1st July 2014 | Palestinian Center for Human Rights | Occupied Palestine
Following the declaration of finding of the bodies of 3 Israeli settlers who had been missing since 12 June 2014, Israeli forces have escalated their attacks against Palestinian civilians in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). Last night and this morning, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian in Jenin refugee camp in the north of the West Bank, destroyed 2 houses in Hebron in the south of the West Bank, and launched a series of air strikes against several targets in the Gaza Strip. Thus, the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since the disappearance of the three Israeli settlers has mounted to 12, including 9 civilians, one of whom is a child. This escalation, which has been ongoing since the disappearance of the three Israeli settlers, in accompanied by Israeli threats to expand the Israeli offensive against the oPt in retaliation for the deaths of the three settlers.
According to investigations conducted by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), in the early morning of Tuesday, 01 July 2014, an Israeli undercover unit moved into Jenin refugee camp in the north of the West Bank, traveling in a civilian car with a Palestinian registration plate. Members of the unit stationed in al-Samran quarter in the south of the camp. At approximately 03:05, Yousef Ibrahim Ahmed Ibn Gharra “Abu Zagha,” 20, was going back home after buying some foodstuffs for the pre-fast meal of Ramadan Month. Immediately, members of the Israeli undercover unit opened fire at him. He was instantly killed by 3 bullets to the heart and the left shoulder and forearm. A number of civilians evacuated the victim’s body to Dr. Khalil Suleiman Hospital in Jenin. According to eyewitnesses, the area was completely quiet when members of the Israeli undercover unit fired at the victims.
In a serious precedent, Israeli forces destroyed 2 houses belonging to the families of Marwan Sa’di al-Qawasmi and ‘Aamer ‘Omar Abu ‘Eisaha in Hebron, on the ground of suspicions that the two Palestinians were involved in the abduction of the three Israeli settlers, before arresting, questioning and convicting them. Al-Qawasmi’s house is a 110-square-meter flat located on the first floor of a 3-story building owned by his father and brothers, while Abu ‘Eisha’s house is a 100-square-emter flat in a building belonging to his father. PCHR stresses that the destruction of the two houses is part of the collective punishment policy and reprisals against Palestinian civilians in violation of Article 33 of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to Protection of Civilians in Times of War which provides that: “No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.”
In the Gaza Strip, Israeli warplanes launched 11 airstrikes, in which they fired 44 missiles, against paramilitary training sites, agricultural stores. The airstrikes were launched against targets in most areas in the Gaza Strip. Three Palestinian workers sustained bruises, and Palestinian civilians were extremely terrified by the sounds of the heavy explosions.
PCHR strongly condemns this crime, which further proves the use of excessive force by Israeli forces against the Palestinian civilians in disregard for the civilians’ lives. Moreover, PCHR condemns the destruction of the two houses in Hebron and the airstrikes against the Gaza Strip. Therefore, PCHR calls upon the international community to take immediate and effective actions to put an end to such crimes and reiterates its call for the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 to fulfill their obligations under Article 1; i.e., to respect and to ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances, and their obligation under Article 146 to prosecute persons alleged to commit grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention. These grave breaches constitute war crimes under Article 147 of the same Convention and Protocol I Additional to the Geneva Conventions.