In another blatant disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians, on Saturday evening, 1 May 2004, Israeli occupying forces killed a Palestinian child and injured 9 other civilians, including 5 children in the Khan Yunis refugee camp. Preliminary investigations conducted by PCHR concluded that Israeli forces used excessive force when no threat was posed to the lives of Israeli soldiers, while disregarding the lives of Palestinian civilians, especially children.
According to preliminary investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 18:00, Israeli occupying forces, reinforced by heavy military vehicles, moved into Khan Yunis refugee camp. Israeli forces opened fire at a number of Palestinian children near al-Shaf’ei mosque, approximately 150 meters away, injuring 3 of them. One of the injured children, Hussein Sa’id ‘Abdullah Abu ‘Aker, 8, died shortly after having been evacuated to the hospital. He was hit by 2 live bullets to the abdomen and the arm. Israeli forces continued to fire at the area, injuring 7 other civilians, including 3 children. One of these children, Mohammed Tawfiq Abu Than, 15, was seriously injured by a live bullet in the abdomen. According to medical sources at Nasser Hospital, which received the injured in this incident, most injuries were in the upper part of the body.
Since the beginning of the current Intifada in September 2000, 493 Palestinian children under 18 have been killed by Israeli occupying forces. This number constitutes 22% of the total number of Palestinians killed by Israeli occupying forces during the same period. Abu ‘Aker had been the fifth child to be killed by Israeli forces in similar incidences in the Gaza Strip in one week.
PCHR strongly condemns this violation of international law and remains concerned about such frequent violations perpetrated by Israeli occupying forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs). PCHR believes that this crime further proves Israel’s complete disregard for international and humanitarian law. Accordingly, PCHR calls upon the international community to pressure Israel to stop these human rights violations. PCHR also reiterates its call for the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 to fulfill their obligations under the convention and ensure protection for Palestinian civilians in the OPTs.