PCHR Weekly Report: 3 Palestinians killed, 10 wounded by Israeli forces this week
According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, during the week of 20 - 26 August 2009, 3 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces and a 4th is missing following attacks in the Gaza Strip. 10 Palestinian civilians were wounded by Israeli gunfire, including 9 in the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces used force against peaceful demonstrations organized in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall in the West Bank.
Israeli forces conducted 18 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and two into the Gaza Strip, abducting 16 Palestinian civilians, including two children, in the invasions.
Israeli forces confiscated the equipment of a local radio station in Beit Jala, in the West Bank.
Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip:
During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed 3 Palestinian civilians, including a child, and wounded 9 others in the Gaza Strip. Another Palestinian is also missing. In the West Bank, one Palestinian civilian was wounded.
On 24 August 2009, Israeli troops positioned to the northwest of the town of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip (along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel) fired at two Palestinian civilians, including a child, who got close to the border. The child was instantly killed by two bullets to the chest, and the other civilian was seriously wounded.
The two civilians were working on a farm in the town of Beit Lahia, approximately 350 meters away from the border fence. They attempted to get close to the border to find metal wires to sell them. They were unarmed.
In the early morning of Tuesday, 25 August 2009, an Israeli warplane fired a missile at a tunnel near the Salah al-Din Gate to the south of the town of Rafah on the Palestinian-Egyptian border. Two brothers, Mansour ‘Ali al-Batniji, 30, and Na’el ‘Ali al-Batniji, 20, were killed, and their other brother, Ibrahim, 35, is missing. Another 6 Palestinians were also wounded.
Additionally, two Palestinian civilians were wounded when Israeli troops positioned at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel opened fire at Palestinian houses and farms in the town of Beit Hanoun.
Israel has continued to impose a total closure and has isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world. Israeli forces have continued to close all border crossings into the Gaza Strip for more than two years. The Israeli-imposed illegal closure of the Gaza Strip, which has steadily tightened since June 2007, has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation there.
1.5 million people are being denied their basic human rights including freedom of movement, the right to appropriate living conditions, and the right to work, to health, and to pursue an education.
Israeli attacks in the West Bank:
During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 18 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. Israeli forces arrested 16 Palestinian civilians, including two children.
Israeli forces raided the offices of Bethlehem 2000 Radio and confiscated its equipment for no apparent reason. The value of the confiscated equipment is estimated at US $150,000. The radio station was established in 1996 and it is licensed by the Palestinian National Authority.
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 settlement activities:
Israeli has continued settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.
On 20 August 2009, Israeli settlers living in settlement outposts in the center of Hebron uprooted several carob and pine trees from the garden located opposite to the Ibrahimi Mosque, allegedly to use them for entertainment purposes in the "Abraham Avino" settlement outpost in the center of the old town. Israeli troops and police witnessed the attack, but did not intervene to stop it.
On 23 August 2009, Israeli settlers living in the "Abraham Avino" settlement outpost in the center of the old town of Hebron attacked nearby Palestinian houses with stones, empty bottles, and garbage to force them to leave their houses, which are located near the vegetable market that has been siezed by Israeli forces since 1994. Israeli forces did not intervene to stop the attack, which terrified Palestinian civilians and damaged their houses.
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 21 August 2009, dozens of Palestinian civilians gathered in the center of Bil'in village, west of Ramallah. They moved towards the Wall and, following provocation, 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 an unknown substance with a disgusting smell against the demonstrators.
Also following the Friday Prayer on 21 August 2009, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international and human rights defenders organized a peaceful demonstration in Ne'lin village, west of Ramallah, in protest of the construction of the Annexation Wall. They clashed with Israeli troops positioned near the Wall. Israeli troops fired rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs, and tear gas canisters at demonstrators. Dozens of demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation.
Also following the Friday Prayer on 21 August 2009, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international human rights defenders organized a peaceful demonstration in protest of the construction of the Annexation Wall in al-Ma'sara village, south of Bethlehem. Israeli troops closed the entrance of the village and attacked the demonstrators. They fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the demonstrators and violently beat a number of them. As a result, two Palestinian civilians sustained bruises: Musae 'Ali Braijiya, 18; and Saif Nasser Kharyoush, 17.
At approximately 16:00 on Saturday, 22 August 2009, Israeli forces moved into the western and northern parts of Beit 'Awa village, southwest of Hebron. They stopped, checked, detained, and questioned dozens of Palestinian farmers. Before releasing them, Israeli forces warned those farmers against being in areas located near the Wall.
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.
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 was a recommendation that international civil society organizations, including human rights organizations, bar associations, and NGOs participate in the process of exposing those accused of grave breaches of international law, and to urge their governments to bring these people to justice.
In addition, the PCHR calls upon the European Union to 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 the importation of goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.