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The Israeli occupation forces tighten their siege on the Occupied Palestinian Territories, launch air raids and invade Jenin and Rafah refugee camps

04-03-2002 00:00

The Israeli occupation forces have tightened their siege imposed upon the Occupied Palestinian Territories and invaded Rafah refugee camp and Jenin refugee camp, which has already been subject to frequent Israeli invasions.
These forces have also shelled several Palestinian Authority installations in Ramallah, Qalqilia, Seifit and Bethlehem in the West Bank and in Gaza City.
These attacks have inflicted the majority of deaths, injuries and loss of property upon innocent civilians in flagrant disregard for international laws and norms.
At approximately 12:40am Monday, 4 March, 2002, 17 Israeli tanks and three military bulldozers entered the Rafah refugee camp in Block J.
They intensively fired on the area as Israeli soldiers broke into four houses owned by Yihia Hasan Khalil al-Masri, Ibrahim Hasan Khalil al-Masri,Ayub al-Akhras and Faluji Udih Faluji al-Agha, and turned them into watchtowers so they may shoot at Palestinians during the incursion.
They bulldozed four houses, most of which have been targeted previously.
The four bulldozed houmes belonged to Sulaiman Barhum, Jihad Jazzaa Jadu’ as-Sufi, Ahmad Hamdan as-Sufi and As’ad Hasan Khalil al-Masri.
They have also bulldozed the Palestinian National Security Forces Salah ad-Din checkpoint.
As a result of arbitrary Israeli shooting during this attack, three Palestinians were killed, they are: Ahmad Yusif Ihmid as-Sufi, 24 who died from a live bullet in the head, Ibrahim Ali Barhum, 42 who died from a live bullet in the head, and Sabir Fakhri Samih Abu Libdih, 30 who died from a live bullet in the chest.
Barhum died after being left to bleed near his house, which is located near the borderline between Rafah and Egypt, for several hours as the Israeli forces prevented ambulances from providing medical assistance to him.
The Israeli soldiers opened fire on a Palestinian ambulance when it tried to reach him.
The Israeli military operation ended after four hours and the Israeli forces withdrew at approximately 05:00 in the morning.
It is worth noting that this unexpected attack was not precipitated by any clashes between the Israeli occupation forces and Palestinians and that the Israeli army said that the operation aimed to search for tunnels between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.
This is a claim to which the Israeli military has consistently failed to provide evidence for justifying.
At the same time the occupation forces invaded Jenin Refugee camp north of the West Bank, which had been subject to a sweeping Israeli military operation during the previous week.
Some 40 Israeli tanks entered Jenin refugee camp from four directions under air cover and heavy gunfire.
Many houses were damaged in Jenin by erratic Israeli shooting.
Moreover, Israeli soldiers broke into many houses and used them into watchtowers after they sequestered families into one room.
The Israeli forces have also bulldozed the western cemetery near Jenin refugee camp in which many of the Palestinians killed by Israeli forces during the current Intifada are buried.
Reports attest that Jenin refugee camp suffers a dangerous shortage of food and energy supplies due to the siege and frequent Israeli invasions.
On 3 March 2002, the Israeli forces stationed in Bzagot settlement bombarded a Palestinian security point in al-Am’ary refugee camp near Ramallah.
Amir Zaki Amir, a 21-year-old policeman from Khan Yunis, was killed and 18 others were wounded as a result.
The Israeli tanks shelled a Palestinian Military Intelligence point with mortars and heavy machineguns the same day killing two persons, Khalid Swilih, 21, from Rafah refugee camp and Islam Sadiq Shawahni, from Qalqilia, and wounding another one.
Moreover, Israeli tanks bombarded another Palestinian Military Intelligence point in the West Bank town of Selfit.
Abdullah Salim Thabit, 22 years old from al-Maghazi refugee camp in Gaza was killed after a tank shell hit him directly.
Four other Palestinians were also wounded in this attack.
  In a separate incident, Israeli helicopter gunships shelled the PA headquarters in Bethlehem on Sunday 3 March 2002 with guided missiles.
Several buildings in the HQ and a nearby workshop, owned by Alfred and Johnny Atiq were destroyed.
At approximately 9:00pm Sunday 3 March 2002 the Israeli occupation forces divided the Gaza Strip into three isolated parts and announced that they were going to tighten their siege on the Occupied Palestinian Territories, which has been in effect since 9 October 2000.
This essentially denies the entire population of Gaza the freedom of movement among PA territories, cutting off friends and family and preventing many from tending to daily business and work.
Furthermore, the Israeli military closed Rafah passage, but reopened it Monday morning.
It is worth noting that the Israeli forces have been bulldozing agricultural land by Nezarim road, south of Gaza City through to the present.
Al-Mezan is aware that the families of Ashur, al-Mashharawi and Dalul’s lands and a marble factory have been bulldozed.
Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights is gravely concerned by the continued targeting of Palestinian civilians and their property with excessive lethal force by the Israeli military in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
As such, the Center continues to condemn the crimes committed by the Israeli occupation forces.
Al-Mezan believes that the silence of the International Community in the face of such crimes and violations of International Law serves only to encourage the Israeli forces to perpetuate their activities.
To this point in time, the International Community has failed to apply judicious standards to the situation faced by Palestinians and urgent action is required to prevent further loss of life and property.
Al-Mezan calls for the International Community to intervene immediately, providing protection to Palestinian civilians and to end the illegal Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories.

Tags / #incursion