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Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories 23 - 29 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 OPTs

  • 25 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including 3 children and a woman, were killed by Israeli forces

  • 13 of the victims were killed during an Israeli incursion into al-Zaytoun neighborhood in Gaza

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

  • Large areas of Palestinian agricultural land in the Gaza Strip were razed

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

  • A number of Palestinians have been arrested

  • The strict siege of the OPT has continued and hundreds of Palestinian pilgrims were prevented from traveling to Saudi Arabia

Introduction

This week, Israeli occupying forces escalated their illegal military actions against Palestinian civilians and property, using various kinds of weapons. They invaded Palestinian areas and destroyed private and public property, while they have maintained full control over many Palestinian areas in the West Bank for several weeks.

Israeli occupying forces have perpetrated more illegal actions and human rights violations against Palestinian civilians, including willful killings, shelling of and incursions into Palestinian areas, house demolitions, and agricultural land leveling. This week, from 23-29 January 2003, 25 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including 3 children and a woman, were killed by Israeli forces.

On Saturday, 25 January 2003, Israeli occupying forces killed 13 Palestinians, including 2 children, and destroyed nearly 20 civilian facilities in al-Zaytoun neighborhood in Gaza City, when they invaded the neighborhood, reinforced with heavy military vehicles and combat helicopters. In addition, about 40 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were injured, 6 of them remain in a serious condition. On Friday, 24 January 2003, Israeli heavy military vehicles moved into the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun. Israeli forces, covered by intense shelling and supported by helicopters, blocked the main road leading to the town. They also destroyed 4 bridges that linked the town with its surroundings to isolate it and restrict movement of Palestinian civilians. Israeli combat helicopters opened fire at a number of Palestinian boys who were throwing stones at the Israeli forces. A Palestinian civilian was killed and 14 Palestinians, including 9 children were wounded. Earlier on the same day, Israeli combat helicopters launched 5 missiles, 3 of which struck a blacksmith’s workshop in a densely populated area in Gaza City. The workshop was totally destroyed and a number of adjacent houses were severely damaged. A fourth missile hit a church inside al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City. The missile penetrated the roof of the church and caused severe damage. The adjacent pediatric and gynecologic clinics of the hospital were also damaged.

This week, Israeli occupying forces demolished a number of Palestinian houses and razed large area of agricultural land in the Gaza Strip. In Rafah, they demolished 25 houses totally and 6 others partially. On 28 and 29 January 2003, Israeli occupying forces razed approximately 400 donums of Palestinian agricultural land east of Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip.

In 9 cases of apparent willful killing, this week, Israeli occupying forces and settlers killed 10 Palestinians, including a child and a woman. Israeli forces also shelled Palestinian residential areas, killing a child and young man in Rafah on 26 January 2003 in two separate incidents and wounding dozens of civilians.

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 forces. In this context, they destroyed 2 houses in Hebron and Gaza city.

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. The Israeli forces prevented 400 Palestinian pilgrims from traveling to Saudi Arabia through Rafah Terminal. From 26 to 29 January 2003, Israeli occupying forces imposed a strict comprehensive closure on the Occupied Palestinian Territories, prohibiting movement of about 2 million Palestinians inside the West Bank, during the Israeli elections.

The Shelling of, and Encroachment into Palestinian Areas

Thursday, 23 January 2003

At approximately 02:00, Israeli occupying forces, reinforced with heavy military vehicles and two helicopters and covered by intense shelling, moved approximately 1km into al-Rabwat area in the northwest of Khan Yunis. Israeli heavy military vehicles took position on Jamal 'Abdul Nasser Street, which links Khan Yunis and al-Qarara village, and on branch roads in the area. Israeli soldiers raided 5 Palestinian houses of the families of al-Astal, al-Agha, Abu Mustafa and Fares. They forced residents of those houses out. Then, they used one resident of each house as human shields in searching the houses. Israeli forces opened fire indiscriminately in the area and used stun grenades. They arrested two Palestinians:

1. Ra'ouf Jawdat Zeidan al-Agha, 35; and

2. Amjad Jawdat Zeidan al-Agha, 27.

Israeli forces withdrew from the area at approximately 05:00.

At approximately 08:30, Israeli occupying forces, reinforced with military bulldozers, moved several meters into al-Sayafa area in the north of Beit Lahia. They forced the Palestinian population out of their houses and opened fire sporadically, claiming that they were searching for a Palestinian resistance man. Approximately half an hour later, the Israeli military bulldozers demolished two houses:

1. A 200-square-meter, two-storey house, that contained a well and in which two families counting 9 people lived, owned by Younis 'Oudetallah Abu Khousa; and

2. A 300-square-meter house, in which 12 people lived, owned by Fa'eq Ahmed Khudair.

They also destroyed five tin-made houses. Israeli forces searched houses and threatened people until 13:30, when they arrested the resistance man and another Palestinian.

