on Ramallah and Al Bireh
killed; civilian homes damaged; other houses occupied including
that of LAW's financial director
Israeli troops continued their attacks on Ramallah, Al Bireh
and the Al Am'ari and Qadura refugee camps, as well as on
surrounding villages. Since the incursion into Ramallah in
the early morning hours of 12 March 2002, Israeli troops have
been shelling residential houses with artillery and ammunition.
Moreover, male residents including children, in particular
those from refugee camps, have been arbitrarily arrested and
subjected to practices that constitute cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment. The men had been asked to gather at schools from
which they were taken to a detention center.
a member of the Force 17, Fu'ad 'Ideili (45), from Ramallah,
was killed by gunshots in the abdomen. According to information
gathered by LAW, 'Ideili was shot when Israeli soldiers stationed
at the Casablanca Hotel opened fire at some members of Palestinian
security services who were standing in the so-called "clock
square", at a distance of about 150 meters from the Casablanca
hotel. Afterwards, Israeli troops hindered Palestinian ambulances
from evacuating the injured. So people carried him by foot
to hospital but he died at the entrance to the hospital.
of civilian homes continued in Ramallah and Al Bireh as well
as in the nearby refugee camps. The following houses sustained
severe damage: · The house of Abdul Mu'ti Abu Srur
· The house of Iyyad Al Haddad · The house of
Muhammad Al Haddad · The house of Ahmad Farahat ·
The house of As'ad Farahat
Palestinian civilian homes continued to be occupied by the
Israeli army and to be turned into military outposts:
Ramallah Secondary Boys' School was turned into a center for
tanks; heavy ammunition was placed on the roof of the school.
A 3-story-residential building located northeast of the Casablanca
Hotel, which belonged to Tayseer Ma'ali and his two brothers,
was also occupied. The three families living there were kept
in one apartment.
A residential building located in the Al Walid Housing, at
the northwestern entrance to Ramallah, was occupied. Five
families of the Al Tirawi clan including the family of Tawfiq
al Tirawi, the head of the Palestinian Intelligence in the
West Bank, live in the building. Thirty persons were kept
in one flat.
Yesterday, at around 10 a.m. Israeli tanks besieged the house
where LAW's financial and administrative director, Nadim Hammoudeh,
lives. A number of soldiers broke into the 3-storey-house
and forced its residents to gather on the ground floor. Four
families consisting of 24 people live in the house. Nadim
Hammoudeh stated that when the soldiers broke into his house
they damaged the windows and furniture in a way not justifiable
by military necessity.
In addition, the Al Sabe building, in the northwest of Al
Am'ari refugee camp, was occupied and five families
consisting of 40 people were captured on the ground floor.
CRISIS IN THE OTs URGENT APPEAL TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY
the most basic principles of international humanitarian law
refers to the obligation of states to ensure access to medical
treatment to any injured person, including evacuation if need
be; protection of civilian hospitals and their staff; medical
transportation and the consignment of medical supplies and
therefore in clear violation of international humanitarian
law, that the Israeli security forces have systematically
obstructed access to medical treatment since the escalation
of assaults, which started with the attacks on Balata refugee
camp on 28 February 2002. A more recent example of violations
of medical neutrality is the situation in Ramallah where access
to medical treatment has been obstructed in a number of ways:
After attacks on medical personnel on ambulances during the
last days, PCRS ambulances decided to coordinate every movement
with the Israeli army; this has led to delays between 30 minutes
and 2 hours. In the case of seriously injured patients, where
time is certainly a critical factor, such delays can cause
the patient's condition to significantly deteriorate.
Despite prior coordination with the Israeli authorities, ambulances
have been shot at. For example, yesterday, at 5.15 p.m., an
ICRC jeep escorting a PRCS ambulance was hit by three bullets.
Since then the PRCS has suspended all movement until the Israeli
authorities guarantee the security of their ambulances. Yesterday
night, the PRCS recorded 19 calls from Ramallah and Al Bireh,
which received no response.
Due to the restrictions of movement and the attacks on medical
personnel and ambulances, injured and dead cannot be evacuated.
