PCHR strongly condemns the continued killing of Palestinians by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) and the disproportionate use of force in the Gaza Strip. The Centre points to the fact that IOF are not respecting the principles of necessity and proportionality, when employing their superior war machine against Palestinian resistance fighters not involved in combat activity in civilian areas. These actions are causing high numbers of civilian casualties, as well as damaging civilian property and infrastructure. PCHR reminds the international community, especially the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention, of its previous demands for them to act immediately in order to protect the lives of civilians and ensure IOF compliance with the convention. The Centre calls upon the High Contracting Parties to enact article 1 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which ensures the respect of the convention under all circumstances. The Centre confirms its call to these parties to take the necessary punitive steps and impose sanctions on these committing serious violations of the convention.
PCHR’s preliminary investigation indicates that the past day has witnessed an IOF escalation unprecedented since the implementation of the disengagement plan nearly ten months ago. A total of twenty-six Palestinians were killed over a period of twenty-six hours: twenty-four in the Gaza Strip and two in the West Bank. This brings the number of Palestinians killed to thirty-six, since the capturing of the Israeli soldier on 25 June 2006. In addition, one hundred and fifteen Palestinians have been injured, most of them civilians. Ninety-seven were injured in the Gaza Strip and eighteen in the West Bank. There were thirty-four serious injuries, including five who are now in intensive care units. Thirty-seven women and children were among the injured. IOF are using the imprisonment of the soldier as a pretext for their attack on the Gaza Strip, destroying its infrastructure and reoccupying parts of its land.
Below is a chronology of the most notable events in the Gaza Strip:
In the West Bank, IOF killed a child and injured eighteen others in the city of Jenin. Three of the injured are in a serious condition. The casualties were caused during a failed extra-judicial execution attempt. On Friday, 7 July 2006, another Palestinian was killed in Askar refugee camp, east of Nablus.
PCHR’s preliminary investigation indicates that at approximately 20:30 on Thursday, 6 July 2006, an undercover IOF unit infiltrated Jenin refugee camp in two cars with Palestinian license plates. The cars stopped in front of the Popular Service Committee in the camp, near Dr. Khalil Suliman Hospital. A house of mourning for Fida’ Qandil had been set up in the committee’s premises. The undercover unit got out of the car and opened fire indiscriminately at the house of mourning. Zakaria El-Zubeidi, a leader of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades (an armed wing of Fatah), and Mahmoud El-Sa’adi, an activist in the Al-Quds Battalions (the armed wing of Islamic Jihad) were in the house of mourning. Both managed to get away. Eighteen Palestinians were injured, three of them seriously. Immediately afterwards, nearly thirty IOF vehicles supported by a helicopter moved into Jenin and the refugee camp to ensure the withdrawal of the undercover unit. IOF detained five of the injured. At approximately 22:20, Israeli media outlets announced that one of the kidnapped Palestinians had died. 40 minutes later, the body was handed to a Palestinian Red Crescent Society ambulance. The dead Palestinian was identified as Ahmad Eid Ibrahim Naghnagheya (16).
At approximately 06:00 on Friday, 7 July 2006, an IOF troop contingent moved into the old Askar refugee camp, east of Nablus. A number of Palestinian resistance fighters confronted the advancing forces. One of them was hit by bullets to the upper body that killed him instantly. The dead Palestinian was Tamer Fathi Abdel Fattah Qandil (21).
PCHR condemns the killings perpetrated by IOF against Palestinian civilians and the disregard of necessity and proportionality in the use of force against Palestinian resistance fighters. These actions are considered reprisals and are a form of collective punishment under article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. PCHR calls upon the international community to ensure protection for Palestinian civilians in accordance with International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law.
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is an independent legal body based in Gaza City dedicated to protecting human rights, promoting the rule of law and upholding democratic principles in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. It holds Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations and is an affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists, the Fédération Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l’Homme (FIDH), and the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network. PCHR is a recipient of the 1996 French Republic Award for Human Rights.