At approximately 22:00, Israeli occupying forces, reinforced with 8 heavy military vehicles and covered by intense shelling, moved approximately 200m into al-Brazil neighborhood in Rafah, adjacent to the Egyptian border. Israeli soldiers raided a 300-square-meter, asbestos-roofed house, in which 6 families of 31 people lived, owned by Samir Mustafa Mousa. They planted explosives in the house and destroyed it. Four neighboring houses were totally destroyed and a fifth one was partially destroyed. In addition, electricity and telephone supplies to the area were damaged and fire broke out in a shop. Two Palestinian civilians were also wounded by the Israeli shelling:

1. Hisham Mustafa Abu Taha, 35, was seriously wounded by two live bullets in the right arm and the abdomen; and

2. Ziad 'Emad Fouju, 18, was wounded by shrapnel in the head.

Following are details of the houses and the shop that were destroyed:

1. A 300-square-meter, asbestos-roofed house, in which 4 families of 23 people lived, owned by Jaber 'Abdul Majid Mohammed 'Aabed, was totally destroyed. Residents of the house evacuated it after Israeli forces had partially destroyed it in October 2002.

2. A 300-square-meter, asbestos-roofed house, in which 5 families of 23 people lived, owned by Hamdi 'Ali Mahmoud 'Omar, was totally destroyed. Residents of the house evacuated it after Israeli forces had partially destroyed it in October 2002.

3. A 300-square-meter, asbestos-roofed house, in which 3 families of 14 people lived, owned by Mohammed Ibrahim Mohammed al-'Aajez. Residents of the house evacuated it after Israeli forces had partially destroyed it in October 2002.

4. A 300-square-meter, asbestos-roofed house, in which 4 families of 14 people lived, owned by Jaber 'Abdul Jaber Mohammed al-Qutati, was totally destroyed. Residents of the house evacuated it after Israeli forces had partially destroyed it in October 2002.

5. A 300-square-meter, asbestos-roofed house, in which two families of 12 people live, owned by Smahan 'Abdul Rahman Hussein, was partially destroyed.

6. A 50-square-meter shop owned by Sufian Darwish 'Atiya Abu Taha was totally burnt out by a large projectile.

At night, Israeli occupying forces killed a Palestinian civilian who was suffering from psychological problems in al-Maghazi refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. According to PCHR's investigation, at approximately 23:00, residents of al-Maghazi refugee camp heard sounds of shooting followed by 3 explosions coming from the eastern border of the Gaza Strip, east of the camp. An hour earlier, the family of Mohammed Salim Suleiman al-Musaddar, 25, had been separated from Muhammad. When they heard the Israeli shelling, they started searching for him. They informed the Palestinian liaison, which called its Israeli counterparts, but received no response until the following day, when the Israeli side said that there was a body near the border. The family and an ambulance of the Palestinian Ministry of Health went to the area to search for the body, but Israeli forces fired at them to drive them away from the area. On Saturday, 25 January 2003, the family and the ambulance moved towards the area again upon coordination between the Palestinian side and Israeli occupying forces. They found the body approximately 25m west of the border. The left leg was cut from the body, there was a hole in the back and shrapnel of two shells were near his body. The body was evacuated to Shifa' Hospital in Gaza city.

Friday, 24 January 2003

At approximately 02:30, two Israeli combat helicopters launched 5 missiles, 3 of which struck a blacksmith’s workshop near Imam Shaf'ei School in a densely populated area in Gaza City. The 120-square-meter workshop owned by Jamal Saleh Abu Sha'ban was totally destroyed and a number of adjacent houses were severely damaged. A fourth missile hit Saint Philips Church (an Episcopal Evangelical Church), which is located inside al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City. The missile penetrated the roof of the church and caused severe damage. The adjacent pediatric and gynecologic clinics of the hospital were also damaged. The fifth missile struck a house in al-Sabra neighborhood, which is owned by 'Abdullah Sha'ban Abu Sha'ban. The owner and his wife, who were sleeping inside the house, managed to survive. A number of neighboring houses were damaged and 11-year-old Fatema Ya'qoub Badra was injured.

At approximately 09:00, Israeli heavy military vehicles, including a bulldozer, moved, from the Erez crossing, in the northern Gaza Strip, more than 3km into the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun. Israeli forces, covered by intense shelling and supported by helicopters, blocked the main road leading to the town. At approximately 17:30, Israeli military reinforcements were brought to the area. They blocked all roads leading to the town, while Israeli combat helicopters fired intensively on the town. At approximately 19:00, Israeli occupying forces planted explosives on the main bridge leading to the town and destroyed it. By 03:00 on Saturday, 25 January 2003, Israeli forces destroyed 3 other bridges, causing severe damage to dozens of adjacent Palestinian houses.

