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Collective Punishment Will Not Work

“As usual, most of the American press docily followed the official line from Israel and Washington that the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier a week ago was unprovoked. The fact is that the assassination of a Hamas government official was the proximate cause of the kidnapping. The assassinated official, Jamal Abu Samhadana, was the head of the Popular Resistance Committees, an organization on the terrorist list of the United States and Israel. He was apparently brought into the Hamas-led Interior Ministry to head the police forces in Gaza.” Eugene H. Bird served with the United States Foreign Service for 23 years and is President of the Council for the National Interest. 

Deafening silence from Ireland and the European Union on arrest of elected politicians and incursions into Gaza condemned

The failure of Spokespersons on behalf of the European Union and member countries to respond to the recent events in Gaza and the West Bank reveals the appalling moral vacuum into which European Union policy has descended in relation to the Middle East. There is a striking contrast between the tactic of moral suasion which characterises the Europe Union’s policy in relation to Israel and, on the other hand, the sanctions it has imposed against the Palestinian people. 

Two Palestinians Killed and 22 Others Wounded: IOF Escalate Policies of Retaliation against Palestinian civilian Population in the Gaza Strip

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, IOF have committed a series of crimes in the past 36 hours in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), which have killed two Palestinians and wounded 22 others, mostly civilians, including 9 children. IOF have also shelled a number of civilian facilities, severely damaging them. According to PCHR’s documentation, IOF have fired at least 36 air-to-surface missiles and dozens of artillery shells at several targets in the Gaza Strip. 

Israeli Forces Carry out Sweeping Arrests of Palestinian Officials

Al-Haq is deeply concerned by the arrests carried out by Israeli forces across the occupied West Bank in the early hours of 29 June 2006. According to news reports, 64 parliamentarians, ministers and mayors who are members of the ruling Hamas party were arrested across the West Bank. The Israeli soldiers who carried out the arrests held judicial arrest warrants. It appears that the arrests were planned several weeks ago at the highest levels of the Israeli government and that more arrests will follow, including in Gaza. 

Irish MP: Israel an "abhorrent and despicable" regime

Sinn Féin International Affairs and Human Rights spokesperson Aengus Snodaigh, a member of the Irish parliament, has described Israel as “one of the most abhorrent and despicable regimes on the planet.” Questioning Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern in the Dáil today he said the kidnap by Israel of some 25 democratically elected Palestinian representatives demonstrates “the true nature of Israel’s commitment to not so democratic principles.” Snodaigh added that, “The death of the Israeli settler is deeply regrettable and I would call on the Palestinians who are holding the Israeli soldier not to harm him.” 

Three Palestinians Killed, including a Woman and an Infant, and Five Injured by Weapons Stored in Civilian Areas and Mishandled Weapons

Qasem Mohammad Qasem Mas’oud (20) and his 18-month-old niece, Maysam Eyad Mas’oud, were killed when a locally produced rocket exploded prematurely. Qasem was a member of the Ahmad Abu El-Riesh Brigades and had stored the rocket in his father’s house. PCHR’s preliminary investigation indicates that at approximately 15:15 on Wednesday, 28 June 2006, a locally produced rocket exploded in the house belonging to Mohammad Qasem Mohammad Mas’oud (53), in Bloc E of Khan Yunis Refugee Camp. 

Gaza invasion targets civilian infrastructure

Israeli tanks have invaded the Palestinian territory of the Gaza Strip, following the capture of an Israeli soldier by Palestinian militants on Sunday. This comes at the end of a month during which 34 Palestinian civilians have been killed in Gaza in Israeli military attacks or ‘targeted assassinations’ of suspected militants. This includes 10 children. Last night Israel also hit a power station which supplies 65% of Gaza’s electricity and also the water pumping station. “The message to the civilian population of Gaza could not be clearer – collective punishment is part of Israel’s military strategy.” 

Weekly Report on Human Rights Violations

IOF have started to implement threats made by the Israeli prime minister, Knesset ministers and the chief of staff to launch a wide scale offensive on the Gaza Strip. The offensive, named “Operation Summer Rain”, has included incursions, air strikes and artillery shelling on civilian targets in the Gaza Strip. These attacks followed a military operation by Palestinian resistance members on 25 June 2006 in the Kerem Shalom area, southeast of Rafah, in which two IOF soldiers and two members of the Palestinian resistance were killed, and a third IOF soldier was captured by the Palestinian resistance. 

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Carry Out Reprisals against Palestinian Civilians in the West Bank

PCHR strongly condemns the IOF detention of Palestinian Cabinet Ministers, including the Deputy Prime Minister, and legislative council members from the “Change and Reform” party, affiliated with Hamas. The Centre views these detentions as a form of reprisal against Palestinian civilians and a form of collective punishment prohibited by Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The Centre calls upon the international community, particularly the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention, to force IOF to respect the convention. 

UN-sponsored meeting calls on Israel to pull out of Gaza, Palestinians to stop rockets

As the United Nations International Meeting in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace entered its second day with events on the ground increasingly drawing world attention, participants considered the peace process and challenges ahead, hearing expert views about the “catastrophic” developments in the Gaza Strip, and the critical need to renew the peace negotiations and strictly uphold international law and United Nations resolutions. The two-day meeting brought together experts, UN member states, parliamentarians, NGO’s and the media to examine the state of the conflict.