LAW Weekly report 21-28 February 2001

(see LAW website; )

In the last week of February, Israeli forces continued to shoot at, beat and abuse unarmed Palestinian civilians, shell Palestinian residential areas and hold Palestinian towns and villages under siege. Israeli soldiers shot dead two Palestinians and killed two others through shelling Palestinian towns, and a woman who was five months pregnant suffered a miscarriage due to tear gas inhalation. First: Violating the right to life and security of person 1. Deaths · 21 year-old Ra’id Musa from Al Khader near Bethlehem died in the afternoon of Friday 23 February after being shot in the chest from a distance of 100 metres when Israeli soldiers broke into the western entrance to Al Khader and opened fired at a group of Palestinian civilians holding a peaceful protest. · 44-year-old Mohammad Jalad was shot in the head and killed on February 25 by Israeli soldiers stationed southwest of Tulkarem. Eyewitness Mazin Abu Zaru (20) from Tulkarem stated to LAW that he had seen Jalad sitting in his car talking to a bystander: “Suddenly I heard gunfire. Jalad, who had been reversing his car, was shot in the head and his car went into a wall. I rushed towards his car and opened the door; a bullet hit me in the right hand and another hit Jalad in the shoulder. The bullets were fired from a distance of three hundred metres.” The Israeli soldiers then also fired at the ambulance that came to Jalad’s aid. Amar Al Jary, a paramedic for the Tulkarem Palestinian Red Crescent Society, told LAW that he, Udai Jalad and Jamal Balayta had gone at 7:25 pm to the place where Jalad was shot. When they arrived, Israeli soldiers opened fire at the ambulance, hitting it twice. · On February 26, 15 year-old Husam Al Disi from Samir Amees near Jerusalem died after being shot four times with one bullet in the chest and three in the back. Eyewitness Tha’ir Kisbah (18) from Qalandia refugee camp told LAW that violent clashes had broken out at 9am between Palestinians and the Israeli soldiers stationed by Jerusalem Airport. The soldiers fired teargas and rubber-coated steel bullets at the crowd, until 2:30 pm when they began firing live ammunition. At 3:30pm Al Disi fell on the ground, although no gunfire was heard at that moment, and it became obvious that he had been shot in the chest by a sniper with a silencer on his gun. He was taken to Ramallah State Hospital but pronounced dead on arrival. On the way to hospital, it was observed that Al Disi had also been shot three times in the back. Tha’ir Kisbah added that he had seen Israeli reinforcements arriving and a sniper climbing a tower approximately one hundred metres from the place where Al Disi fell. · On February 27 at 9:10 pm, 53 year-old Na’em Al Kaisi from Al Balo’a in Al Bireh died during the violent Israeli shelling of some residential and commercial areas in the city. According to LAW’s documentation, the shelling of Al Kaisi’s house forced his family of 13 down from the third floor to the ground floor to seek protection. Two shells hit the second floor and began a fire, which Al Kaisi went up to extinguish. While he was in the kitchen the soldiers fired another shell, which directly hit Al Kaisi, blowing him into pieces. He died instantly. Another shell hit the third floor of Al Kaisi’s house burning the furniture and causing extensive damage. 2. Injuries Based on LAW’s documentation, at 4pm on Thursday 22 February clashes between Palestinian civilians and Israeli forces broke out in the Palestinian town of Ya’bad near Jenin. Israeli soldiers randomly fired teargas at the houses of the village, two of which landed at the home of Samir Hamarsha, two hundred metres from the clashes. Three of his children; Mohammad (10), Mansour (12) and Sajida (6) suffered severe teargas inhalation and fainted. When their mother, five months pregnant Wafa’a Hamarsha (35), rushed to their rescue, she also suffered teargas inhalation and fell to the ground. Hamarsha’s two oldest daughters, Abrar (15) and Haneen (14), called an ambulance that took Wafa’a to Jenin State Hospital. Unfortunately, doctors were unable to save her unborn baby. 30 year-old Majida Dabour, seven months pregnant, was also wounded in the incident, but miraculously escaped miscarriage. However, the teargas she inhaled still causes her severe headaches, chest pains and nausea. In the Gaza Strip, Israeli soldiers stationed at Al Mintar (Karney) crossing opened fire at a group of Palestinian demonstrators in the evening of Thursday 22 February, wounding the following people: 1. Eed Ja’ror (15) from Al Rimal quarter, shot in the chest 2. Nidal Khalil (14) from Al Shati’ refugee camp, shot in the left hand 3. Abdul Rahman Daban (13) from Sabra quarter, shot in the right shoulder On Friday 23 February, Palestinian demonstrators clashed with Israeli soldiers at the northern entrance to Al Bireh. They later opened fire at the unarmed Palestinian demonstrators, wounding 66, of whom 6 were hit