Friday, August 8, 2014

UN warns of Israel's persistence in its W. Bank military measures


[ 08/08/2014 - 09:17 AM ]

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- The UN office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs (OCHA) and the UN high commissioner for human rights (UNHCHR) called on Israel to ensure respect for international law by avoiding punishing individuals for offences they have not personally committed or by imposing collective penalties.
In its weekly report issued on Friday, OCHA said the large-scale Israeli military campaign, which began on 13 June in the Hebron governorate following the suspected abduction of three Israeli youth, continued and expanded across the West Bank, with the stated objective of finding and releasing the youth, as well as undermining Hamas infrastructure.
The campaign triggered widespread clashes between Palestinian residents and Israeli forces in dozens of cities, villages and refugee camps, during which four Palestinian civilians were shot with live ammunition and killed, bringing the total number of Palestinians killed during post-13 June military operations to six, according to the report.
Additionally, a total of 106 Palestinians, including 28 children, were injured during the clashes, the report added.
Overall, Israeli forces conducted more than 300 search-and-arrest operations during the reporting period, some of which resulted in damage to property in homes searched. A total of 340 Palestinians were arrested during these operations, mostly alleged Hamas and Islamic Jihad members, including dozens who were released in 2011 in the context of a prisoner swap (the ‘Shalit deal’).
 "A significant proportion of those arrested are being held under administrative detention orders, imprisonment without charge or trial. Consequently, the total number of administrative detainees in Israeli prisons increased since the beginning of the current operations from approximately 190 to at least 340, according to the Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association (Addameer)."
In the context of current military operations, the Israeli army raided 60 of Islamic associations, allegedly linked to Hamas, confiscated computers and other equipment, and shutdown 8 others by military order. These measures are expected to disrupt the delivery of services and assistance to thousands of beneficiaries.
The report also pointed out that movement restrictions continue disrupting access to services and places of work. "Most of the movement restrictions imposed last week following the start of the current operations, primarily across the Hebron governorate, have remained in place, disrupting access of people to services, markets and workplaces, and resulting in significant economic losses."
The vast majority of Hebron governorate’s residents have remained subject to a series of additional movement restrictions, including preventing men aged between 16 and 50 from crossing the Wadi Annar checkpoint, which controls the single route available for most Palestinians between the central and southern West Bank, the invalidation of permits to access East Jerusalem, Israel and some settlement areas, and preventing men between 20 and 50 years of age from traveling to Jordan via the Allenby Bridge, the report clarified.
In the northern West Bank, the main entrances to ‘Izbet at Tabib and ‘Azzun villages (Qalqiliya) have remained closed for the second consecutive week, forcing residents to use a long detour to reach main services and workplaces in Qalqiliya city and increasing transport costs.
On 17 and 18 June, the Israeli authorities demolished a total of 14 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C of the West Bank, due to the lack of Israeli-issued building permits, displacing 42 people, around half of whom were children, and affecting at least 50 others.
On the other hand, the UN report said that Erez passenger crossing has remained closed since 13 June preventing the vast majority of permit holders (primarily patients, senior businessmen and staff of international organizations) to leave or enter Gaza.