PCHR strongly condemns acts of retaliation and collective punishment by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) against the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip, including the destruction of civilian facilities. PCHR also condemns killings committed by IOF in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. PCHR calls upon the international community, particularly the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, to force IOF to comply with the Convention, including the prohibition of reprisals against protected persons and their property (article 33). PCHR calls also upon the High Contracting Parties to apply article 1 of the Convention, which calls for respecting the Convention and ensuring respect the Convention in all circumstances. PCHR further reminds the international community of the Hague Regulations of 1907, which prohibits military actions against civilians and civilian targets.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, IOF have committed a series of crimes in the past 36 hours in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), which have killed two Palestinians and wounded 22 others, mostly civilians, including 9 children. IOF have also shelled a number of civilian facilities, severely damaging them. According to PCHR’s documentation, IOF have fired at least 36 air-to-surface missiles and dozens of artillery shells at several targets in the Gaza Strip.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR:
In the West Bank, IOF killed a Palestinian and wounded 9 others, including 4 children, in Nablus.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 05:30 on Friday, 30 June 2006, an IOF undercover unit moved into Nablus. Members of the unit besieged the eastern cemetery in Faisal Street. Soon, a number of IOF vehicles, reinforced by a helicopter, moved into the city. IOF soldiers took position atop of a number of houses overlooking the cemetery and opened fire at it. At approximately 08:00, an IOF officer declared that a Palestinian was killed in the cemetery, but did not allow medical crews to enter the cemetery to search for the body. The IOF gunfire continued until 10:15. Half an hour later, IOF permitted a Palestinian medical crew to enter the cemetery, and medical personnel were able to find the body. IOF attempted to took the body, but medical personnel were able to take the body to Rafidya Hospital. The victim was identified as Mahmoud Yousef al-Zakari, 20. According to medical sources, he was hit by a live bullet that entered his right shoulder and exploded in the chest. Later, dozens of Palestinian children and young men gathered and threw stones at IOF vehicles. Immediately, IOF fired at the stone throwers, wounding 12, including 6 children.
PCHR strongly condemns killings and destruction of civilian property, and believes that such attacks constitute acts of retaliation and collective punishment against the Palestinian civilian population. These latest attacks have come in a continuation of series of crimes committed by IOF against the Palestinian civilian population, which started with imposing a comprehensive siege. PCHR calls for protecting the lives of Palestinian civilians and their property in accordance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law. Such actions will not lead to the release of the captured Israeli soldier, rather they constitute a systematic military operation planned in advance against the Palestinian civilian population.
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 Fédération 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.