PCHR Weekly Report: 31 injured in Israeli attacks, including 10 children, 3 internationals
In its weekly summary of Israeli attacks for the week of 14 - 20 August 2008, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) reports that 31 Palestinian civilians, including 10 children, and three international human rights defenders, were injured by Israeli gunfire in the West Bank. 27 of these civilians were injured when Israeli forces used force against 3 peaceful demonstrations organized in protest of the construction of the Annexation Wall in Ne’lin village, west of Ramallah
Israeli attacks in the West Bank:
During the reporting period, Israeli forces wounded 31 Palestinian civilians, including 10 children, and three international human rights defenders in the West Bank. Most of these civilians were injured when Israeli forces used force against peaceful demonstrations organized in protest at the construction of the Annexation Wall.
Also this week, Israeli forces conducted at least 40 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During these incursions, Israeli forces abducted 37 Palestinian civilians, including ten children. Israeli forces troops positioned at various checkpoints in the West Bank abducted at least one Palestinian civilian. Since the beginning of 2008, Israeli forces have abducted 1,789 Palestinian civilians in the West Bank.
On 14 August, two Palestinian children were injured by Israeli gunfire in al-Duheisha refugee camp, south of Bethlehem. Israeli troops moved into the camp and fired at a number of children who threw stones at Israeli military vehicles.
On 20 August, two Palestinian children were injured when Israeli forces moved into Tammoun village, southeast of Tubas, and opened fire indiscriminately.
Also on 20 August, Israeli forces raided the headquarters of three Palestinian radio stations in Hebron. They confiscated equipment and abducted two members of staff.
There are approximately permanent 600 roadblocks, 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 Annexation Wall:
During the reporting period, Israeli forces used force to disperse peaceful demonstrations organized in protest at the construction of the Annexation Wall in Bal’ein and Ne’lin villages, west of Ramallah. As a result, seventeen Palestinian civilians were injured by rubber-coated metal bullets, whilst dozens of others suffered tear gas inhalation. Israeli forces also sprayed a foul-smelling liquid at the demonstrators.
When complete, the illegal Annexation Wall will stretch for 724 kilometres around the West Bank, further isolating the entire population. 350 kms of the Wall has already been constructed. Approximately 99% of the Wall has been constructed inside the West Bank itself, further confiscating Palestinian land.
Israeli settlement activity:
Israeli forces have continued settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.
On 14 August, Israeli forces issued a military orders to seize a 1,500-suare-meter area of land in Tal al-Rumaida neighborhood in the center of Hebron in order to “to establish a road for military purposes.” On the same day, Israeli forces razed a 6-donum area of agricultural land between Salem military post and Rummana village, west of Jenin. Also during the reporting period, Israeli settlers continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property in the West Bank. As a result of such attacks, one Palestinian civilian was injured.
Israeli military activity in the Gaza Strip:
At approximately 07:00 on Saturday, 16 August, Israeli forces gunboats opened fire at a Palestinian fishing boat at Beit Lahia seashore in the northern Gaza Strip, on which Ayman Mustafa al-‘Aassi, 29, and ‘Abdul Karim al-Nahhal, 40, were sailing. A gunboat then moved close to the fishing boat and ordered the two fishermen to jump into water and swim towards the fishing boat. Israeli forces troops abducted the two fishermen and took them to Ashdod Harbor. Israeli forces interrogated the two fishermen and released them at approximately 15:30 on the same day. The two fishermen were released wearing only their underwear. The fishing boat belonging to the al-‘Aassi family is still missing.
Israeli forces have continued to close all border crossings to the Gaza Strip for more than two years. The Israeli forces 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 Israel began 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, Israel and 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 litres of untreated and partially treated sewage are being dumped into the Gaza Strip Mediterranean Sea daily, posing a public health risk.
Approximately 400 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 Israeli forces.
Recommendations to the International community:
Due to the number and severity of Israeli violations of Palestinian rights this week, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights made a number of recommendations to the international community. Among these were a recommendation that the international community pressure Israel to lift the severe restrictions imposed by the Israeli government and its occupation forces on access for international organizations to the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
In another recommendation to the international community, the PCHR called upon the International Committee of the Red Cross to increase its staff and activities in the OPT, including the facilitation of family visitations to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
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