The Palestine Monitor, an Information Clearinghouse
Urgent Appeal Update
Israel Heightens Siege over Palestinian Territories, Excessive Use of
Military Force against Unarmed Civilians Continues

January 2, 2001

The Israeli government has recently heightened the state of siege imposed
over the Palestinian territories by sealing all exit and entry points into
the West Bank and Gaza through the military closure of all land bridges and
of the Palestinian Airport. The Gaza Strip has been divided into four areas
separated by Israeli erected roadblocks and checkpoints.  The north of Gaza,
the central region, as well as Rafah and Khan Younis in the south have all
been placed under closure, not allowing passage of peoples or goods between
each of these areas.

Every major town and village in the West Bank has also been placed under
complete closure and Israeli tanks have recently been positioned
threateningly close to the borders of Palestinian controlled areas. The
effects of closure upon the Palestinian population have been disastrous.
The health care system in Palestine is now completely paralyzed, bringing
the national vaccination program to near collapse.

In the West Bank town of Ramallah yesterday the Palestinian Red Crescent
Society’s Headquarters was attacked with automatic machine gun fire and
other heavy ammunition shot from Pisgot settlement.  Five first aid vehicles
were destroyed, including an ambulance as well as a vehicle used to
transport deaf children.  The water reservoir on top of the building was
also destroyed.

While the Israeli military and government continue to claim that their
soldiers only fire live ammunition at civilians when they are endangered,
the story of Jadallah al-Jabari, a Palestinian man from Hebron, proves
otherwise.  Yesterday, Al-Jabari, a 50 year-old sanitation worker for the
city, approached an Israeli soldier on foot at a barrier of concrete blocks.
After the soldiers asked the man where he was going, an Israeli soldier shot
Al-Jabari in the foot.  An Associated Press cameraman was present and filmed
Al-Jabari whose foot had been severed from his leg, leaving it hanging by
sinew and flesh.  Eyewitnesses attest that the soldiers delayed the call for
a medic for fifteen minutes after the man had been shot while he lay in the
street bleeding.

We, members of Palestinian civil society are appalled at the Israeli army’s
use of excessive force against Palestinian civilians.  We urgently appeal to
the international community to insist that Israel lift the siege on
Palestinian villages and towns and cease attacks on unarmed civilians.  We
add our voice to the widespread call for international protection to prevent
further escalation of the situation.

For further information please contact Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi at 050-254-218
or visit www.palestinemonitor.org
 

Patricia Smith
PO Box 1351
Ramallah, Palestine
Tel: 02 2985372
Fax: 02 2985917
Email: patricia@hdip.org