Israeli combat helicopters opened fire at a number of Palestinian boys who were throwing stones at the Israeli forces. Hassan Yousef Hassan Fayadh, 18, was killed by several live bullets throughout the body. In addition, 14 Palestinians, including 9 children were wounded:

1. Mousa Jamal Abu Rukba, 10, wounded by shrapnel in the left foot;

2. Mohammed Yousef al-Kahlout, 17, seriously wounded by a live bullet in the back;

3. 'Alaa' Suhail al-Za'anin, 15, wounded by shrapnel in the right foot;

4. Mahmoud Fayez 'Eissa, 13, wounded by a live bullet in the right foot;

5. Rami Mohammed Nasser, 26, wounded by shrapnel in the face;

6. Nour al-Din Hassan Abu Jahal, 18, wounded by shrapnel in the right eye and the neck;

7. 'Alaa' Ziad Abu Jasser, 17, wounded by shrapnel in the head;

8. Mohammed 'Abdul Raziq Abu 'Eita, 17, wounded by shrapnel in the face and the back;

9. Mohammed Sa'ad Hassanain, 16, wounded by shrapnel in the left leg;

10. Rami Rafiq Habboub, 22, wounded by a live bullet in the left knee;

11. 'Emad Khamis al-Talalqa, 18, wounded by a live bullet in the left thigh;

12. Isma'il Mohammed Abu al-Qumbuz, 16, wounded by shrapnel in the chest and the abdomen;

13. Sharif 'Atiya al-Basiouni, 16, wounded by a live bullet in the abdomen; and

14. Khairi Mohammed al-Basiouni, 20, wounded by shrapnel in the left leg.

At approximately 14:30, Israeli occupying forces, reinforced with heavy military vehicles, including a bulldozer, moved approximately 900m into al-Qarara village, north of Khan Yunis. The bulldozer completed digging a trench in the road linking between al-Ma'arri elementary school and the western area of the village.

At approximately 16:30, Israeli occupying forces, reinforced with heavy military vehicles and covered by intense shelling, moved approximately 200m into Block O in Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip. They demolished 14 Palestinian houses totally and 5 other houses partially. In addition, 2 Palestinian civilians were wounded by the Israeli shelling:

1. Ishaq Fayez Abu Taha, 17, wounded by a live bullet in the left arm; and

2. Shadi Kamel Abu Jazar, 16, wounded by shrapnel in the head.

Following are details of the houses that were demolished:

1. A 280-square-meter, asbestos-roofed house, in which two families of 12 people lived, owned by Rasmi al-Sayed 'Abdul Majid Abu Taha, was totally demolished.

2. A 100-square-meter, asbestos-roofed house, in which 8 people lived, owned by Ahmed D'iab Ahmed al-Derbi, was totally demolished.

3. A 150-square-meter, asbestos-roofed house, in which 3 families of 14 people lived, owned by Samir Khalil 'Othman Abu 'Anza, was totally demolished.

4. A 100-square-meter, asbestos-roofed house, in which 7 people lived, owned by Jamal Sa'id Ibrahim Hammad, was totally demolished.

5. A 150-square-meter, asbestos-roofed house, in which 4 people lived, owned by Khaled Mohammed Murad Sha'at, was totally demolished.

6. A 150-square-meter, asbestos-roofed house, in which two people lived, owned by Hamed Mohammed Murad Sha'at, was totally demolished.

7. A 300-square-meter, asbestos-roofed house, in which 3 families, comprised of 7 people, lived, owned by Ahmed Mohammed Hassan Abu Lebda, was totally demolished.

8. A 100-square-meter, asbestos-roofed house, in which 7 people lived, owned by Ussama 'Abdul Hakim Abu 'Anza, was totally demolished.

9. A 120-square-meter, asbestos-roofed house, in which two families totaling 14 people lived, owned by Riadh Hassan Hussein Abu 'Anza, was totally demolished.

10. A 300-square-meter, asbestos-roofed house, in which two families totaling 15 people lived, owned by Mohammed Ahmed Mohammed Abu Lebda, was totally demolished.

11. A 150-square-meter, asbestos-roofed house, in which two families totaling 13 people lived, owned by Yousef Salem Mahmoud Radwan, was totally demolished.

12. A 200-square-meter, asbestos-roofed house, in which two families totaling 15 people lived, owned by 'Abdul Fattah 'Orabi Hassan Mansour, was totally demolished.

13. A 180-square-meter, asbestos-roofed house, in which 4 families totaling 19 people lived, owned by Mousa Salem Mahmoud Mansour, was totally demolished.

14. A 300-square-meter, asbestos-roofed house, in which 3 families totaling 22 people lived, owned by Ahmed Sa'id Ibrahim Hammad, was totally demolished.

15. A 100-square-meter, asbestos-roofed house, in which two families totaling 10 people live, owned by Ahmed Sa'id Mohammed Abu Taha, was partially demolished.

16. A 100-square-meter, asbestos-roofed house, in which 11 people live, owned by Mahmoud 'Abdul Karim Mahmoud Abu Taha, was partially demolished.

