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Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories 09 - 15 Jan 2003

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The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
Consultative Status with the ECOSOC of the United Nations
Affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists - Geneva
Member of the International Federation for Human Rights - Paris
The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network
The International Community Remains Silent While the Israeli Human Rights Violations Continue in the OPT

  • 12 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including 5 children and a mentally handicapped man, killed by Israeli forces and settlers

  • Israeli forces conduct a series of incursions into Palestinian areas, accompanied by indiscriminate shelling

  • The Israeli retaliatory campaign continue against families of wanted Palestinians and those who carried out armed attacks against Israeli targets

  • Israeli forces use Palestinian civilians as human shields during military operations

  • A number of Palestinians arrested

  • The strict siege of the OPT has continued and a number of Palestinians were arrested at Israeli military checkpoints

Introduction

The Israeli occupying forces have perpetrated more illegal actions and human rights violations against Palestinian civilians, including extra-judicial and willful killings, shelling of and incursions into Palestinian areas, house demolitions, and agricultural land leveling. This week, from 9-15 January 2003, 12 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including a mentally handicapped man, were killed by Israeli forces and settlers.

On Saturday, 11 January 2003, Khan Yunis was subjected to the widest Israeli military invasion since the beginning of al-Aqsa Intifada in September 2000. Dozens of Israeli heavy military vehicles, covered by intense shelling and reinforced with combat helicopters, moved into the southern Gaza Strip town. They destroyed dozens of Palestinian civilian facilities and houses, killed a member of the Palestinian National Security Forces and injured 14 other Palestinians.

Israeli occupying forces also conducted a series of incursions into the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun. They destroyed a Palestinian house, destroyed roads leading to the town, caused widespread destruction to the town's infrastructure, and killed a member of the Palestinian National Security Forces.

This week, 6 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children and a handicapped man, were killed by the Israeli occupying forces and settlers in the West Bank in a number of cases of willful killings. In addition, two Palestinian civilians, including a child, were killed when the Israeli forces attempted to assassinate two activists of the Hamas movement. In addition, a child from the central Gaza Strip town of Deir al-Balah succumbed to a wound he sustained last month.

In violation of international law and international humanitarian law, which prohibits collective punishment, Israeli forces took retaliatory measures against families of Palestinians who have carried attacks against Israeli targets in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and those wanted by the Israeli forces. In this context, they destroyed five houses in Ramallah, Tulkarm and Nablus in the West Bank, Silwan village in occupied East Jerusalem, and Beit Hanoun in the Gaza Strip, and closed three other houses in Silwan village.

Israeli forces have maintained the total siege imposed on the OPTs, collectively punishing the Palestinian people. Israeli forces have partitioned Palestinian areas, transforming them into cantons, violating Palestinian civilians' economic, social and cultural rights. They have also imposed curfews on several different areas. This week, Israeli occupying authorities continued to prevent Palestinians aged 16-35 from traveling abroad. Israeli forces at military checkpoints throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territories continued to restrict the movement of Palestinian civilians and pose threats to their lives by firing live ammunition and tear gas at them. This week, a pregnant woman was aborted due to tear gas inhalation.

The Shelling of and Encroachment into Palestinian Areas

Thursday, 9 January 2003

At approximately 10:00, Israeli occupying forces in the vicinity of "Gani Tal" settlement, northwest of Khan Yunis, opened fire at Palestinian houses and agricultural land in al-Rabwat area in the northwest of the town. A Palestinian woman, Najah 'Ouda 'Abdullah al-'Adini, 50, was wounded by two live bullets in the feet. PCHR's field worker in Khan Yunis reports that the woman was wounded while she was inside her house, approximately 50m away from the source of fire.

At the same time, an Israeli undercover unit stole into Tulkarm using a truck that had a Palestinian registration number. The truck stopped near a fowls shop owned by Ayman 'Abdul Jawad 'Aaref, 35. Two persons who were wearing civilian clothes got out of the truck and talked with 'Aaref. They told him that they wanted to sell him some fowls at a good price and asked him to check them. When 'Aaref went to the truck, they removed its cover and pulled him inside. Immediately, the truck left the area.

At approximately 13:00, an Israeli military bulldozer accompanied by a military jeep moved approximately 70m east of an Israeli military location between "Gani Tal" and "Neve Dekalim" settlements, west and southwest of Khan Yunis, respectively. The bulldozer leveled the area surrounding the military location and established sand barriers. Israeli soldiers opened fire at the nearby al-Amal neighborhood in the west of Khan Yunis. A Palestinian child, Mohammed Mahmoud 'Abdullah Abu Hadrous, 15, was wounded by two live bullets in the feet. PCHR's field worker in Khan Yunis reports that the child was wounded while he was with a group of children observing the Israeli actions.

