Palestinian Center for Human Rights 1 December 2003
In the early hours of Monday, 1 December 2003, Israeli occupation forces, using excessive and indiscriminate force, killed four Palestinian civilians during several incursions into the West Bank. These unlawful killings represent the most recent war crimes perpetrated by Israeli occupation forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).
Two of the victims were killed when Israeli occupation forces detonated explosive devices inside a house in the Sharafa area east of Al Amari refugee camp, near Ramallah. Israeli occupation forces claimed that the two civilians were wanted by the Israeli occupation authorities. A six year old child and another Palestinian were also killed in separate incursions Monday.
PCHR maintains that these recent extrajudicial killings, characterized by the use of excessive force and negligence concerning civilian lives, represent a renewed escalation of the conflict carried out by Israeli occupation forces.
According to PCHR’s investigation and eyewitness testimony, at 12:30 Sunday night, a large contingency of Israeli occupation forces entered Ramallah and the Al Bireh Refugee Camp from the north and the south. Israeli forces advanced on three fronts. They moved into the Balou’ Quarter in the north of Shourafa, the Al Amani Refugee Camp and Al Massioun.
During the incursion Israeli occupation forces indiscriminately fired at civilian houses. As a result of the indiscriminate nature of the Israeli gunfire, seven Palestinian civilians were injured, including a six year old boy. The child, Moaied Mazzen Abid Hamdin, from Massioun, was shot by a live bullet in the head. He was transferred to Ramallah governmental hospital in critical condition. At 14:00 on Monday, 1 December, Moaied died of his wound.
Also on Monday, 1 December, in the morning Israeli occupation forces surrounded the Ramahi building in the Shourafa area east of the Al Amari Refugee Camp. Israeli soldiers began to indiscriminately fire heavy machine guns at the ground floor of the three-story building. At approximately 10:00, Israeli occupation forces detonated several explosive devices inside the building. Two male civilians were killed by the explosion. Israeli occupation forces later claimed that the two victims were wanted by Israeli occupation authorities.
At 12:30 an ambulance transferred the two bodies to the Ramallah governmental hospital. The two bodies were not immediately identified due to severe mutilation caused by the explosion. At 14:30, the two victims were identified as Said Abdul Karim Khaedr Qassin, 30 years old, from Al Bireh, severe mutilation and numerous bullet wounds to the body; and Salih Mahmud Telhami, 37, from Kherbat Al Burg, Hebron, severe mutilation and numerous bullets wounds to the body.
In the Massioun area, Israeli occupation forces surrounded a five-story, 200 sq. meter, house and a two-story, 180 sq. meter, house.
The houses belonged to two brothers: Wageeh and Fadel Kasawani. Another Palestinian, Mohammed Salim Mahmud, was inside one of the houses at the time of the incident. After surrounding the houses the Israeli occupying forces destroyed the two buildings, killing Mohammed Salim Mahmud.
Israeli forces later claimed that Mahmud was wanted by Israeli occupation authorities. During the incursion Israeli occupying forces also arrested two Palestinian civilians, whose identities have yet to be released.
PCHR condemns these recent extrajudicial killings and excessive destruction of civilian property as grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva convention (article 147), further clarified as war crimes under Additional Protocol 1 (article 85). Furthermore, PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their legal obligations to hold Israel accountable for war crimes committed within the OPTs.