by live bullets, 49 by rubber-coated metal bullets and the rest suffered teargas inhalation. LAW documented the following injuries: 1. Ahmad Mustafa (20) from Jalazone refugee camp was shot in the buttocks while travelling home. He is currently in intensive care 2. Kasim Kasim (22), also from Jalazone, was shot in the left leg 3. Ma’moun Abu Shama (22), also from Jalazone, was shot in the right hand 4. Iyad Kabani (18) from Dahyet Al Bareed was shot in the left thigh 5. Adel Yihya (40) from Al Bireh was shot in the right hand and hit in the face by shrapnel 6. Fouad Al Ja’bari (16) from Al Bireh was hit in the chest by a rubber-coated steel bullet 7. Amer Shkukani (24), also from Al Bireh, was hit in the right leg by shrapnel and in the mouth by a rubber-coated steel bullet 8. French photojournalist Marc Singer was hit in the shoulder by a rubber-coated steel bullet 9. Members and volunteers of the Red Crescent and Medical Relief Committees were also wounded, including: · Nadir Adel (17), hit by a rubber-coated steel bullet in the left thigh · Tarek Abed (24), hit in the chest and head by rubber-coated steel bullets · Ahlam Nasir (24), hit by a rubber-coated steel bullet in the waist · Niza faroun (21), hit by a rubber-coated steel bullet in the right shoulder · Wisam Hamouda (18), hit by a rubber-coated steel bullet in the left hand LAW’s researchers reported that 15 people were injured in the first 30 minutes of the clashes. On the same day (Friday 23) in a separate incident in Qalqilia, 17 year-old Jamal Kabalan was hit in the left leg by a rubber-coated steel bullet. In Gaza, Israeli forces stationed at Al Mintar wounded the following four Palestinians: 1. Wajdi Saleem (14) from Al Shajaiyi was shot in the face 2. Ahmad Al Sarseek (14) from Al Shajaiyi was shot in the right shoulder 3. Eed Ayad (24) from Al Zautun was shot in the back 4. Rizik Abu Nofal (17) from Al Sheikh Radwan was shot in the right thigh Also in Gaza, Israeli soldiers at Netsarim junction shot 16 year-old Ismail Hamdan in the left thigh, and hit 12 year-old Tamir Al Dayim in the head with a rubber-coated steel bullet. In Rafah, Israeli soldiers shelled Taha Hussein Basic School in Al Barazeel quarter on Saturday, wounding Mohammad Kishta in the right foot. On Sunday, Hani Saleet (24) from Tulkarem refugee camp was wounded when an explosive device left by the Israeli army went off. Saleet told LAW that he was with a group of friends in Sahil Shwaika gathering wood for a fire when he saw a metal ball with a pipe attached to it. When he touched it, it exploded, taking off two fingers from his left hand. Shrapnel also wounded his neck, face and right hand. Saleet stated that there was nothing written on the explosive device and that he had found it in a place frequented by Israeli soldiers. On the same day, Israeli soldiers at Al Mintar shot 14 year-old Faraj Atallah in the waist. The following Palestinians protesters were wounded on 26 February when Israeli forces broke into the village of Deir Nitham, west of Ramallah: 1. Ali Mustafa (21) suffered a broken rib when he was hit by a rubber-coated steel bullet. He was taken to hospital in Nablus, as the Israeli siege made it impossible for him to reach Ramallah hospital. 2. Ala Hussein (17) was hit in the shoulder by a rubber-coated steel bullet 3. Mohammad Abdul Kareem (12) was hit in the right leg by a rubber-coated steel bullet 4. Sakir Al Fakhir (39) was hit in the right thigh by a rubber-coated steel bullet 5. Bilal Mas’ad (16) was hit in the left foot by a rubber-coated steel bullet 6. Nimir Salih (26) was hit in the back by a rubber-coated steel bullet 7. Jameel Mas’ad (17) hit in the right thigh by a rubber-coated steel bullet Five Palestinian children were wounded on the same day near Jerusalem Airport: 1. Ahmad Abu Rmaili (13) was hit by a rubber-coated steel bullet in the right thigh 2. Yusif Al Khateeb (14) was shot in the chin, the left hand and the right thigh 3. Mohammad Al Khateeb (11) was hit by a rubber-coated steel bullet in the right thigh 4. Mahmoud Abu Lateefa (12) was hit by a rubber-coated steel bullet in the right thigh 5. Tarek Al Rajbe (15) hit by two rubber-coated steel bullets in the back Thirteen other children suffered teargas inhalation. On the same day (Monday February 26), Israeli forces stationed near Rafah deliberately opened fire at Al Nur Mosque in Al Salam quarter, wounding 15 year-old Mustafa Al Luka in the right arm and the chest. The following afternoon, Israeli forces in Al Mintar shot 14 year-old Mahmoud Halas from Al Shajaiyi in the head. The shooting was unprovoked and without warning; Halas is now in a critical condition. In another attempt to break into Deir Nitham on Tuesday, Israeli soldiers opened fire and critically wounded the following Palestinians: 1. Ramzi Al Tamimi (18) was shot in the stomach from a distance of only 20 metres 2. Fadi Mas’ad (16) was shot in the stomach 3. Diya Al Tamimi (18) was shot three times in the legs 4. Amjad