The Guardian April 24, 2002


Systematic abuse and destruction

The following, are a few examples of the many human rights violations 
carried out in the Occupied Territories. The information comes from human 
rights organisations via the Israeli peace organisation Gush Shalom, and 
does not necessarily reflect the worst of the human rights violations being 
perpetrated.

* April 15, at around noon, 12-year-old Qossay Abu 'Aisha was playing in 
his yard in 'Askar neighbourhood in Nablus. The yard is surrounded by a 
two-metre high tin fence. Soldiers who were passing by, opened fire into 
the yard. Abu 'Aisha was hit by two bullets that penetrated the tin fence. 
He died instantly. His father, Farh Abu 'Aisha called the Red Crscent for 
an ambulance. It arrived two hours later. The crew pronounced the child 
dead.(Source: B'Tselem*)

* April 14 the curfew in Nablus was lifted between 2:00 and 6:00 pm.40-
year-old Mustafa 'Antar, married and father of four from A-Dahiya 
neighbourhood went to visit his father and then bought some food supplies. 
'Anbar shared a taxi home with three other people.

At 5:00pm, a group of soldiers passing by opened fire at the taxi. 'Antar 
was hit in the neck and taken to Rafidia hospital in Nablus where he is 
currently receiving treatment. According to his doctors, the injury will 
cause partial paralysis. (Source: B'Tselem)

* On Friday, April 5, Tahani 'Ali 'Asad Fatouh, a pharmacist from Al Msakan 
Ash Sha'abiya in Nablus District began having labour pains. Her husband, Dr 
Ghassan 'Ali Nashat Sha'ar called an ambulance to take his seven months 
pregnant wife to hospital. Due to the curfew imposed on the area, the 
ambulance could not make it to the house and Dr Sha'ar had to deliver the 
baby with the help of his neighbour, Dr Sulfeh.

The delivery went smoothly. While the delivery was taking place, the 
ambulance crew tried to reach the couple's home, as the newborn had to be 
placed in an incubator. All attempts failed.

Some 30 minutes after the birth, the baby's health started to deteriorate. 
Dr Sha'ar managed to resuscitate his son twice. On the third attempt, the 
baby died.

Tahani Fatouh became pregnant after four years of fertility treatments. The 
hospital is only two kilometres away from the couple's home. (Source: 
B'Tselem)

* Dr H H, a general practitioner from Bethlehem and her husband, Dr H, a 
gynaecologist share a clinic. Last night Dr H H received a telephone call 
informing her that IDF [Israeli Defence Forces]soldiers had broken into the 
clinic.

The Al Madabsa area, where the clinic is located, had been under constant 
curfew, which began when the IDF entered the city.

When the curfew was lifted for a few hours for the first time, Dr H H 
rushed to the clinic and discovered extensive damage.

The clinic door and windows were broken and the waiting room was completely 
destroyed. Expensive equipment, including a $20,000 ultrasound machine was 
also destroyed. The computer monitor was shattered and the computer itself 
had been taken apart. The soldiers broke the telephones and the 
sterilization machine. They tore up medical files and books.

In addition to the damage, many bullet holes and shells were found in the 
clinic, as well as faeces on the floor. (Source: HaMoked  Centre for the 
Defence of the Individual)

Inhumane conditions in military camp

Thousands of Palestinian men and boys have been rounded up and taken to 
detention camps by the IDF. The following information was provided to Al-
Haq by men released from detention in the Ofer Military Camp near Ramallah.

They stated that the detention area in Ofer is divided into four sections 
that each house approximately 250 men. Upon arrival in the camp all 
personal belongings including money, mobile phones, keys, wallets, etc. are 
taken from detainees.

These items are often not returned upon release.

Prisoners ID cards are also taken from men when they are detained. Over the 
past weeks Al-Haq has received reports that a large number of detainees 
have not had their IDs returned to them upon their release, making it 
practically impossible for them to travel and leaving them at risk of being 
re-arrested for not having an ID card.

During the first day of detention approximately 140 detainees were forced 
to stay together in two tents before more prisoners were brought to the 
camp and more tents arrived.

There are now 30 to 40 men assigned to each tent, although the tents are 
designed to hold only 15 to 20 people. Despite cold and rainy weather, 
during the first three days of detention every two prisoners were supplied 
with one blanket to share.

Later prisoners each received their own blanket. They were also supplied 
with a board to sleep on, but no mattresses.

Access to sanitation facilities in the camp is extremely restricted.

According to the information received, detainees were only allowed to 
shower after they had been in the camp for 15 days and they have not been 
provided with a change of clothes.

Access to toilets is extremely restricted, with only three or four men from 
each of the four sections allowed to go to the bathroom each hour. Others 
needing to relieve themselves are forced to go to the bathroom on the 
ground near the tents.

Food provided to the prisoners is inadequate. Information supplied to Al-
Haq indicates that during the first three days prisoners were held in Ofer 
they were given nothing to eat.

After that detainees reported that when they received food it was not 
enough to be shared between all of the men or was inedible.

They stated that at different times they were given food such as 20 apples 
for 200 men, one tomato for 10 men or a single piece of frozen chicken 
schnitzel each.

Medical treatment has been denied to the prisoners and the sick and injured 
remain untreated.

One prisoner, Abdallah Wahabe, was arrested out of an ambulance while being 
taken to the hospital after he was shot in the side.

The Israeli soldiers who arrested Wahabe transferred him to Hadassah 
Hospital in Jerusalem where his wounds were treated. On the same day that 
he was arrested and treated he was transferred to Ofer. Since arriving in 
the camp he has received no follow up treatment.

According to information received by Al-Haq, beatings and abuse are common 
in the camp, especially during interrogation sessions.

Injuries sustained during beatings are not being treated. Prisoners range 
in age from 13 to over 70 years old. No special consideration is being 
given to either child or elderly prisoners.

On April 10 an impromptu court headed by a judge and a Shabak (Israeli 
Security) Officer was set up in the camp to hear cases and to hand out 
administrative detention orders.

Detainees have not been afforded access to council prior to having their 
cases heard. One of the men Al-Haq spoke with reported that before he was 
released 80 of the men in his section had been given administrative 
detention orders.

The conditions under which the prisoners at the Ofra Detention Centre are 
being held are in violation of basic standards for the treatment of 
prisoners as set out in the Fourth Geneva Convention and in the UN Standard 
Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.

Article 85 of the Fourth Geneva Convention lays out detailed basic 
condition s that must be met in all detention centres set up to house 
protected persons who have been either arrested or detained.

Several thousand Palestinians remain in detention across the West Bank, and 
more are being taken into custody each day. Al-Haq therefore demands that 
Israel take steps to ensure that these detainee's basic rights are 
respected.

Al-Haq also requests that the International Community must take immediate 
action to pressure Israel to stop its campaign of arbitrary arrests and to 
ensure that those already detained are treated humanely and are guaranteed 
their rights to representation and a fair hearing before an impartial 
judge.

Full transcript of the war crimes panel available on the Gush site.

For English http://www.gush-shalom.org/archives/forum_eng.html

* * *
* B'Tselem: The Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories is the leading Israeli organisation monitoring, documenting and advocating to improve human rights in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Founded in 1989, B'Tselem publishes reports, engages in advocacy and serves as a resource centre.

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