The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) continued its offensive on Gaza which started on 15 May 2007. Air strikes against Executive Force targets and other civilian facilities have been focused on Gaza City and occurred with more intensity at the late night hours.
Al Mezan has documented that 47 Palestinians have been killed and 189 others injured since the start of the offensive. Dozens of homes have been destroyed or damaged from the 58 air strikes and 19 artillery and heavy machine gun attacks on different locations around the Gaza Strip.
The offices of Al Mezan Center for Human Rights and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights were damaged yesterday as IOF attacked a caravan used by Executive Force guards in the center of Jabalia refugee camp.
Moreover, IOF has continued the campaign of arrests of PNA elected officials. Minister Wasfi Qabha was arrested from his house in Jenin yesterday. It was reported that IOF entered the house, searched and confiscated files and the personal computers from it. Israeli officials stated that the offensive would continue under questioned international silence.
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights condemns these ongoing IOF offensives and the targeting civilians and civilian objects in Gaza, which have increased the number of civilian casualties. The Center highlights that targeting of civilians and properties constitutes violations of international law, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and the Hague Regulations.
Further, Al Mezan considers the IOF extra-legal assassinations, which are routinely conducted in densely populated areas, as grave breaches of international humanitarian law and human rights law.
Al Mezan questions the silence of the international community, which only encourages Israel to commit further violations of human rights and show disregard to international law. Thus, Al Mezan calls upon the international community, most notably the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, to immediately intervene to halt IOF breaches of the Convention in the OPT, and provide protection for civilians.