For example, yesterday, at around 10 p.m., Shefa Ratha Tawil
(56), a resident in Al Bireh whose house was surrounded by
tanks, had a heart attack. The family called an ambulance
but when it arrived at the scene it was denied passage. At
around 12 p.m., the woman died. Till today 12 o'clock no evacuation
of the corpse had been allowed.
Due to the closures and curfews imposed on Ramallah, hospitals
are cut off from medical supplies and food. For example, Ramallah
Government Hospital said that they urgently needed oxygen
supplies to be allowed into Ramallah. At 3 p.m. today LAW
was assured that UNRWA and the ICRC would be allowed to transport
oxygen, food and water to the hospital. However, hospital
sources told LAW that the amount of oxygen allowed to be supplied
to the hospital today would be consumed in about six hours.
Yesterday, when one of the hospital ambulance drivers, Hani
Hamadi, tried to bring medical supplies and food to the hospital,
his vehicle was shot at and he had to return.
Hospitals have been attacked. For example, tanks shot yesterday
afternoon at the Ramallah Government Hospital destroying the
water pipe system. As a consequence, the hospital suffers
from lack of water since yesterday afternoon. The telephone
lines have also broken down.
From today, 11 a.m., the Israeli army has prohibited the evacuation
of injured to Ramallah Government Hospital, which is the biggest
and most important hospital in town. For this reason, some
patients have had to be taken to the Arab Medical Care Hospital,
which is in the center of town and is less well equipped.
At the time of writing (3.30 p.m.) LAW has received reports
of 32 people injured in Ramallah today alone, 9 of which are
in critical condition.
As the Arab Medical Care Hospital does not have enough surgeons
and medical staff, e.g. anaesthetists, medical staff from
the Ramallah Government Hospital and the Sheikh Zayed Hospital
tried to assist, but were barred by the Israeli army from
entering the Arab Medical Care Hospital.
of the humanitarian crisis in the OPTs including Ramallah
and Al Bireh, LAW urgently requests the intervention of the
international community, in particular the United States of
America and member states of the European Union, in order
to receive guarantees from Israel that access to medical treatment
to all those who need it is not obstructed and that attacks
on hospitals, ambulances and medical personnel cease immediately.
LAW urges the international community to investigate and prosecute
any instances of attacks on ambulances, medical staff and
institutions, which have led to death or serious injury, in
order to determine whether they were deliberate. Any such
deliberate attacks amount to grave breaches
of the Fourth Geneva Convention and are thus war crimes.
Occupation Forces Kill an Italian Journalist 13 March 2002
troops opened tank fire today on Palestinian and foreign journalists
reporting on the latest Israeli offensive in Ramallah and
adjacent refugee camps. Italian freelance journalist Rafaele
Ciriello died when he was hit in the chest and abdomen and
left bleeding for 30 minutes. Israeli troops refrained from
rescuing him and banned ambulances from evacuating him. Palestinians
from Kadura refugee camp risked their lives and carried the
wounded journalist to the Arab Care Hospital in Ramallah where
he passed away. Ciriello was clearly identifiable as a journalist
and was carrying cameras at the time of the attack.
troops also opened fire on 50 Palestinian and foreign reporters
on Tuesday 12 March 2002 staying at the City Inn Palace Hotel
that overlooks Al Amari refugee camp. No casualties were reported
in that incident; however, an ABC camera was destroyed.
of journalists killed during the Intifada has risen to four,
including Jamal Mansoor, Mohammad Al Bishawi, and Othman Katnani.
