Gaza death toll, humanitarian crisis escalates

Relatives of 14-year-old Maryam Talat Mahuf, killed when Israeli forces attempted to assassinate her father, mourn during her funeral in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, 26 April 2008. (Wissam Nassar/MaanImages)


The number of victims killed by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) has increased amid continued escalation of its attacks on, and incursions into, the Gaza Strip recently. According to Al Mezan Center’s monitoring and documentation, IOF stepped up their human rights violations and committed breaches of international humanitarian law (IHL) systematically in the Gaza Strip.

According to Al Mezan’s statistics, 69 Palestinians have been killed by IOF in the Gaza Strip since the start of April 2008. Of them, 20 were children and one was a woman. This brings the toll of Gazans killed by IOF since the beginning of 2008 to 316, including 62 children and 16 women. During the same period the IOF carried out 30 incursions into the Gaza Strip. During these incursions, 127 Palestinians were detained; 17 of them are still under detention. Furthermore, IOF razed 372 dunams of agricultural land, and destroyed 15 homes.

Both IOF’s aggression and blockade have caused paralysis to Gaza’s economy, as they increased the poverty and unemployment rates, and hindered production and distribution of agricultural goods. The restriction of fuel supply including cooking gas, has also encroached severely on the lives of the population and their livelihood.

According to Al Mezan’s investigations, during April, the IOF allowed the entry of 6,406,000 liters of industrial diesel to operate the power plant, with an average 213,533 liters daily. This represents a decrease by over 50 percent when compared with the amount IOF allowed into Gaza before October 2007, when it imposed the restrictions on fuel. Also, IOF permitted 2,229 tons of cooking gas during the same month, with a daily average of 74.3 tons. This amount is less than 30 percent of the previous rates allowed into Gaza, which was over 250 tons per day.

The quantity of ordinary diesel for transportation and electricity generators that entered the strip that same month is 1,306,410 liters, a daily average of 43,547 liters; i.e. less than 10 percent of the pre-October 2007 rate. As for benzene, IOF allowed 135,010 liters to enter during April. This is an average of 4,500 liters per day, only 20 percent of the pervious rates.

Al Mezan renews its condemnation of IOF escalation of its aggression and collective punishment on the Gaza Strip. These acts have brought about serious violations of human rights and are considered as grave breaches of IHL and human rights norms. Al Mezan believes that the occurrence of these violations is, at least partly, a result of the continued international silence as such violations occurred over a long time.

Al Mezan therefore reiterates its calls upon the International community to take urgent actions to provide effective protection for civilians in the Gaza Strip and halt the Israeli violations, some of which mount to the level of war crimes and crimes against humanity. It also calls on the international community to intervene to lift Israel’s blockade of Gaza, and bring to an end the illegal collective punishment of civilians.

This report was issued on 4 May.

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