Approximately an hour later, an Israeli military bulldozer moved about 70m into the al-Rabwat area in the northwest of Khan Yunis. It demolished the southern façade of the first floor of a 180-square-meter, two-story house, in which 12 people live, owned by Salah 'Abdul Ra'ouf 'Abdul Qader 'Abdul Ghafour. PCHR's field worker in Khan Yunis reports that the demolition took place while residents of the house were inside.

Friday, 10 January 2003

At approximately 13:00, Israeli occupying forces, reinforced with heavy military vehicles and a military bulldozer, again moved approximately 70m east of an Israeli military location between "Gani Tal" and "Neve Dekalim" settlements, west and southwest of Khan Yunis respectively. The bulldozer continued to level the area surrounding the military location. Israeli soldiers opened fire at the nearby al-Amal neighborhood in the west of Khan Yunis. Four Palestinian civilians were wounded:

1. Muhannad Majdi Hassan Abu Sil, 10, wounded by a live bullet in the right shoulder;

2. Khamis Ramadan Zaki Abu al-Khair, 12, wounded by a live bullet in the left foot;

3. 'Omar Khalil 'Aaref Enshasi, 17, wounded by a live bullet in the left hand; and

4. Mohammed Tayseer 'Abdul 'Aziz Fayadh, 19, wounded by a live bullet in the left hand.

At approximately 16:00, the Israeli forces positioned at the Egyptian border, south of Rafah, opened fire at Palestinian residential areas in the town. A Palestinian child, Na'ela Ibrahim al-Sha'er, 16, was wounded by shrapnel from a live bullet in the head. PCHR's field worker in Rafah reports that she was wounded while she was inside her house, approximately 300m away from the border.

At approximately 18:00, Israeli soldiers in a military location, known as "al-Nouria," west of Khan Yunis, opened fire at Palestinian residential areas in the town. A Palestinian woman, 'Eida Salman Abu Jamous, 55, was wounded by shrapnel in the shoulder while being inside her home.

Saturday, 11 January 2003

At approximately 10:30, Israeli occupying forces, reinforced with heavy military vehicles, moved approximately 100m into Abu Qarqoush area in the south of Khan Yunis. Soon, an Israeli military bulldozer razed a 9-donum area of Palestinian agricultural land planted with olives and a greenhouse planted with potatoes, which stood on a 1-donum area, and destroyed an irrigation network owned by Faraj Khalil al-Masri.

In a further escalation of the illegal Israeli military actions against Palestinian civilians and their property, the Israeli forces invaded Khan Yunis during the night and destroyed some civilian facilities. They indiscriminately shelled the town killing one Palestinian and wounding 13 others, two of whom were left in serious condition. Other houses and civilian facilities were severely damaged.

According to PCHR's investigations, at approximately 22:45, around 50 Israeli heavy military vehicles, accompanied by military bulldozers and supported by helicopters, moved from al-Matahen junction on Salah al-Din Street and invaded the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis. They imposed a curfew on the Palestinian residential areas surrounding the Palestinian security compound in the center of the town and opened fire in all directions. Soon, Israeli military bulldozers destroyed the sections of 5 civilian facilities facing the road (PCHR has a list of these facilities). Then, the Israeli forces moved towards Jalal Street. They took up position in Khaled Ben al-Walid Street, branch of Jalal Street, and imposed a curfew on the area. Israeli soldiers stormed shops on the first floor of a 330-square-meter, four-story apartment building, in which four families counting 20 persons live, owned by heirs of Isma'il Mohammed Isma'il al-Naffar. They destroyed the entrance of the building and forced the residents of the building out where they searched them. Then, they ordered the women and children, whose number was 16, to leave the area, while arresting Faraj and Ghassan Isma'il Mohammed al-Naffar, 32 and 38 respectively. The two were released at 10:30 on the following day. Israeli soldiers planted bombs in a 150-square-meter aluminum workshop owned by Bassam Isma'il Mohammed al-Naffar and destroyed it. Four stores in the same building were also destroyed:

1. a tourism office owned by Mohammed Isma'il al-Naffar;

2. a shop of children clothes owned by Faisal Isma'il Mohammed al-Naffar;

3. a shop of parts of washing machines and refrigerators owned by Ghassan Isma'il Mohammed al-Naffar; and

4. a shop of electric sets owned by Sami Isma'il Mohammed al-Naffar.

