IOF’s continued offensive on north Gaza has left 45 Palestinians killed in (50 in the entire Gaza Strip) in its sixth day. Of the killed, nine are children, two are women and one is elderly. Some 190 have also been injured, including 46 children and 45 women. An IOF air strike hit near a school and a nursery bus children. In addition, IOF have destroyed 64 homes, 11 of which completely, seized 34 others, and demolished five public institutions, two stores and five vehicles. The humanitarian situation in Beit Hanoun has further deteriorated owing to the shortage of foodstuffs, electricity, water and medicine, as well as increasing damage to the town’s infrastructure.
At 7.05am today, Monday 6 November 2006, IOF fired a missile hitting a group of school children near a school in Beit Lahia, near the town of Beit Hanoun. One child, 16-year-old Ramzi Ash-Shrafi, was killed while six others were wounded from the missile shrapnel. In addition, a nursery bus that was passing the area to collect children was also hit by the missile. As a result, one teacher was injured. Her arm later needed amputation. Ten children were admitted to hospital suffering from trauma.
Numerous north Gaza residents were killed and wounded over the day due to continued firing by IOF of artillery and missiles, in addition to the snipers’ fire.
At approximately 3.30am today, IOF detonated explosives in the house of Sami Saadat and destroyed it. The house is located in the Al Qaraman neighborhood in Beit Hanoun centre.
Meanwhile, house searches have continued with increasing reports of IOF troops humiliating residents, who are mainly women, children and the elderly. (This is because all males between the age of 16 to 40 have been ordered to leave their homes and gather for security check.) Soldiers have been violently breaking into homes, insulting the residents and damaging furniture and other belongings, according to several affidavits given to Al Mezan.
Hospital and ambulance sources told Al Mezan that they have been facing more difficulty reaching the ill and the wounded in the town, and have been frequently subject to IOF fire. Two medics were killed in an IOF strike earlier.
Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights condemns the continued IOF aggression against north Gaza and emphasizes that the IOF’s conduct has reflected despicable disregard to civilian life and property in serious violation of Israel’s obligations under IHL and human rights standards.
In particular, the use of excessive force and the flagrant disregard for the principles of discrimination, proportionality and military necessity in the conduct of fighting in residential areas have caused severe loss of life and property. In addition, the targeting of medical teams while performing life-saving medical work, home and property demolition and targeting civilians constitute grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention, of 1949, and may amount to crimes of war. Such acts must be condemned and effectively investigated.
Al Mezan questions the ongoing silence of the international community in the face of continued violations of human rights in the OPT. It calls for immediate intervention by the High Contracting Parties to the Convention, and other human rights bodies, in accordance with their contractual obligation to respect and ensure respect for it in all circumstances. The Centre also calls for the urgent protection and relief of the civilian population in Gaza without delay.