The systematic destruction of Palestinian homes

Palestinians inspect a demolished home in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip. Two people were killed and four wounded in the Israeli attack, August 16, 2006. (MaanImages/Hatem Omar)

Al Mezan condemns systematic IOF destructions of Palestinian homes and demands international community immediately provide protection

The IOF policy of systematically destroying residential homes in the Gaza Strip continues unabated; two homes were destroyed yesterday and scores of adjacent houses severely damaged. 18 homes have now been targeted in this way since the IOF began informing Palestinians by telephone of the imminent shelling of their homes.

According to Al Mezan field sources, on 14 August at approximately 11:20pm, IOF war planes fired a rocket at the two-storey house of Mohammed Joda Ma’rouf, in Jabalia town. The house was completely destroyed and 4 adjacent houses badly damaged. Further, 14 Palestinians were reported injured, including 4 children and 3 women and girls. The IOF warned the Ma’rouf family to evacuate their house just 30 minutes before the shelling.

In another attack on 15 august, at approximately 1:27am, an IOF jet fired two rockets at another two-storey house in Beit Hanoun town, owned by Mohammed Hussein Odeh, and inhabited by 13 persons. The ground floor of the building was used for a mini- market owned by the landlord. Ten minutes later, the IOF resumed their attack, firing two more missiles at the house of the Odeh family and destroying it entirely, also severely damaging 6 adjacent houses. Al Mezan is deeply concerned that the family was warned by the IOF to evacuate the house just 12 minutes prior to the shelling, which is insufficient time for residents to collect their belongings and warn their neighbors of the shelling. The total number of houses destroyed in this way in the Gaza Strip, since the IOF announced its targeting of residential buildings, has reached 18.

Al Mezan expresses grave concern over the ongoing outrageous IOF offensive against residential buildings and highlights the fact that the IOF intend to inflict as much material and human loss as possible among Palestinian civilians and their property, as they do not give sufficient time for residents to evacuate their houses and collect their belongings, and also to notify their neighbor of the shelling.

Al Mezan affirms that the destruction of civilian houses is a measure of collective punishment against Palestinians which constitutes a war crime. Thus, Al Mezan demands:

The international community, notably the High Contracting Parties to the 4th Geneva Convention, to immediately intervene to halt Israeli war crimes, provide protection to Palestinian civilians in the OPT, and bring to justice the perpetrators and those who ordered these crimes;

The European Union to take serious steps against continuation of Israeli systematic crimes against Palestinians, and re-examine partnership agreements with Israel according to the standards of the EU;

The UN Human Rights Council to end its silence and take serious steps towards halting Human Rights violations in the OPT.

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