This report covers human rights violations perpetrated by Israeli occupation forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) in the period 14-20 March 2002. According to PCHR¹s documentation, 24 Palestinians, including 21 civilians, were killed and dozens were wounded by Israeli occupation forces. Five of the victims were children under 18.
A Palestinian widow and four children from her family in a powerful explosion last week in al-Boreij refugee camp in the central Gaza strip. At approximately 16:00 on Friday, 15 March, a powerful explosion occurred on a dirt path in an agricultural area 300m from the eastern border of the Gaza strip, near the Wadi (valley) Gaza, outside al-Bureij refugee camp. A widow, three of her children, and her nephew riding together in a donkey cart were killed. A preliminary PCHR investigation has found that Israeli occupying forces were most likely responsible for the explosion. Israeli forces had withdrawn from positions very close to the site of the explosion at approximately 0600 that day and remained nearby at all times, and even fired at bystanders who tried to assist the victims in the immediate aftermath of the explosion. Such a conclusion is not lacking in historical precedent. On 22 November 2001, five Palestinian schoolboys from the same family were killed by an exploding device on a narrow dirt path while walking to school outside Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza. Strip. After an initial denial, Israeli occupying forces later admitted responsibility for the incident, saying that they had placed the bomb to ambush Palestinian gunmen.
In a continuation of the policy of assassination formally adopted by the Israeli government, on Thursday, 14 March, Israeli occupation forces assassinated two Palestinians in Anabta village near Tulkarm.
This week, Israeli forces invaded areas under the control of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) in the Gaza Strip under the cover of intensive shelling. They demolished 25 Palestinian houses and razed large areas of Palestinian agricultural land. They also maintained their control over some Palestinian National Authority controlled areas, including Ramallah, where they killed five Palestinians.
In violation of international humanitarian law, especially the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, Israeli occupation forces attacked Palestinian medical personnel and denied their access to the wounded. They also shelled a hospital in Bethlehem.
This week, two Palestinian civilians were wounded by live bullets fired by Jewish settlers in the West Bank.
Israeli forces tightened the siege imposed on the OPT. Israeli forces separated between Palestinian areas transforming them into Bantustans.