Al Mezan Center For Human Rights 8 October 2004
Since the wide-scale Israeli military assault on the northern part of the Gaza Strip, 101 Palestinians have been killed, including 32 children and 12 Palestinians in other parts of Gaza. At least 322 Palestinians, including 111 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 ten, Friday, 8 October 2004
At 11:20 yesterday, Thursday 7 October 2004, 13-year-old Jum’a Al Sharatha, from Jabalia, passed away at hospital. He was injured on 1 October 2004 from IOF bullet towards his neighborhood of Izat Abed Rabu.
At 3am today, IOF demolished the house of Mousa Abu Jarad east to Erez crossing. North of Beit Hanoun. They also caused severe damage to the houses of Ibrahim Abu Jarad and Muhammad Abu Jarad in the same area.
As IOF continued their military operation today in the north of the Gaza Strip, more homes and private properties have been destroyed. According to Al Mzan’s fieldworker, IOF demolished 65 homes completely and about 130 homes partially, destroyed 15 kindergartens, 31 commercial stores, 6 motor vehicles, and 8 mosques since 28 September 2004 in North Gaza. They also leveled an area of 300 dunams of farmland, most of which in this area.
As IOF military operation in north Gaza continued, Palestinian civilians who have been besieged in major part pf the area suffer increasing lack of basic needs. There has been reporting of families who had run out of water and food. The electricity has been cut-off and IOF still do not allow distribution of humanitarian assistance in the area. Al Mezan was informed that UNRWA distributed 230 food rations and water in the As Sika area, east of Jabalia, which population suffered severe shortage of food, water and medicine.
At 4:15pm today, IOF opened fire towards homes in western Beit Hanoun. Nine-year-old girl Samah Samir Nassar was killed and several homes were damaged. It is worth noting that the UNRWA clinic in this town is still closed as IOF prevent its personnel, all of whom live outside Beit Hanoun, from entering it.
Israeli paper, Yedi’ut Ahronot, revealed the details regarding the killing of 13-year-old girl in Rafah on 5 October 2004. Iman Al Hams, who is a resident of Rafah was killed by 20 bullets near the borderline. The Israeli solders in the military post said she was killed with cold blood by the unit commander after he knew she was a little girl as he finished her after she was wounded. The soldiers said many of them said they believed that the target was a child before she was shot. One of the solders said, according to the news paper, that he reported to his command that he saw a child girl, and that she was about 12 years old. One of the soldiers fired one bullet and she was injured and fell on the ground. At this stage, the soldier said, the unit’s commander approached the site where she was and when he was beside her body, he fired two bullets before he moved backward and open fire from his automatic rifle at her. The soldiers said there was not a reasonable justification to the commander’s behavior(Informal translation of the report, which was taken from Palestinian news Agency (WAFA).). Al Mezan reported the case of this murder in its update, Volume 6, dated Tuesday 5 October 2004.
At 6:50pm today, IOF tanks fired artillery towards Abu Hasira neighborhood, near Jabalia Youth Club and killed two Palestinians: 19-year-old Muhammad Nabil Subeh and19-year-old Yasir Al Khateeb, from Jabalia camp. Three other people were injured, one of whom critically. This was not the first time tanks fire at this area. Yesterday, two children were killed in this area from tank artillery.
Al Mezan has been receiving mounting reports about the suffering of people who have been trapped outside towns as the closure between the Gaza Strip towns continues. Tens of people called the center asking for assistance as they need to travel seeking health care. Moreover, the educational process at universities has been at a halt for the second week as students and instructors are not able to access universities. The southern parts of the Gaza Strip lack fuel and goods due to the continued closure.
At approximately 4:30pm today, Friday 8 October 2004, IOF demolished the house of Mahmud Saadat in Beit Hanoun. They also forced 30 people including many children, who live in the nearby house of Hussien Az Zaaneen, to evacuate their house. They destroyed part of the house and have been using it for observation.
Al Mezan’s fieldworker reported that IOF shelled the neighborhoods of Tel Az Zaatar and Asalieh in Jabalia at 7:30 pm today with machineguns. No casualties were reported. Several homes, however, were damaged.
At 9pm today, IOF fired at an electricity transformer near Tel Al-Hakim neighborhood. Eyewitnesses said that a fire started in the transformer.
For the tenth day, the educational facilities remained paralyzed in North Gaza due to the IOF incursion and military offensive in the area. Some 50 schools closed their doors due to the IOF operation in the area, which prevent students and teachers from reaching schools.
The health condition of Palestinian woman, Nasiba Abu Baraka, from Beit hanoun’s Ezba neighborhood deteriorated. Baraka was not allowed to reach Erez crossing to reach Israeli hospital for a surgery, even though she has an appointment at the hospital.
Palestinian, Israeli and international statements
On 8 October 2004, the Russian Federation condemned Israeli official’s statement that the aim of Ariel Sharon’s unilateral disengagement plan was to undermine the peace process that would lead to a Palestinian independent state. Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in its statement that it believed that the Road Map was the only way to end the ongoing conflict in the region and founding a just and settlement to the Middle East crisis.
Lebanon witnessed active popular activity in support of the Palestinian population under Israeli offensive in the OPT and especially in the Gaza strip. Palestinian and Lebanese people and figures, who marched condemned the Israeli operation in north Gaza and called for effective international intervention to stop it.
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.