Thursday, 15 March 2012 00:00
A Palestinian family mourn their son who was killed by an Israeli air strike east of Khan Yunis on 10 March 2012
Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Continue Systematic Attacks against Palestinian Civilians and Property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), and Launch a New Offensive on the Gaza Strip
IOF launched a new offensive on the Gaza Strip.
Israeli warplanes launched 36 air strikes, during which they fired 43 missiles.
24 Palestinians, including a child, a woman and two old men, were killed.
The victims include the Secretary-General of the Popular Resistance Committees, who was extra-judicially executed.
74 Palestinians, 59 of whom are civilians, including 16 children and 7 women, were wounded.
At least 32 houses, a school, a center of Palestine Red Crescent Society and a workshop were damaged.
A Palestinian child was killed and another one was seriously wounded and arrested by IOF in Yatta town, south of Hebron.
IOF have continued to use force against peaceful protests in the West Bank.
Two Palestinian civilians were wounded.
Dozens of protesters suffered from tear gas inhalation.
IOF conducted 56 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank.
IOF arrested 11 Palestinians, including two children.
The detainees include two Palestinians who were released in the context of the latest prisoners swap between Israeli and Palestinian resistance groups.
Israel has continued to impose a total closure on the OPT and has isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world.
Israeli soldiers arrested 3 Palestinian civilians, including a child, at various checkpoints in the West Bank.
IOF have continued settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.
IOF demolished a car wash facility in Housan village, west of Bethlehem.
Israeli settlers uprooted 40 olive trees in Qaryout village, southeast of Nablus.
Israeli settlers uprooted and confiscated 240 saplings in Sa’ir village, northeast of Hebron.
IOF razed areas of Palestinian agricultural land in Bourin village, south of Nablus.
Israeli violations of international law and humanitarian law in the OPT continued during the reporting period (08 – 14 March 2012):
Israeli Offensive on the Gaza Strip
On Friday evening, 09 March 2012, IOF initiated a new offensive on the Gaza Strip, which continued until Monday evening, 12 March 2012, as a new Egyptian-brokered Tahdey’a (lull) was reached between IOF and Palestinian resistance groups. During this offensive, IOF killed 24 Palestinians, including the Secretary-General and a leader of the Popular Resistance Committees, who was extra-judicially executed by an air strike. The victims include also 4 civilians (two old men, a woman and a child). Additionally, 74 Palestinians were wounded, 59 are civilians, including 16 children and 7 women. During this offensive, IOF launched a series of air strikes targeting Palestinian resistance activists and civilian facilities.
In the West Bank, on 08 March 2012, IOF killed a Palestinian child and seriously wounded and arrested another one in Yatta town, south of Hebron. IOF moved into the town to arrest a Palestinian who was released from Israeli jails in the recent prisoners swap between IOF and Palestinian resistance groups. IOF claimed that soldiers opened fire “after a Palestinian had stabbed a soldier.”
During the reporting period, IOF used excessive force to disperse peaceful demonstrations organized in protest to Israeli settlement activities and the construction of the annexation wall in the West Bank. As a result, two Palestinian civilian were wounded, and dozens of Palestinian civilians and international human rights defenders suffered from tear gas inhalation. IOF also arrested a Palestinian civilian and an international human rights defender.
During the reporting period, IOF conducted at least 56 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, during which they arrested 11 Palestinian civilians, including two children and two Palestinians who were released in the context of the latest prisoners swap between Israeli and Palestinian resistance groups.
Restrictions on Movement:
Israel had 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.
Israel has continuously closed all border crossings to the Gaza Strip for over three years. The illegal Israeli-imposed closure of the Gaza Strip, which has steadily tightened since June 2007, has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the Gaza Strip.
IOF have tightened the closure of the Gaza Strip and practically made Karm Abu Salem crossing as the sole commercial crossing of the Gaza Strip although it is not proper for commercial purposes in terms of its distance and operational capacity.
