At approximately 23:00 on Saturday, 26 May 2007, an Israeli warplane fired a missile at a security room belonging to the Executive Force of the Palestinian Ministry of Interior near Timraz fuel station in the center of the densely populated Jabalya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip. The missile hit the room from the south and penetrated its roof. It then hit the ground causing heavy damage to PCHR’s branch office in Jabalya, nearly 40 meters away, and to dozens of houses and shops. Additionally, 15 Palestinian civilians were wounded by shrapnel. This attack apparently aimed at causing maximum damage to civilian property.
This latest attack came in the context of a wide scale offensive that has been waged by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on the Gaza Strip since Wednesday, 16 May 2007, in which they have killed 48 Palestinians and wounded dozens of others, many of them are civilians. Additionally, IOF have destroyed many civilian facilities and houses, as well as training sites mostly belonging to Hamas and the Executive Force. PCHR is deeply concerned over the policy of retaliation practiced by IOF against Palestinian civilians, which threatens their lives, especially as IOF have continued to attack targets in civilian populated areas. IOF have ignored the principles of necessity and proportionality in using their full-fledged arsenal against members of the Palestinian resistance in densely populated areas.
PCHR is deeply concerned over this latest escalation in attacks by IOF, especially in light of vows by Israeli officials to expand the offensive against the Gaza Strip, and:
1) Condemns these latest crimes which are part of a series of continuous crimes committed by IOF in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians, considering them a form of collective punishment against the Palestinian civilian population in violation of Article 33 of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.
2) Stresses that IOF do not pay attention to the principles of necessity and proportionality in using their full-fledged arsenal against members of the Palestinian resistance, who are sometimes present in densely populated areas.
3) Reiterates condemnation for the policy of extra-judicial executions adopted by IOF against Palestinian activists, and asserts that this policy serves to increase tension in the region and threatens the lives of Palestinian civilians.
4) Calls upon the international community to immediately intervene to stop such crimes, and calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War to fulfill their obligation under article 1 of the Convention to ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances, and their obligation under article 146 to search for and prosecute those who are responsible for perpetrating grave breaches of the Convention, as such breaches constitute war crimes according to article 147 of the Convention and the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and Relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I).