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No Internet, No Protests

Israeli Forces Use Violence to Suppress Protestors and Contact with Outside World

Palestinian Human Rights Monitor Group

19 Aug. 2002

The latest trend in the Israeli Armed Forces' fashion of violating human rights is to attack private Palestinian internet providers and attack peaceful international demonstrators. Not only are attacks on journalists increasing, but recently the Israeli Army has been busy attacking and temporarily shutting down the largest Palestinian internet provider as well as using violence to break up peaceful demonstrations in Jerusalem and Ramallah.

On Monday, July 15, at 2 a.m., Israeli Armed Forces broke into PALNET, the internet provider for two-thirds of Palestinian users, taking a PALNET employee as a human shield, detaining all staff members for interrogation. Israeli forces also recklessly destroyed property in nearby offices. Internet service for some 10,000 Palestinians, the only means of communication with the outside world for many civilians trapped in the Occupied Territories, was shut down for twenty-four hours. No explanation was given by the Israeli Forces for this violence upon a private, non-political company. Such action makes it apparent that the Israeli Army believes it will not be held accountable for its actions and needs answer to no one for breaking international laws and violating human rights.

Two days earlier, on July 13, Israeli Armed Forces assaulted international demonstrators who were demonstrating for the right to education of Palestinian students at the offices of al-Quds University in Jerusalem. Participants were beaten with rifle butts and the fists of the soldiers and one woman was assaulted and grabbed by her throat. The demonstration was lawful and peaceful and should not have caused a problem in a country that considers itself a democracy. Using excessive force against civilians without prior warning is not acceptable.

International protestors in Ramallah also faced violence on Tuesday, July 16, as they held a peaceful protest against the continuous curfew imposed upon the Occupied Territories. Soldiers were documented abusing demonstrators by grabbing them by hair, kicking, and using other forms of violence.

PHRMG denounces the violence used by the Israeli Armed Forces who attacked innocent civilians protesting against Israeli human rights violations, as well as the terrorizing of independent Palestinian businesses. Such actions are not acceptable in any democracy. PHRMG urges the international community to pressure Israel to halt the use of violence and intimidation against civilians immediately. PHRMG demands Israel stop using force against civilians.