Two Palestinians Killed and 22 Others Wounded: IOF Escalate Policies of Retaliation against Palestinian civilian Population in the Gaza Strip

Smoke billows after Israeli mobile artillery fires shells towards the Palestinian village of Beit Hanounin the northern Gaza Strip June 29, 2006. (MaanImages/Moti Milrod)

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:

  • At approximately 01:20 on Thursday, 29 June 2006, IOF warplanes fired two missiles at ‘Oraiba area in the northwest of Rafah, and at al-Nasser village, north of the town. The two missiles hit uninhabited areas and no casualties or damages were reported.
  • At approximately 03:30, IOF warplanes fired two missiles at two shops of electrical sets belonging to Majed Ahmed Abu Daqqa, an activist of Fatah movement, in Bani Suhaila village, east of Khan Yunis. Contents of the two shops were destroyed, but no casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 06:45, IOF positioned at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of Khan Yunis, fired at least 30 artillery shells at Palestinian agricultural areas in Abasan and Khuza’a villages, east of Khan Yunis. A Palestinian farmer, 45-year-old Salem Salama Qudaih, from Khuza’a village, was wounded by shrapnel to the legs.
  • At approximately 10:30, IOF warplanes fired at least one missile that fell between two training sites belonging to ‘Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, and Ahmed Abu al-Reesh Briagdes, a military wing of Fatah movement, in the west of Khan Yunis. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 12:00, IOF positioned along the northern and northeastern borders of the Gaza Strip started to fire artillery shells at uninhabited areas in the northern Gaza Strip towns of Beit Lahia and Beit Hanoun. The artillery shelling continued until the evening, and wounded two Palestinian children.
  • At approximately 21:00, IOF resumed artillery shelling targeting the northern Gaza Strip. A number of shells hit an electricity transmitter near Erez crossing, and another one located in al-Sudaniya area, west of Beit Lahia. As a result, electricity was cut off from the entire northern Gaza Strip. It is worth noting that the two transmitters are fed with electricity by the Israeli National Electricity Company, and were partially providing Gaza City with electricity following the destruction of the Gaza electricity generation plant by IOF a few days ago.
  • At approximately 22:40, IOF fighter jets fired 4 missiles at a space area in the central Gaza Strip. Three missiles fell to the west of Gaza Electricity Generation Company, making craters. The fourth missile hit a training center belonging to Hamas in al-Nusairat refugee camp.
  • At approximately 00:00 on Friday, 30 June 2006, IOF fighter jets and helicopter gunships shelled several areas in the northern Gaza Strip. By 04:00, at least 13 missiles hit several areas in the northern Gaza Strip, wounding 7 Palestinian civilians.
  • At approximately 01:30, IOF helicopter gunships fired 4 missiles at the central Gaza Strip. Three of these missiles hit the Gaza Valley Bridge on Salah al-Din Street, which linksGaza City with the southern Gaza Strip, destroying the remaining part of it. It is worth noting that the bridge was shelled by IOF warplanes and was largely destroyed. The fourth missile hit a training site belonging to Hamas, damaging it.
  • Also at approximately 01:30, an IOF helicopter gunship fired two missiles at the office of the Palestinian Minister of Interior in the Sourthern Remal neighborhood in Gaza City. The office was completely destroyed.
  • A few minutes later, an IOF helicopter gunship fired a missile at Martyr Abu Jihad Office, a branch office of Fatah movement, in al-Daraj neighborhood in the east of Gaza City. The office was largely destroyed.
  • A few minutes later, an IOF helicopter gunship fired a missile at a training site of the Executive Force of the Palestinian Ministry of Interior in Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in the north of Gaza City. The site was destroyed.
  • At the same time, an IOF helicopter gunship fired a missile at a training site of Hamas in the north of al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City. The site was destroyed.
  • At approximately 02:00, an IOF helicopter gunship fired a missile at al-Sahawa Cultural Society in Jabalya refugee camp. The center of was severely damaged.
  • At approximately 02:10, an IOF helicopter gunship fired a missile at a group of the Palestinian resistance in al-Salam neighborhood in the south of Rafah. The missile exploded and seriously wounded a resistance man, 25-year-old Mohammed Hassan ‘Abdul ‘Aal. He was evacuated to the Gaza European Hospital in Khan Yunis. At approximately 06:40, he was pronounced dead.
  • At approximately 01:20, IOF warplanes fired a missile at ‘Oraiba area in the northwest of Rafah. Ten minutes later, the IOF warplanes fired another missile at the same area. The two missiles hit an unihabited area, and no casualties or damages were reported.

    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.

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