PCHR strongly condemns the latest extra-judicial execution committed by Israeli troops in Gaza City on Sunday evening, 19 September 2004, which left a member of the ‘Izziddin al-Qassam Brigade, the military wing of Hamas, dead. PCHR remains gravely concerned for the continuous escalation by the Israeli government and its occupying troops, especially in the policy of extra-judicial killings which has been officially adopted by the Israeli government. This policy has resulted in the deaths of 8 Palestinian civilians in the last week.
This escalation reflects a blatant disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians. PCHR, therefore, calls upon the international community to stop its silence and assume its responsibility to stop Israeli crimes.
According to PCHR’s preliminary investigations, at 21:38 on Sunday, 19 September 2004, Israeli aircrafts fired 2 missiles at a civilian car, a blue Volkswagen Golf, that was traveling at the crossroads of al-Jalaa’ Street and al-Lababidi Street in the center of Gaza City, a densely populated area. The two missiles hit and burnt the car. The driver, who was identified later as Khaled Mohammed ‘Abdul Hamid Abu Silmiya, 33, from al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City, was instantly killed. He was a member of the ‘Izziddin al-Qassam Brigade, the military wing of Hamas.
In addition, 8 passing Palestinian civilians were injured by shrapnel from the missiles, and the injuries of two of them were described by medical sources as serious. Israeli troops soon admitted responsibility for this attack and claimed that they were able to kill a wanted Palestinian in Gaza City.
PCHR strongly condemns this attack and remains gravely concerned about such escalation by the Israeli government and its occupying troops. This latest attack further indicates Israel’s disregard for international law and humanitarian law, and constitute a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949), in particular article 147.
PCHR asserts that the policy of extra-judicial executions officially adopted by the Israeli government serves to increase tension in the region and threatens the lives of Palestinian civilians. PCHR reiterates its calls for the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations to ensure protection for Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.