17. A 200-square-meter, asbestos-roofed house, in which two families totaling 14 people live, owned by Mohammed Salem Zayed 'Abdul 'Aal, was partially demolished.

18. A 150-square-meter, asbestos-roofed house, in which two families totaling 8 people lived, owned by 'Ali Sa'id 'Abdullah Jouda, was totally demolished.

19. A 120-square-meter, asbestos-roofed house, in which two people lived, owned by Ahmed Fayez Mohammed Abu Taha, was totally demolished.

Saturday, 25 January 2003

At approximately 19:00, Israeli occupying forces in military locations in the vicinity of "Gan 'Our" settlement, southwest of Khan Yunis, opened fire at Palestinian houses and agricultural land in Gizan Abu Rashwan area. A Palestinian civilian, 'Abdul Sami' Daoud al-Lahham, 25, was wounded by a live bullet in the left hip, while he was near his house, approximately 400m away from the source of fire.

At night, Israeli occupying forces killed 12 Palestinians and destroyed nearly 20 civilian facilities in al-Zaytoun neighborhood in Gaza City, when they invaded the neighborhood, reinforced with heavy military vehicles and combat helicopters. In addition, 40 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were injured, 6 of them remain in a serious condition. More than 60 shops in a market in the nearby al-Shojaeya neighborhood were also burnt by Israeli shelling.

According to PCHR's investigation, at approximately 22:20, about 40 Israeli heavy military vehicles, accompanied by military bulldozers and covered by combat helicopters, invaded al-Zaytoun neighborhood in the south of Gaza city from two directions: al-Shuhada junction and the settler road between al-Shuhada junction and al-Mentar crossing, south of the city. Israeli military vehicles and combat helicopters intensively shelled the neighborhood. They seized complete control over the neighborhood. Israeli soldiers deployed on to the main and branch roads and planted explosives in a number of workshops destroying them. Two houses located above two of these workshops were also destroyed. In addition, 15 workshops and dozens of houses were severely damaged.

During the Israeli invasion which continued until Sunday morning, 26 January 2003, 12 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces. PCHR's fieldworker in Gaza city reported that in the early stages of the Israeli invasion, Ashraf Samih Kuhail, 22, was killed by several live bullets in the chest and thighs, while he was in a branch road in the neighborhood. Israeli heavy military vehicles also fired an artillery shell at three Palestinian security men who were resisting the Israeli invasion. The three were killed by shrapnel from the shell. As a result of the Israeli indiscriminate shelling, 8 Palestinians were killed. In addition, 40 Palestinians were injured, six of them remain in a serious condition. A number of artillery shells hit the al-Shojaeya clothes market setting fire to a large number of stalls. Firefighters were only able to extinguish the fires this morning as the area remained dangerous throughout the night.

Those killed by Israeli forces during the invasion were:

1. Ashraf Samih Kuhail, 23, shot by several live bullets in the chest and thighs;

2. Ahmed Hassan al-Fayoumi, 24, a member of the Palestinian Military Intelligence, hit by shrapnel from an shell;

3. Mohammed Rashad 'Obaid, 28, a member of the Palestinian Military Intelligence, hit by shrapnel from an shell;

4. Ahmed Shihada 'Aabed, 23, a member of the Palestinian Military Intelligence, hit by shrapnel from an shell;

5. 'Alaa' Zuhair Khalifa, 23, killed by several live bullets throughout the body;

6. Mohammed Akram al-Nakhala, 21, killed by several live bullets throughout the body;

7. Rami Fathi 'Eissa, 27, killed by shrapnel sustained throughout the body;

8. Marwan Zuhair Rahmi, 25, killed by several live bullets in the head and the neck;

9. Eyad Bader Jibril 'Akkawi, 20, killed by several live bullets in the chest and neck;

10. Wissam Fayez Yousef Hassan, 24, killed by a live bullet in the head;

11. Khaled 'Ali Hassan Shallouf, 17, killed by several live bullets throughout the body; and

12. Amjad Yousef al-Hattab, 16, shot by several live bullets throughout the body.

A 13th Palestinian, Munir 'Abdul Hai, 26, from Jabalya, was wounded by shrapnel throughout the body and was pronounced dead on Wednesday, 29 January 2003.

Following are details of the civilian facilities that were destroyed by Israeli forces:

1. A turnery workshop was destroyed, in which 5 workers used to work, owned by Ahmed Hassan Ibrahim Abu Zour. The workshop was located on the ground floor of a 150-square-meter, two-storey building. They forced out the 11 residents of a flat on the second floor owned by Hani Ahmed Hassan al-Zaru and did not allow them to evacuate their furniture and belongings.

2. A 100-square-meter turnery workshop, in which 4 workers used to work, owned by Mohammed Midhat 'Aashour Qarout.

3. A 120-square-meter turnery workshop, which used to manufacture car parts and in which 7 workers used to work, owned by Mohammed Mousa Ahmed Sha'ban and brothers.

