The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights strongly condemns the murder of two Palestinian civilians in two incidents during the night of 13 October 2005 in the southern Gaza Strip. These incidents highlight the continuation of chaos resulting from the spread of weapons and misusing them in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
The first incident occurred in Rafah, and resulted in the death of a Palestinian activist at the hands of comrades on the backdrop of an inter-factional dispute. A clan dispute in Khan Yunis resulted in the second incident, and led to the death of one man.
According PCHR’s investigations, the first incident took place at 21:15 when an armed group traveling in a “Mercedez” intercepted a “Fiat” carrying two passengers in Al-Awda square in the Center of Rafah. The armed men in the first car were all members of Islamic Jihad’s military wing, Al’Quds Brigades. They got out of their car and attacked the passengers in the second car, who were Ismail Mohammad El’Arja and Khalil Al’Abrashi, also activists in Al’Quds Brigades. A quarrel ensued between the two sides; and one of the armed men issued orders to open fire. The sound of 6 shots was heard. One bullet hit Ismail El’Arja (35) in the head. The armed men fled the area; and the wounded man was transferred to Martyr Mohammad Yousef Al’Najjar Hospital in Rafah. Due to his serious condition, he was transferred to the European Hospital in Khan Yunis. Doctors could not save his life; and he died an hour later.
After the incident, members of the dead man’s clan burned 3 homes belonging to Ghannam clan in Al’Juneina neighborhood and another home belonged to Saleh clan in Shaboura refugee camp in Rafah. The attackers claimed that the home owners were connected to the armed group that killed their relative. PCHR’s fieldworker reported that the killing stemmed from financial and factional disputes.
The second incident occurred at 23:00 when 4 armed men from Al’Masri clan arrived at a construction materials shop owned by Abu Taha clan, and located in Al’Madrasa St. in Al’Amal neighborhood. The armed men fired at Shaker Ahmad Abu Taha (33). When he tried to flee, they continued to fire and hit him with a bullet that entered his abdomen and came out of his back. He was transferred to Naser Hospital in Khan Yunis, where he died less than an hour later.
As a result, members of Abu Taha clan burned a shop and a home belonging to Al’Masri clan in Khan Yunis. PCHR’s fieldworker learned that the incident took place on the backdrop of a minor financial transaction between the victim and members of Al’Masri clan.
PCHR strongly condemns these two crimes, and:
Expresses a mounting concern over the escalation incidents of misusing weapons and other forms of security chaos. They reflect the increasing behavior of people taking the law into their own hands, and brushing aside the rule of law in favor of the rule of the jungle;
Calls upon the Palestinian National Authority to fulfill its responsibilities of preserving public order and restoring the rule of law in accordance with the provisions of the law and in compliance with human rights principles;
Calls upon the Attorney-General’s office to investigate all crimes and incidents, and bring their perpetrators to justice.