu
A’rida was wounded when he was in an auto repair shop on Omar Ben El-Khattab
Street, approximately 1,500m from Israeli forces positions at Salah El-Din Gate
on the borderline.  In his eyewitness
testimony to PCHR, the repair shop’s owner’s son, said that he was repairing a
car, when Talal Abu A’rida entered the shop and started talking with the car’s
owner, who was waiting for his car with his child.  He added: “Suddenly, I heard something that
sounded like an explosion.  I looked
around to see what was going on.  I heard
Talal, who was one meter away, crying.  I
looked at him and noticed that his features changed; his eyes bulged and his
hands clenched.  He fell on the ground
with his head bleeding.  Then, dozens of
young men entered the shop and helped me carry to a car to drive him to
Al-Joneina hospital in Rafah.”

 

Soon,
Abu A’rida was evacuated to Al-Joneina hospital in Rafah, where he received
medical treatment.  Then, he was transferred
by ambulance and accompanied by Dr. Yousef Hussein Nasser A’abed, a 31
physician from Rafah, to Shifa’ hospital in Gaza City.  However, Israeli occupation forces positioned
at two military roadblocks south of Gaza City, unjustifiably prevented the ambulance
from passing for more than five hours, although Abu A’rida was in critical
condition.  In his testimony to PCHR,
A’abed, the accompanying physician, said:

 

“…I got into the ambulance
with nurse Jamal Jaber and Abu A’rida’s father. 
The ambulance driver, Samir Joudeh, moved towards Shifa’ hospital in
Gaza City.  We fixed an oxygen tube for
him to keep him breathing, and gave him medicine to calm him and decrease his
movement.  His condition was stable until
we arrived at a junction on the coastal road, which leads east to Netzarim
settlement.  We arrived there at 9:30
(local time).  Members of the Palestinian
National Security Forces told us that the Israeli occupation forces had closed
the coastal road as were shooting at whomever reached the area.  Immediately, we drove toward Salah El-Din
Street (the main road between the north and south of the Gaza Strip), but an
Israeli tank was stationed at Al-Shuhada’ (Netzarim) junction, closing the
road.  When we approached the junction,
the Israeli occupation soldiers pointed the tank barrel at us and prevented our
passage to Gaza City.  The first oxygen
tube was about to run out the medicine was wearing off.  Consequently, we decided to travel back to a
clinic in Dier El-Balah and await the outcome of negotiations between the
Palestinian side and the Israeli occupation forces to allow our passage to Gaza
City.  We arrived in Deir El-Balah at
approximately 10:30 (local time) when Abu A’rida’s condition worsened.  He vomited and started to move.  We remained there until 12:00 (local time),
when the driver Samir Joudeh told me that he received a phone call from
Al-Joneina hospital in Rafah, during which he was informed that negotiations
with the Israeli side had concluded and that we could cross Al-Shuhada’ (Netzarim)
junction.  We arrived at the junction at
approximately 12:15 (local time), but again the Israeli occupation forces
denied passage, although we waited until 1:00. 
Then, another ambulance, containing Dr. Dheifallah Abu Al-Hessein,
Director of Medical Aid and Emergency in Gaza City, came from the direction of
Deir El-Balah traveling to Gaza City.  We
moved Abu A’rida to the second ambulance, thinking that its passage had been
agreed with the Israeli side.  The
ambulance approached the junction, but the Israeli forces opened fire and
denied its passage.  The same happened
three times.  This lasted until 15:00
local time at which time the medicine ran out. 
Then, we received another phone call during which we were informed that
passage of the ambulance had been agreed upon. 
Later, the Israeli forces allowed the passage of the ambulance.”

 

At
approximately 20:00 local time, Israeli occupation forces, positioned in the
vicinity of Netzarim settlement, to the south of Gaza City, shelled a sewage
treatment facility of Gaza Municipality, approximately 700m to the north of the
mentioned settlement.  PCHR’s field
officer in Gaza City reported that the Israeli forces had frequently shelled
the facility over the past few weeks, threatening the lives of its staff.  The PCHR’s field officer added that this most
recent time, the Israeli occupation forces fired artillery shells and heavy and
medium caliber bullets, causing the following damage:

 

 1) Holes in water saving tanks used
in desalination, approximately 60cm in diameter; and

 2) Destruction of waterlines going
in and out the facility.

 

At
approximately 21:00 local time, Mohammed Abdel-Karim El-Roum, a 15-year-old
from Qaddoura refugee camp near Ramallah, was critically wounded with a live
bullet in the neck while inside his family’s home.  These forces, positioned inside Psagot
settlement, to the east of Al-Bireh, fired heavy and medium caliber bullets at
Palestinian houses in Jabal El-Tawil and Al-Jenan neighborhoods in Al-Bireh.
Bullets also hit houses in Qaddoura refugee camp, located approximately 2km
away from military sites of the Israeli occupation forces.

  

Saturday,
February 24, 2001

 

At approximately 7:00 local
time, Mohammed Jehad Khalil Qeshta, a 10-year-old fourth grade pupil from
Rafah, was wounded by shrapnel when his school was hit by the shooting of
Israeli forces positioned at the Rafah border. The forces fired
indiscriminately on Palestinian civilians and neighborhoods in Rafah.  As a result, bullets hit the Taha Hussein
school, located approximately 300m north of the border.  In his testimony to PCHR, the Qeshta said:

 

“At approximately 7:00
(local time), we pupils, and our teachers stood behind the walls of our school,
after we heard sounds of shooting. 
Bullets hit the walls and trees and ricocheted throughout the yard.  Then, I felt something hot hitting my
foot.  I cried from pain and my foot
started to bleed.  My fellow students
carried me to a room, where I received medical treatment from a teacher.  Then, a car came and took me to Al-Joneina
hospital (in Rafah).”