IOF have continued to apply their policy aimed at tightening the strangulation of the commercial movement in the Gaza Strip, including imposing total control over the flow of imports and exports.
The total closure of al-Mentar "Karni" crossing on 02 March 2011 has created a bitter situation that has seriously affected the Gaza Strip. Following this closure, all the economic and commercial establishments in Gaza Commercial Zone were shut off. It should be noted that al-Mentar crossing is the biggest crossing in the Gaza Strip in terms of its operational capacity to absorb the flow of imports and exports. The decision of al-Mentar crossing was the culmination of a series of decisions to totally close Sofa crossing, east of the Gaza Strip, in the beginning of 2009, and Nahal Oz crossing, east of Gaza City, which was dedicated for the delivery of fuel and cooking gas to the Gaza Strip, in the beginning of 2010.
These statistics which were made available to PCHR by the Border and Crossings Department indicate a continued drop in the number of truckloads of Gaza imports and exports.
IOF have continued to impose total ban on the delivery of raw materials to the Gaza Strip, except for very limited items and quantities. The limited quantities of raw materials allowed into Gaza do not meet the minimal needs of the civilian population in the Gaza Strip.
The cooking gas crisis which has erupted last November has continued to affect the Gaza Strip. This crisis was created when the Israeli occupation authorities totally closed, on 04 January 2010, Nahal Oz crossing, which used to be dedicated for the delivery of fuel and cooking gas supplies to Gaza, and shifted fuel and cooking gas supplies to Karm Abu Salem crossing which is not technically equipped to receive Gaza's needs of fuel. Karm Abu Salem crossing, with its maximum absorptive capacity, can receive only 200 tons of cooking gas per day.
Approximately 80% of Gaza civilians have continued to depend on alimentary aid provided by UNRWA and other relief agencies, rates of families who are living below poverty line have continued to be on the rise and approximately 40% of Gaza's manpower has continued to suffer from permanent unemployment as a result of shutting down the majority of Gaza's economic establishments.
IOF have continued to impose a total ban on the exportation of Gaza's products, especially industrial products, leading to undermining any real chances to rerun economic establishments. The situation has been aggravated especially after making Karm Abu Salem crossing as Gaza sole commercial crossing and the repeated closure of this crossing which negatively affected the quantity of Gazan products which were allowed to be exported during last April.
IOF have continued to prolong the implementation of their decision to allow 60 cars into Gaza weekly although more than 11 months have passed since they announced this decision after three years of ban imposed on the delivery of cars to Gaza. As a result, the prices of cars in Gaza have been on the rise and local markets experience serious shortage in spare parts.
For approximately four consecutive years, IOF have continued to ban the delivery of construction materials to Gaza. During the reporting period, IOF approved the delivery of limited quantities of construction materials for a number of international organizations.
Israel has continued to close Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing for Palestinian civilians from the Gaza Strip. IOF only allow the movement of limited groups amidst severe restrictions, including long hours of waiting in the majority of cases. IOF have also continued to adopt a policy aimed at reducing the number of Palestinian patients allowed to move via Beit Hanoun crossing to receive medical treatment in hospitals in Israel or in the West Bank and Jerusalem. IOF denied new categories of Gazan patient permission to have access to hospitals via the crossing.
Israel has imposed additional access restrictions on international diplomats, journalists and humanitarian workers seeking to enter the Gaza Strip.
For approximately 57 months, IOF have continued to deny approximately 700 Palestinian prisoners from Gaza detained in Israeli jails their visitation rights without providing any justification to this measure, which violates the rules of the international humanitarian law.
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 in the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
There are approximately 585 permanent roadblocks, and manned and unmanned checkpoints across the West Bank.
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 have already been constructed. Approximately 99% of the wall has been constructed inside the West Bank itself, confiscating more Palestinian land.
At least 65% of the main roads that lead to 18 Palestinian communities in the West Bank are closed or fully controlled by IOF.
There are approximately 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 permits issued by IOF. Such 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.