In a Form of Systematic Massive Killing, IOF Kill 18 Palestinian Civilians, Including 8 Children and 6 Women, and Wound 55 Others in Beit Hanoun
In a serious escalation in crimes they commit in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), on Wednesday morning, 8 November 2006, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) shelled a residential area in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun, killing 18 Palestinian civilians, including 17 members of the al-‘Athamna family, and wounding 55 others. Most of the victims were sleeping in their homes when the attack took place. IOF fired at least 10 artillery shells at the area. This crime has come only one day after the IOF redeployment from the town, following a 7-day incursion, during which IOF committed a series of crimes. Thus, the number of Palestinians killed by IOF since the beginning of the military campaign against Beit Hanoun has increased to 76, mostly civilians, including 17 children and 9 women. In addition, at least 250 others have been wounded. PCHR is gravely concerned over such escalation, which may lead to more casualties among Palestinian civilians and destruction to their property. It will also increase tension in the region, especially in light of the international silence towards such crimes and the unlimited US support for the Israeli government and its occupation forces.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 05:20 on Wednesday, 8 November 2006, IOF positioned at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east and north of Beit Hanoun, fired at least 10 artillery shells at a residential area in the northeast of the town. A number of these shells hit two apartment buildings belonging to the heirs of ‘Abdullah al-‘Athamna. As a result 16 members of the family were killed, and dozens of other were wounded. A number of neighbors, mostly relatives of the family, rushed to rescue the family. Immediately, IOF fired a number of shells at the area. As a result, a member of the al-‘Athamna family and another civilian were killed. In addition, at least 10 civilians, mostly members of the al-‘Athamna family, were wounded.
Those killed by this attack are:
1. Fatema Ahmed al-‘Athamna, 70;
2. Sanaa’ Ahmed al-‘Athamna, 30;
3. Ne’ma Ahmed al-‘Athamna, 55;
4. Mas’oud ‘Abdullah al-‘Athamna, 55;
5. Sabah Mohammed al-‘Athamna, 45;
6. Sameer Mas’oud al-‘Athamna, 23;
7. Fatema Mas’oud al-‘Athamna, 16;
8. ‘Arafat Sa’ad al-‘Athamna, 17;
9. Mahdi Sa’ad al-‘Athamna, 13;
10. Mohammed Sa’ad al-‘Athamna, 14;
11. Sa’ad Majdi al-‘Athamna, 8;
12. Mahmoud Amjad al-‘Athamna, 12;
13. Malak Sameer al-‘Athamna, 4;
14. Maisaa’ Ramzi al-‘Athamna, 4;
15. Nihad Mohammed al-‘Athamna, 33;
16. Mohammed Ramadan al-‘Athamna, 28;
17. Manal Mohammed al-‘Athamna, 35; and
18. Saqer Mohammed ‘Edwan, 45.
PCHR expresses utmost concern over this Israeli escalation, and:
1. Strongly condemns this latest crime, which has come in the context of a series of crimes committed by IOF in the OPT in disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians, and believes that such attacks constitute collective penalties and retaliatory actions in violation of article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
2. Calls upon the international community to immediately intervene to stop such crimes, and reiterates its calls for the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations under article1 to respect and ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances; article 146 of the Convention to search for and prosecute those suspected of perpetrating gave breaches under article 147 of the Convention; and the First Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions, and ensure protection for Palestinian civilians.
3. Calls upon the international community to task a strong international protection force within the 4 June 1967 border to stop crimes committed by IOF against Palestinian civilians.
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 Federation 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.