PCHR is concerned over the around-the-clock artillery bombardment by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) against the north of the Gaza Strip. This bombardment has cost the lives of tens of Palestinian civilians, and forced hundreds of others to leave their homes. The latest victims of IOF bombardment were a Palestinian woman and child, who were killed in the afternoon hours of 1 August 2006 in the Nada Buildings area, west of Beit Hanoun.
PCHR’s preliminary investigation indicates that at approximately 13:40 on Tuesday, 1 August 2006, IOF stationed to the east of the northern district of the Gaza Strip fired several artillery shells at the Nada Buildings area, west of Beit Hanoun. One of the shells fell near building no. 8. Shrapnel from the shell killed the child Aref Ahmad Abu Qeida (14). The child was in his grandfather’s house near building no. 8. Three other civilians were injured, including a woman from Rafah who was visiting relatives in the area. This woman, Mervat Fayez Abu Sharikh (24), was pronounced dead one hour after reaching a hospital. The two others who were injured are Sami Abbas Darabeih (43), who sustained shrapnel wounds in the chest, and Eyad Sabri Jendeyya (30), who sustained shrapnel wound in the right hip.
It is noted that the Nada Buildings area has become a daily target of IOF artillery shelling. IOF announced last week that it will directly target the area. As a result, most of the area residents left their homes. Palestinian casualties fall on a daily basis in the area. For more information regarding the events in the Nada Buildings area, refer to PCHR’s weekly report for last week.
PCHR strongly condemns the IOF killing of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, and the destruction of their property. IOF disproportionate use of force places the lives of civilians at additional risk during these operations, which are a form of reprisal and collective punishment against Palestinians, a violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The Centre confirms that indiscriminate aggression will inflict additional damages on civilians and civilian property. The prior knowledge that these attacks will cause civilian casualties and destruction of their property is a violation of the convention, and a war crime in the first protocol additional to the convention.
In the Center’s view, the complacency of the international community and the High Contracting Parties of the 4th Geneva Convention and their failure to take effective steps to stop Israeli war crimes has been a supporting and encouraging element for Israel to continue perpetrating additional war crimes against Palestinian civilians. The legal cover provided to Israel by the US, which purposely hinders International Humanitarian Law, and the conspiracy of silence by Europe, encourage Israeli to continue to perpetrate war crimes unchecked, placing it above international law.
The Centre reminds the High Contracting Parties of: