[News] Anniversary of the al-Aqsa Intifada - Six Years of Israeli Aggression

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Sep 29 11:50:12 EDT 2006


(Gaza City) PCHR
Friday, 29 September 2006

"A Special Issue on the 6th Anniversary of the al-Aqsa Intifada

Six Years of Israeli Aggression on the OPT; IOF 
Commit Unprecedented War Crimes against Palestinian Civilians and Property

This report coincides with the 6th anniversary of 
the eruption of the al-Aqsa Intifada, which broke 
out following the former Israeli Prime Minister 
Ariel Sharon’s provocative visit to al-Aqsa 
Mosque (the Holy Sanctuary) in occupied 
Jerusalem.  Over the last 6 years, Israeli 
Occupation Forces (IOF) have perpetrated grave 
breaches of international law, including war 
crimes, against Palestinian civilians, in a 
manner unprecedented since 1967.  The 6th year of 
the Intifada witnessed an increasing escalation 
in Israeli war crimes as the international 
community remained silent and the High 
Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva 
Convention of 1949 failed to meet their 
obligations to ensure respect for the Convention 
in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and 
provide protection for Palestinian 
civilians.  The international silence has served 
to encourage the Israeli government and its 
occupation forces to perpetrate more war crimes 
with impunity against Palestinian 
civilians.  Over the last 12 months, IOF have 
stepped up illegal operations in the OPT, 
especially in the Gaza Strip. The number of 
Palestinian civilians killed by IOF in the Gaza 
Strip in the second half of the year reminds of 
the numbers of civilians killed by IOF in the 
West Bank during the Operation Defensive Shield in spring 2002.

In the 6th year of the Intifada, 504 
Palestinians, including 398 civilians (79%) have 
killed by IOF. The number of civilian victims 
includes 93 children (23%) and 14 women (3.5%). 
According to PCHR's documentation, 138 
Palestinians have been extra-judicially executed 
by IOF (34.5% of the total number of civilian 
victims). This number includes 90 targeted 
persons and 48 civilian bystanders, including 23 children.

By the end of the 6th year of the al-Aqsa 
Intifada, 3859 Palestinians, including 3069 
civilians (79.5%), have been killed. According to 
PCHR's documentation, 585 Palestinians have been 
extra-judicially executed by IOF (19% of the 
total number of civilian victims). This number 
includes 376 targeted persons and 209 civilian 
bystanders, including 71 children.

Contrary to claims by IOF that they withdrew from 
the Gaza Strip in September 2005, which PCHR 
viewed as a form of redeployment, IOF waged an 
open war on the Gaza Strip after Palestinian 
resistance activists had killed two IOF soldiers 
and captured a third on 25 June 2006. This wide 
scale military campaign named “Operation Summer 
Rains” is still ongoing. Since the beginning of 
this campaign, 237 Palestinian, including 147 
civilians, have been killed by IOF in the Gaza 
Strip. The number of civilian victims includes 53 
children and 13 women. In addition, 821 
Palestinians, mostly civilians, including 220 
children and 35 women, have been wounded.

According to PCHR’s documentation, IOF have fired 
at least 260 air-to-surface missiles and hundreds 
of artillery shells at targets, mostly civilian 
ones, in the Gaza Strip. Buildings of the 
Palestinian Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of 
Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of National 
economy, the office of the Palestinian Prime 
Minister and a number of educational institutions 
have been destroyed. The electricity generation 
plant, providing 45% of the electricity of the 
Gaza Strip, was destroyed, and electricity 
networks and transmitters have been repeatedly 
attacked. Six bridges linking Gaza City with the 
central Gaza Strip and a number of roads have 
been destroyed. IOF have also destroyed hundreds 
of donums[1] of agricultural land and dozens of 
houses have been destroyed.  The Palestinian 
governmental compound in Nablus has been 
destroyed. Many families in the Gaza Strip have 
been forced to leave their houses. IOF warplanes 
have destroyed 44 houses belonging to activists of Palestinian factions.

In the 6th year of the Intifada, IOF continued to 
shell Palestinian residential areas.  Complete 
families were killed or wounded by the IOF 
shelling. For instance, on 9 June 2006, IOF 
killed ‘Alai Ghalia, his wife and 5 of the their 
children. On 12 July 2006, IOF killed Nabeel Abu 
Silmiya, his wife and 7 of their children. IOF 
have employed warplanes to extra-judicially 
executed Palestinian in densely populated areas, 
rendering casualties among Palestinian civilians, 
especially children. Furthermore, IOF have 
adopted a new policy since 23 July 2006, under 
which they warn Palestinian civilians that their 
houses would be attacked, a very short period 
that does not exceed an hour prior to the actual 
attack. IOF often claim that weapons are stored 
in these houses or that tunnels are dug under them to smuggle weapons.

