oPt

Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory 23 - 29 Oct 2008

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

- IOF killed an old Palestinian in al-Yamoun village near Jenin in the northern West Bank.

- Four Palestinian civilians, including 2 children, were wounded by IOF gunfire in the West Bank and the GazaStrip.

- IOF conducted 35 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank.

- IOF arrested 26 Palestinian civilians, including five children.

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

- IOF have continued to construct the Annexation Wall inside the West Bank.

- IOF razed areas of land in al-'Amra natural reserve near Jenin, isolating a Palestinian residential compound.

- IOF have continued to prevent Palestinian farmers from reaching their land to harvest olives.

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

- IOF stopped a land mining project in Hebron.

- Israeli settlers continued their attacks against Palestinian civilians and property in Hebron.

Summary

Israeli violations of international law and humanitarian law continued in the OPT during the reporting period (23 - 29 October 2008):

Shooting: During the reporting period, IOF killed an elderly Palestinian man in al-Yamoun village, west of Jenin, and wounded another four civilians, including 2 children, in the West Bankand the Gaza Strip.

On 29 October, IOF shot and killed an elderly Palestinian in al-Yamoun village, west of Jenin. IOF troops targeted the man when he came out of his house carrying a hunting rifle, to check on a corral of sheep near his house, as he thought there may be thieves in the area. IOF could have used less force or even arrest him.

On 25 October, two Palestinian civilians were injured in al-Far'a refugee camp, south of Tubas, when IOF troops fired at Palestinians who threw stones at military vehicles that had moved into the camp.

During the reporting period, a Palestinian child was injured when IOF used force against a peaceful demonstration organized in protest at the continuing construction of the Annexation Wall in Ne'lin village, west of Ramallah.

Incursions: During the reporting period, IOF conducted at least 35 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During these incursions, IOF arrested 26 Palestinian civilians, including 5 children and a girl. The number of Palestinian civilians arrested by IOF in the West Banksince the beginning of the year stands at 2,098.

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 Sukkot festival.

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.

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 Israelbegan 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, Israeland 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 Israelwho 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 Gazaconstruction 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 being 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 Bankby 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 Bankitself, further confiscating Palestinian land.

At least 65% of the main roads leading to 18 Palestinian communities in the West Bankare closed or 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.

Annexation Wall: During the reporting period, IOF started to raze areas of land in al-'Amra natural reserve, which has been isolated by the Wall, southwest of Jenin. According to eyewitnesses, IOF razed areas of land in the vicinity of a residential compound where 27 Palestinians from five families live, in order to establishing a fence that would surround, and isolate, the compound. IOF informed the families that they would have a fence built around their homes. Al-'Amra is the largest natural reserve in the West Bank, and has already been isolated by the Wall. Control over the area was supposed to have been handed over to the Palestinian National Authority: however, the IOF have retained control over the area. In addition, IOF have continued to prevent Palestinian farmers whose land is on the other side of the Wall from reaching their olive groves in order to harvest their olives, although the farmers have valid permits to access their own land.

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, IOF stopped work at a land inning project that was being carried out by the Union of Agricultural Work Committees in al-Baq'a area, east of Hebron. IOF also confiscated machines from the workers. This project is one of several projects being funded by the European Commission in Hebronand Bethlehem.

On 26 October, a number of Israeli settlers from "Kiryat Arba" settlement, southeast of Hebron, stormed al-Ras Islamic cemetery opposite to the settlement. They destroyed the headstones of local Palestinian graves. They then attacked Palestinian cars that were parked in front of local houses, breaking windows and slashing the tires of at least 25 cars.