Al Mezan Center For Human Rights 10 October 2004
Since the wide-scale Israeli military assault on the northern part of the Gaza Strip, 111 Palestinians have been killed, including 29 children and 16 Palestinians in other parts of Gaza. At least 360 Palestinians, including 124 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 twelve, Sunday 10 October 2004
The Israeli military operation, which was codenamed “Days of Penitence”, continued over last night and today in North Gaza. Al Mezan’s fieldworker in the area reported that a line of IOF tanks stormed into the Al Maslakh area north to Jabalia camp and took positions near Kamal Udwan Hospital. Firing missiles, artillery and machinegun fire also continued.
Due to the continued IOF offensive and use of excessive force, 111 Palestinians have been killed and 360 wounded during the past twelve days. Among the deceased are 29 children. In addition, IOF demolished 72 homes completely, and caused damage to hundreds of homes. They also leveled an area of 480 dunams of farmland, most of which in this area. Numerous public facilities, including police and security posts, schools, mosques and kindergartens were damaged or destroyed.
At approximately 7:30pm yesterday, Saturday 9 October 2004, IOF tanks fired artillery towards a 6-story residential building, owned by the Salim family, in the town of Beit Lahia. It hit the sixth floor and killed Ameen Mahmud Salim, who is handicapped and aged 36, and Sufiyan Mousa Salim, aged 28. Three of the family members were injured in the attack: Dawoud Salim, Ahmad Salim and Muhammad Salim. The building was severely damaged due to the shelling.
At approximately 8:30pm yesterday, an Israeli drone fired a missile towards the Hadad Street in Jabalia refugee camp. Four people were injured, two of who critically. Twenty minutes later, a second missile hit the same area and injured two Palestinians critically.
At around midnight yesterday, IOF opened fire towards Asaliyeh neighborhood, east of Jabalia. No casualties were reported. Several homes were damaged, however.
At approximately 3am today, Sunday 10 October 2004, IOF fired a missile towards the Center of the town of Beit Hanoun. The missile hit a spot opposite to the UNRWA Women Center in the town and injured two Palestinians critically.
At 4am today, IOF tanks and bulldozers entered the Abdul Hameed Street and stormed into the town of Beit Hanoun where bulldozers leveled about 20 dunams of cultivated land. The bulldozing acts caused damage to two houses, owned by Asaad Hwihi and Atallah Az Zaaneen. They also destroyed a vehicle owned by the Municipality of Beit Hanoun before they withdrew two hours later.
Al Mezan’s fieldworker in north Gaza reported top the Center that 22-year-old Raid Muhammad Al Mabhouh from Jabalia camp passed away from wounds sustained on 1 October 2004.
At approximately 8:45am today, IOF fired a missile towards Jabalia camp. It hit a house and a crafts factory in a densely populated neighborhood in the camp. The Center’s fieldworker reported that the house is owned by Adnan Al Ajrami. He also added that the destruction that resulted from the bombardment was wide-scaled as it destroyed the homes and the factory, and caused severe damage to nine neighboring homes. In addition, a schoolteacher, 39-year-old Mahir Muhammad Zaqout, was killed in this attack while he was on his way to school. It is worth noting that the Ministry of Education and UNRWA decided to operate the schools that are relatively far from the incursion area in Jabalia. Moreover, 9 people were injured, including 4 children.
Sources in Jabalia municipality informed Al Mezan that, at 4pm today, a technical team from the Municipality and the Gaza electricity company were allowed to repair parts of the electricity network in Zimmu conjunction, in Salah Ad-Din Street. They provided electricity to two neighborhoods in Jabalia town and one water well. They added that IOF opened fire towards the team before it finished its work, although the team entered the area after coordination with IOF.
M. A. (ID information for M.A. are kept at the Center upon his request) from Jabalia camp was interviewed by Al Mezan’s fieldworker in north Gaza and gave the following affidavit: “at 7:45am Sunday 10 October 2004, I was still in bed and heard a sound of an airplane. There was also a sound like whistling. Suddenly, I heard a sound of huge explosion that shook my house. My children were crying loudly. A left the house to check what the matter was and noticed that an explosion took place about 50 meters from my house. An ambulance appeared at the scene. There was a lot of dust and a smell in the place, so I had to stop my breath. I hardly saw a woman who was running. Her neck was bleeding and she shouted hysterically. I shouted to the ambulance to take her. At the opposite side of the street I saw a body of a man. He looked dead and his body was disfigured. I was at the spot of the explosion and noticed that many homes were destroyed and that there were big holes in the ground. At this spot there was a craft factory owned by Al Ajrami family. A nearby house was damaged as big shrapnel penetrated its asbestos roof.
Al Mezan’s fieldworker in Rafah, southern the Gaza Strip, reported that IOF stormed into Irayba neighborhood, north of Rafah, at 8pm yesterday, 9 October 2004. They demolished 15 homes in the area before they left it at 1 pm today.
Israeli, Palestinian and international statements
On 7 Oct 2004, the Arab State of Qatar condemned the “Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people”, especially in the Gaza strip camps. The statement of Qatar Government said that the current Israeli military escalation against Palestinian camps in Gaza is a flagrant violation of the international law. It also called on the international community to put an end to Israel’s crimes and provide international protection for the Palestinian people.
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.