Al Mezan alarmed at internal fighting in Gaza

Massive increase in victims of Gaza infighting: Al Mezan condemns the serious violations of human rights; calls to end political cover given to such violations

The state of insecurity saw a severe deterioration during January 2007. Al Mezan has documented the killing of 63 Palestinians (8 children), the injuring of 306 (33 children), and the kidnapping of 90 people during this month. The number of killings since the beginning of 2007 has exceeded the rate of all killings since 2003. 18 persons were killed in infighting in 2003 and 57 persons in 2004. The toll of January 2007 has reached more than 60% of that of 2005, and over 25% of the entire of 2006. Those years witnessed ascending deterioration of the state of insecurity.

According to field investigations, the eruption of armed clashes between Fatah and Hamas was accompanied by serious violations of human rights, causing numerous killings, injuries and damage to private and public property. Clashes and roadblocks have restricted peoples’ movement and spread insecurity within society. Al Mezan documented attacks on ambulances and medical teams and use of ambulances by militants to cover their movement and/or attack their opponents. This represents a grave violation that may expose medics to danger in the future.

Al Mezan has already disseminated the names of people who were killed during the clashes between Fatah and Hamas on 25 January 2007. Since then, two people have been killed: Atef Al Najjar, 42, and Hussein Al Sherbasy, 29, raising the toll to 34 persons killed in the last week of January, and 63 during the whole month of January.

Al Mezan expresses profound sorrow over the killings; all of which were committed by Palestinians, and offers sincere condolences to their families. It also condemns the violent, degrading treatment of hostages and the concurrent violations of human rights, especially the targeting of medics and ambulances and the restrictions of their access to evacuate the wounded, the infringements of freedom of movement and freedom of expression, and the attacks on private and public property.

Al Mezan calls upon all political factions that are party to this escalation to prioritize public interest and take effective measures to ensure accountabilityfor their members and ensure that political differences do not translate into armed clashes in the streets. Al Mezan calls for the formation of an investigation committee with all the necessary powers and authorities to undertake effective investigations into all the incidents and violations and to bring perpetrators to a fair and due judicial process.

Al Mezan asserts that failure to do so would lead to more killings and violations, which only reinforce the current state of insecurity and the spread of acts of revenge.

Al Mezan calls upon the PNA, both its Presidential and Government institutions, to ensure respect and enforcement of the law and justice. It also encourages national agreement on political, social and economic issues and adept democratic dialogue as the sole medium to resolve internal disputes.

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