In the same area, Israeli forces destroyed the entrance of a 120-square-meter, three-story house, owned by Mohammed 'Oleyan Mustafa al-'Aqqad, where his daughter's family, counting 8 persons, live after they had left their house in al-Rabwat area due to the regular Israeli shelling. Israeli soldiers broke into the house and opened fire at its doors. They ordered the residents of the house to get out and to leave the area. The soldiers also stormed a number of stores and workshops on the first floor of a 500-square-meter, two-story building owned by heirs of Hassan Ibrahim Mansour al-Jbour. Then, Israeli soldiers planted bombs in a 50-square-meter smithy workshop owned by Khalil Ahmed Khalil Abu Daoud and destroyed it. All the stores, workshops and flats in the building were also destroyed or severely damaged:

1. a 50-square-meter smithy workshop owned by Nabil Asa'ad Ahmed al-Naffar;

2. a 50-square-meter smithy workshop owned by 'Eissa Salim al-Naffar;

3. a 100-square-meter store of solar heaters;

4. two empty stores;

5. a 150-square-meter clinic owned by Dr. 'Ali 'Abdul Raziq 'Ali al-Shaham;

6. a 200-square-meter flat that served as offices of al-Fajer Youth Society;

7. a 150-square-meter uninhabited flat.

Also in the same area, Israeli forces destroyed four civilian facilities:

1. They destroyed a 40-square-meter shop of paints owned by Aman Khaled Yousef al-Agha, located on the first floor of a 450-square-meter, two-story house, in which 7 people live. The Israeli soldiers stormed all the stores located on the first floor, including the paint shop and two stores that had served as workshops before they were destroyed by Israeli combat helicopters on 19 June 2002. Israeli soldiers planted bombs in the shop and destroyed it. As a result, fire broke out in the building and its residents were forced to leave. The building was severely damaged, as Israeli forces denied the access of the Palestinian civil defense personnel to the area to put out the fire.

2. They destroyed a 700-square-meter car painting workshop owned by Mohammed Mahmoud Mohammed al-Zaqzouq.

3. They destroyed a 50-square-meter car maintenance workshop owned by Ahmed 'Abdul Qader Hussein Abu Hilal.

4. They destroyed a 500-square-meter factory of iron doors owned by Asa'ad Nabil Ahmed al-Naffar.

The electricity and telephone supplies in the area were cut as a result of these destructions, and a dozens of houses and civilian facilities were severely damaged.

In another branch road north of Jalal Street, Israeli forces raided a 135-square-meter, three-story house, in which three families, counting 19 persons live, owned by Rezeq Salem al-Banna. They forced residents of the house out and ordered them to go to a neighboring house. Then, the soldiers planted bombs in a 40-square-meter turnery workshop under the house and destroyed it. As a result, the house and a neighboring house were severely damaged, and two workshops were destroyed:

1. a carpentry workshop owned by Jawad 'Abdul Latif D'ib al-Tawil; and

2. a car maintenance workshop owned by Salem Ahmed Khalil Sha'at.

At approximately 01:00, an Israeli combat helicopter launched a missile at a group of Palestinian fighters and security men who confronted the invading Israeli forces. 'Abdul Latif Suleiman Sa'id Wadi, 28, a member of the Palestinian National Security Forces, was killed by shrapnel embedded throughout the whole of his body, while his colleague, Mohammed 'Othman 'Abdul Salam al-Qassas, 28, was seriously wounded by shrapnel in the neck. Also as a result of the Israeli indiscriminate shelling, that continued until early hours today, 13 Palestinians were wounded:

1. 'Omar 'Oleyan, 23, seriously wounded by a live bullet in the head;

2. Zuhair 'Abdul Rahman Kassab, 39, wounded by shrapnel in the chin;

3. Mahmoud 'Abdul Rahman 'Ennaba, 26, wounded by shrapnel in the left hand;

4. Akram Yousef Shehada al-Bayouk, 20, wounded by two live bullets in the left arm and hand;

5. Amin 'Ali 'Omar Erbaye', 25, wounded by shrapnel in the chin;

6. Hani 'Abdul Muttaleb al-Shourbaji, 40, wounded by shrapnel in the face;

7. Yousef Mohammed Hamdan, 40, wounded by shrapnel in the left ear;

8. Hammouda Ahmed Shahwan, 20, wounded by shrapnel in the left foot;

9. Mohammed Kamel al-'Aqqad, 18, wounded by shrapnel in the head;

10. Hani Tawfiq Shurrab, 23, wounded by shrapnel in the limbs;

11. Mahmoud Akram Barbakh, 27, wounded by shrapnel in the limbs;

12. 'Omar 'Eyada Wadi, 48, wounded by shrapnel in the head; and

13. Eyad Jamal al-Farra, 25, wounded by a live bullet in the left thigh.

PCHR's field worker in Khan Yunis reports that Palestinian ambulances faced difficulties while evacuating the wounded due to the intense Israeli gunfire.

