Monday, 27 July 2009

PCHR Weekly Report: 1 civil morto, 21 raptados pelas forças israelitas esta semana


PCHR Weekly Report: 1 civilian killed, 21 abducted by Israeli forces this week

According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, during the week of 16 - 22 July 2009, a mentally disabled Palestinian civilian was killed and another civilian was wounded by Israel forces in the Gaza Strip. Also this week, Israeli forces conducted 25 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, and two into the Gaza Strip. Israel has continued measures aimed at establishing a Jewish majority in occupied east Jerusalem, including shutting down a tourist show and a community development center in Jerusalem this week.

Protest against Israeli settler attacks is disrupted by Israeli military (PCHR photo)
Protest against Israeli settler attacks is disrupted by Israeli military (PCHR photo)

Israeli attacks in the West Bank:

During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 25 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During those incursions, Israeli forces abducted 21 Palestinian civilians, including two children and one woman. In one such invasion, on Thursday July 16th, at approximately 02:30, Israeli forces moved into Bethlehem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Brigadier Kifah Barakat, an advisor in the Palestinian president's office. They claimed that Brigadier Barakat "overcame red lines" in Jerusalem, without providing any explanation. Israeli troops positioned at military checkpoints in the West Bank abducted 4 Palestinian civilians.

Israeli forces have continued arbitrary measures against Palestinian civilians in East Jerusalem to force them to leave the city. During the reporting period, Israeli forces forced a Palestinian civilian to demolish his house in Sour Baher village, south of Jerusalem, claiming that it was built without a license.

Israeli forces also raided Nidal Center for Community Development in al-Habasha quarter in the old town in East Jerusalem. They forced the staff and participants in a summer camp out, and ordered the closure of the center until 11 August 2009, claiming that it "supports terror activities." The center belongs to the Union of Heath Work Committees in Jerusalem. It was established more than 10 years ago to provide development projects for youth.

Additionally, Israeli forces stormed the lobbies of al-Hamra Castle in East Jerusalem, where a press conference was being held to launch the first hotel exhibition in Palestine in the context of the declaration of Jerusalem as a capital of the Arab culture for 2009. According to a decision issued by the Israeli Minister of Internal Security, Israeli forces prevented the conference from taking place, claiming that it was being held under the auspices of the Palestinian National Authority. They forced the participants to vacate the place in a few minutes and closed the doors.

Israeli forces 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, and 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 Israeli forces every week.

Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip:

During the last week, Israeli forces killed a mentally disabled Palestinian civilian and wounded another one in the Gaza Strip. On Sunday July 19th, at approximately 18:30, Israeli military vehicles moved nearly 150 meters into the east of Gaza City. Israeli troops shot and abducted Ahmed Zuhair al-Semari, 22. Al-Semari was hit by a gunshot that entered the abdomen and exited the back. He was transferred to an Israeli hospital where he was pronounced dead at approximately 16:00 on Monday, 20 July 2009. The victim was mentally disabled.

Also this week, Israeli forces conducted two limited incursions into Palestinian communities, during which they leveled areas of Palestinian land.

Israel has continued to prevent the entry of raw construction materials into the Gaza Strip for more than two years. Israel has not allowed fuel supplies into the Gaza Strip, excluding limited amounts of cooking gas, since 10 December 2008.

The Rafah International Crossing Point has been opened for a few days for a number of patients who received medical treatment abroad and needed to return home to the Gaza Strip.

Israel has continued to close Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing to Palestinian civilians wishing to travel to the West Bank and Israeli for medical treatment, trade or social visits.

Poverty and unemployment levels are at approximately 80% and 60% respectively in the Gaza Strip. Israel has continued to prevent the entry of spare parts form water networks and sewage systems. Losses incurred to this sector in an Israeli invasion six months ago are estimated at US $6 million.

Israeli settlement activity:

Israeli forces have continued settlement activities in the West Bank in violation of international humanitarian law and Israeli settlers living have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property. On 17 July 2009, Israeli forces issued a military order banning access of Palestinian farmers to their lands that are located east of "Carme'il" settlement to the southeast of Yatta village, south of Hebron.

The restricted area of land is estimated to be approximately 300 donums, located nearly 500 meters to the east of the aforementioned settlement. Israeli forces threatened to arrest and imposed a fine on whoever tried to reach these lands.

On 18 July 2009, dozens of Palestinian farmers and international and Israeli human rights defenders gathered in Wad Abu al-Reesh area in the north of Safa village, north of Hebron, in order to organize a peaceful protest on Palestinian lands that have been subjected to confiscation and attacks by Israeli settlers. Israeli troops stormed the area. The violently beat the demonstrators and fired tear gas canisters and sound bombs at them. Five Israeli human rights defenders sustained bruises, and Israeli troops detained 9 others for several hours.

On 19 July 2009, dozens of Israeli settlers from "Bat 'Ain" settlement, northwest of Hebron, launched a series of attacks against Palestinian houses in the nearby Safa village. They opened fire at houses. Israeli troops were present in the area, but did not intervene to stop the attacks.

On 20 July 2009, Israeli settlers throw stones at Palestinian civilian vehicles traveling at the southern entrance of Bethlehem and on the #60 and #35 Hebron-Bethlehem roads. Israeli troops were present in these areas, but did not intervene to stop the attacks.

On 21 July 2009, 4 Israeli settlers cut 24 olive trees on a tract of land belonging to Mohammed Raja al-Zain in Bourin village, south of Nablus. When Israeli troops arrived at the area, the settler fled towards the nearby "Yits'har" settlement. On the same day, a number of Israeli settlers from "Gilad" settlement attacked Palestinian civilian vehicles traveling on the Qalqilya-Nablus road. They threw stones at the vehicles damaging a number of them.

Israeli Annexation Wall:

Israeli forces have continued to construct the Annexation Wall inside West Bank territory. During the reporting period, Israeli forces used force against peaceful demonstrations organized by Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders in protest to the construction of the Wall.

Following the Friday Prayer on 17 July 2009, dozens of Palestinian civilians gathered in the center of Bil'in village, west of Ramallah. They moved towards the Wall, and following confrontations, threw stones at Israeli troops positioned in the area. Immediately, Israeli troops fired rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the demonstrators. Dozens of demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation. Israeli forces also used a substance with a disgusting smell against the demonstrators.

Following the Friday Prayer on 17 July 2009, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international human rights defenders organized a peaceful demonstration in protest to the construction of the Wall in al-Ma'sara village, south of Bethlehem. Israeli troops positioned at the main entrance of the village near "Efrat" settlement fired tear gas canisters at the demonstrators, and then chased and violently beat a number of demonstrators. As a result, 3 demonstrators, including a child, sustained bruises: Bilal Hassan Braijiya, 14; Mohammed Ya'qoub Zawahra, 19; and 'Ali Suleiman Braijiya, 20.

Recommendations to the international community:

Due to the number and severity of Israeli human rights violations this week, the PCHR made a number of recommendations to the international community. Among these were a recommendation that the European Union activate Article 2 of the Euro-Israel Association Agreement, which provides that Israel must respect human rights as a precondition for economic cooperation between the EU states and Israel. PCHR further calls upon the EU states to prohibit import of goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank
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