Al Mezan Center For Human Rights 6 October 2004
Since the wide-scale Israeli military assault on the northern part of the Gaza Strip, 92 Palestinians have been killed, including 26 children and three Palestinians in the south of Gaza. At least 313 Palestinians, including 110 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 Wednesday 6 October 2004
IOF escalated their aggression against the population of the Gaza Strip on the eighth day of the military operation in the Gaza Strip. Three civilians were killed in their homes in three separate attacks by tanks in Al Maslakh neighborhood in North Gaza while they were in their houses. 11 others were injured in these attacks. One child was also critically injured in the head from IOF’s shelling towards homes in the same area.
IOF continued their siege on North Gaza. The humanitarian situation of the civilians in the area worsens every day. There are substantial reports on a serious lack of water, children milk, medicine, fuel and food. In several occasions, IOF tank lines stormed into residential areas and carried out attacks with artillery and heavy machineguns.
Medical sources and eyewitnesses reported that IOF targeted medical teams and obstructed their access to the besieged areas in North Gaza. At approximately 2:10am today, Wednesday 6 October 2004, a helicopter gunship fired at an ambulances in Block (4) in Jabalia camp. Medical teams moved to this Block after a sound of explosion was heard in it. Additionally, ambulances face difficulty using dirt roads as IOF destroyed numerous streets in the besieged area.
Educational facilities remained paralyzed in North Gaza as some 50 schools closed their doors due to the IOF operation in the area, which prevent students and teachers from reaching schools.
At 10:35pm yesterday, Tuesday 5 October 2004, an Israeli unmanned airplane fired a missile towards the Al Ajramy street in Jabalia camp. Two brothers were killed, as a result: 30-year-old Hasan Abdul Hai Darweesh and 24-year-old Mousa Abdul Hai Darweesh, both are from the neighboring Mashrou’ neighborhood. Six others were injured, two of whom critically.
One hour later, an IOF tank fired two shells towards the As Sikka Street, east of Jabalia. No casualties were reported.
IOF tanks and bulldozers leveled ten dunams of farmland in Zimmu Street in Beit Hanoun town. The land is owned by Udwan family.
At approximately 11:45pm yesterday, IOF fired a tanks shell towards the apartment of Ghazi Fifil, who lives with his extended family in the five-story house in the Al Maslakh neighborhood in Beit Lahia. Filfil, his wife, Sumaiya, and their seven children were injured. The apartment was severely damaged as well. Following is the text of Filfil’s affidavit to Al Mezan: “I reside in Al Maslakh neighborhood of Beit Lahia town. I have 19 sons and daughters from two marriages, 11 of whom are under 18-year-old.
At approximately 11:20pm Tuesday 5 October 2004, I was with my family in our apartment, which is in the fifth floor of my extended family’s building. We heard many explosions in the area and knew about IOF’s presence in our neighborhood. I separated my children on different rooms in the apartment fearing from shelling on the house. My wife and I kept checking on them all the time as they were too scared to get to sleep. At about 11:45pm, a huge explosion occurred at the western part of our apartment. I fell on the ground unable to move, but I was conscious and saw my brothers, who live in the same building, carrying my children one after another. I looked at them and saw them bleeding.
In the end, my brothers came and took me down stairs where they took me to hospital in a private car. At the hospital I knew that my wife and seven sons were wounded”( According to Filfil, his children are: Muhammad, aged 12; Abeer, aged 10; Suha, aged 9; Ala’, aged 7; the twin Sally and Dalia, aged 5, Sabreen, aged 3; Wisal, aged 1.5; and the baby Hany, aged seven months).
In a similar attack, at approximately 1:15am on Wednesday 6 October 2004, an Israeli tank fired an artillery towards the house of Husien Qahman in the same Al Maslakh neighborhood. Qahman’s 15-year-old son, Abdullah, was killed, as a result. In this incident, IOF opened intensive fire towards the rescue teams who arrived the house to help the family and delayed the rescue. Ambulances were not able to reach the house as the roads leading to it were destroyed by IOF. The following is the text of an affidavit given to Al Mezan by Imad Muhammad Ali, a medic who was with the rescue team:
“We were in the ambulance near Al Maslakh neighborhood which was under IOF attack when we heard the sound of explosion at approximately 1:15am today. We hurried to the attack scene, which was a two-story-house in the neighborhood. I saw five ambulances that had arrived before us, so my colleague and I stayed near our ambulance, which was about 50 meters from the house. Suddenly, there was intensive firing towards the medics who entered the house and at the ambulances.
We realized that we were under attack and fell on the ground seeking refuge. I saw the sand around us in the air from the bullets. After 15 minutes, I saw medics carrying a body of a teenager on a stretcher, whom I knew was dead”.
At approximately 1:40am today, IOF opened fire towards homes in the same Al Maslakh neighborhood. Eight-year-old Ahmad Imad Abu Samak was critically injured from a live bullet in the head when he was inside his house in the neighborhood.
Forty minutes later, IOF tanks fired artillery towards another nearby house and killed its owner, Hamdan Faraj Ubaid, aged 50, and his 22-year-old son Hammudeh. Medical sources said their bodies were severely disfigured. Ubaid’s wife and his other son were injured in the attack.
At the same time, IOF broke into the Haboub family 4-story house in the same neighborhood and took control of its roof for observation. Eyewitnesses informed the Center that Israeli soldiers used the house to fire at ambulances and people who tried to help the wounded in the neighborhood.
