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The Israeli Occupation Forces Escalate Their Collective Punishment Procedures, Bulldoze Sixty Houses in Rafah

12-01-2002 00:00

At approximately 12:45am Saturday 12 January 2002 Israeli Naval Forces attacked Gaza Seaport.
They attacked the seaborne unit, which provides fishing boats with fuel, with two missiles.
Another Palestinian Marine Police ship was struck by a missile and destroyed.
The Israeli forces surrounded the area until 6am.
Israeli forces also hit the al-Qasas area in Rafah Refugee Camp with a massive bomb.
Eyewitnesses told the Center that they have never heard such a sound of an explosion like the one that resulted from this bomb.
The explosion caused severe damage to about 60 houses in the area, which is located near the borderline separating the Gaza Strip from Egypt.
Four Israeli military bulldozers backed by tanks broke into Gaza International Airport in the evening of Friday 11 January 2002 and expanded the 34 holes they had created on the runway earlier that morning.
This was the third time these forces entered into the airport and bulldozed part of the runway.
They began cutting at the tarmac under the cover of gunfire and further started to bulldoze homes.
Inhabitants of these houses, who were not warned ahead of time, could hardly escape without being able to save any property.
The Israeli operation lasted until 4am and demolished a total of 53 homes.
Eighty-three Palestinian families have lost their shelter as a result.
In a separate attack which took place at 7pm Wednesday 9 January 2002, Israeli forces bombarded the Palestinian National Security site No.
3 east of Rafah.
A military bulldozer accompanied by tanks demolished the site afterwards.
The same site was rebuilt after being bulldozed by the occupation forces on 18 April 2001.
It had also been bulldozed on 4 January 2002 and again rehabilitated by the Palestinian Authority.
The Israelis blocked Salah ad-Din road, the main street in the Gaza Strip, which separates Rafah from the rest of the Strip.
About 26 military vehicles, including tanks, troop carriers, jeeps and bulldozers, entered the PA controlled area east of Rafah at 4am Friday 11 January and closed the road.
The Israeli incursion inside Rafah was accompanied by intense gunfire, especially near Gaza European Hospital.
Abdullah Hasan al-Umur, age 62 and from this area, died from a heart attack during the incursion.
The Israeli forces occupied the home of Ghazi Muhammad al-Umur, age 30, located in the same area.
His family of six was detained in one room and prevented from movement inside their home.
In addition, the Israelis used the roof of al-Umur Petroleum Station as a watchtower.
The Israeli forces have also entered the passage area in Rafah, broken into three houses and arrested seven people; they are: Jabir Muhammad Abu Shusha, age 23, Salih Muhammad Abu Shusha, age 25, Musalam Awwad Abu Jarad, age 32, Khalaf Awwad Abu Jarad, age 25, Mislih Awwad Abu Jarad, age 25, Daifallah Muhammad Abu Shusha, age 28, and Khalid Abdullah Abu Shusha, age 27.
It should be noted that six of these people were released the same day, while Khalid Abu Shusha remained in custody.
Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights is highly concerned with the frequent Israeli crimes perpetrated against Palestinian civilians and the Israeli forces’ escalation of their aggression against Palestinian civilians and property.
The Center is also gravely distressed by the mass demolition of private residences which constitutes part of the collective punishment procedures utilized against an occupied territory.
Al Mezan condemns the international community’s silence in the face of such grave breaches to the Fourth Geneva Convention and the 1977 Geneva Protocols.
Such inaction serves only to encourage illegal and immoral actions perpetrated by the Israeli army as official policy and procedure.
Innocent Palestinian civilians and their property continue to suffer dearly because of this.
The Center warns the international community the dangerous consequences of more Israeli war crimes and calls on the international community to provide Palestinian civilians and their property with immediate international protection.

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