LAW Weekly Roundup 15-21 February 2001
During the third week of February, Israeli forces continued to shoot at, beat and abuse unarmed Palestinian civilians, shell Palestinian residential areas, hold Palestinian towns and villages under siege and pursue their policy of extra-judicial execution. In the past week, Israeli soldiers and police reportedly caused the death of eight Palestinians; four through shelling Palestinian towns, one by assassination, two during a car chase by the Israeli police, and one who was prevented from crossing an Israeli checkpoint. First: Violating the right to life and security of person 1. Deaths * 29 year-old Isam Al Taweel, a father of 3 from Hebron, died on February 16 after being shot in the chest. According to eyewitness statements to LAW, Isam was on the way to his home in Al Karantina opposite the Jewish Avraham Avino enclave in Hebron when he got caught in the Israeli shelling of Al Karantina. He bled for some time before anyone could reach him. According to LAW’s information, five other Palestinians were wounded in the attack; Malaka Al Bakeri (42) was hit by shrapnel in the back, and Nawal and Yacoub Marar were hit by shrapnel in their home. * Shakir Al Manasra, 23, from Bani Na’eem, Hebron, also died on Friday 16 February, when Israeli forces bombed the cow farm where he worked. Eyewitness Jalal Faraj, 26, told LAW that he and three of his colleagues were sitting in a room in the farm at 8:30pm when Israeli forces started bombing. Ahmad Faraj Allah, 33, who was shot in the stomach during the attack, died on Sunday 18 February. Ahmad had a brother named Faraj who was killed in the first Intifada, and Ahmad had married his dead brother’s wife. Also injured in the attack was Manasra’s brother Yusif Mawas, 30, who was shot in the right shoulder and left arm. * Usama Al Kurbi, 18, from Beit Sahour, was killed on Thursday 20 February when the rood of his house caved in on him due to shelling by the Israeli army. According to LAW’s documentation, many parts of Beit Sahour such as Al Iraq quarter, the environs of the Saint Nicholas cathedral and the Orthodox Centre were shelled by Israeli artillery and automatic gunfire from Gilo settlement. Usama was buried under the wreckage for several hours before his family and fire-fighters could pull him out. * 76 year-old Abdul Rahman Jum’a from Beit Leid in Tulkarem died when Israeli soldiers delayed the car taking him to hospital for one hour. Eyewitness Muhanad Jum’a told LAW: “At 10am on Friday, we took Jum’a in a car to hospital in Tulkarem after he felt a severe chest pain. When we arrived at the checkpoint at the entrance of Tulkarem, we told the Israeli soldiers there that we had with us a very ill man who needed to be hospitalised. They refused to let us pass, but held us at the checkpoint for an hour. Finally, when we arrived at the hospital an hour and a half later, the doctor told us that Jum’a had passed away half an hour ago. The road to the hospital normally takes half an hour.” * Mohammad Al Hawamda, 25, from Al Samou’a, Hebron, and Omar Abu Tarash, 20, from Al Kiya in Bir Al Sabia’a, died when Israeli police chased Al Hawamda’s car, which hit that of Abu Tarash. Ismail Al Hawamda, 25, was injured in the incident. Al Hawamda’a was on his way home after a working day in Bir Al Sabia’a (within the borders of Israel). * Mahmoud Al Madani, 25, from Balata refugee camp, was reportedly assassinated in an ambush by Israeli Special Forces on February 19. He was shot and killed as he left the camp’s mosque accompanied by his 21 year-old brother at 2:30 pm. LAW Society’s documentation indicates that Mahmoud and his brother Nur Al Deen left Fatouh Mosque in Balata. As they passed the south-eastern entrance to the camp near Jerusalem Road on their way to their grocery store, Mahmoud was shot twice in the chest, once in the waist, and once in the left shoulder. He