Sunday, 12 January 2003

At approximately 01:00, Israeli heavy military vehicles, covered by intense gunfire and supported by helicopters, invaded the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun. After they had seized control over the town, Israeli forces destroyed the house of deceased Mohammed Samih al-Masri, who had carried out a bombing against an Israeli gunboat approximately two months ago. Also during the invasion, the Israeli forces fired at a Palestinian National Security Force facility, killing its officer, 'Ali Zhaher Nassar, 45, with several live bullets embedded throughout his body. Nassar went out of the site, which is 1500m away from the eastern border of the Gaza Strip, one of the directions the Israeli forces came from, to check what was going on. When the Israeli soldiers saw him, they shot him dead with several live bullets. His body was found when the Israeli forces withdrew from the area. According to one of his colleagues, he was shot while he was 40m northeast of the site.

At approximately 13:00, an Israeli tank and a military bulldozer moved into Um al-Qurrais area in the north of Rafah. The bulldozer razed a 10-donum area of Palestinian agricultural land planted with olives, lemons and palms, and destroyed a 40-meter-long fence, a well and an irrigation network owned by Yousef Ibrahim 'Ali Dhuhair.

At approximately 23:00, about 150 Israeli soldiers, accompanied by a tank and a military bulldozer, moved approximately 200m into Palestinian areas in the southeast of Deir al-Balah. Israeli soldiers raided an uninhabited house owned Salim al-Zure'ei, destroyed its windows and transformed it into a military site. Then, the bulldozer demolished a 500-square-meter bird farm and uprooted a number of palm trees owned by Suleiman 'Ali 'Arafat Abu Munifi.

Monday, 13 January 2003

At approximately 00:30, Israeli heavy military vehicles, covered by intense gunfire and supported by helicopters, moved from Beit Hanoun crossing towards the entrance of the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun. Two Israeli military bulldozers destroyed the main road leading to the town. The Israeli forces withdrew from the area at approximately 03:30 leaving massive destruction to the infrastructure of the town.

At approximately 10:00, Israeli military bulldozers razed large areas of Palestinian agricultural land in the east of Beit Hanoun near the eastern border of the Gaza Strip:

1. They razed a 25-donum area of agricultural land planted with citrus owned by Mohammed, Muqbel and Walid Yousef Shurrab.

2. They razed a 10-donum area of agricultural land planted with citrus owned by Amin, Khaled and Hani 'Ata al-Shawa.

3. They razed a 10-donum area of agricultural land panted with citrus owned by Ishaq Jamil al-Shawa and Sa'dallah Sha'at.

At approximately 14:30, after two Palestinian gunmen had been killed in clashes with Israeli soldiers on a settler road between al-Mentar crossing and al-Shuhada junction, southeast of Gaza City, the Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian areas west of al-Mentar crossing. A Palestinian child, Muntasser Wadi' Haddad, 15, was wounded by shrapnel from a live bullets in the face and eyes. PCHR's field worker in Gaza City reports that the child was wounded while he was inside his classroom in a preparatory school.

At approximately 17:00, Israeli soldiers moved approximately 100m into Wadi al-Salqa village, east of Deir al-Balah, and erected a military checkpoint at its northern entrance. They checked passing Palestinian civilians and arrested four of them:

1. Asa'ad Mohammed Mahmoud Abu Meghassib, 23;

2. Ayman Mohammed 'Abdullah Abu Meghassib, 22;

3. Khaled 'Abdul Rahman Suleiman al-Tilbani, 38; and

4. Ra'ed Salama Zaki Abu Mansi, 27.

At approximately 20:00, an Israeli tank and a military bulldozer moved approximately 70m into Palestinian areas in the southeast of Deir al-Balah. The bulldozer demolished a 230-square-meter, two-story, uninhabited house owned by heirs of 'Abdul Majid Mohammed Abu Meghassib. Israeli forces had seized the house since November 2000, using it as an observation point to guard "Kfar Darom" settlement east of Deir al-Balah.

