Israel Escalates War Crimes inside the Gaza Strip

April 13th, 2008 | Posted in Palestine, Politics, Repression, Resistance, War and Terror

    Palestinian Center for Human Rights. April, 12th, 2008


    Image: Ben Heine. Stop the Siege on Gaza!

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) escalated its war crimes in the Gaza Strip disregarding the lives of civilians, who are paying the price of this escalation. Last Friday, 9 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip. Seven of the victims, including 6 civilians that included 2 children, were killed by IOF excessive use of lethal force in El-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. In addition, 27 people, most of them civilians that included 12 children, were injured.

The IOF escalation comes at a time of pending humanitarian crisis and the start of a halt of life in the Gaza Strip due to the fuel cuts and ban on fuel supplies since last Monday. As a result, transportation has been nearly paralyzed, affecting all aspects of life, especially health and education.

PCHR’s preliminary investigation indicates that at approximately 3:00 on Friday, 11 April 2008, IOF troops and heavy armored vehicles under air cover moved several hundred meters inside the Gaza Strip northeast of El-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. They raided several houses and transformed them into military outposts after detaining residents inside the house. At approximately 9:30, IOF fired several bullets at people gathered to watch the incursion. Two people were injured; and one of them, the child Ziad Sharif El-Oweisi (12), died of his wounds 4 hours later. The child was injured by a bullet to the chest.

At approximately 14:30, an IOF tank fired a shell at a group of people in the vicinity of the area where the incursion was taking place. Four of them were killed instantly and a fifth died of his wounds in Shifa Hospital an hour later. Nine others, mostly children, were injured. The victims killed are:

* Shehab Mohammad Abu Z’beida (18).

* Jihad Mohammad Abu Z’beida (19).

* Yusef Ali El-M’ghari (18).

* Abd El-Raziq Ata Nofal (19).

* Yusef Ibrahim Sarhan (15).

At approximately 20:10, an IOF plane fired a rocket at a group of resistance members resisting the incursion. One of them was killed and two were injured. The activist killed is Monthir Mohammad Abu H’weishel (28).

Indiscriminate shelling by IOF in the area injured 15 civilians who were taken to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital for treatment.

At approximately 22:00, IOF redeployed outside the Gaza Strip after razing 50 dunums of agricultural land, heavily damaging 3 houses, and arresting 20 Palestinians. All except one were released.

In another incident at approximately 00:30 on Friday, and IOF plane fired two rockets at two resistance activists from Izzedeen El-Qassam Battaltions, armed wing of Hamas, east of the town of Khuza’a in the southern Gaza Strip. Both were instantly killed:

* Mohammad Mustafa Suliman El-Najjar (31).

* Amin Mahmoud Hussein El-Najjar (26).

PCHR reiterates condemnation of these crimes, and:

* Affirms that these crimes are a continuation of IOF war crimes in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, especially the Gaza Strip, that reflect IOF disregard for civilian lives.

* Warns of further escalation in crimes against civilians in light of threats by Israeli political and military leaders, which forewarns of additional victims in the Gaza Strip.

* Calls upon the international community to act immediately to stop these crimes; and renews the call to the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligation under Article 1 of the Convention to ensure that it is respected at all times, and their responsibilities under Article 146 to pursue perpetrators of serious violations of the Convention, which are determined in Article 147 that lists violations of the Convention amounting to war crimes.

* Reiterates the warning against the serious implications of the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip; and calls upon the international community to ensure that Israel, as the occupying power, guarantee the immediate passage of fuel, food, and medical supplies as well as the free movement of goods in respect of International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law.

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