 

Tuesday, February 27, 2001

 

At approximately 21:00
local time, Nae’im Ahmed El-Badarin, 55, from Al-Bireh, was killed by one of
four artillery shells which hit his house during Israeli shelling of Al-Bireh’s
residential neighborhoods.  The 13-member
family sheltered on the ground floor of their three-story house.  After two artillery shells hit the house,
El-Badarin, went to the second floor to inspect the damage.  Then, the Israeli occupation forces fired two
additional artillery shells, on of which hit him directly.  The shell also set fire to the house and
completely destroyed second floor.  The
second artillery shell hit the third floor and partially destroyed it as well.

 

Israeli occupation forces
positioned near the “Beit Eil” military site, north of Al-Bireh, fired artilley
shells, heavy caliber bullets and medium caliber bullets at Palestinian
residential neighborhoods in Al-Bireh. 
The intense shelling, which lasted from 18:30 until 23:00 local time,
targeted the center of Al-Bireh and Al-Ersal and Al-Balou’ areas.

 

This shelling coincided
with shelling from military positions near Psagot settlement, east of Al-Bireh,
which targeted Al-Jenan neighborhood, Al-Hashemi Street, Al-Bireh cemetery and
the Grand Park Hotel area.  It also targeted
Al-Manara Square and the area of the Palestine Broadcasting Corporation
headquarters.  According to eyewitnesses,
a fire started in the headquarters of the Palestinian Ministry of Local
Government, whose fifth floor was hit with three artillery shells, one of which
scorched the office of the Palestinian Minster of Local Government.  Furthermore, a Palestinian house in Al-Balou’
area was set on fire by electrical wires cut when electrical towers were hit.  At approximately 22:15, Israeli occupation forces
positioned at Rafat junction opened heavy machine gunfire on a Palestinian
residential area near the Grand Park Hotel.

 

 3. Land Leveling and House
Demolition

 

Sandy, February 25, 2001

 

The Israeli
occupation forces razed areas of agricultural land, adjacent to the border east
of Jabalya, near Al-Shuhada’ (Martyrs) cemetery.  This was preceded by shelling of Palestinian
border forces sites.  Then, bulldozers of
the Israeli forces came to the area and razed:

 

 1) A four-donum area of agricultural land planted with
citrus, owned by Thieb Hashem Thieb Jneid;

 2) A five-donum area of agricultural land planted with
citrus, owned by Ismail El-Zein;

 3) A five-donum area of agricultural land planted with
citrus, owned by Ibrahim Dardouna; and

 4) A five-donum area of agricultural land planted with
citrus, owned by Ahmed Mohra.

            

Monday, February 26, 2001

 

The Israeli occupation
forces razed more areas of Palestinian agricultural land near the border east
of Jabalya. This lasted from 10:00 to 20:00 local time.  PCHR’s field officer in the northern area of
the Gaza Strip has not been able to reach the area thus far.  Palestinian border forces’ positions were
shelled again by the Israeli occupation forces.

 

At approximately 11:00
local time, the Israeli occupation forces razed areas of agricultural land in
Al-Moghraqa area, south of Gaza City and approximately 600m east of Netzarim
settlement.  During two hours, the
Israeli occupation forces razed:

 

 1) A 30-donum area of agricultural land planted with
citrus, owned by Ragheb Abu Sha’ban; and

 2) A 1.5-donum area of agricultural land planted with
almonds, owned by Suhail Al-Weheidi. 
Additionally, a 50-meter-long fence of his house was demolished.

 

Tuesday, February 27, 2001

 

In the afternoon, the
Israeli occupation forces razed more areas of agricultural land east of Abasan,
to the east of Khan Yunis. This lasted until 18:00 local time, targeted a
50-donum area of agricultural land planted with wheat and barley and owned by
Ismail Abu A’nzeh.

 

****

 

PCHR reiterates its call for the
international community to immediately intervene to stop the killings and
criminal acts perpetrated by the Israeli occupation forces against Palestinian
civilians.  PCHR calls in particular for:

 

1. Establishing without delay an independent commission of inquiry, in
accordance with UN Security Council resolution 1322 (2000), to carry out a
thorough and comprehensive investigation into the abuses and killings
perpetrated by the Israeli occupation forces against Palestinian civilians.

2. Convening a conference of
the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 to ensure
Israel’s compliance with its obligations under the Convention.

3. Immediately providing
international protection for Palestinian civilians in the occupied Palestinian
territories in the face of the killings and criminal acts perpetrated by the
Israeli occupation forces and groups of Jewish settlers who move under the
protection of these forces.

4. Use by the EU of effective
political and economic measures with reference to Article 2 of the Euro-Israel
Association Agreement, which calls for the respect of human rights.

5. Providing humanitarian and
medical assistance for the Palestinian people whose living conditions are
increasingly deteriorating because of the continued total siege imposed by the
Israeli occupation forces on the entire occupied Palestinian territories.

 

 

 

 

 

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