IOF Kill 8 Palestinians in Rafah, including a Child, and Injure 20 Others

A wounded Palestinian arrives to a hospital in Rafah after an Israeli air strike on the refugee camp in southern Gaza strip, 3 August 2006. (MaanImages/Hatem Omar)

In another war crime of disproportionate use of lethal force, IOF have killed 8 Palestinians, including 6 unarmed civilians (one of them a child), and injured 20 others (5 of them children) in land and aerial bombardment. The bombardment accompanied a land attack on El-Shoka community that started during pre-dawn hours. PCHR’s fieldworker reported that most of the victims were torn and charred. The Centre is very concerned over this Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) escalation, which is part of an open aggression on the Gaza Strip that started at the end of June. Hundreds of Palestinian civilian casualties fell during this aggression. In addition, IOF have caused extensive damage and destruction to civilian property and infrastructure.

PCHR’s preliminary investigation indicates that at approximately 23:30 on Wednesday, 2 August 2006, tens of IOF armored vehicles supported by helicopters and drones moved nearly 3 kilometers into El-Shoka, east of Rafah. IOF armored vehicles fired indiscriminately during their advance. At approximately 00:00 on Thursday, 3 August 2006, an IOF drone fired a rocket at a group of civilians gathered near El-Shoka municipality building. Zeyad Salman El-Sheikh Eid (22) was killed instantly, and 2 others were seriously wounded. One of the injured died later of the wounds sustained in the attack. The second victim is Adnan Bassam Abu Libda (19).

At approximately 02:40, an IOF drone fired a rocket at a group of Palestinian resistance activists on Salah El-Deen Road. One of them was killed instantly and two were injured, one of them seriously. The activist killed is Wa’el Mohammad Younis (24). And at approximately 03:10, an IOF drone fired a rocket at a group of Palestinian resistance activists near Amer Project intersection on Salah El-Deen Road. One activist was killed and another was injured. The activist killed is Mahmoud Anwar Kullab (21).

At approximately 04:00, an IOF drone fired a rocket at civilians gathered near Mohammad Yousef El-Najjar Hospital in J’neina Quarter in Rafah. Two civilians were seriously injured. And less than an hour later, IOF planes fired two rockets at the Hospital’s prayer hall. Three civilians were injured, including a 5-year old girl who was sleeping at her house near the hospital.

At approximately 07:30, IOF planes fired 2 rockets at a group of civilians in El-Shoka. The child Anis Salem Abu Awwad (12) was killed. Eight others were injured, including 4 children.

At approximately 09:30, Palestinian medical crews retrieved the bodies of 2 civilians killed in El-Shoka at the start of the incursion. They were killed by a rocket from an IOF plane. The civilians killed are Yousef Abdallah Abu Mor (22) and Abdel Rahman Ahmad Abu S’neima (42). And at approximately 09:45, three injured civilians from El-Shoka reached Mohammad Yousef El-Najjar Hospital. They were injured by shrapnel from artillery bombardment.

At approximately 11:00, medical crews found the body of Suliman Mahfouth El-R’meilat (55) torn to pieces by artillery bombardment. He was a resident of El-Shoka.

PCHR strongly condemns the IOF killing of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, and the destruction of their property. IOF disproportionate use of force places the lives of civilians at additional risk during these operations, which are a form of reprisal and collective punishment against Palestinians, a violation of article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The Centre confirms that indiscriminate aggression will inflict additional damages on civilians and civilian property. The prior knowledge that these attacks will cause civilian casualties and destruction of their property is a violation of the convention, and a war crime in the first protocol additional to the convention.

In the Center’s view, the complacency of the international community and the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention and their failure tot take effective steps to stop Israeli war crimes has been a supporting and encouraging element for Israel to continue perpetrating additional war crimes against Palestinian civilians. The legal cover provided to Israel by the US, which purposely hinders International Humanitarian Law, and the conspiracy of silence by Europe encourage Israeli to continue to perpetrate war crimes unchecked, placing it above international law.

The Centre reminds the High Contracting Parties of:

  • Their obligations under Article 1 of the convention to ensure respect of the convention under all circumstances;
  • Their obligations in Article 146 of the convention to pursue suspects of committing serious violations of the convention, noting that these violations are war crimes according to Article 147, as specified in the first protocol additional to the convention

    The Centre calls upon the Swiss Government to:

  • to take a leading role in highlighting and acting to stop the grave breaches of international law that are currently taking place in the Gaza Strip, as is its obligation as the depository of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
  • to make efforts to mobilise the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to intervene in this situation and meet their obligations to protect the rights of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip under International Humanitarian Law.
  • to call on the Security Council to send an international protection force for the Palestinian civilian population of the Gaza Strip.

    The Centre calls upon the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to:

  • to issue a statement strongly condemning Israel’s grave breaches of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).
  • to make a visit to the OPT in order to see for yourself the long term damage that has already been and is currently being inflicted on the civilian population - a population who should be enjoying protection under International Humanitarian Law.
  • to call a meeting of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention in order to ensure that these states fulfil their obligation under international law to protect the civilian population of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

    Related Links

  • The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
  • BY TOPIC: Israel invades Gaza (27 June 2006)