condemns the brutal killing of the Italian journalist and
reiterates the following: 1. Israeli troops continue to commit
blatant human rights violations against Palestinian and foreign
journalists in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including
individuals involved in fact finding missions, with the aim
of silencing them and terrorizing others. These attacks aim
to conceal Israeli war crimes in the Occupied Palestinian
Territories; 2. Israeli troops use firearms against journalists,
threatening their lives; 3. Israeli occupation forces are
violating the right to freedom of expression; 4. Israeli occupation
authorities have not taken any action to bring Israeli perpetrators
or their superiors to justice;
demands the following: 1. The Israeli government to stop its
crimes and collective punishment against Palestinian and foreign
journalists; 2. An immediate investigation into the killing
of the Italian journalist and the perpetrators brought to
justice; 3. Compliance with the international standards that
protect journalists and allow them to perform their duties
freely; 4. Journalists associations worldwide to act immediately
in order to ensure Israel's compliance with international
conventions and to immediately halt attacks against journalists
reporting in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
TO END THE CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE AND TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION
12 MARCH 2002
MIFTAH and PCHR, today wrote to the EU, US, and other non-EU
members of the international community calling upon them to
take effective action and intervene in the face of the latest,
rapid escalation of attacks by the Israeli occupying forces
against the Palestinian civilian population in the densely
populated refugee camps and other civilian areas throughout
the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israeli occupying forces have
attacked, invaded and placed under siege key Palestinian cities
and adjacent refugee camps in the past few days, including
within and near Tulkarem, Nablus, Jenin, Bethlehem, Beit Jala,
Ramallah, Al Bireh, Qalqilya, Hebron and the Gaza Strip.
highlighted the even more extreme, intensive, Israeli methods
of attacking civilians, that first started at Balata refugee
camp in Nablus on 28 February 2002, but are now being employed
in other refugee camps (including Tulkarem Nur al Shams; Jenin;
Aaza, Aida and Deheisha in Bethlehem; Al Arrob in Hebron;
Khan Younis, Rafah and Jabalya in Gaza), and other civilian
areas. These tactics are being used pursuant to Sharon's "new"
stated policy of "hitting Palestinians hard [until it
is] very painful. We must cause them losses, victims, so that
they feel the heavy price".
tactics used more intensively, include: · Use of heavy
weaponry in intensive strikes, including ground missiles and
tank shells from tanks, missiles from helicopter gunships
and F-16 warplanes, deployment of tanks, armoured personnel
carriers, and heavily armed paratroopers, and use of high
velocity live ammunition; · High numbers of civilian
casualties and fatalities, as a result of the disproportionate
and lethal use of force in contravention of the Fourth Geneva
Convention. Between 28 February 2002 to 10 March 2002 at least
113 killed and 368 injured. Since September 2000 to date 1,160
Palestinians killed and 18,307 injured. · Assassinations
carried out during these operations where arrests or other
means of restraint could have been used. Since November 2000
to 11 March 2002 at least 70 have been assassinated, with
at least 20 bystanders (including 5 children). · Mass
arbitrary arrests of all male Palestinians between age about
14 to about 48 years. The detainees, including children, have
apparently been arbitrarily arrested, and held in detention
camps outside their areas before it is determined whether
they should be held or even questioned for suspected 'terrorist'
activity, contravening their rights against arbitrary arrest
and detention. Since 28 February 2002 to date about 2,200
have apparently been arbitrarily arrested and detained. Cruel,
inhuman and degrading methods used during these mass arrests
have included blindfolding, hand-cuffing, strip-searching
with removal of upper clothing, and writing of numbers on
their arms (reported by the BBC and Ha'aretz, 12 March 2002).
· Extensive destruction of property, wantonly and without
military necessity, with destruction and/or damaging of civilian
homes, workplaces, hospitals, ambulances, fieldclinics, schools,
universities, churches and mosques; key infrastructure including
water pipes/supplies and electricity lines. New methods used
since Balata has included the destruction of all the walls
between adjoining homes as soldiers move from home to home.
