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MONITORING AND DOCUMENTATION DEPARTMENT FIELD REPORT: April – June 2010

Documented Violations – General Statistics:

According to Al-Haq's documentation, from the outbreak of the second intifada until the end of June 2010, 1,911 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank, 374 of whom were children, and 105 of whom were female. It is estimated that 313 Palestinians were killed in targeted assassinations. During the same period, Al-Haq documented a total of 575 punitive house demolitions (506 completely demolished, 63 partially demolished, and 6 completely sealed) in the West Bank, leading to the displacement of 3,357 people. Israel has also carried out a large number of house demolitions based on claims that the houses were built without the required permits (administrative house demolition). Since 2004, the Israeli authorities have demolished 685 houses due to lack of building permit; 292 of whom were in East Jerusalem.

Violations committed by the Occupying Power:

Highlighted Trend: Wilful Injury along the Northern Gaza Strip Borders

From April to June 2010, Al-Haq field researchers reported frequent cases of human rights violations that took place along the borders of the Gaza Strip, especially in the area of Beit Lahiya, Northern Gaza Strip. Al-Haq‟s documentation indicates the systematic nature of the incidents of wilful injury of Palestinian stone-collectors, which occurred almost on a daily basis.

Due to the three-year long illegal blockade imposed by Israeli authorities on the entire Gaza Strip, the economy has virtually collapsed. 80 percent of the Gaza Strip population currently live under the poverty line and are denied access to basic services. The unemployment rate has risen to 65 percent, constituting one of the highest in the world. As a result, many Palestinians are engaging in risky employment near the Israeli border, such as stone-collecting for the purpose of construction, placing themselves at risk of being shot or imprisoned.

As the Israeli blockade prevents the entry of building materials into the Gaza Strip, collection of raw materials available in any form within the Strip is on the rise. For example, tens of stone-collectors arrive at the area of Erez border crossing north east of Beit Lahiya everyday to excavate gravel from destroyed buildings in the former industrial zone and from under-paved roads. The gravel collected is used for the construction of infrastructure and buildings in the Gaza Strip.

Since the beginning of 2010, stone-collectors have been increasingly under attack by Israeli soldiers positioned along the borders of the Gaza Strip. Under International Humanitarian Law (IHL), Israeli armed forces are prohibited from targeting civilians, including those present along the borders of the Gaza Strip. Additionally, as part of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip, stone-collectors are entitled to human rights, including the right to work as established under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, without having their safety and source of income under the constant threat of arbitrary attacks by Israeli soldiers.

During the reporting period, Al-Haq documented 14 cases of injured stone-collectors, of whom two were children. Amongst the cases investigated, the following three are particularly illustrative. The victims were all family bread-winners who were injured while working in the proximity of Beit Lahiya, an area near the buffer zone previously occupied by the two Israeli settlements of Eli Sinai and Nisanit. The buffer zone in this area extends 300 meters into the territory of the Gaza Strip.

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