PCHR strongly condemns the escalation of crimes perpetrated by Israeli occupying forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, which have left dead 9 Palestinians, including 1 child, in the last 48 hours. PCHR is concerned that the number of dead may increase due to ongoing military operations in Jenin town and refugee camp.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 7:30pm on Thursday, 6 November 2003, following clashes between members of the Palestinian resistance and Israeli occupying forces positioned on the eastern border of the Gaza Strip, east of Khuza’a village in Khan Yunis, a number of Palestinian civilians went to the area fearing that there may be casualties. As they approached the area, an Israeli tank fired 3 shells at the civilians, wounding 6 and killing 2: Mohammed Tawfiq al-Najjar, 19; and Nazhmi Fawzi al-Najjar, 20.
Israeli fire prevented ambulances from reaching the area until the following morning.
On Friday morning, 7 November 2003, Israeli occupying forces moved into al-Maghazi refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, under cover of intense shelling. A number of members of the Palestinian resistance clashed with Israeli forces, during which time 1 Palestinian, Mouayed Omar Ahmed Al Mughari, 21, was killed by shrapnel. In addition, 5 Palestinian civilians were injured while inside their houses and a number of houses were damaged.
Also on Friday morning, in an apparent instance of willful killing, Israeli occupying forces shot dead a Palestinian child and injured another, while they were hunting for birds, approximately 2km from the border with Israel, to the east of Gaza City. According to investigations carried out by PCHR, at approximately 8:30am, while Mahmoud Mohammed Ali Al Qayed, 11, from Al Sabra in Gaza City, was hunting for birds with his father and his friend, Israeli soldiers opened fire at them while they were approximately 2km away from the border with Israel. Al Qayed was killed by 2 live bullets in the chest and his friend was wounded by a live bullet to the foot.
At approximately 11pm on the same day, Israeli soldiers fired at 2 Palestinian men who were attempting to infiltrate into Israel through the border located south east of Beit Hanoun. The 2 men were reportedly seeking employment in Israel. They were killed instantly by several live bullets. PCHR’s field worker in the northern Gaza Strip reported that Palestinian medical personnel who were permitted to access the area following coordination with Israeli forces, found the victims’ bodies at approximately 11am on Saturday 8 November 2003. The victims were identified as: Shadi Rafiq Habboub, 19, from Beit Lahia; and Mahmoud Omar Abu Shekal, 20, from Beit Lahia.
In the West Bank, 3 Palestinian civilians were killed in 2 separate incidents. According to PCHR’s investigations, on Thursday afternoon, a number of Palestinian civilians were returning home to Tulkarm, to spend the weekend with their families. At approximately 3.30pm, some of the civilians arrived at an iron gate positioned by Israeli occupying forces on the Tulkarm-Nablus road. As they were about to cross the gate, which is often left unmanned, Israeli soldiers positioned in a military location overlooking the gate, opened fire, forcing the civilians to enter Tulkarm via a dirt road. A number of the civilians were able to avoid the gate, but they were fired upon by Israeli soldiers, while they were in a taxi. The taxi driver stopped the car, but Israeli soldiers continued to fire. During this attack, 1 civilian, Fayez Ahmed Moustafa Salama, 44, from Anabta village, was killed by a live bullet to his left side. In addition, another civilian Median Abdul Karim Jabr, 30, from Denaba village, was injured by a live bullet in the left leg. Salama was an engineer with the Palestinian Ministry of Housing and lived in close proximity to the gate with his wife and 6 children.
At approximately 5.30am, on Saturday, 8 November 2003, 7 Israeli tanks, 15 military jeeps, a military ambulance, 2 helicopters and 1 surveillance aircraft, moved into Jenin town and refugee camp, under cover of intense shelling. During this attack, 2 Palestinian civilians, including 1 child, were killed by Israeli fire: Mohammed Abdul Rahman Salah, 18, hit by a live bullet in the head; and Moatez Wasif Mustapha Arouri, 16, hit by 2 live bullets in the chest and the shoulder.
In addition, 4 Palestinians were wounded, 2 of whom sustained serious injuries.
PCHR reiterates its call to the international community to fulfill their legal obligations in accordance with the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. PCHR demands an immediate to halt to all willful killings and injuries of Palestinian civilians and other grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention perpetrated by the Israeli military in the OPT. PCHR further repeats its calls to the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to take immediate steps to ensure the protection of Palestinian civilians in the OPT.