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Israeli military kills non-violent demonstrators in Gaza

Israeli attacks on Gaza continue Friday with the murder of two unarmed female non-violent demonstrators in the town of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip.

As one woman participating in the demonstration stated “We risked our lives to free our sons.” (source: BBC article, see below)

The BBC has published video of the non-violent demonstration at which the two women were killed. It can be seen by clicking the ‘watch’ link at the top right-hand side of the page on the BBC News site.

More video can be downloaded here.

It is a contravention of the Fourth Geneva convention for armies to fail to make a distinction between unarmed civilians and armed combatants. Israel is continually violating its obligations under the convention, to which it is a signatory.

Blogger, doctor and citizen-journalist Mona Elfarra has been covering the attacks from inside Beit Hanoun. See below for some of her recent reports.

Gaza: While the world is silent

by Mona Elfarra

This is happening in the north of the Gaza Strip while the world is silent. Break the silence and speak for the speechless.

Gaza, 5pm, Thursday, 2 November 2006

During its large scale military operation against Gaza, the Israeli occupying army today continued its attack on the village of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza strip. Twelve people were killed and at least 75 injured, many seriously. All casualities received at Al Awda hospital emergency room were seriously injured, with gunshot wounds to chests, abdomens and heads.

Movement of ambulances in and outside of the village is greatly restricted. Many different types of patients are confined to their homes, including patients whose life depends on renal dialysis. The only hospital inside Beit Hanoun is surrounded by dozens of army tanks and military vehicles. With continuous shelling and shooting, any moving body would be shot at once.

All men over 16 were asked to gather inside one of the village schools. As I write, the local radio station has just announced the death of one of the women trying to stop the army actions against her family.

As medical teams we are working under great pressure. The situation has been very bad and is deteriorating daily, with sanctions against the Palestinian Authority, long periods of border closure, military assualts and so on.

We were hoping that negotiations for the release of the captured Israeli soldier would bring some hope for improvement of our situation, but it seems that Israel is pressing ahead with its preplanned agenda against Gaza and the Palestinian people.

I call upon you to spread the word and to try to shake the silent world.

End the Assault Against the North of Gaza

Press Release: 2 November 2006

Yesterday the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) began their grotesquely named “Operation Autumn of Fury” in the Gaza Strip. Beit Hanoun, scene of repeated massacres by Israeli forces since June 25th, was re-occupied by Israeli tanks. Since yesterday 12 civilians have been shot dead and more than 65 women and children have been injured. On the first day of Eid El Fiter last week, 7 residents of the town were killed by the IOF.

The town of Beit Hanoun was bombed by Apache helicopters and F16 and V58 fighter planes. Beit Hanoun’s residents have no water or electricity today. These air-strikes which damage essential infrastructure and terrify the civilian population are a form of collective punishment against the Palestinian people and are war crimes which are forbidden under international humanitarian law. The Fourth Geneva Convention calls for any military to do its utmost to distinguish between civilians and combatants and forbids attacks on civilans or civilian infrastructure. Israel is a signatory of this convention.

We therefore call on the international community to exert pressure on the Israeli Occupation Forces to conduct themselves within the boundaries of international humanitarian law and ensure the protection of all Palestinian civilians.

We also demand the immediate halt of the Israeli Occupation Forces’ attacks on the Gaza Strip and an end to the closure and isolation of the Strip, both of which are exacerbating an already desperate humanitarian situation.

For comments contact:
Dr. Mona Al Farra +970 82 846 602 or +972 599 410 741.
Dr Abu Ala’a, Gaza Strip, + 972 599 441766
Dr Asaad Abu Sharkh, Gaza Strip, + 972 599 322636
Dr Ayyoub Othman, + 972 599 412 826