Tuesday, 14 January 2003

At approximately 01:30, 12 Israeli heavy military vehicles, accompanied by two military bulldozers, moved approximately 1500m along Salah al-Din Street near the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun. Soon, the bulldozers dug trenches into all branch roads leading to the town so it is now isolated from its surroundings. During the incursion which continued until 03:45, the Israeli forces forced the family of Mahmoud Mohammed Khalil al-Za'anin - 15 people - out of their house and held them for an hour. The soldiers warned them that their house would be destroyed if they filled up the trenches.

At approximately 22:30, the Israeli occupying forces at the Egyptian border, south of Rafah, opened fire at Palestinian residential areas in the town. A Palestinian civilian, Khaled Jamal al-Dania, 24, was wounded by shrapnel in the left eye. PCHR's field worker in Rafah reports that al-Dania was wounded while he was walking approximately 300m away from the border.

Wednesday, 15 January 2003

At approximately 03:00, Israeli occupying forces invaded Tulkarm and its two refugee camps and seized total control over them. In the morning, a number of Palestinian children gathered at the entrance of Tulkarm refugee camp and threw stones at Israeli armored military vehicles. The Israeli soldiers in the vehicles fired at the children, wounding Mohye al-Din Mahmoud Hamza, 17, with a live bullet in the abdomen. He was evacuated to hospital, but all efforts made to save his life failed. According to eyewitnesses, Hamza was shot from a distance of approximately 150m.

At approximately 04:40, an Israeli undercover unit used three taxis and a truck, that had a Palestinian registration number, and reinforced with 20 military jeeps, to infiltrate Qabatya village, southeast of Jenin, to arrest Kamal Najib Abu Wa'er, 26, and demolish his house (see the section on collective punishment below). At approximately 06:00, Israeli soldiers saw Rebhi Husni Zakarna, 45, mentally handicapped, near an old mosque in the village. They ordered him to stop, but he attempted to escape. The soldiers opened fire and wounded him. They surrounded him, did not offer him any help and did not allow anyone to evacuate him to hospital. He bled to death.

At approximately 08:30, as Israeli forces re-imposed a curfew on Tulkarm, a number of Palestinian pupils on their way home gathered in an alley leading to Jamal 'Abdul Nasser Street in the center of the town and threw stones at Israeli soldiers in tanks and armored military vehicles. Immediately, an Israeli military jeep moved towards the pupils and opened fire at them. A student, Hazzaa' Qassam Fawaz Shadid, 16, from 'Allar village in Tulkarm, was killed by a live bullet in the back that settled in the heart. According to the headmaster of the al-Fadhiliya School and according to eyewitnesses, Shadid came to the school in the morning to take a formal notice of his transfer to 'Allar School. When he went to the taxi compound in the center of the town to travel to his village, he passed by the area where students gathered and threw stones at Israeli forces. Then, an Israeli military jeep arrived in the area and opened fire, killing him. According to eyewitnesses, the pupils did not pose any serious threat to the lives of Israeli soldiers, and Shadid did not throw stones.

At approximately 10:00, six heavy military vehicles and two military bulldozers of the Israeli occupying forces moved approximately 300m into Palestinians areas east of Beit Hanoun. Soon, the bulldozers demolished three Palestinian houses:

1. They totally demolished a 200-square-meter house owned by Ragheb 'Abdul Rahman Murtaja.

2. They totally demolished 220-square-meter, two-story house owned by Saqer al-Da'our.

3. They partially demolished a 250-square-meter, three-story house, in which 7 people used to live, owned by 'Abdul 'Aziz 'Abdul Rahman Wahdan.

At approximately 23:30, Israeli occupying forces in a military location known as "al-Nouria," west of Khan Yunis, opened fire at the Amal neighborhood in Khan Yunis refugee camp. A Palestinian civilian, Ussama Khalil 'Abdul Rahman 'Arram, 30, was wounded by a live bullet in the left foot.

A Failed Assassination Attempt

In another illegal military action showing the disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians, two Israeli combat helicopters launched three missiles at agricultural land southeast of Khan Yunis, in a failed assassination attempt that targeted two activists of the Hamas movement. Two Palestinian civilians, including a handicapped child, who were in the area, were killed and a third civilian was wounded.

