Since the wide-scale Israeli military assault on the northern part of the Gaza Strip, 84 Palestinians have been killed, including 25 children and three Palestinians in the south of Gaza. At least 268 Palestinians, including 91 children were injured. Numerous homes and private property have also been destroyed as IOF utilize air force and heavy tanks in this military operation. In addition, as the incursion continues, the civilian population of the area suffer shortage in food and water supply. In the areas which IOF occupy civilians lack the most basic needs. Al Mezan is still receiving plights from people who have been in urgent need for medicine and water.
Events of day eight: Tuesday 5 October 2004
According to Al Mezan’s initial documentation of the loss of property in North Gaza to date, IOF have destroyed 175 homes in North Gaza; of which 45 homes were completely destroyed. They also caused damage to 8 school buildings, three kindergartens, one of which completely destroyed,22 stores, 8 industrial facilities and workshops, and 6 motor vehicles.
Al Mezan’s fieldworker in North Gaza reported to the Center that at 11:50pm yesterday IOF fired tank shells at the houses of Salah Abu Saada and Abdul Aziz Udeh in Tel Az Zaatar neighborhood in Jabalia. The two houses were evacuated earlier due to frequent shelling and no casualties were reported.
IOF tank-line stormed into the Riyad As Saliheen neighborhood at approximately 9:50pm yesterday, Monday 4 October 2004. They took positions near UNRWA A School in the refugee camp of Jabalia.
At about midnight today, an Israeli tank fired a shell at a building under construction in Tel Az Zaatar. The building belongs to the nearby Al Awda Hospital, which was damaged from shrapnel. IOF took positions at a location opposite to this hospital in Jabalia.
At approximately 12:40pm today, Israeli tanks and armored bulldozers entered Zimmu Street the town of Beit Hanoun. They bulldozed an area estimated of 58 dunams(One dunam equals one thousand square meters) of farmland, one house and a livestock yard, all owned by Khalid Yousif Az Zaaneen.
A 13-year-old Palestinian schoolgirl, Iman Darweesh Al Hams, was killed by IOF in the town of rafah, south of the Gaza Strip. Al Hams died from 20 bullets in her body according to medical sources. IOF claimed responsibility and said the girl was killed by mistake.
At approximately 5:40pm today, an Israel helicopter gun-ship fired a missile at a car in Izadin Al Qassam Street in Gaza City. Two Palestinians were killed immediately: 42-year-old Bashir Ad Dabash and 30-year-old Thrif Al; Ar’eer. IOF claimed responsibility and said it killed two Hamas members. Three passersby were also injured in the attack, two of whom in critical condition.
At approximately 9:20pm, Monday 5 October 2004, an Israeli unmanned plane fired a missile at Jabalia main street. 24-year-old Muhammad Al Rass was injured, and died today afternoon at the hospital. The attack occurred near Al Mezan’s main office in Jabalia refugee camp and cause damage to its contents and windowpanes.
IOF tanks frequently fired artillery towards residential areas in Jabalia and Beit Lahia over the day. In four attacks by tank, no casualties were reported, but several homes were damaged. The Center received reports about traumatized children in the shelled areas, especially the house of Dr. Kamal Ash Shirafi, near which was several shells took place.
At approximately 2am Tuesday 5 October 2004, IOF stormed into the western part of Khan Younis, south of the Gaza Strip. Eyewitnesses informed the Center that IOF have been bulldozing farmland and livestock yards in the area. Three Palestinians were injured due to the shelling of the neighboring homes and about four were detained. The frequent leveling of land and the construction of new military post by IOF in this area indicates that they are creating a security zone. In similar cases, IOF demolished all the structures and trees in the targeted area.
IOF’s siege on North Gaza continued under increasing lack of water, food and electricity. Israeli tanks expanded their incursion in different parts in the area and prohibited the movement of people and goods into it.
Palestinian, Israeli and international statements
On 5 October 2004, the South African Minidstry of Foreign Affars condemned Israel’s aggression against Palestinians in North Gaza. The Ministry’s statement condemned the killing and injuring of hundreds of children and civilians. It considered the acts of the Israel forces worsens the situation in the area.
The Palestinian Observer to the United Nations (UN), Naser Al Qidwa, called the UN Security Council to pressure Israel to halt its aggression and military operation in North Gaza immediately, pull out of the area and not to carry out such operations in the future. Al Qidwa approached the council in its session on the situation in North Gaza, in which over 70 Palestinians had been killed. He said some council members spoke only of Israeli deaths when in fact the Israeli army was trying to destroy “the entire Palestinian people - the destruction of its life and its future”. The resolution failed as the United State vetoed it describing it unbalanced.
Israeli Defense Minister, Shaul Mofaz, admitted that IOF have killed Palestinian citizens during its operation in North Gaza. He said that IOF would escalate the military action in North gaza until the Palestinians ‘understand’ that they would not achieve nothing this way. He also added that Israel would keep air and marine control even after the implementation of the disengagement in the Gaza Strip.
Al Mezan Statement
Al Mezan Center for Human Right gravely condemns Israel’s continued collective punishment of Palestinian civilians in the OPT, and especially in the North Gaza area. The center emphasizes that IOF committed violations, and continue, serious violations of human rights is this area, especially the arbitrary shelling and bombardment of residential areas, the use of excessive and disproportionate force, the obstruction of ambulance and humanitarian teams movement and, he destruction of homes and private properties. Such acts breach the International Humanitarian Law and human rights standards and necessitate urgent action by the international community.
The Center believes that the failure of the international community to effectively intervene has only urged Israel to continue its breach of international law. Al Mezan calls for urgent international community to protect Palestinian civilians in the OPT and to put an end to its collective punishment of Palestinian civilians, especially as the humanitarian situation of tens of thousands of civilians is deteriorating rapidly.
Al Mezan calls upon the United Nations Security Council to condemn the Israeli breaches of the international law and to initiate investigations in the IOF’s violations of human rights in the Gaza Strip.
Due to the Israeli incursion in North Gaza and to the presence of IOF tanks 150 meters from its office, which incurs serous dangers on the center’s office and the safety of its staff, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights was forced to close its main office in Jabalia camp. The Center receives the cases who need intervention in person or by telephone in its Gaza office in Izzadin Al Qassam St., tel/fax: +970 (0)8 2820447/2.