22 June 2011
Ref. No.: 225/2011
In the last month, Israeli forces have increased the level of military operations in and around Palestinian built-up areas situated in Area Ai . This may indicate a broader strategy which will have grave repercussions on the human rights of the Palestinians living in these areas of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).
Al-Haq has been specifically monitoring this activity since the startof MayasIsraeli forces began entering the townsof Jenin, Toulkarem and Tubas up to three times a week. They enter after midnight in military jeeps and move around the locality conducting sporadic house raids and arrests.
On 14 June at 1:30 am, a group of six military jeeps entered Jenin and drove through the city center before reaching a nearby industrial area where they stationed for an hour. There have been similar operations in the Jenin Governorate(‘Arraba, Jalboun, Maythaloun, al-Yamoun) as well as the Tubas Governorate (Tammoun, ‘Aqaba) and in the Toulkarem Governorate (al-Sha’rawiyya, Far’on, al-Jaroushiyya). The map below shows how the majority of these locations are situated in Area A (in red):
While these night-time operations are sometimes uneventful, others result in arrests. On 6 June at around 1:00 am, Israeli forces entered Nour Shams Refugee Camp in Toulkarem conducting a number of house raids and arresting two youths. Another five youths were arrested during house raids in Toulkarem on 15 June. Two other arrest operations associated with this escalation in military activity were highlighted in the last Weekly Focus: ”The Arrest of Political Leaders“.
Al-Haq’s field researchers have also reported day-time activity including the increased presence of low-flying F-16 jets and military helicopters in the area of central Jenin. While most of the ground operations are conducted at night, Israeli forces have entered Toulkarem on two occasions during the day. Most recently, at 1:00 pm on 19 June, Israeli border guard personnel stopped in front of al-Khadouri University for about an hour to conduct checks and searches on students entering and exiting the campus.
It is possible that the increased activity in the northern West Bank is a consequence of preparations by the Israeli military for the implementation of the “Migdal Oz” Plan, intended to maintain order in the West Bank in response to anypolitical steps by the Palestinian Authorityat the United Nations in September. As such, the Israeli army has been collecting lists of strategic targets in the West Bank and Gaza Strip; updating maps; and conducting specialised tactical training. ii
In light of this trend, Al-Haq calls upon the international community, non-governmental organisations, humanitarian organisations, and civil society to monitor the potential escalation of these operations. Close monitoring of this situation in the coming months will help to protect Palestinians in the OPT against violations of human rights.
i Area A is designated for full Palestinian security and civil jurisdiction per the Interim Agreement of 1995.
ii H Greenberg ‘IDF Prepares for September Declaration’ Ynet News 20 June 2011.
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