According to PCHR's investigation and eyewitnesses' testimonies, at approximately 17:00 on Sunday, 12 January 2003, two Israeli combat helicopters flew over Khan Yunis and chased a civilian car, a white Subaru, that was traveling towards Rafah on the Khan Yunis-Rafah road (Salah al-Din Street). Ra'ed al-'Attar and Mohammed Abu Shammala, from Rafah, allegedly wanted by the Israelis, in addition to the driver, were traveling in the car. When the car arrived at the crossroads leading to the European Hospital, southeast of Khan Yunis, the passengers noticed the presence of the Israeli helicopters, so they stopped the car and jumped out. They ran south towards agricultural land in the Fukhari area, followed by the helicopters which launched three missiles at the area. The missiles exploded on a tract of land located 30m west of a tin-roofed house, while the three Palestinian residents were inside. Shrapnel of the missiles hit the three civilians, killing two of them, one was a handicapped child, and wounded the third one. The passengers of the car were able to escape.

Those killed were:

1. 'Abdul Rahman Mohammed Hamed al-Najjar, 16, who was mentally handicapped and on a visit to a friend in the area. He was hit by shrapnel throughout the body; and

2. Mohammed Hammad Mahmoud Kaware', 21, who was hit by shrapnel throughout the body.

A third civilian, 'Abdul Karim Subhi Salem Shubair, 16, a resident of the house, was wounded by shrapnel in the left foot.

Later, it was reported in the Israeli media that, according to Israeli military sources, the attack was aimed at assassinating Ra'ed al-'Attar and Mohammed Abu Shammala. Al-'Attar and Abu Shammalla, together with three others, did a few months ago survive another assassination attempt carried out by the Israeli occupying forces. According to PCHR's documentation, on 14 July 2002, Israeli F-16 fighter jets launched missiles at the house of Yousef 'Abdul Wahab a few minutes after the targeted group had left the house. The house and a neighboring house were totally destroyed. In addition, a pregnant woman suffered from a nervous breakdown and her child was injured.

Collective Punishment Measures against Families of Wanted Palestinians and Those Who Carried out Armed Attacks against Israeli Targets

In violation of international law and international humanitarian law which prohibits collective punishment, Israeli forces took retaliatory measures against families of Palestinians who have carried out attacks against Israeli targets in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and those wanted by the Israeli military.

At approximately 01:00 on Sunday, 12 January 2003, about 40 Israeli heavy military vehicles, covered by intense gunfire and supported by helicopters, invaded the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun. After they had seized control over the town, Israeli forces surrounded the house of deceased Mohammed Samih al-Masri, who had carried out a bombing against an Israeli gunboat approximately two months ago, and destroyed it. The residents of the 250-square-meter, asbestos-roofed house had already evacuated it expecting their house to be demolished. Eight neighboring houses were damaged.

At approximately 14:00 on Monday, 13 January 2003, Israeli occupying forces surrounded a 100-square-meter house owned Anwar al-Shayeb in al-Nahdha Street in the center of Ramallah - the house has been deserted for 10 years as its owner lives abroad. Israeli soldiers tried to open its doors but failed, so they used a ladder to get inside. At approximately 04:30, Israeli soldiers ordered Leila Sa'id Abu Ziada to evacuate her neighboring house. They destroyed the first house, damaging Ziada's house. Israeli forces claimed that they found explosives in the house.

At approximately 02:30 on Tuesday, 14 January 2003, Israeli occupying forces moved into the western area of Tulkarm. They surrounded a 100-square-meter, two-story building owned by Mohammed al-Mur, the first floor of which was rented by Mahmoud 'Abdul Rahim Mohammed Nassar, while the second floor was rented by the Palestinian Ministry of Culture and Information. Israeli forces forced Nassar's family out and destroyed the building. They also arrested Nassar's son, Eyad, 23.

At approximately 22:00 on Tuesday, 14 January 2003, Israeli occupying forces surrounded the house of the family of Wa'el Mahmoud Qassem, 31, from Silwan village in occupied East Jerusalem. Wa'el Mahmoud Qassem has been detained by these forces. They forced the six residents of the 100-square-meter house out and closed it with concrete. Then, they surrounded the house of the family of Mohammed Ishaq Shehada 'Ouda, 29, who also has been detained. They forced the four residents out of the house and closed it with concrete. Approximately an hour later, Israeli forces surrounded the house of the family of 'Alaa' Mahmoud Mohammed al-'Abbasi, 30, who has been detained by these forces. They forced the five families living in the building, which count 25 persons, out and closed it with concrete.