4. A 25-square-emeter workshop for maintenance of electric sets owned by Mazen Mousa 'Eissa Sha'ban.

5. A 200-square-meter car maintenance workshop owned by Mahmoud Nemer Mohammed al-Bahtiti.

6. A 100-square-meter car painting workshop owned by Yousef Mohammed Mahmoud Abu Sultan.

7. A 250-square-meter workshop, which used to manufacture ice-cream machines owned by Ahmed Mohammed Hussein Abu Qamar.

8. A 100-square-meter shop of used car parts owned by Ghazi Hassan 'Ali al-Ghuf.

9. A 25-square-meter shop of used car parts owned by Hamed Hammad Hamed 'Eleiwa.

10. A 100-square-meter tire change workshop owned by Hani Hussein 'Abdul Qader al-Fayoumi.

11. A 30-square-meter turnery workshop owned by Mohammed Ramadan 'Atiya Abu Karsh, located in a 520-square-meter apartment building, in which 5 families totaling 35 people lived, owned by 'Awadh Ibrahim Hassan Foura. The building was severely damaged.

12. A turnery workshop owned by Mohammed Sa'id 'Abdul Qader Lulu, located on the ground floor of a 500-square-meter, 5-storey apartment building, in which 60 people live.

13. A 35-square-meter workshop that manufactured car parts owned by Ziad Ramzi Mohammed Abu Karsh.

14. A 40-square-meter workshop for car electricity owned by Ribhi Saleh al-Tabatibi.

15. A 64-square-meter shop of car parts owned by Mohammed Mousa Ahmed Sha'ban. The shop was shelled by Israeli forces on 5 January 2003.

At approximately 22:30, Israeli occupying forces, reinforced with 5 heavy military vehicles, moved approximately 700m into al-Fokhari are in the southeast of Khan Yunis. They shelled the area and fired mortar flares. During this incursion, which continued until 02:30, Israeli forces raided two sites of the Palestinian border force in the area. They searched the site, which had been evacuated by security men when the incursion began.

Sunday, 26 January 2003

At approximately 07:00, Israeli occupying forces moved more than 300m into the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun. They blocked the main road and the southern entrance of the town. An Israeli military bulldozer also closed a road established by the Municipality of Biet Hanoun as an alternative to the bridge that was destroyed by Israeli forces on 24 January 2003. Israeli forces fired at a number of Palestinian boys who gathered near that road, wounding 3:

1. Yahia 'Ali Hamed, 19, wounded by a live bullet in the right leg;

2. Shadi Mohammed Taleb, 18, wounded by a live bullet in the left arm; and

3. Mahmoud Mohammed Zhaher, 14, wounded by shrapnel in the right thigh.

In the afternoon, Israeli occupying forces shelled Palestinian residential areas in Rafah, killing an 8-year-old child and wounding his 5-year-old brother. In his testimony to PCHR on the incident, an eyewitness said:

"At approximately 13:30 on Sunday, 26 January 2003, I heard sounds of intense shooting by Israeli heavy military vehicles, which had continued for nearly half an hour, while I was at home in al-Hadi Street in al-Brazil neighborhood in the south of Rafah, adjacent to the Egyptian border. When the shooting stopped, I hurried out of the house and stood at the door, approximately 80m away from the border. I saw some children running. They were extremely scared. Then, I saw a child lying on the ground. I immediately hurried towards him. A young man carried him and then laid him on the ground again. I moved towards the child and carried him. He was bleeding from his head and eyes. I could identify him. He was 'Ali Taleb Ghuraiz, 8, the son of our neighbor. Some neighbors helped me evacuate him in a civilian car to Abu Yousef al-Najjar Hospital in the town. There, all efforts made to save his life failed. A doctor told me that the child was shot by a live bullet in the head. I also saw the victim's brother, 'Alaa' al-Din, 5, at hospital. He was wounded by shrapnel in the abdomen and hands. One of my neighbors told me that the two were shot while they were playing near their house, and that 'Alaa' al-Din was with us in the car that evacuated his brother to hospital. It seems that as I was shocked, I did not notice the presence of 'Alaa' al-Din."

At approximately 15:00, Israeli occupying forces, reinforced with heavy military vehicles and covered by intense gunfire, moved into Seilat al-Harthia village, west of Jenin, which is supposed to be under full Palestinian control. A number of Palestinian children gathered and threw stones towards these forces. Israeli soldiers fired at the children wounding 13-year-old Mazen Sa'id Mohammed Khashan seriously with a live bullet in the abdomen.

