On 28 September 2004, the fifth anniversary of the current Intifada (uprising), the Mezan Center for Human Rights produced its yearly documentation report "Four Years of Intifada".
In this report the Center documents the Israeli Occupation Forces’ (IOF) violations of Palestinian human rights and the consequences on life and property in the Gaza Strip.
This report previews the IOF's systematic violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and International Law and provides figures and statistics on these violations.
Following are the main areas covered by the report: Incursions in Palestinian areas: IOF carried out 381 incursions into Palestinian areas in the Gaza Strip since 1 January 2003.
In all of these incursions the Center documented acts of murder and destruction.
The excessive use of force: this brought the toll to 1,621 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
179 people were killed in acts of extra-legal assassinations, of whom 53 were identified as “wanted” by the IOF.
The rest were passers-by.
Five international citizens were also killed, including two British, two Egyptians and one American.
Demolition of civilian premises: 5,897 homes were targeted by IOF during the reporting period.
Of these, 2,385 homes were completely demolished while the rest were damaged beyond repair.
Additionally, 1,933 of these homes have been targeted more than once.
There are thousands of other homes that have been lightly damaged and whose fate has gone undocumented by the Center.
Moreover, 221 public facilities were targeted by IOF.
This includes 67 schools, 30 places of worship and 18 NGO offices.
Many of these facilities were also targeted more than once.
Commerce and Industrial facilities: the IOF destroyed 477 commercial businesses and 248 industrial facilities since the beginning of the Intifada.
511 motor vehicles were also damaged and 150 completely destroyed.
Many of these vehicles were used for public transport of people and goods.
Land and water-wells: the IOF leveled an area of 28,292 dunams of cultivated land.
An area of 8,654 dunams was frequently leveled .
Israeli military forces also partly ruined or completely destroyed 243 water-wells in the Gaza Strip.
Three of these wells were used for drinking and the rest for agriculture.
Closures: the report also provides statistics on the internal closures and sieges in the Strip.
The IOF closed Shuhada Street, linking middle Gaza to the northern Gaza Strip for 899 days, and closed the Abu Houli checkpoint, between Khan Younis and Deir Al Balah, for 64 days.
They also closed the main “Erez” crossing in the northern Gaza Strip for 633 days; the Karni crossing for 187 days; the Sufa crossing for 829 days; and the Rafah crossing for 224 days.
The destroyed Gaza International Airport has been closed for 1,385 days over the past four years.
Watchtowers: the IOF built 82 new military posts and watch- towers in the Gaza Strip during this period.
The facts included in this report highlight yet again that the IOF have systematically violated Palestinian human rights and dignity, and perpetrated grave breaches of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) for political gains.
The IOF's collective punishment of civilians, including the destruction of their property, has had an outrageous impact on Palestinian human rights.
A mounting death toll, widespread homelessness, poverty and unemployment, among other things, are all on the increase.
Each time Israel stresses its plan for unilateral disengagement, the Israeli Government –via its military forces- increases pressure on the Palestinian population.
Al Mezan warns of a dangerous Israeli escalation of these acts under the absence of effective intervention from the international community.
The Center calls upon the international community to urgently intervene on behalf of the legitimate rights of Palestinian people, and denounces its silence and inaction as active complicity in Israel’s crimes.