On Monday morning, 3 April 2006, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) extra-judicially executed the leader of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of Fatah, in Beit Sahour town in the West Bank. Another Palestinian was injured and arrested by IOF This latest attack comes following decisions taken by the Israeli political and military establishments to continue to target Palestinian activists.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 03:00 on Monday, 3 April 2006, IOF moved into Beit Sahour town, in the Bethlehem area. They besieged a 5-storey apartment building belonging to Nemer George ‘Awad in the center if the town. They then broke into the building, opening fire.
A number of Israeli soldiers, accompanied by trained dogs, went to the fifth floor. They blew open the door of one of the flats and rushed in while firing their weapons. Ra’ed Mohammed Hussein ‘Ebayat, 31, was instantly killed. Ra’ed Suleiman al-Jawarish, 27, was wounded by two live bullets to the shoulder and the foot.
IOF took al-Jawarish out of the building and held him for at least 10 minutes without offering him any medical aid. They also beat him. At approximately 05:10, IOF withdrew from the area. A number of neighbors moved towards the building. They found ‘Ebayat’s body nearby. His gun and bullet-proof vest had been blown up by IOF. The body was evacuated to Beit Jala Hospital. According to medical sources, the victim had sustained fractures to the skull and the limbs, although he had only been hit by one live bullet to the forehead. According to eyewitnesses, they saw Israeli soldiers taking al-Jawarish out of the building, but they did not see them taking ‘Ebayat’s body out, which indicates that IOF may have thrown him from the fifth floor after executing him. Also according to eyewitnesses, they heard IOF gunfire only, and no gunfire from other sources.
IOF claimed that they had noticed the presence of two militants inside a house and so they fired at them, killing one militant. They arrested the other militant and confiscated weapons allegedly found with the two militants. This latest attack comes following decisions taken by the Israeli political and military establishments to continue to target Palestinian activists.
PCHR is deeply concerned over the recent escalation in such attacks by IOF and strongly condemns this latest crime, as well as previous attacks of this nature. PCHR asserts that such crimes by IOF only serve to increase tension and threaten the lives of Palestinian civilians.
PCHR calls upon the international community to meet its responsibilities and calls particularly upon the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 to fulfil their obligations under the Convention to ensure protection for Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.