In the West Bank, IOF continued to construct the 
annexation wall inside the West Bank territory, 
in violation of international law and 
humanitarian law, and the advisory opinion issued 
by the International Court of Justice in Hague, 
which considered the construction of the wall 
illegal and called for its dismantlement.

In an attempt to undermine the results of the 
Palestinian elections, which were held on 25 
January 2006, IOF waged an arrest campaign 
against members of the Palestinian Legislative 
Council (PLC) representing the Change and Reform 
Bloc affiliated to Hamas and cabinet ministers. 
IOF arrested 31 PLC members, including the 
Speaker, Deputy Speaker and the Secretary. The 
PLC Deputy Speaker was released later. In 
addition, IOF arrested 8 ministers, including the 
Deputy Prime Minister. Three ministers, including 
the Deputy Prime Minister, were released later, 
while the others have been kept in custody.

On 14 March 2006, IOF completed initiated a 
large-scale military operation that imed to 
apprehend Ahmad Sa’adat, the Secretary-General of 
the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine 
(PFLP) and the elected member of the PLC, a 
number of PFLP activists charged with 
assassinating Rehavam Ze’vi (Israeli ex-Minister 
of Tourism), and Major General Fuad al-Shobaki, a 
member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council who is 
charged with smuggling the Karen A arms shipment. 
This operation was initiated 15 minutes after the 
sudden withdrawal of American and British 
monitors charged with guarding Sa;adat, in 
accordance with an agreement, drafted mainly by 
the United States. Israeli, American, and British 
officials attempted to deny any prior 
coordination between them. However, the Israeli 
Defense Minister, Shaul Mofaz, said in statements 
to Haaretz newspaper after the operation that 
Israel knew before hand about the time of the 
monitors’ withdrawal from Jericho prison. 
Further, he stated that the army had been 
preparing for over a week to storm the prison and 
kidnap the prisoners. PCHR had previously 
stressed that no party, whether the IOF, 
Palestinian National Authority, or international 
community, has the right to formulate an 
agreement that violates International 
Humanitarian Law. This position was stated in 
reference to the agreement regarding Sa’adat’s 
detention in Jericho prison (refer to the PCHR’s 
press release dated 4 June 2002). Thus, PCHR 
raises question over the international 
community’s role in enforcing past and future 
agreements to which Israel is a party.

Israeli military actions have violated the 
political, civil, economic, social and cultural 
rights of Palestinian civilians.

The six years of the al-Aqsa Intifada have been 
characterized by the following Israeli military attacks:

·      Prolonged Incursions and redeployment into 
Palestinian Authority controlled areas.

·      Massive killings and destruction of houses and civilian property.

·      Extra-judicial executions against 
Palestinian activists and political leaders, the 
most significant of which targeted Sheikh Ahmed 
Yassin, the founder and leader of Hamas, and his 
successor, Dr. ‘Abdul ‘Aziz al-Rantissi.

·      Destruction of the Palestinian economy and 
the structure of the Palestinian Authority 
through the destruction of civil and security facilities.

·      Using  Palestinian civilians as human 
shields during military operations in the OPT.

·      Closing Rafah International Crossing Point 
and other border crossings of the Gaza Strip.

·      Chasing fishermen and depriving them of their sources of income.

·      Storming Jericho Prison and arresting senior political leaders.

·      Humiliation of Palestinian at military checkpoints.

·      Deportation of a number of Palestinian activists.

·      Continued construction of the annexation 
wall inside the West Bank territory, in a 
challenge for the advisory opinion issued by the 
International Court of Justice, which considered 
the construction of the wall illegal.

·      Wilful killing of Palestinian civilians.

·      Indiscriminate shelling of Palestinian 
civilian residential areas using various forms of 
weaponry, including warplanes, tanks and machine guns.

·      Collective punishment of Palestinian 
civilians, denying them their basic human rights, 
including the rights of health, education, 
freedom of movement and work, through imposing a tightened siege on the OPT.

·      Transformation of Qalandya checkpoint into 
an international border crossing between the West Bank and Israel.

·      Arbitrary arrests and placing Palestinians in administrative detention.

·      Closure of a number of charitable societies in the West Bank.

·      Systematic attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians.

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