On Sunday evening, 2 May, 2004, Israeli occupying forces extra-judicially executed 4 Palestinians in Nablus. The victims were members of Fatah movement, who were wanted by Israeli forces. An Israeli military spokesman admitted Israeli responsibility for this attack, saying that “helicopters attacked a car belonging to some prominent activists of Fatah organization,” and that Israeli forces “resorted to this operation after all other efforts made to arrest them had failed.” According to PCHR’s documentation, this assassination was the 5th in 10 days. These latest assassinations left 14 Palestinians dead.
According to preliminary investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 21:30 on Sunday, an Israeli helicopter gunship launched a missile at a civilian car that was traveling near the old district court in the center of Nablus. The missile hit the car and completely destroyed it. All those who were traveling in the car were instantly killed. Their burnt bodies were transferred to Rafidya Hospital. They were identified as: Hashem Daoud Eshtaiwi Abu Hamdan, 25, from Balata refugee camp east of Nablus; Nader Mohammed ‘Abdul Hafiz Abu al-Lail, 26, from Balata refugee camp; Na’el Ziad Hassanain, 21, from Balata refugee camp; and Mohammed Hussein Hamdan Abu Hamdan, 24, from Habla village in Qalqilya district.
With this latest assassination, the number of extra-judicial assassinations committed by Israeli occupying forces against alleged Palestinian activists since the beginning of the current Intifada has mounted to 177. This has lead to the death of 373 Palestinians: 228 targeted persons and 145 civilian bystanders.
PCHR strongly condemns this incident and remains gravely concerned about this continuous escalation by the Israeli government and its occupying forces. PCHR believes that these incidents indicate Israel’s disregard for international law and humanitarian law, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. PCHR asserts that the policy of extra-judicial assassination, officially adopted by the Israeli government, constitutes a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, serves to increase tension in the region and threatens the lives of Palestinian civilians.
Accordingly, PCHR calls upon the international community to stop its silence on these matters. PCHR reiterates its call for the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations under the Convention and ensure protection for Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.