4.3 Resource: Palestinian news story

On the 7th Anniversary of the Intifada IOF Escalate the Aggression in Gaza; kill 11 and wound 26

Friday September 28, 2007 22:55  by Al Mezan Center For Human Rights  

Today marks the seventh anniversary of the outbreak of the Al Aqsa Intifada in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). It comes amidst an escalation by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) of its aggression against the Gaza Strip and perpetration of conducts amounting to crimes against humanity. IOF has killed 11 Palestinians and wounded 26 others Wednesday night and Thursday morning. It has also escalated its collective punishment of Gaza's populations by imposing a comprehensive siege that sparked a serious humanitarian crisis among the population.


The seventh year of the intifada ends with unprecedented siege and closure on OPT, which have been converted into one of the most hideous kinds of bigotry known to contemporary mankind. Gaza has seen the most brutal face of the Israeli collective punishment policy. Gazans have been utterly denied their right to free movement. The movement of goods into and out of Gaza has also been seriously restricted with imports largely restricted and exports completely prohibited. This reality has destroyed the economy and caused widespread poverty, unemployment and malnutrition.

The policy of siege and closure has been coupled by intensive conducts of killings during IOF's incursions and extra-judicial assassination operations. According to Al Mezan's documentation since the start of the Intifada on 28 September 2007, the IOF has killed 2,691 (including 535 children and 170 women and girls), destroyed 7,335 homes (including 2,984 completely destroyed), razed an area of 45,763 dunams of agricultural land, and destroyed 361 public facilities, 876 industrial and commercial facilities and 637 vehicles.

Recently, IOF demolished the Sofa Crossing, which is one of the few commercial crossing points linking Gaza with Israel. Under the closure of the main cargo crossing of Karni, this step will leave one crossing open before goods entering Gaza; the Kerem Shalom Crossing, which has a low capacity. More seriously, Israel decided to limit the food and humanitarian supplies allowed into Gaza to nine essential items. Those include flour, cooking oil, salt, sugar, rice, milk and milk products, frozen foods, and medicine. This represents a lethal blow for the Palestinian economy in Gaza as these items do not include any raw materials necessary for Gaza's industry, especially as it is coupled with an absolute prohibition of movement of industrial and agricultural exports. These procedures also make Gazan's access to necessary health, education and employment opportunities outside Gaza impossible.

On the eve of the Intifada's seventh year, IOF killed 11 Palestinians and wounded 26 in Gaza. According to Al Mezan's investigations, Israeli tanks entered the town of Beit Hanoun in the north Gaza district and fired a shell which hit a home at 5pm on Wednesday 26 September 2007. The shell killed four people, including one child. The victims have been identified as:

-          17-year-old Yousif Al Basyouni;

-          26-year-old Khairy Hamdan;

-          20-year-old Muhammad Udwan; and

-          22-year-old Tha'ir Al Basyouni.

26 others were injured in this attack; including three who sustained critical wounds and four were children.

At approximately 1am Thursday 27 September 2007, an IOF's helicopter gunship fired a missile towards a crowd in Al Qaraman Street in the same town of Beit Hanoun. Two persons were killed and one critically wounded. Those were identified as:

-          24-year-old Raji Hamdan;

-          23-year-old Muhammad Abu Rukbeh; and

-          23-year-old Muhammad Abu Shamaleh.

The latter has been admitted to hospital and has been reported as clinically dead.

In the context of IOF's extra-judicial executions, at 4.45 Wednesday 26 September 2007, Israeli helicopter gunships fired two missiles into a car killing all of the five persons inside it. This attack occurred in the south of Gaza City. The victims were indentified as:

-          26-year-old Ayman Dalloul;

-          25-year-old Samy Al Za'eem;

-          35-year-old Usama Al Rifi;

-          27-year-old Hussam Deeb'Ahl; and

-          27-year-old Fawzi Al Ashram.

Eyewitnesses reported to Al Mezan that the missiles hit the car directly and burnt it and the persons inside it completely.

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights strongly condemns IOF's acts of killing and extra-judicial executions. The Center also condemns the escalated use of excessive, lethal force by IOF without observing the principles of proportionality, discrimination and military necessity.

These conducts, added to the policy of collective punishment and closure, constitute grave breaches of international humanitarian law, especially the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian persons in Times of War, of 1949.

Those acts represent crimes against humanity and crimes of war according to the Convention and the Statute of the International Criminal Court. The recent escalation necessitates a quick response from the part of the High Contracting Parties to the Convention in order to ensure Israel's compliance by its provisions.

Al Mezan therefore calls upon the international community to act in conformity with its obligations and ensure Israel's respect of its international legal obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention and human rights law. The international community should act promptly to bring to an end these conducts and provide protection for innocent civilians in OPT.

This is even more necessary under the increasing statements by Israeli officials threatening of more collective punishment and military action in Gaza.

Al Mezan asserts the urgent need for convening a conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to look into Israel's systematic breaches of the Convention and to take appropriate, effective steps to protect civilians and their properties in OPT.


Copyright Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights. Reproduced by permission of Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights


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