On Saturday evening, 29 July 2006, IOF extra-judicially killed a member of the al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad, and a civilian who accompanied him. In the meantime, IOF have continued their wide scale offensive on the Gaza Strip for the fifth consecutive week, committing more crimes against Palestinian civilian and property.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 08:30 on Saturday, 29 July 2006, an IOF undercover unit moved into Sheikh Musallam quarter in the old town of Nablus. IOF soldiers immediately opened fire from a close range from pistols equipped with silencers at two young men, who were sitting near a carpentry workshop. As a result, one of the young men, 22-year-old ‘Ameed Nihad al-Masri, was instantly killed by several live bullets to the head and the chest. The other young man, 29-year-old Hani Mohammed Dhaher ‘Owaijan, was seriously wounded by several live bullets to the head, the neck and the chest. He died at the hospital two hours later. Following the attack, IOF claimed that they killed a wanted Palestinian, referring to ‘Owaijan. The two victims were unarmed when they were attacked, and al-Masri did not have any political activities.
In the Gaza Strip, on Saturday morning, 30 July 2006, IOF warplanes bombarded two houses in the north. The two houses were destroyed. The owners of the two houses received calls on their mobile phones from the IOF intelligence, in which they were informed that their houses would be attacked in 15 minutes. Thus, the number of houses destroyed by IOF in such a way in ne week has mounted to 10.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 00:15, an IOF warplane fired a missile at a 150-square-meter, asbestos-roofed house belonging to Gentle Anwar al-Sharif, in which 5 individuals live, in al-Saftawi neighborhood in the west of Jabalya town. The house was completely destroyed and 3 neighboring houses were severely damaged. The owner is a member of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a military wing of Fatah movement.
At approximately 01:15, an IOF warplane fired a missile at a 360-square-meter, 3-storey house belonging to ‘Ata Kamal al-Shanbari, in which 38 individuals (4 families) live, in the southeast of Beit Hanoun town. The house and a neighboring one belonging to the same family were destroyed.
PCHR is deeply concerned over the IOF crimes against Palestinian civilians and property. PCHR believes that these crimes constitute a form of retaliation and collective punishment against the Palestinian people, in violation of article 33 of the 1949 Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.
PCHR believes that the failure of the international community and the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention to take effective steps to stop Israeli war crimes has served to encourage Israel to commit more war crimes against Palestinian civilians. Not only do the legal cover provided to Israel by the US, which purposely hinders international humanitarian law, and the conspiracy of silence by Europe place Israel above the international law, but also encourage IOF to commit more war crimes.
PCHR reminds the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of their obligations under article 1 of the Convention to respect and ensure respect for the convention under all circumstances, their obligations under article 146 of the Convention to search for persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed, grave breaches, and bring such persons before their own courts, noting that such grave breaches constitute war crimes under article 147, as specified in the First Protocol Additional to the Convention.
PCHR calls upon the Swiss Government to take a leading role in highlighting and acting to stop the grave breaches of international law that are currently taking place in the Gaza Strip, as is its obligation as the depository of the Fourth Geneva Convention and to make efforts to mobilise the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to intervene in this situation and meet their obligations to protect the rights of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip under International Humanitarian Law. Additionally, PCHR requests the Swiss Government to call on the Security Council to send an international protection force for the Palestinian civilian population of the Gaza Strip.