was taken to Rafidia hospital in Nablus, where he was pronounced dead at 6:30 pm. Mahmoud’s brother, Nur Al Deen, stated to LAW that the shots had been fired from very close range. According to the initial medical report, the distance was estimated at 15 metres. Nur Al Deen added that the bullets had exploded inside his brother. According to LAW’s investigation, immediately after Mahmoud had been shot soldiers at the nearby Israeli military outpost on Mount Jirzeem opened fire, seemingly to cover up the work of the Special Forces and aid their retreat from the area. Later that evening, the official Israeli media declared, “A Special Forces unit south of Nablus today opened fire at a Palestinian man, wanted by the security services for being involved in acts of aggression such as explosions inside Israel, and critically wounded him.” 2. Injuries 84 Palestinians were injured when Israeli forces attacked Palestinian protesters in Hebron, Al Bireh and Deir Nitham and in the shelling of Al Bireh. 6 of the wounded were hit with live ammunition, 33 with steel bullets and 14 with shrapnel. The rest suffered teargas inhalation. The following Palestinians protesters were wounded on 16 February when Israeli forces broke into the village of Deir Nitham, west of Ramallah: 1. Tayseer Al Araj (16), hit by a steel bullet in the right arm 2. Ahmad Salih (12), hit by a steel bullet in the left arm 3. Mohammad Mazhar (14), hit by a steel bullet in the right arm 4. Abdullah Salih (17), hit by a steel bullet in the genitalia 5. Tariq Ameer (14), hit by a steel bullet in the chest 6. Hassan Eed (18), hit by a steel bullet in the spine 7. Fadel Ziyad (26), hit by a steel bullet in the left foot 8. Shahir Mas’ad (16), hit by a steel bullet in the right shoulder 9. Fadi Mas’ad (19), hit by a steel bullet in the left foot Also on 16 February, Israeli forces, equipped with tanks and bulldozers, stormed into Al Salam quarter south of Rafah at 3am and demolished seven homes. They also knocked down some greenhouses as well as several chicken farms. They invaded the home of Nasser Al Sha’er, held his family hostage and used them as a human shield until 8pm. During that time they used Al Sha ’er’s house as a military outpost from which they wounded the following people: 1. Mousa Abu Mu’amar (14), hit by shrapnel in the right leg 2. Hassan Al Satri (14), hit by shrapnel in the head 3. Muhyi Mansour (27), hit by shrapnel in the head 4. Yusra Awida (31), shot in the left foot 5. Mohammad Abu Kuus (10) shot in the left foot In a separate incident, Israeli soldiers wounded the following Palestinians near Netsarim junction: 1. Abdul Rahman Al Hajar (15), shot in the left leg 2. Hazim Said (15), shot and slightly wounded in the head 3. Nasser Al Nabaheen (16), shot and slightly wounded in the head 4. Hassan Ghazal (17), hit by a steel bullet in the head 5. Mohammad Al Abed (15), shot in the stomach 6. Khaled Akil (20), shot in the stomach 7. Ghanam Bader (12), shot in the left thigh At 11:30 am, also on 16 February, 16 year-old Mohammad Abu Hamida from Khan Younis was cycling on the main road to Rafah when a military jeep hit him and left him bleeding on the road. The boy suffered a broken arm and bruising all over his body. In Hebron, on the same day, Israeli forces stationed at Al Samou’a entrance shot 25 year-old Mohammad Abu Jadayil in the chest. Medical staff at Al Ahli hospital stated that doctors there had performed surgery on Mohammad, removing his left kidney and spleen. His spinal cord was also severely damaged, and he is currently in intensive care. Yusif Abu Rabee’a, 21, from Al Fawar refugee camp, was severely beaten by Israeli soldiers. 