Israeli forces continue assault on Palestinian civilians, medical personnel and journalists {01}

John Cox hazel_motes52 at
Tue Apr 2 09:09:38 MST 2002

Israeli forces continue assault on Palestinian civilians, medical
personnel and journalists
April 2, 2002

For the fifth consecutive day Israeli war against all Palestinians living
in the Occupied Palestinian Territories continues. The situation on the
ground is deteriorating by the minute. Despite repeated calls for
international intervention, the international community continues to give
Israeli forces a green light to commit further grave breaches of
international humanitarian law, war crimes, and other violations of human
rights. Paramedics, journalists and human rights defenders face
difficulty in performing their jobs due to Israeli assaults on any moving
object and various restrictions. Israeli forces continue assaults on
residents in Ramallah, El-Bireh, Beit Jala, Bethlehem, Tulkarem and
Qalqiliya. Israeli forces are reinforced to enter Nablus, Jenin and
Hebron. At this moment, Ramallah is facing a humanitarian crisis, lacking
water, food, and medicines.

Israeli forces continue to prevent paramedics from evacuating the injured
and in many cases the injured are left in the streets. Israeli soldiers
have confiscated ambulances belonging to the Palestinian Red Crescent
Society and the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees as well as
public medical institutions and used them in house-to-house raids and
assaults on Palestinian civilians.

Hours ago, Israeli tanks shelled St. Mary Church in Bethlehem, killing
Father Jack (54) and injuring five sisters.

Last night, Israeli forces started shelling the headquarters of the
Palestinian Preventive Security Forces in Betunia, southwest of Ramallah.
Eyewitnesses stated to LAW that Israeli forces use Palestinian civilians
as human shields in the raid. The headquarter, currently, has
approximately four hundred persons inside, including staff, detainees and
families. Dozens have been killed and injured, however, Israeli forces
prevent ambulances from reaching the injured and evacuate bodies.

The total number of Palestinians killed is yet unknown. Sources at
Ramallah hospital have reported that twenty five dead bodies have so far
been brought to the hospital, awaiting burial. The sources also warned of
a humanitarian, health and environmental disaster due to Israeli forces
preventing the burial of killed persons. The mortuary of the hospital
does not have more capacity.

Today, when Widad Hamad Safran (45) from Kadoura refugee camp went to
Ramallah hospital to have a cask removed from her previously broken leg,
she was shot and killed twenty meters from the hospital by Israeli
snipers who have been positioned in al-Ramouni building. A bullet hit her
shoulder and entered her heart. Israeli soldiers prevented Italian
observers from providing aid. Israeli soldiers have occupied the building
since yesterday. The building hosts the Union of Medical Relief
Committees, the Mandela Institute, and some residential apartments.
Yesterday, Israeli forces entered the office of the human rights
organization al-Haq and the Health Development Information and Policy

An eye-witness, Marleen Anqous, who lives in the Ramouni building, saw
the Israeli soldiers evacuating women and children from the building to
Undsam restaurant, which is located opposite the building and the men
were brought to al-Odeh Hotel. The eye-witness told LAW that she saw an
explosion on the second floor of the building. Another eye-witness, Amin
Anabi, saw Israeli soldiers arresting Dr. Muhammad Iskafi, from the
Medical Relief Committees, who was previously arrested on Saturday, March
30, and have used the doctor as a human shield to enter another building.

Leila Hussain Aruri, from Ramallah, who suffers from diabetes, yesterday,
received insulin from a paramedic. However, since there has been no
electricity in her home, she could not take the medication. She lost her
conscience and if she doesn't receive medication in time, she will die.

This morning, at 11.00, Andre Durand, a journalist who works for Agence
France Press, together with `Ata Awisat who is a reporter for Gama News,
were stopped by Israeli soldiers in Beitunia. After two hours they
released the French journalist. `Ata Awisat is still being held.
Yesterday, Abas al-Moumani, a photojournalist, who works for Agence
France Presse, was driving his car, which has been clearly marked
with ``TV'', at Manari, the main square in the center of Ramallah. Israeli
soldiers opened fire at his car and a live bullet hit the mirror inside
the car. The driver was not hurt. The car was stopped and Israeli
soldiers confiscated Moumani's camera. They forced him to put his hands
behind his head and left him standing for three hours, after which they
returned his camera and ordered him to leave the area.

LAW - The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the
Environment has repeatedly called for international protection and
intervention. If states fail to take immediate actions, these states
facilitate, if not encourage, Israel's ongoing violations of
international law, including war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

The international community, in particular, the European Union, must now
take effective and concrete action, in accordance with its legal
obligations under international humanitarian law, to ensure that Israel's
military offensive against Palestinian civilians is halted immediately
and that those responsible for the perpetration of war crimes, and other
gross violations of international law, are sought and prosecuted in
accordance with international law. Clearly, sporadic condemnations by
various states of individual violations of international law are wholly
insufficient, and clearly increasingly ineffective. As Israel continues
to ignore the criticisms and calls of the international community,
including the European Union, clearly effective pressure must be applied,
and actions must be taken and taken immediately.

LAW - The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the
Environment is a non-governmental organisation dedicated to preserving
human rights through legal advocacy. LAW is affiliate to the
International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), the Federation Internationale
des Ligues de Droits de l'Homme (FIDH) and the World Organisation
Organisation Against Torture (OMCT).

LAW - The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the
Environment, PO Box 20873, Jerusalem, tel. +972-2-5833530, fax. +972-2-
5833317, email: law at, web:

John Cox
Chapel Hill, NC
This week in history:
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