Report: 348 Palestinians extra-judicially executed since Sept. 2000

A woman mourns during the funeral of Ibrahim Abu Olba, killed in an airstrike in Beit Lahia, Gaza Strip, April 2008. (Wissam Nassar/MaanImages)

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights published a new report entitled “Extra-judicial executions … Official, Declared Israeli Policy” covering Israeli extra-judicial executions against Palestinians during the period from 1 August 2006 till 30 June 2008. The report is the ninth of its kind in a special series on extra-judicial executions by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) against Palestinian activists during the al-Aqsa (second) intifada.

The first part of the report discusses international standards prohibiting extra-judicial executions. These include the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949) and additional protocols and the Rome Statute. The second part discusses the official Israeli position vis-a-vis extra-judicial executions. Israeli legislative, executive and judicial authorities officially support this policy, making Israeli the only state in the world that officially commits these crimes.

The third part of the report includes statistics of extra-judicial executions during the reporting period. These statistics showed that IOF committed 96 extra-judicial executions against Palestinian activists from all political parties in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. Israel accused them of involvement or planning operations against Israeli targets in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) or Israel. The total number of victims in these 96 crimes was 173 Palestinians: 150 were intended targets and 23 were civilian bystanders. The civilian victims included three women and three children. In the Gaza Strip, IOF committed 63 extra-judicial executions that killed 119 Palestinians (103 targeted and 17 bystanders); while in the West Bank IOF committed 33 extra-judicial executions that killed 54 Palestinians (50 targeted and four bystanders).

The report cited that since the beginning of the al-Aqsa Intifada, Israel committed 348 extra-judicial executions. These crimes killed 754 Palestinians, constituting 20 percent of the total number of Palestinians killed during the Intifada. These victims included 521 intended targets and 233 civilian bystanders. Among the civilian were 71 children and 20 women. The West Bank victims were 350 that included 274 targeted persons and 76 bystanders; and in the Gaza Strip, the victims were 405 that included 157 bystanders and 248 targets.

The fourth section of the report discusses the tools utilized by Israel to commit extra-judicial executions. The most notable tools are targeting by military aircraft, operations by under-cover units, ambushes and house sieges.

The fifth section includes stark examples of IOF extra-judicial executions during the reporting period. They included the extra-judicial execution targeting al-Hayya clan members in Gaza City on 20 May 2007 that resulted in the killing of eight victims, seven of them from the same family (including two children). A second example was the targeting of al-Yazji family members on 16 January 2008 that killed three persons: two brothers and a child.

The final section includes recommendations to the international community and the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention. These recommendations call for immediate intervention to put an end to Israeli war crimes and human rights violations and to pressure Israel to respect the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949). There is also a call for intervention to end Israeli extra-judicial executions that is considered a form of summary execution without trial. The Centre also called for prosecuting the perpetrators of these crimes, and for the provision of international protection for the civilian population of the OPT as the only means to prevent the recurrence of these crimes.

Note: The Arabic version of the report is currently available on PCHR’s web site ( An English version will be published after translation.

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