The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) calls on Chief of Staff Moshe Ya’alon and Judge Advocate General Menachem Finkelstein to investigate the killing of five unarmed Palestinian family members from Khan Yunis
The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) submitted a letter of complaint to Chief of Staff Moshe Ya’alon and Judge Advocate General Menachem Finkelstein stating that, according to information received by PCATI, an IDF Merkava tank fired a shell at five Palestinians, all members of the same family from Khan Yunis, killing them. PCATI demands in its letter that the incident, which took place on December 11, 2002 be immediately investigated and that the results of the inquiry be sent to PCATI.
According to the above information, the five tried to cross the border allegedly to find work in Israel. A Merkava tank fired a shell at them, killing them, in spite of the fact that they were not armed. The following day the IDF spokesperson stated that the bodies of the five Palestinians killed by IDF fire were to be found near the Karni checkpoint. The spokesperson announced that the five Palestinians had carried ladders but that no arms were found near their bodies.
In the letter PCATI also said that ambulance crews that came to remove the bodies stated that the security forces fired at them and that they were unable to accomplish their task until the morning of Friday, December 13. Sources at the Nasser Hospital in Gaza stated that one of the bodies was dismembered in two and the other bodies had numerous shrapnel wounds.
The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel states in its letter that it views with great severity the sharp increase in the number of Palestinian civilians killed during IDF activities in the Occupied Territories. According to PCATI Executive Director Hannah Friedman, since operation “Defensive Shield” PCATI has received a great amount of evidence regarding the death of civilians from IDF fire and that the open fire instructions were not being observed. Friedman called on the IDF Chief of Staff and the Judge Advocate General to investigate the above incident and to bring those found responsible to justice.