For the 4th consecutive day, IOF continue to conduct extensive air raids on different parts of the Gaza Strip. These raids targeted civilian and government property and installations, in an apparent attempt to eliminate the leadership of the Palestinian government. In addition, eight Cabinet Ministers, more than 20 Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) members, and a number of Hamas leaders in the West Bank are still detained, after they were kidnapped from their places of residence last Thursday. The latest aggression was targeting the office of Prime Minister Ismail Haniya in Gaza City in the early morning hours today, 2 July 2006. The office was destroyed in fulfillment of Israeli threats to target Haniya personally, and that there is no immunity to anyone.
It is noted that IOF planes conducted more than 50 air raids over the past 100 hours. Also, IOF planes conducted scores of mock air raids, breaking the sound barrier and causing sonic booms over civilian population centers. In addition to the air raids and artillery bombardment, IOF conducted a number of large scale incursions in the Strip. IOF razed farmlands, raided houses, and arrested people in areas controlled by the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). This aggression is perpetrated under a very tight closure of the Gaza Strip, isolating it from the outside world. Furthermore, IOF continue to target infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, threatening to cause a humanitarian and economic catastrophe if this aggression persists.
PCHR’s preliminary investigation indicates 3 Palestinians were killed over the past 4 days. Two were killed by air raids in the Gaza Strip. The last victim was Shaban Abdel Mon’im Hannoun (33) from Jabalia town. He was killed when IOF attack helicopters targeted an installation near the house of a Hamas PLC member in the area. In addition, nearly 30 civilians have been injured thus far in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, including 12 children. The air raids also caused extensive damage was inflicted on civilian installations and houses, training sites for resistance factions, and some governmental venues. (for additional information regarding some of these crimes, refer to PCHR’s press release issued on Friday, 30 June 2006)
On 1 July 2006, IOF conducted 2 incursions in PNA areas near Rafah and Khan Yunis. One-hundred and ten dunums of agricultural land were razed, and severe damage was inflicted on 2 houses. One Palestinian was detained after he and his family were used as human shields in the town of Greater Abasan, east of Khan Yunis. Another Palestinian from El-Shouka community was detained. His family was beaten by a special, undercover IOF unit. A number of personal possessions, including gold jewelry, were stolen during the operation.
The cut in electricity after the air raid on the Gaza electricity generation plant has had numerous negative effects on the lives of Palestinians. Many commercial and industrial installations have grounded to a near halt in operations.
PCHR strongly condemns the continued IOF reprisals against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, and the collective punishment measures that include the destruction of civilian properties. These properties are not military targets, and their destruction does not further any military objective. In addition, the Centre condemns targeting governmental buildings, in an apparent aim to topple the government and eliminate its leadership. In light of this situation, PCHR reiterates its call to the High Contracting Parties of the 4th Geneva Convention to enforce article 1 of the convention ensuring respect of the convention, and taking necessary punitive steps against any party that commits serious violations. PCHR reminds the International Community that the Hague Laws of War for the year 1907 prohibits these actions against civilian targets. The IOF actions are a pre-meditated, systematic operation against Palestinian civilians and the Palestinian government.
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is an independent legal body based in Gaza City dedicated to protecting human rights, promoting the rule of law and upholding democratic principles in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. It holds Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations and is an affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists, the Fédération Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l’Homme (FIDH), and the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network. PCHR is a recipient of the 1996 French Republic Award for Human Rights.