11 year-old Munthir Abu Warda from the same refugee camp was hit in the head by a steel bullet, and 16 year-old Ameena Al Khateeb was hit by a rock during a settler attack on Beit Enun. At 4 pm on Sunday 18 February, Israeli forces shooting Palestinians in Al Salam quarter wounded the following: 1. Mahdi Omar, 15, shot in the right thigh 2. Ahmad Abu Taha, 14, shot in the back (he is now semi-paralysed) 3. Asam’a Kishta, 18, was hit in the shoulder by shrapnel 4. Mohammad Matar, 14, was hit in the back by shrapnel At 3 pm the following day (19 February), Israeli forces in the same location wounded the following Palestinians: 1. Mahmoud Zu’rub, 21, shot in the pelvis 2. Buthaina Madi, 25, shot in the right foot On the same day the following were wounded in Hebron’s H2 area: 1. Khaled Al Masri, 6, suffered teargas inhalation 2. Noah Al Shaludi, 35, suffered bruises and fractures 3. Ni’ma Muhsen, 47, suffered bruises and scratches 4. Sumaya Abu Dawood, 11, suffered bruises and scratches On Tuesday 20 February, 16 year-old Ra’ida Al Atrash was admitted to Alia hospital. Ra’ida told LAW, “At 7:30am, I was standing by the cemetery wall opposite the Avraham Avino Jewish enclave in Hebron with another three girls from my school - Al Yacobiya Basic School. We were on our way to school and there were soldiers on the street. Suddenly I felt something hit me in my right arm and left leg. I was taken to a nearby UNRWA clinic, and after some x-rays I was told I had been hit by rubber-coated steel bullets. Israeli forces stationed west of Rafah wounded the following Palestinians on the same day: 1. Ahmad Ali, 13, was shot in the right arm 2. Ali Abu Hussein, 15, was shot in the right thigh 3. Mahmoud Abu Ataya, 9, broke his leg as he ran away from the shooting At Netsarim junction on the same day, Yusif Amar (35) from Al Braij refugee camp was shot in the right foot and Mohammad Younis (14) from Al Nsirat refugee camp was shot in the right thigh. Second: Shelling In the afternoon of Friday 16 February, Israeli forces shelled Al Balo’a area north of Al Bireh. In Nablus, they shelled a transmission station and destroyed it as well as some nearby water tanks. On Saturday 17 February, Israeli forces stationed at the Ramat Yashai enclave in Hebron bombed Bab Al Zawyi, Al Shalala Street, and Al Sheikh quarter in downtown Hebron. Two bombs exploded in Bab Al Zawyi, wounding: 1. Siham Jaradat, 40, hit by shrapnel in the head 2. Nadir Shaheen, 36, hit by shrapnel in the head 3. Jihad Ghaith, 35, hit by shrapnel in the right foot 4. Khaled Arafa, 15, hit by shrapnel in the face 5. Isa Tanina, 40, hit by shrapnel in the right knee 6. Wadee’a Al Hadad, 48, hit by shrapnel in the right shoulder 7. Jihad Iskafi, 13, hit by shrapnel in the right shoulder 8. Fahid Al Natshi, 24, hit by shrapnel in the right leg and the face 9. Zeidan Iskafi,45, hit by shrapnel in the head and the back 10. Nidal Al Haymuni, 24, hit by shrapnel in the right leg 11. Zeidan Iskafi, 20, hit by shrapnel in the head Israeli forces stationed at the Tshiva’a military outpost near Tayaseer, Jenin, bombarded residential houses in the village, damaging several homes as well as electricity and telephone cables. The shelling also damaged the doors and windows of Tayaseer School. Sbaih Sbaih (21) was wounded by shrapnel in the shoulder. On Sunday 18 February, Israeli shelling of Khan Younis refugee camp wounded 8 year-old Nada Abu Abida, who was hit by shrapnel in different parts of the body, and 10 year-old Suha Abu Akir, who was hit by shrapnel in the neck. Faik Abu Akir’s store and the UNRWA building in the camp received damage to their windows and doors. The following were wounded in the shelling that evening: 1. Mohammad Abu Azam, 8, hit by shrapnel in the eye 2. Khalid Shath, 27, shot in the right arm 3. Jamal Al Shareef, 40, hit by shrapnel in the foot 4. Ahmad Sahloul,16, hit by shrapnel in the waist 5. Ghasan Al Saibi,18, hit by shrapnel in the right shoulder 6. Ala Safad,12, hit by shrapnel in the face On 19 February 22 Israeli forces shelled Al Bireh, directly hitting: 1. The home of Basil Al Shawa, destroying the