oPt

Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory 16 - 22 Oct 2008

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Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Continue Systematic Attacks against Palestinian Civilians and Property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)

- IOF killed a Palestinian civilian in Ramallah; the victim bled to death.

- Sixteen Palestinian civilians, including three children, were wounded by IOF gunfire.

- Thirteen of the wounded were hit by bullets when IOF used force to disperse a peaceful demonstration against the construction of the Annexation Wall in Ne'lin village, west of Ramallah.

- IOF conducted 15 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank.

- IOF arrested 12 Palestinian civilians, including a child.

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

- IOF troops positioned at various checkpoints in the West Bank arrested two Palestinian children.

- The Gaza Strip has continued to suffer from a shortage of cooking gas for the second consecutive week.

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

- Israeli settlers launched systematic attack against Palestinian farmers during the annual olive harvest.

- Three Palestinian civilians, including a journalist, and an international solidarity activists, sustained bruises and cuts.

Summary

Israeli violations of international law and humanitarian law continued in the OPT during the reporting period (16 - 22 October 2008):

Shooting: During the reporting period, IOF killed a Palestinian civilian and wounded 14 others, including two children, in the West Bank. On Thursday morning, 16 October, IOF troops that had moved into Kufor Malek village, east of Ramallah, opened fire at 2 Palestinian civilians, who were standing on top of an old house. The two civilians were wounded. One of them was able to escape, but IOF troops surrounded the other child, who subsequently bled to death.

On 22 October, IOF wounded 2 Palestinian civilians, including a child, in 2 separate incidents in al-Far'a refugee camp, south of Tubas, and Ethna village, southwest of Hebron. During the reporting period, 13 Palestinian civilians, including two children, were wounded when IOF used force against a peaceful demonstration organized in protest at the construction of the Annexation Wall in Ne'lin village, west of Ramallah.

Incursions: During the reporting period, IOF conducted at least 15 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During these incursions, IOF arrested 12 Palestinian civilians, including a child. The number of Palestinian civilians arrested by IOF in the West Bank since the beginning of 2008 stands at 2,074.

In the Gaza Strip, IOF conducted a limited incursion into the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun, during which they leveled areas of land that they had already razed. Restrictions on Movement: IOF have continued to impose a tightened siege on the OPT and imposed severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. During the reporting period, IOF imposed a comprehensive closure on the OPT for the Jewish festival of Sukkot.

Gaza Strip

IOF have continued to close all border crossings to the Gaza Strip for more than two years. The IOF siege of Gaza, which has steadily tightened since June 2007, has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the Gaza Strip.

- More than 1.5 million people are being denied their basic rights, including freedom of movement, and their rights to appropriate living conditions, work, health and education.

- The Egypt-brokered 'Tahdiya' or truce between Palestinian resistance groups and Israel began on 19 June; however, there have been no major changes regarding the movements of civilians and goods through the six Gaza Strip border crossings.

- Rafah International Crossing Point, the only border crossing from the Gaza Strip to the outside world via a country other than Israel, remains closed.

- Health services continue to be severely affected by the siege, with healthcare facilities also registering a 25% drop in clients due to continuing chronic fuel shortages. Critically ill patients are still being denied permits to access vital health services in the West Bank, Israel and abroad. .

- Water facilities, including access to clean drinking water, and the treatment of raw sewage continue to be severely disrupted by fuel shortages. 50-60 million liters of untreated and partially treated sewage are being dumped into the Gaza Strip Mediterranean Sea daily, posing a public health risk.

- Hundreds of Gazan students are currently unable to resume their university studies abroad as they cannot exit the Gaza Strip. In addition, up to 1,200 school leavers are in the process of applying to study at foreign universities, and are dependent on being issued exit permits by the IOF.

- There are at least 900 Palestinian prisoners incarcerated in jails in Israel who have been denied all visitation rights since 6 June 2007.

- Continuing chronic shortages of construction materials, including cement, aggregate and iron, have led to the collapse of the Gaza construction industry. Thousands of construction workers have been laid off, and vital infrastructure projects have been forcibly suspended.

- IOF have repeatedly closed border crossings of the Gaza Strip claiming that home-made rockets were launched at Israeli towns.

West Bank

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

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

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

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

- At least 47 out of 72 main roads leading to eighteen Palestinian communities in the West Bank are either closed or else fully controlled by IOF.

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

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

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

- During the reporting period, IOF troops positioned at various checkpoints arrested two Palestinian children.

Settlement Activities: IOF have continued settlement activities and Israeli settlers living in the OPT have, in violation of international humanitarian law, continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property. During the reporting period, Israeli settlers launched seven attacks against Palestinian civilians throughout the West Bank, especially against farmers who were cultivating olives. Three Palestinian civilians, including a journalist, and an international solidarity activist sustained bruises and cuts. These types of attacks aim at depriving Palestinian civilians of benefiting from the annual olive harvest, which for many families is their main source of income.