On Monday morning, 12 July 2004, Israeli military bulldozers demolished a house while an elderly physically disabled Palestinian civilian was still inside. Despite attempts by his wife and daughter to draw attention to his presence the IOF continued with the demolition. The incident occurred during a wide scale Israeli military incursion into the camp, accompanied by intense shelling from tanks and helicopter gunships. This latest operation left 34 Palestinian houses demolished.
In a similar Israeli military operation in the same camp on 8 July 2004, 40 Palestinian houses were demolished. Thus, the number of houses destroyed in the camp by Israeli troops in less than 5 days has mounted to 74.
According to PCHR’s preliminary investigations, at approximately 01:45 on Monday, 12 July 2004, Israeli occupying troops, reinforced by heavy military vehicles and helicopters, moved into Khan Yunis refugee camp, coming from “Neve Dekalim” and “Gadid” settlements, west and south of Khan Yunis respectively. Under the cover of intense shelling, they started to bulldoze Palestinian houses without warning their residents. A number of these residents, who were surprised and terrified by this attack, were able to escape from their homes.
Israeli military bulldozers moved towards a house belonging to Ibrahim Mahoud Mohammed Khalafallah, 75, who is physically disabled. His wife and daughter tried to carry him out of the house, but they could not. They left the premises and called on Israeli troops to stop the demolition of their house, but the Israeli military bulldozers continued with the demolition process, despite the fact that he was still inside the house.
The man was crushed by the ensuing rubble from his home while his wife and daughter watched. By 04:30, Israeli military bulldozers had completely demolished 31 houses, in which 255 people (41 families) and partially demolished 3 others, in which 20 people (3 families).
PCHR strongly condemns this incident, which comes in the context of a series of crimes perpetrated by Israeli occupying troops in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), illustrating blatant disregard for international law and humanitarian law. PCHR remains extremely concerned about these ongoing attacks against civilians and their property perpetrated by Israeli troops during their incursions into Palestinian areas, in disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians.
PCHR calls upon the international community to immediately intervene to stop prevent further similar incidents. PCHR reminds the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 of their legal obligations to ensure respect for the Convention and take effective steps to stop Israeli grave breaches of the Convention in the occupied Palestinian territories.