PCHR strongly condemns the extra-judicial assassination carried out by Israeli occupying forces in Tulkarm in the West Bank, on Saturday, 4 October 2003. The attack left dead a member of al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of Fatah, as well as a 9-year-old child. PCHR is deeply concerned about the ongoing escalation of human rights violations perpetrated by Israeli occupying forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), particularly the policy of extra-judicial assassinations officially adopted by the Israeli government. PCHR expresses further concerns that Israeli occupying forces may escalate assassination attempts in the coming days and calls upon the international community to intervene and fulfill its obligations to prevent these actions.
According to investigations carried out by PCHR, at approximately 16:45 on Saturday, 4 October 2003, an Israeli military undercover unit infiltrated Tulkarm refugee camp in 4 Palestinian registered civilian cars. As they approached the Ashraf Hamam car wash near an UNRWA school, they opened fire at a civilian car - a black Citroen. When the car stopped, 2 Israeli armored personnel carriers and 7 military jeeps arrived at the scene and a number of Israeli soldiers got out of the jeeps and moved towards the targeted car, arresting one, before withdrawing from the area.
The attack left dead 9-year-old Mohammed Ayman Burhan Barahma, who was hit by a live bullet in the head. According to eyewitnesses, Mohammed was shot while crossing the street. An hour later, Israeli occupying forces admitted responsibility for the attack and stated that the undercover unit had killed 19-year-old Sarhan Burhan Hussein Sarhan, whom they accused of carrying out an armed attack against “Mitser Kibutz” last year, which resulted in 5 deaths.
PCHR strongly condemns this extra-judicial assassination and expresses deep concerns regarding the escalation of such actions by the Israeli government and occupying forces. PCHR believes that this attack and other extra-judicial assassinations further proves Israel’s disregard for international humanitarian law, which prohibits such actions. PCHR asserts that the policy of extra-judicial assassination, officially adopted by the Israeli government, further increases tension in the region, as well as threatens the lives of Palestinian civilians. In light of the above, PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to meet their obligations and ensure protection for Palestinian civilians in the OPT.