At approximately 16:00, a tank and an armored personnel carrier, covered by intensive gunfire, moved into Rummana village, west of Jenin, which is under full Palestinian control. Two Palestinian civilians were wounded:

1. Mohammed Ussama al-Ahmed, 15, wounded by shrapnel in the right armpit; and

2. Dhiaa' Jamal al-Na'ji, 17, wounded by shrapnel in the neck.

Israeli forces withdrew from the village two hours later. During their withdrawal, they fired at 16-year-old Rami Mohammed Sa;id Subaihat wounding him with a live bullet in the left shoulder.

At approximately 17:50, Israeli occupying forces in military locations in the vicinity of "Neve Dekalim" settlement, west of Khan Yunis, opened fire at Palestinian houses in al-Nimsawi housing project. A Palestinian civilian, 'Abdullah 'Abdul Rahman 'Abdullah al-Sha'er, 59, was wounded by shrapnel from a live bullet in the face, while he was in his flat, approximately 300m away from the source of fire. In addition to this, a flat owned by 'Abdul Hadi Mohammed Shahin was damaged.

In the evening, another Palestinian civilian in Rafah was killed by a shell fired by Israeli occupying forces. In his testimony to PCHR on the incident, an eyewitness said:

"At approximately 20:00 on Sunday, 26 January 2003, my friends and I went to the house of our relative, Sami Mahmoud Mohammed Zo'rob, 50, to visit his brother, Refa'at, who was wounded by the Israeli military two weeks ago. The house is located in Imam 'Ali Street close to Zo'rob square near the Egyptian border, approximately 250m east of an Israeli military location on Zo'rob Hill in the southwest of Rafah. Two hours later, we decided to leave. While I was standing with Sami near the door, we heard a heavy explosion. We believed that it was the result of an Israeli shell that had hit the gate. We waited inside the house for a few minutes. Then, Sami decided to go out to check what had happened. As soon as he reached the gate, another explosion, similar to the first one, occurred, and he fell onto the ground. When we got close to him, we saw that he was disemboweled and bleeding, as a shell had hit him directly. It was clear that his body was cut into two parts. We, especially the children, were extremely shocked."

Tuesday, 28 January 2003

At approximately 01:00, an infantry unit of Israeli occupying forces moved approximately 800m into al-Qarara village, north of Khan Yunis. Israeli soldiers deployed on streets and branch roads. They raided the house of Jihad Salim al-Qedra. They forced the 8 residents of the house out and searched it. Then, they arrested the owner's son, Ahmed, 22, a university student.

At approximately 03:00, more than 20 Israeli heavy military vehicles invaded Jenin. They seized complete control over the town and imposed a curfew. Two tanks and 7 military jeeps of were positioned in Faisal Street in the center of the town. They opened fire indiscriminately. At approximately 08:00, Rashad Bassam Fawzi 'Orabi, 28, a Palestinian policeman, who was in civilian clothes and unarmed, got out of his house in the old town towards Faisal Street. When he was about to cross the road, Israeli soldiers shot him dead with two live bullets in the head and the chest. When a Palestinian civilian, Nidal Mahmoud Kastouni, 18, who was in his shop in the area, went to offer 'Orabi help, Israeli soldiers shot him dead with 7 live bullets in the back, the abdomen and the feet. In the meanwhile, Seif Shawqi Sa'id al-Dahla, 28, a journalist, was photographing the incursion, Israeli soldiers fired at him, wounding him two live bullets in the right foot and leg. Three civilians were shot from a distance of more than 150m.

Later, a number of Palestinian armed activists confronted Israeli forces in Faisal Street. During the clashes two Palestinian armed activists were killed:

1. Yousef 'Aamer al-Sa'di, 20, from Jenin refugee camp, shot by a live bullet that entered the chest and exited the back; and

2. Mohammed Subhi al-Tubasi, 23, shot by a heavy caliber bullet that fractured the skull.

In addition, a child, Fadi Hassan Qarini, 15, from Jenin refugee camp, was seriously wounded by several live bullets in the abdomen and the limbs.

At approximately 08:00, Israeli occupying forces, reinforced with heavy military vehicles, including bulldozers, moved approximately 2km into agricultural land east of Jabalya. The bulldozer razed approximately 400 donums of Palestinian agricultural land planted with olives, citrus, fruits and almonds. PCHR's field worker in the northern Gaza Strip reported that this operation continued until Wednesday evening, 29 January 2003, during which Israeli forces fired at whoever attempted to reach the area. Consequently, the PCHR's field worker was not able to reach the area to document the damage.

At approximately 20:40, Israeli occupying forces in a military location at the entrance of al-Mawasi area in the west of Rafah opened fire at the housing project in Tal al-Sultan neighborhood. Two Palestinian civilians were wounded while inside their houses:

1. Mohammed 'Ali Abu al-Khair, 60, wounded by shrapnel in the left leg; and

2. 'Ali Ahmed Abu 'Armana, 63, wounded by shrapnel in the left leg.