Mizhir (12) was hit in the head with a metal bullet 5. Mohammad Yihya (11) was hit in the back with a metal bullet 6. Ahmad Al Tamimi (14) was hit in the shoulder with a metal bullet On Wednesday, Israeli forces near Khan Yunis opened fire at the village of Abasan Al Kubra and shot Fatima Abu Salah (5) in the left foot while she was on her way to Khaleel Al Rahman kindergarten. Second: Shelling In the evening of Thursday 22 February, Israeli forces stationed at eight military outposts in the ‘Nitsar Hazatni’ settlement south of Rafah shelled Al Bar’a area of Deir Al Balah, which is only 400 metres away. The shelling destroyed Deir Al Balah Vocational School, Abdullah Iben Rawaha Basic Girls School, and the two-story house of Yusif Abu Shamas. On Friday, Israeli forces stationed around ‘Netsarim’ settlement shelled Gaza’s water desalination plant 500 metres away, breaking the pipelines and creating holes in the walls. That was the fifth time Israeli forces have shelled the plant. Israeli soldiers stationed opposite Saladin Gate in Rafah opened fire and shot 17 year-old Talal Abu Areeda in the head as he stood next to his store 1,200 metres from the Israeli military outpost. He is in a critical condition. On Friday afternoon Israeli forces stationed at ‘Dogeet’ and ‘Ali Sinai’ settlements west of Beit Lahia in the Gaza Strip shelled two outposts for the Palestinian National Security Forces, completely destroying one of them and severely damaging the other. Israeli forces in Bet El shelled the residential area north of Al Bireh, wounding Mamoun Abu Shama in the left hand. On Friday evening, Israeli forces in ‘Psagot’ settlement renewed the shelling of Al Bireh. The shelling went as far as Kadura refugee camp, wounding 15 year-old Mohammad Al Roum as he sat inside his home. The boy is now in a critical condition. On Tuesday February 27, Israeli forces shelled Ramallah and Al Bireh again. Information gathered by LAW Society indicates that Israeli forces in Bet El and the northern entrance to Al Bireh violently shelled the area between 6:30 and 11pm. The affected areas included the middle of Al Bireh, Al Irsal, as well as Al Baloa’a. Israeli forces in ‘Psagot’ settlement shelled Al Jinan quarter, Al Hashimi Street, the cemetery and the area around the Grand Park Hotel, destroying the office of the Minister of Local Governance and the houses of the following Palestinians: · Fawzi Alees (58): The shelling hit water tanks and burned the carpet · Khamees Abu Abeed (50): The shelling destroyed the satellite dish, water tanks and windows · Khalid Taleb (55): The shelling destroyed three windows and a water tank · The shelling hit a block of apartments destroying the property of Omar Al Tahan (28) and Hanan Karoush (30). Al Burj area in the Palestinian town of Silwad near Ramallah was shelled at the same time from Israeli military outposts near the area’s bypass road, damaging many houses in the town. Third: Siege & Curfew The Israeli policy of siege and collective punishment deprived eleven Palestinian pilgrims from crossing the Rafah border on February 24. The pilgrims were family members of some of those who have been killed during the current Intifada. The Israeli forces continue to impose a strict arbitrary military siege over the entire Palestinian territories. On Monday 26 February, Israeli forces in Al Almaniya quarter in Jenin prevented two ICRC vehicles carrying food supplies to the eastern villages of Jenin from crossing a checkpoint. The two vehicles were traveling to the people. The Israeli soldiers reportedly held the vehicles and the ICRC staff from 9am until 12 midday, finally, the ICRC crew had to take a mountainous road to reach the Palestinian villages. Israeli forces imposed a curfew on Rafat late Tuesday night under the pretext that the vehicles of two Israeli settlers had been shot at from the village. The town is still under curfew. 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 5. Israeli settlers, aided by Israeli forces, still assault Palestinian civilians 6. The international community, its organizations, and the High Contracting Parties of the 4th Geneva Convention have so far failed to take action to ensure Israel’s compliance with the international resolutions and the Convention 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. 6. The international community to investigate the killing of Palestinians by Israeli soldiers. The investigation shall be in compliance with Article 146 of the 4th Geneva Convention, which stipulates “The High Contracting Parties undertake to enact any legislation necessary to provide effective penal sanctions for persons committing, or ordering to be committed, any of the grave breaches of the present Convention…” 7. The Security Council to set up an international war crime tribunal to bring the Israeli war criminals and those in charge of them to justice.

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

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