Family homes have been blown up or otherwise destroyed by
Israeli forces in situations where they state that 'suspects'
have been in those homes, rather than attempting to enter
and arrest the purported suspects. · Access to vital
services and supplies, such as electricity, water and food
have been restricted or denied altogether, exacerbating the
existing humanitarian crisis in all areas. · Movement
of Palestinian vehicles throughout the West Bank has been
banned since about 8 March 2002, except for those with express
permission. Those traveling without such permission are being
shot on sight without warning. Ambulances are also being attacked
and denied permission to reach injured and sick patients or
move them to hospitals. This ban intensifies the pre-existing
severe restrictions on movement (including the hundreds of
checkpoints; unmanned dirt blockades and trenches, and few
irongates) and siege - that have made access to work, schools,
universities, food and water, and other key humanitarian and
health services severely restricted if not impossible, since
September 2000. · Attacks on paramedics, medical staff
and patients in ambulances, fieldclinics and hospitals have
intensified. Since 28 February 2002 to date it is estimated
that about 6 paramedics have been killed, 12 injured and 5
ambulances totally destroyed, and 10 partially damaged. From
September 2000 to 1 March 2002 the PRCS estimate that about
165 of their ambulances have been attacked with about 69 destroyed
(c. 68% of their fleet); about 122 emergency medical personnel
injured. It is estimated that from September 2000 to 6 March
2002, about 17 medical staff have been killed.
and denial of access to humanitarian assistance and medical
treatment are in violation of international humanitarian law.
Deliberate attacks constituting willful killings or willfully
caused serious injuries committed against the wounded or sick,
or "against those medical or religious personnel, medical
units or medical transports which are under the control of
the adverse Party", constitute grave breaches (i.e. war
crimes) of article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and
article 85, Protocol 1 to the Geneva Conventions. The International
Committee of the Red Cross and PRCS have publicly stated that
all ambulances were clearly marked and were coordinating their
movements closely with the Israeli authorities. Physicians
for Human Rights-Israel lodged a second petition in the Israeli
High Court on 9 March 2002 on the issue of Israeli attacks
on ambulances and prevention of evacuation.
and PCHR have condemned the so-called 'justification' of all
these methods that violate international humanitarian law,
being used on the flimsy pretext of rooting out "terrorists"
and "terrorist bases". The attacks are being used
in effect to punish the entire, defenseless population. Moreover,
so-called security or military purposes cannot justify these
methods employed that constitute violations of international
humanitarian law, in particular where they constitute grave
breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention and Protocol 1 to
the Conventions (i.e. war crimes).
referred to key violations of international humanitarian law
and apparent grave breaches (war crimes) they are documenting
during the course of these operations, including willful killings,
willfully depriving protected persons of rights of fair and
regular trial, disproportionate use of force intended to cause
"great suffering or serious injury to body or health",
as well as "extensive destruction and appropriation of
property, not justified by military necessity and carried
out unlawfully and wantonly."
also referred to other forms of grave breaches (war crimes)
that are being perpetrated as a result of the massive attacks
against the Palestinian civilian population, and through the
denial or restrictions in access to key food, water supplies
and humanitarian aid, including "making of the civilian
population the object of attack", launching of "indiscriminate
attacks affecting the civilian population or civilian objects
in the knowledge that such attacks will cause excessive loss
of life, injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects",
"making non-defended localities and demilitarized zones
the object of attack", making persons the "object
of attack in the knowledge that [they are] hors de combat",
and "making the clearly-recognised historic monuments,
works of art or places of worship which constitute the cultural
or spiritual heritage of peoples and to which special protection
has been given.the object of attack.".
and PCHR have urged the international community to immediately
intervene by: · Undertaking to unequivocally denounce
these brutal actions, in particular the grave breaches of
the Fourth Geneva Convention (i.e. war crimes); · Ensuring
the Israeli occupying power's respect of its obligations by
taking effective measures, in particular economic sanctions
such as the immediate suspension of key trade agreements including
the EU-Israel Association Agreement; · Ending these
grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention (war crimes)
and other serious violations of international humanitarian
law by immediately sending an independent, effective international
protection presence to the area; · Providing an alternative
that is capable of dealing with the core of the problem and
ending the Israeli occupation, illegal settlement policies
and providing refugee rights of return. · Complying
with their own obligations by: o investigating, and bringing
the perpetrators of such war crimes to trial, and by establishing
a War Crimes Tribunal to prosecute such war criminals; and
o ending all aid used to perpetrate such crimes in particular
by ending the supply of all arms used against the Palestinian