At approximately 23:00, 8 Israeli heavy military vehicles, accompanied by military bulldozers and covered by sporadic shelling, moved approximately 200m into Block J in Rafah refugee camp, adjacent to the Egyptian border. The Israeli incursion continued until the following day morning, during which the Israeli military bulldozer demolished 7 Palestinian houses:

1. A 170-square-meter, asbestos-roofed house, in which 13 people lived, owned by Khaled Hussein Salem Abu Tailakh;

2. A 200-square-meter house, in which 12 people lived, owned by Ghazi Rezeq Salem Abu Tailakh;

3. A 160-square-meter house, in which 12 people lived, owned by Erhayel Ahmed al-Soufi;

4. A 190-square-meter house, in which 18 people lived, owned by Salman Humaid Mohammed al-Soufi;

5. A 200-square-meter house, in which 2 families totaling 10 people lived, owned by Sami Hassan Khalil al-Masri;

6. A 100-square-meter house, in which 2 families totaling 11 people lived, owned by Sami Hassan Khalil al-Masri; and

7. A 100-square-meter house, in which 13 people lived, owned by Khalil Hassan Khalil al-Masri.

Wednesday, 29 January 2003

At approximately 06:00, Israeli occupying forces, reinforced with heavy military vehicles, moved approximately 150m into Tal al-Sultan neighborhood in the west of Rafah. Israeli military bulldozers leveled the areas surrounding the "Gush Qatif" settlement block. The Israeli incursion continued until 15:00, during which armed clashes erupted between armed Palestinian activists and Israeli forces, which intensely shelled the area. Israeli military locations and military observation towers surrounding the area also shelled the neighborhood until 21:00. As a result, 18 Palestinian civilians were wounded:

1. Nidal Samir Farahat, 15, critically wounded by a live bullet in the abdomen;

2. Khaled 'Abdul Rahim al-Soufi, 15, wounded by shrapnel in the right foot;

3. Saleh Hussein al-Babli, 50, wounded by a live bullet in the right shoulder;

4. Hussein Saleh al-Babli, 10, wounded by a live bullet in the right thigh;

5. Hijazi Hassan Ayoub, critically wounded by a live bullet in the head;

6. Mohammed Khamis al-Hour, 12, wounded by a live bullet in the thighs;

7. Mohammed Hassan Subeh, 20, wounded by shrapnel in the left foot;

8. Majdi Mahmoud Rushdi al-Khatib, 35, wounded by a live bullet in the right leg;

9. Mohammed Isma'il al-Nawajha, 21, wounded by shrapnel in the neck;

10. Mohammed Khader 'Edwan, 28, wounded by a live bullet in the left arm;

11. Ziad Hussein Shabana, 22, wounded by a live bullet in the left shoulder;

12. Dhamir Jihad Musran, 23, wounded by shrapnel in the hips;

13. Ibrahim 'Aatef Abu 'Ali, 17, wounded by shrapnel in the face;

14. Bassem Sami Abu al-'Einain, 11, wounded by shrapnel in the left knee;

15. 'Abdul Qader Mahmoud Madhi, 42, wounded by a live bullet in the left leg;

16. Wa'el Walid Abu Marzouq, 17, wounded by a live bullet in the right knee;

17. Na'ima Ahmed 'Abdul 'Aal, 38, wounded by a live bullet in the right thigh; and

18. Mohammed Rasmi al-Sha'er, 16, wounded by shrapnel in the neck.

At approximately 17:00, after Israeli occupying forces had ended a military operation in the east of Jablaya, which began on the previous morning, some Palestinian civilians, including Nahidh Mubarak Abu Dahrouj, 19, went to the area to check what had happened. Immediately, Israeli forces opened fire at them from a distance of approximately 1000m. Abu Dahrouj was killed by a lived bullet in the head.

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

In violation of international and 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 Israeli forces.

At approximately 00:30 on Friday, 24 January 2003, Israeli occupying forces, reinforced with tanks and helicopters, moved from Netzarim settlement, south of Gaza city, more than 3km into al-Zaytoun neighborhood in the southeast of the city. They surrounded the house of the deceased Mas'oud 'Ayad, who had been assassinated by these forces, and arrested two of his sons, his brother and his grandson. Israeli forces destroyed a 400-square-meter, 5-storey apartment building, in which 5 families totally 20 people lived, owned by the family of 'Ayad. Israeli forces withdrew from the area at approximately 02:30. Later, they released the grandson, Mas'oud Nasser 'Ayad, 14, and the brother, Sa'id Hussein 'Ayad, while the sons, Khader, 35, and Hassan, 30, remained in the custody of Israeli forces. During the incursion, Israeli forces distributed leaflets, which cited that the goal of the operation was to arrest Hassan 'Ayad, claiming that he was responsible for armed attacks against Israeli targets. Two Palestinian civilians were wounded by the Israeli shelling:

1. 'Abdullah Rezeq Nasrallah, 18, wounded by a live bullet in the left shoulder; and

2. Riadh Khalil al-Khouli, 27, wounded by a live bullet in the right thigh.

At approximately 01:00 on Monday, 27 January 2003, 12 Israeli military jeeps moved into 'Aqabat Taffouh area in the north of Hebron. They surrounded the house of Mustafa Salem al-Qawasmi. Israeli soldiers knocked on the door. When the son, Hatem, 22, opened the door, Israeli soldiers arrested him together with his friend, Eihab 'Abul Jawad, 20. At approximately 02:30, Israeli forces forced residents of neighboring houses out and searched the houses. Later, Israeli soldiers planted explosives in al-Qawasmi's 200-square-meter, two-storey, under-construction house and destroyed it. The owner's son, Hazem, 24, has been detained by Israeli forces for one year for his resistance activities.

