Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) killed 3 Palestinian children and seriously injured a fourth one yesterday evening (10 July 2006) in Beit Hanoun, when an IOF plane fired a rocket at them. This crime comes within the context of the open war against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip since the capture of the Israeli soldier on 25 June 2006. It is part of the chain of collective punishment, targeting civilians, and destroying civilian property and infrastructure. With the death of these children, the number of Palestinian casualties in the Gaza Strip since the start of the Israeli military operation rises to 51 dead, including 26 civilians, and 140 injured. There are 7 children and a woman among the dead; and the majority of the injured are civilians.
PCHR’s preliminary investigation indicates that at approximately 19:15 on Monday, 10 July 2006, and IOF plane fired a rocket at 4 children who were near Hayel Abdel Hamid Secondary School in northern part of Beit Hanoun. They were in an area previously used as soccer field near their homes. The rocket fell amidst the children. Three were killed instantly; and their bodies were torn by the blast. The fourth child suffered serious injures. The dead children are: Mahfouth Farid Nuseir (16), Ahmad Ghalib Abu Amsha (16), and Ahmad Fathi Shabat (16). The injured child is Raji Omar Deifallah (16).
PCHR condemns the killing of Palestinian civilians by IOF, endangering their lives, and destroying their property through disproportionate use of lethal force. These actions are considered reprisals and forms of collective punishment under article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The Centre calls upon the High Contracting Parties of the convention to act immediately to ensure protection for the lives of civilians, and to ensure IOF respect for the convention. The Centre calls upon the High Contracting Parties to enforce article 1 on the convention regarding the respect of the convention under all circumstances, and to take the necessary punitive steps against the perpetrators of serious violations. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is an independent legal body based in Gaza City dedicated to protecting human rights, promoting the rule of law and upholding democratic principles in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. It holds Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations and is an affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists, the Fédération Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l’Homme (FIDH), and the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network. PCHR is a recipient of the 1996 French Republic Award for Human Rights.