LAW fears more human rights violations during a war on Iraq

In these nervous few hours before a war is announced on Iraq, LAW looks to the Occupied Palestinian Territories and fears more of the same human rights violations will be carried out by Israel as attention turns to Iraq.
LAW fears an increase of punitive home demolitions, intended to punish the families of 'wanted' political activists, of suicide bombers and other armed combatants. Since the beginning of the Intifada, at least 1,133 homes have been demolished. In the past two weeks, 17 homes have been demolished as collective punishment.

LAW fears an increase in home and land destruction on security pretexts, particularly around the Egypt-Palestine border in Gaza, and around the northern West Bank sections close to Israel's apartheid wall. In the past two weeks, 15 homes were demolished on security pretexts.

LAW fears an increase of 'strikes' into Gaza, which have caused immeasurable loss and suffering to Palestine's poorest of the poor, the refugees in the Gaza Strip. Since the beginning of this year, at least 93 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip. We fear an increase of extra-judicial assassinations, of the mass-rounding of Palestinians, the possible deportation of some political prisoners. At least 136 extra- judicial assassinations have taken place since the beginning of the Intifada. 2,232 Palestinians have been killed since this Intifada began. The overwhelming majority - 1,806 were civilians. 465 of them were children.

We fear that curfew and closure shall be imposed, preventing the sick from accessing treatment, mothers from purchasing food, if they have money, students from their education, farmers from accessing their fields, workers from their livelihoods, and the routine, boring details of life which stop under curfew and closure - the ability to live and participate in life itself. On Sunday, March 2, Najwan Salhi, 18 years- old died after Israeli troops refused to allow her entry into Jordan to be treated for lung cancer.

LAW fears that Israeli soldiers, border police and settlers shall exploit the world's attention on Iraq and increase their humiliation of Palestinians, their wilful injuring and killing of Palestinians; effectively, their tyrannical and absolute rule over Palestinians, our lives, our movement, our futures. More than 58 Palestinians, including 13 children, have died after being denied access to health care during this Intifada, due to curfew and closures.

In short, LAW fears more of the same. LAW, in its role, shall attempt to continue its judicial activism, to demand Israel complies with international law, particularly the fourth Geneva convention. LAW shall continue to try to provide free legal aid to victims of human rights violations. LAW's field workers shall try to continue to document human rights violations, including war crimes.

LAW urges local and international activists, their respective governments, international governmental and non-governmental institutions to pressure Israel to comply with international humanitarian law, and as always, LAW emphasis that the root of most poverty, hunger, violence, suffering and grief in Israel and Palestine is the continuance of the Israeli occupation of the 1967 Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, the Israeli settlements, and the plight of the Palestinian refugees.

Human Rights Update, Sunday March 16 2003

Deaths

1702 Civilians killed, in addition to:

46 Killed in unclear circumstances, including 8 children

58 Died after denied access to medical treatment, including 21 children

1806 Total number of civilians killed, including:

115 Women killed

436 Children killed

304 Combatants killed

Select figures

136 Killed through extra-judicial assassinations (not including bystanders)

710 Killed outside of clash points

39 Killed by settlers

Destruction

Homes destroyed*

88 in 2003

580 in 2002

352 in 2001

113 in 2000

1133 Homes destroyed since beginning of Intifada

* LAW's figures for home destruction are considered conservative

Lands destroyed or expropriated*

Expropriations

178 dunums of land expropriated in 2000

984.4 dunums of land expropriated in 2001

1409 dunums of land expropriated in 2002

2571.4 dunums of land expropriated since the beginning of the Intifada

Lands burnt

3262.5 dunums of land burnt in 2001

4207 dunums of land burnt in 2002

3732.5 dunums of land burnt since LAW began recording in 2001

Lands bulldozed

2633.5 dunums of land expropriated in 2000

8660 dunums of land expropriated in 2001

3386.5 dunums of land expropriated in 2002

562 dunums of land expropriated in 2003

15242 dunums of land expropriated since the beginning of the Intifada

In total, Israel has destroyed or otherwise taken away from Palestinians at least 21,545.9 dunums of land since the Intifada began.

* LAW's figures for lands destroyed/expropriated are considered conservative. LAW began documenting some figures in 2001.

Trees destroyed or expropriated*

4207 trees burnt in 2001

50 trees burnt in 2002

12370 trees destroyed/bulldozed in 2000

23551 trees destroyed/bulldozed in 2001

3067 trees destroyed/bulldozed in 2002

300 trees destroyed/bulldozed in 2003

In total, Israel has destroyed at least 43, 545 trees belonging to Palestinians since the Intifada began.

* LAW's figures for trees destroyed/expropriated are considered conservative. LAW began documenting some figures in 2001.

Prisoners*

More than 7,200 Palestinian detainees, including:

More than 1,100 administrative detainees

More than 3,00 children, some of whom are administrative detainees

Women prisoners

11 Girl-children in Israeli prison

36 Adult women in Israeli prison

12 of unknown age

*All figures are approximate. LAW determines prisoner numbers from Palestinian prisoners we are able to visit. Israeli authorities do not release exact numbers; detainees are released, more Palestinians are arrested. Nevertheless, LAW shall endevour to provide more detailed figures in the future.

LAW - The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment is a non-governmental organization dedicated to preserving human rights through legal advocacy. Affiliate to the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), and the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT). PO Box 20873, Jerusalem, tel. +972-2-5833530, fax. +972-2-5833317, law@lawsociety.org, www.lawsociety.org.