Shooting at Palestinian Civilians

Thursday, 23 January 2003

At approximately 11:00, Israeli occupying forces moved into Beit Ta'mar village in Bethlehem. They surrounded a number of houses in the west of the village and military bulldozers started demolishing them, claiming that they were built without licenses. A number of Palestinian civilians gathered to confront this action. Immediately, Israeli soldiers fired at them. Four civilians were wounded:

1. Sharif Ibrahim 'Allan al-Wahesh, 45, wounded by a live bullet in the right hand;

2. Fu'ad Ibrahim 'Allan al-Wahesh, 48, wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet in the left forearm;

3. 'Ali Suleiman Abu Mahmid, 24, wounded by two rubber-coated metal bullets in the left hand and the right foot; and

4. Khadra Ibrahim 'Allan al-Wahesh, 65, hit by a tear gas canister that burnt her clothes and body.

Friday, 24 January 2003

In an apparent willful killing, Israeli occupying forces opened fire at some Palestinian civilians who were crossing a settler bypass road between an Israeli military location on 'Eibal Mount in the north of Nablus and "Shavi Shomron" settlement, northwest of the city. Two Palestinian civilians were killed and a third was wounded.

According to information available to PCHR, at approximately 07:45, Su'ad Hussein Mas'oud Sonoubar, 46, from Nablus, and her son, 'Abdullah Mahmoud Khalil Joudallah, 22, left their house at Zawata-Nablus road towards Jenin. As Israeli occupying forces had closed the main roads between Nablus and Jenin, the two walked towards al-Naqoura village to proceed towards Jenin. Other civilians joined them. When they crossed a settler bypass road between an Israeli military location on 'Eibal Mount in the north of Nablus and "Shavi Shomron" settlement, northwest of the city, they were surprised by a number of Israeli soldiers who opened fire and threw hand grenades towards them. The woman was killed by a live bullet in the chest, and another civilian, Ayman Rashid Helmi Hinnawi, 20, was killed by shrapnel throughout the body. In addition, the son was wounded and arrested by Israeli soldiers.

The Israeli daily Yediot Aharanot quoted an Israeli military spokesman on its Arabic web site as saying: "An Israeli military unit shot dead two Palestinian gunmen, including a girl, who were attempting to plant a bomb near Shavi Shomron settlement, west of Nablus. Another gunman was able to escape. Soldiers who erected an ambush near the entrance of the settlement noticed 4 gunmen, including a girl, getting close to the road in an attempt to plant some explosives. The soldiers ordered the gunmen to surrender, but one of them fired at the soldiers with a pistol. The gunmen divided into two groups and one of them fired at the soldiers. The soldiers threw grenades towards the gunmen and killed two."

However, the place of the incident is approximately 4km away from both the settlement and the Israeli military location, and the area is used by Palestinian civilians who walk towards Nablus and is not used by Israeli forces, and consequently, it is an unlikely position to plant explosives.

A Settler Shoots Dead a Palestinian Civilian

In another attack perpetrated by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, on Saturday evening, 25 January 2003, an Israeli settler fired at two Palestinian civilians, killing one of them, while the other was able to escape.

According to information available to PCHR, at approximately 16:00, Ahmed 'Abdul Rahim Saleh 'Abdul Karim, 25, from Badras village, west of Ramallah, and a friend of his went to al-Hursh area in the west of the village, adjacent to "Modi'in" settlement on the Green Line to graze their sheep. When they were about 200m away from the settlement, they saw a car moving from the settlement towards them. At approximately 16:30, the car stopped near them and a settler got out of it. He pointed his pistol and fired at them. 'Abdul Karim was wounded by a live bullet in the chest, while his friend was able to escape towards the nearby Midia village and asked for help. When a number of villagers went to the area, they saw a number of Israeli military jeeps positioned in the area, so they went back to their village. At approximately 17:30, the friend went back to his village and informed 'Abdul Karim's brother about the incident. The brother phoned a police station in "Modi'din" settlement to check what happened. The police told him that he could go to the settlement at 18:00. When he arrived there he found out that his brother was dead and that he could collect his body on the following day. When he went to the settlement on the following day, the police refused to give him the body and told him to come again on Monday, 27 January 2003.

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.