At approximately 8am today, IOF leveled an area of 20 dunams of farmland in the town of Beit Hanoun. The land is owned by Ayoub Al Kafarneh. They also destroy a house owned by Jamal Al Shubaki.
At approximately 1pm today, 60-year-old Amneh An Najjar, who is from Jabalia, was critically injured from a heavy live bullet fired by IOF towards an Nuzha neighborhood in Jabalia town. She suffers critical wounds in her head.
At approximately 2:35pm today, IOF demolished two homes in Al Kashif Hill in Jabalia. The homes are owned by Nasser Abu Freeh and his brother Hamid.
At around the same time, IOF forced a Palestinian family to evacuate their home, which is located in Qleebo neighborhood north east to Jabalia. The Dahnoun family is composed of 32 individuals, 15 of whom are children. IOF took control of the house on 30 September 2004. since this day, the family had been detained into one room and have been using the house as an observation point.
At approximately 2:45 today, IOF fired at the Al Mahkama street in Jabalia. 10-year-old boy, Muhammad Mansour Abed Rabu was wounded in his left leg, as a result.
IOF carried out several attacks by helicopters and tanks in North Gaza. Substantial reports have not been available by the time of issuing this update, and will be covered by the next volume.
In Khan Younis, south of the Gaza Strip, IOF pulled out of the western part of the town today at dawn. Al Mezan’s fieldworker in the town reported that they destroyed seven homes, in which 84 individuals used to live, and damaged two other homes. They also leveled an area of 55 dunams of farmland in the area and demolished several greenhouses and one water well. Four people were injured in this incursion.
Media reports said that three Palestinians were killed inside the settlement of Kfar Darom, south of the town of Deir Al Balah today. The Israeli Army said that it killed them in exchange of fire inside the settlement after they infiltrated it. The three persons are: 25-year-old Ramy Abu Mihsin, 19-year-old Ali Khalid Al Jaru, and 23-year-old Iyad Abu Al Atta; all are from the middle area of the Gaza strip.
On 5 Oct 2004, twelve UN agencies working in the Gaza Strip issued a statement saying that “the current violence is pushing Gaza into a humanitarian crisis”. They voiced their serious concern about the ability of the population to cope as “the ongoing violence on top of the sharply deteriorating humanitarian situation this year is pushing the Palestinian population into a deep crisis”. It also mentioned that 45 Palestinians on average have been killed monthly by IOF during 2004 and that a rise in the poverty rate to 72% in Gaza is expected.
The statement comes eight days after the IOF initiated a major military operation in north Gaza, in which over 80 Palestinians and 5 Israelis have been killed. The agencies recognized Israel’s security concerns but emphasized that “its actions should be in conformity with international humanitarian law and it should not use disproportionate force”. Finally, the statement warned about the consequences of movement restrictions on the UN personnel and goods during the last 14 days.
The United Nations Security Council failed to adopt draft resolution demanding halt to Israeli military action in Gaza. The resolution was vetoed by the United States, with 11 members in favor and three abstained. The draft resolution would have called on Israel to “ensure the unfettered access and safety of United Nations personnel and all medical and humanitarian aid workers to provide emergency assistance to civilians, and on both parties to immediately implement their obligations under the Road Map”. The United States Ambassador to the UN described the draft as “lopsided and unbalanced” as it did not mention the casualties at the Israeli side.
Amnesty International issued a press release today and voiced its concern about the deterioration of human rights and humanitarian situation as a result of the Israeli incursion in Jabalia refugee camp and other areas in north Gaza. The release mentioned the Israeli Army’s use of excessive force in populated areas, which resulted in the killing of over 70 Palestinians over the past week., and damaged homes, schools and infrastructure, and hindered the access of medical services. It called on Israel to end its use of excessive lethal force, unlawful destruction of homes and properties, allow access to medical services, and respect the right to freedom of movement for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. It also called the Palestinian armed groups not to initiate attacks from amongst residential areas, which endangers the life of local residents, and to end the attacks against Israeli civilians.
U. S. Department of State Secretary said Tuesday 5 October 2004, that Israel should end the military operation in Gaza as soon as possible.
Spain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs called Wednesday 6 October 2004, Israel to end its military operation in the Gaza Strip. He said that the toll of Palestinians was not acceptable in the 21st century. He also said the situation in Gaza was tragic and asserted that achieving political settlements can only be done through negotiation. He also said that the UN Security Council’s session on the situation in the Strip should call Israel to end its operations in Gaza adding that calming the situation in the area was not sufficient and that a process is needed to produce positive and immediate results.
Palestinian and Israeli statements
The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) condemned the U.S. veto in the UN Security Council, which failed the draft resolution calling Israel to end the ongoing military action in the Gaza Strip. In a statement, the PNA official Saeb Erikat warned about Israeli escalation after this veto. He said that The U.S. continues its complete support to Israel and shows no regard to the Arab nations. He said that the PNA would address the UN General Assembly and the Government of Switzerland, the host State of the Geneva Conventions to seek urgent intervention. Palestinian permanent observer to the UN said the UN Security Council had another sad day with the Bush Administration seventh veto on Israel-Palestine. He said that the Council had failed to carry out its mandate under the UN Chart.
Israeli Prime Minister said today that the military operation would continue until Qassam rockets towards Israel stop.
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.