At approximately 05:30 on Wednesday, 15 January 2003, Israeli occupying forces demolished the 100-square-meter house of the family of Wissam Sa'id Mousa al-'Abbasi, 25, from Silwan village, who has been detained by the forces. The Israeli High Court had approved a decision of the head of the Israeli central military command to demolish these houses, but the nature of the three houses did not allow demolition, so they closed them with concrete instead. Two months ago, the Israeli central court in occupied East Jerusalem sentenced the four Palestinian detainees, who were called "the Silwan Cell," to long periods in prison:

  • Wa'el Qassem, sentenced to 35 life imprisonments and 50 years;
  • Wissam al-'Abbasi, sentenced to 26 life imprisonments and 40 years;
  • Mohammed 'Ouda, sentenced to 9 life imprisonments and 40 years; and
  • 'Alaa' al-'Abbasi, sentenced to 60 years in prison.

Shooting at Palestinian Civilians

Friday, 10 January 2003

At approximately 15:00, a number of Palestinian boys gathered near Bilal Ben Rabah Mosque, north of 'Aaida refugee camp in the north of Bethlehem. They threw stones at Israeli military jeeps in the area and the Israeli soldiers opened fire at the boys. Tariq Mahmoud Abu Jadu, 17, from 'Aaida refugee camp, was critically wounded by a live bullet in the abdomen. He succumbed to his wound on the way to hospital. According to medical sources, he was shot from a distance of 70-80 meters, and the live bullet entered the abdomen and exited the chest causing an internal hemorrhage. In addition, two children were wounded:

1. Mohammed Sa'id al-'Azza, 14, wounded by a live bullet in the right thigh; and

2. Saddam 'Abbas Zhaher, 10, wounded by a live bullet in the right ankle.

Saturday, 11 January 2003

At approximately 13:00, a number of Israeli military jeeps moved from military location east of 'Askar refugee camp, northeast of Nablus, and erected a military checkpoint at the eastern entrance of the refugee camp. Israeli soldiers stopped dozens of Palestinian civilians who were on their way to and from Nablus and humiliated them. Soon, a number of Palestinian boys gathered in the area and threw stones at the Israeli soldiers. Immediately, Israeli soldiers in military locations east of the refugee camp and on the house of Fahmi Dweikat fired at the stone throwers and passing civilians until the evening. At approximately 16:00, Basman 'Omar 'Abdul 'Aziz Shannir, 18, from 'Askar refugee camp, was critically wounded by shrapnel from a heavy caliber live bullet in the chest, which caused an internal hemorrhage. He succumbed to his wound on the way to hospital. The victim is the brother of Bashar Shannir who was also shot by the Israeli occupying forces in the beginning of the Intifada. In addition, four Palestinian civilians, including two children, were wounded:

1. Tha'er Sami Sa'id Ziada, 19, critically wounded by two live bullets in the chest and the right shoulder;

2. 'Omar Jamal Nemer 'Alloush, 15, seriously wounded by a live bullet in the chest;

3. Ussama Mohammed D'ib Taha, 18, wounded by a live bullet in the left leg; and

4. Adham Suleiman Mohammed 'Akka, 16, wounded by a live bullet in the left leg.

Sunday, 12 January 2003

At approximately 13:30, after the funeral procession of 'Abdul Latif Wadi who was killed during an Israeli incursion into Khan Yunis in the morning, Israeli forces in military locations in the vicinity of "Neve Dekalim" settlement, west of the town, fired at a number of Palestinian children who threw stones at the forces. Two children were wounded:

1. Mohammed Salim Jalal al-Farra, 13, wounded by a live bullet in the right thigh; and

2. Ramadan Mohammed Harazallah, 16, wounded by three live bullets in the abdomen and the arms.

At approximately 21:00, medical sources at Shifa' Hospital in Gaza declared that Eyad Salem 'Othman Abu Sha'ar, 12, from Wadi al-Salqa village, southeast of Deir al-Balah, succumbed to a wound he sustained last month. On 24 December 2002, Abu Sha'ar was critically wounded in the neck by a live bullet fired by Israeli soldiers for no apparent reason while he was on his way home. He had been in Shifa' Hospital, until doctors decided to transfer him to an Egyptian hospital, but he succumbed to his wound during the journey to Egypt.

Monday, 13 January 2003

At approximately 09:30, Israeli occupying forces at the eastern border of the Gaza Strip, east of Gaza City, fired at Faraj Hassan Daoud, 70, from al-Shojaeya neighborhood in Gaza, wounding him critically with a live bullet in the right side. PCHR's field worker in Gaza reports that Daoud was on his agricultural land, approximately 800m west of the border, when he was fired at for no apparent reason.

