The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns yesterday’s assault on Mr. John Ging, UNRWA’s Chief of Operation. The attack took place in the northern Gaza Strip and targeted his convoy. The Centre calls for serious legal action against the perpetrators of this attack, which is a continuation of security chaos that undermines the rule of law and tarnishes the Palestinian people and their just struggle for freedom and independence.
PCHR’s preliminary investigation indicates that at approximately 14:50 on Friday, 16 March 2007, three gunmen in a white Subaru intercepted the convoy of Mr. John Ging, an Irish national, who is UNRWA’s Chief of Operations in the Gaza Strip. The incident took place near the Railroad intersection on Salah El-Deen Street to the west of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip. Two gunmen got out of the car and tried to open Mr. Ging’s car, an armored jeep. However they failed to do so, and fired directly at the jeep. The firing hit Mr. Ging’s side of the jeep with 11 bullets. No one was injured in the attack.
It is noted that Mr. Ging was heading from Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing to Gaza City. The gunmen followed him from the crossing.
PCHR strongly condemns this unprecedented attack on a high-level UN official in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), and:
1. Calls upon the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), represented by the Attorney-General, to seriously investigate this crime and bring the perpetrators to justice;
2. Affirms that this crime is a flagrant violation of the rule of law, and is a continuum of the security chaos plaguing the OPT in the absence of serious action by the PNA to pursue and prosecute perpetrators;
3. Reminds that a recent series of crimes against internationals and international organizations has gone unpunished;
4. Views this crime as a humiliation to the Palestinian people, and a detraction from its just struggle for freedom and independence. This crime reduces international support and solidarity in the face of Israeli war crimes;
5. Renews the call to protect civilians, including internationals, and ensure their safety and security in accordance with International Humanitarian Law and Palestinian Law;
6. Views the continuation of these crimes as an attempt to empty the Gaza Strip from international organizations and persons, including relief organizations, journalists, and solidarity activist, noting that PCHR has long warned of this consequence; and
7. Calls upon the PNA to take serious legal action against security chaos in general, and attacks against international organizations and persons in particular, within the framework of the law and international human rights standards.