balcony and sewage network as well as burning the furniture 2. The National School for the Blind, destroying a bedroom and some windows and terrorising the pupils 3. The offices of Beit Al Shi’ir Al Falastini, destroying the façade, the external doors and the entrance On the same day, Israeli forces shelled Maryland Theme Park in Tulkarem from Beit Haifar, injuring Ys Brandt Sandu from Holland and Martin Vwrgn from South Africa. Vwrgn told LAW, “Yesterday, 19 February, the workers of Maryland had a break between 7 and 8pm. During that time, we heard gunshots coming from the left of Maryland. The shooting went on for at least an hour. Two or three bullets came towards us, so we started to run for safety. I realised that myself and a friend had been wounded. There was no shots at that moment; we just felt a burning feeling. My friend fell to the ground and I saw blood coming from his leg; then I realised that I was also bleeding. Some people found more gold-coloured bullets. Both of us had been hit by bullets from the left. We were taken straight to hospital for treatment. Everything happened so fast that we had no idea who was shooting at us. If the bullets had been shot a little higher the wounds would probably be much worse. We are both ok now but we will remember this for the rest of our lives.” The homes of the following peoples were hit during the shelling of Beit Jala: 1. Zu’rub (one room was burnt) 2. Ilyas Matar (partial damage and one room was burnt) 3. Isa Ghnaim (furniture and windows destroyed) 4. Ilyas Nazal (furniture and windows destroyed) 5. Mohammad Shananir (furniture and windows destroyed) 6. Johnny Sam’an (furniture and windows destroyed) 7. Ilyas Khouri furniture and windows destroyed) 8. George Nazal (furniture and windows destroyed) 9. Sameer Kantar (furniture and windows destroyed) 10. Khalid Shaker (furniture and windows destroyed)) 11. Nasar Khamees (furniture and windows destroyed) 12. Frida Abu Eed (furniture and windows destroyed) On the same day, houses were also shelled in Al Khader village, damaging the homes of Sa’id and Mohammad Salah. On Tuesday February 20, Israeli forces shelled Beit Sahour and Bethlehem from Gilo settlement, killing Ibrahim Usama Al Kurbi. Third: Siege and curfew The curfew of the occupied part of Hebron continues, with 40,000 Palestinians being held under curfew for two consecutive weeks, including 12,000 students unable to go to school. The Israeli policy of siege and collective punishment has deprived Palestinians from travelling from one place to another and Muslim pilgrims from travelling to Mecca. LAW Society reiterates the following: 1. Israeli forces are committing increased crimes and using the Israeli war arsenal against unarmed Palestinian civilians. 2. They continue to shell Palestinian residential areas. 3. They continue to use collective punishment against Palestinians and deprive them of their basic human rights. 4. Israeli forces use settlements as bases from which to bomb Palestinian areas LAW demands: 1. The Israeli government to immediately stop its crimes and collective punishment against Palestinians. 2. An international investigation committee to be set up, working according to UN Resolution 1322. 3. The Contracting Parties to the 4th Geneva Convention to ensure Israel’s compliance with the Convention. 4. Palestinians to be placed under international protection. 5. The international community to put an end to these crimes and the Israeli occupation.
LAW – The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment is a non-governmental organisation dedicated to preserving human rights through legal advocacy. LAW is affiliate to the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), Fédération Internationale des Ligues de Droits de l’Homme (FIDH), World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and Member of the Euro- Mediterranean Human Rights Network