At approximately 13:30, Israeli occupying forces in military locations in the vicinity of "Neve Dekalim" settlement, west of Khan Yunis, fired at a number of children who threw stones at the locations after the funeral procession of Mohammed Kaware' and 'Abdul Rahman al-Najjar. A child, Suhaib Isma'il 'Oleyan Barbakh, 7, was wounded by shrapnel from a live bullet in the head.

Tuesday, 13 January 2003

At approximately 13:00, after the funeral procession of Eyad Abu Sha'ar, a number of Palestinian children gathered and threw stones at the Israeli occupying forces in the vicinity of "Kfar Darom" settlement, southeast of Deir al-Balah. Israeli soldiers fired at the children wounding two:

1. Ahmed Mahmoud Mesbah, 13, wounded by a live bullet in the right thigh; and

2. Mohammed Ahmed Suleiman, 13, wounded by a live bullet in the right shoulder.

A Palestinian Civilian Killed by an Israeli Settler

In another illegal aggressive action by Israeli settlers in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, on Sunday morning, 12 January 2003, a settler shot dead a Palestinian civilian.

According to information available to PCHR, at approximately 09:00, Hazem 'Adnan Fannoun, 35, from Hebron, was traveling in his private car on his way from Beit Kahel village, northwest of Hebron, to the town. He stopped his car 50m away from a bridge established on the bypass road (35) and went towards a sand barrier to pee. Soon, an Israeli car stopped approximately 30m away from him. An Israeli settler got out of the car, fired at Fnnoun and then escaped. Fannoun tried to reach his car, but could not. A number of Palestinians ran to him and drove him to the hospital, but he succumbed to his wound before arrival. According to Palestinian medical sources, Fannoun was shot by a live bullet that entered the right side and settled in the chest, causing an acute hemorrhage. According to eyewitnesses, no weapons were found near him, contrary to the Israeli claims.

Later, the Israeli daily Yediot Aharanot quoted an Israeli military spokesman on its Arabic web site as saying that "Fannoun was one of a group of Palestinians who fired at an Israeli gas truck, he was shot dead by a security man who accompanied the truck, a weapon was found near his body, and it was not clear whether he took part in shooting at the truck." The Israeli forces also claimed that Fannoun was an activist of the Hamas Movement. In the afternoon, Israeli forces surrounded al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron and demanded the victim's body to take it to an Israeli legal medicine center to conduct an autopsy, but according to the same newspaper, the administration of the hospital refused and the Israeli forces left the area.

The Body of a Palestinian Killed in Mysterious Circumstances Found

On Friday morning, 10 January 2003, a Palestinian shepherd found the body of Sami Mohammed Samir Zeidan, 22, from Til village, southwest of Nablus, in a valley between 'Ourif and Zeita villages, south of Nablus.

According to information available to PCHR, on Wednesday, 1 January 2003, Israeli radio in Arabic reported that Israeli occupying forces shot dead a Palestinian gunman between "Emanuel" settlement, southwest of Nablus, and "Yitshar" settlement, south of the city. Israeli forces didn’t tell where the body of the gunman was, nor did they inform the Palestinian liaison as they would usually do. The body had been in the area until it was found by a Palestinian shepherd. According to the victim's family who took the body and buried it, their son was shot by several live bullets throughout the body, his face was hit by shrapnel from an artillery shell and his hand was cut. They also stated that their son was wanted by Israeli forces for his activities in the Hamas movement, and that they had not seen him since March 2002, when he was detained by the Palestinian Preventive Security in Nablus.

PCHR calls:

1. Upon the international community to provide immediate and independent international protection for the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

2. Upon the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 to reconvene to take effective measures to protect Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, in accordance with their obligations under article 1 and article 146, to ensure the respect of the Convention.

3. Upon the international community to investigate and prosecute those believed to have committed war crimes in the Occupied Palestinian Territories before international courts.

4. Upon the ICRC to enhance its presence, expand its activities, and intensify its field operations throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

5. Upon the European Union to activate Article 2 of the Euro-Israeli Association Agreement, which provides that Israel must respect human rights.

6. Upon the international community to provide humanitarian and medical assistance for the Palestinian people, whose living conditions are continuing to deteriorate as a result of the continued siege imposed by Israeli occupation forces on the entire Occupied Palestinian Territories.