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Amnesty Slams Israel’s Collective Punishment

Amnesty Slams Israel’s Collective Punishment, Apartheid Wall

New Israeli Extra-Judicial Assassination Bid Leaves 15 Wounded

The continuous choking Israeli policy has had a disastrous effect on the lives of Palestinians, who are struggling against sweeping closures and a crippled economy, Amnesty International said Sunday, while it slammed the unilateral “apartheid” wall being built east of the green line—along with curfews and roadblocks—as human rights violations.

Restrictions imposed collectively on the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip have led to spiraling unemployment rates as well as adverse health consequences, a report by the human rights group highlighted.

“Unemployment and poverty has spiraled, malnutrition has emerged, anemia and other health problems have increased and education has been negatively affected,” the report called “Israel and the Occupied Territories: Surviving under Siege,” said.

Amnesty emphasized that these are a direct result of the Israeli restrictions and that they should not been seen as merely humanitarian problems.

“The high levels of unemployment, poverty, malnutrition and other health problems afflicting Palestinians are not just a humanitarian problem -- they are the direct result of the restrictions imposed by Israel on the Palestinians in the occupied territories.”

The London-based group also said that restrictions on Palestinians and their goods alike have ensured that half of working-age Palestinians are unemployed and “some 60 percent of [3.5 million] Palestinians now live below the poverty line of two US dollars per day and most are forced to depend on aid.”

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Moreover, it stressed that these restrictions are tantamount to a violation of Palestinians’ right to freedom of movement and right to work, both of which are inalienable rights.

Amnesty highlighted the obstacles that Palestinians face every day to and from work and school, which entailed “a lengthy, costly and potentially dangerous journey” for them.

Checkpoints—a euphemism for roadblocks—force Palestinians to make dangerous, lengthy detours, often by foot, which are “difficult or impossible for the sick, the elderly or those carrying heavy packages or small children.”

There are more about 300 such roadblocks scattered across the occupied Palestinian territory. These do not include “temporary” roadblocks, which Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) often set up in the West Bank and Gaza strip towns and cities.

Amnesty also accused Israel of collective punishment, saying that “hundreds of thousands of Palestinians cannot be made to pay for the crimes of a handful of individuals.”

The report meanwhile slammed the series of lengthy curfews, which are frequently imposed by the IOF in the occupied territory. These curfews, Amnesty stressed, have ruined the fragile Palestinian economy. It also highlighted that the longest curfew—five months—was imposed on the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

“After the Israeli army retook control of the main West Bank towns in the spring of 2002 (at the height of the Palestinian Intifada), 24-hour curfews were imposed for days and in some cases weeks,” it said.

“The army almost completely stopped vital service providers and ambulances from functioning.”

The report slammed Israel’s erection of the unilateral 370-mile separation wall—dubbed by Israel as a “security fence”—which is being built on some of the most fertile Palestinian land deemed by thousands as their only lifeline.

“The barrier/fence cuts off scores of Palestinian villages from the rest of the West Bank or from their farming land.

“The land in these areas is among the most fertile in the West Bank, with better water resources than elsewhere, and agriculture constitutes the main source of income for the Palestinians.”

Accordingly, the group made a set of recommendations, most notably a halt to the erection of the wall and curfews, which “constitute or result in permanent restrictions on the right to freedom of movement”.

New Israeli Assassination Bid Leaves 15 Wounded

On the ground, Israel persisted in its series of extra-judicial assassinations, which it escalated following the assassination of Ismail Abu Shanab, a Hamas politburo member on August 21st.

Since then, at least 12 Hamas members were executed, while at least four bystanders, including en elderly man and a girl, were killed.

Yesterday, at least fifteen Palestinians were injured during a failed assassination attempt on the life of Hamas member Abdel Salam Abu Mousa.

Several women and children were wounded when Israeli fighter gunships attacked a densely-populated residential area in the Gaza Strip.

Apache gunships fired several missiles at the house of Abu Mousa in al-Namsawi neighborhood (Austrian District) in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Younis.

This is the latest of a series of assassinations led by Israel’s occupation army, which targeted on Saturday the spiritual leader of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmad Yassin-- a wheelchair-bound paraplegic-- who survived the assassination attempt with moderate wounds.

Many believe this Israeli policy threatens to throw the region further into turmoil, as Hamas vows to avenge its dead and wounded.

Separately the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) said Monday they have shot dead a Palestinian near the Beit Hanoon crossing point into Israel in northern Gaza Strip, claiming he was trying to launch an attack

At the same time at least ten IOF military vehicles raided the eastern part of the northern West Bank city of Jenin early Monday.

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