Large scale destruction in houses, agricultural fields, infrastructure, and governmental and security buildings
In another crime of disproportionate use of lethal force, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) killed 4 members of one family on Friday, 21 July 2006. A mother, her 2 sons, and the sons’ nephew were killed by an artillery shell that fell on their house in Shejaeya Quarter in Gaza City. This is the second crime of its kind in the same quarter this month. Two weeks ago, a mother and 2 of her children were killed in similar circumstances.
This crime and others perpetrated by IOF are part of the Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip that has been ongoing for nearly a month. Palestinian civilians are paying the price of this aggression as a large number of civilians was killed or injured, and their property was destroyed.
Prior to the latest crime in Shejaeya, IOF redeployed out of El-Maghazi refugee camp area after a 2-day attack. IOF left behind a large number of casualties and significant destruction. In addition, IOF withdrew from Nablus in the evening after a 3-day operation, which caused a large number of casualties and destruction.
PCHR is extremely concerned over the continued Israeli aggression against the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), which threatens to inflict additional casualties among Palestinian civilians, and cause destruction of civilian property.
PCHR’s preliminary investigation into the crime in Shejaeya Quarter indicates that at approximately 08:00 on Friday, 21 July 2006, an IOF tank stationed along the border east of Gaza City fired a shell at a residential house belonging to Jaber Harara, located near El-Muntar hill, near the border. The shell landed directly on the roof of the 3-story house. Two of Jaber’s children and their cousin were on the roof. They were killed instantly. Jaber’s wife went up from the second floor to see what happened after the first shell landed. As soon as she reached the roof, a second shell was fired at roof. She was killed instantly. Three members of the family were injured by shrapnel, including a 3-year old girl. The victims killed are:
– Mo’min Jaber Harara (18);
– Amer Jaber Harara (21);
– Sabah Harara (45), the mother of the first two; and
– Mohammad Hamdi Harara (27).
Commenting on the crime, an IOF spokesman stated that Israeli soldiers noticed 2 armed people in the area who were about to fire rockets; and IOF fired the shells at them. IOF moved into the area after firing the shells, and started to raze agricultural land in the area.
At approximately 05:30 on Friday, IOF completed their redeployment out of El-Maghazi refugee camp in the center of the Gaza Strip. IOF had occupied large areas of land in the area for 48 hours, during which they committed crimes of willful killing and destruction of civilian property. Fifteen Palestinians were killed, including 3 children and a mother and one of her children who were killed inside their house. The number of injured is 125, most of them civilians, including 30 children and a paramedic. There are 31 serious injuries. Four houses were completely destroyed and 9 houses were partially destroyed. A sewing workshop, the source of income for 80 families, was destroyed. In addition, 200 donums of agricultural land were razed, and extensive destruction was caused to infrastructure such as the water network, electricity lines, and roads.
At approximately 22:30 on Friday, IOF redeployed out of Nablus in the West Bank after a 3-day operation. During their attack, IOF besieged the Government Compound and other governmental buildings and headquarters of security services. The pretext of the operation was detaining wanted people inside the Government Compound. IOF used a wide range of military equipment in the operation. IOF killed 5 Palestinians, including 3 who were wanted and 2 civilians. The number of injured is 68, including 27 children and 3 journalists. The destroyed governmental buildings and structures included the veterinary department building of the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Interior offices, Special Police Force headquarters, 3 building for the Preventive Security Apparatus, and a prison. In addition, IOF destroyed the southern wing of the Governmental Compound that included the headquarters of the National Security Force, the Presidential Guard “Force 17,” and Military Intelligence. In addition, IOF destroyed the maintenance section of the National Security Force. The Central Prison was partially destroyed, with the section used for females destroyed after freeing the prisoners. IOF detained nearly 100 Palestinians, most of them members of security forces and others who are wanted by IOF.
PCHR reiterates its concern over the situation in the OPT. The Centre warns against the ongoing Israeli aggression, which are a violation of International Law and International Humanitarian Law. This aggression will result in additional casualties among Palestinian civilians. In addition, the Centre condemns the acts of willful killing and destruction perpetrated by IOF. These crimes as a form of reprisal and collective punishment against Palestinians, which is a violation of article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. PCHR points to the fact that IOF do not respect the principles of necessity and proportionality when using its war machine against Palestinian resistance activists when they are in non-combat situations in civilian areas, which leads to casualties from among the civilian population and to damage of civilian property.
In the Center�s view, the complacency of the international community and the High Contracting Parties of the 4 th Geneva Convention and their failure tot take effective steps to stop Israeli war crimes has been a supporting and encouraging element for Israel to continue perpetrating additional war crimes against Palestinian civilians. The legal cover provided to Israel by the US, which purposely hinders International Humanitarian Law, and the conspiracy of silence by Europe encourage Israeli to continue to perpetrate war crimes unchecked, placing it above international law.
The Centre reminds the High Contracting Parties of:
— Their obligations under article 1 of the convention to ensure respect of the convention under all circumstances;
— Their obligations in article 146 of the convention to pursue suspects of committing serious violations of the convention, noting that these violations are war crimes according to article 147, as specified in the first protocol additional to the convention
For more information please call PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip:
on +972 8 2824776 – 2825893
PCHR, 29 Omer El Mukhtar St., El Remal, PO Box 1328 Gaza, Gaza Strip. E-mail:
[email protected], Webpage http://www.pchrgaza.org