After a relatively quiet few months in Gaza, conflicts between Israelis and Palestinians have erupted anew, with each side claiming retaliation rights. Flexing its superior military might—and causing mighty damage—the Israeli armed forces have intensified their attacks on the blockaded territory. And just like during operation “Cast Lead,” Gazan civilians are paying the heaviest price. Grassroots International’s partner, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) recounts the details in their following press release—calling on the international community to step up and do their part to end these human rights violations.
For more information and regular updates, visit PCHR’s website. Israeli Forces Escalate Attacks on the Gaza Strip: Ten Civilians, Including a Woman and Her Daughter, Killed Within 48 Hours In the last 48 hours, Israeli forces have escalated attacks on the Gaza Strip; intensified artillery shelling and aerial bombardment in populated areas has resulted in the apparent targeting of Palestinian civilians. Ten Palestinian civilians, including a woman and her daughter, and another two children were killed. Four Palestinian fighters have also been killed. According to primary information made available to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), at approximately 16:00 on Thursday, 07 April 2011, Israeli forces targeted areas surrounding Gaza International Airport; Israeli forces positioned along the border fired approximately 10 artillery shells, while Apache helicopters opened machine gun fire. The Airport is located in the far southeast of Rafah city, in the southern Gaza Strip. A number of the artillery shells landed near three Palestinian civilians who were sitting near the Airport. Two of them were killed immediately and the third civilian died of his wounds on the evening of the same day. The dead are: 1. Mohammed Eyada Eid al-Mahmoum, 25; 2. Khaled Ismail Hamdan al-Dabari; 17; 3. Saleh Jarmi Ateya al-Tarabin, 38, who died of his wounds in Gaza European Hospital in Khan Younis city. Israeli forces continued to fire as a number of Palestinian civilians attempted to rescue the wounded; Musaab Mohammed Ubeid Sawwaf, 20, was killed and another 14 civilians, including five children and a paramedic from the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, were wounded. Medical sources at Martyr Mohammed Yousef al-Najjar in Rafah city described the injuries of a number of the wounded as serious. In the evening of the same day, Faten Subhi al-Ledawi, 44, was wounded in her house in al-Salam neighborhood of Rafah city as Israeli forces continued to target tunnels along the border with Egypt. In Khan Younis, at approximately 16:00 on Thursday, 07 April, Israeli tanks fired several shells at populated areas and at farms in the east of al-Qarara village, to the northeast of Khan Younis. A child, Yousif Ahmed al-Smeiri, 10, sustained shrapnel wounds to the hands, while in his house. The shelling targeted all the farms in the east of Khan Younis along the border but no further casualties were reported. In central Gaza, at approximately 15:30 on Thursday, 07 April, the east of Juhr Addik village, the east of Wadi al-Salqa village and a vacant area near al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah city were targeted with artillery shells and air launched missels. The shelling and bombardment continued for approximately half an hour. No casualties were reported. At approximately 15:00 on Thursday, 07 April, Israeli forces began to target different locations in the east of al-Shejaeya neighborhood, in the east of Gaza city. One of the shells struck a house belonging to Mahmoud Mansour al-Manasra, 58, near al-Korba crossroads in the east of al-Shejaeya neighborhood. Fawaz, 15, who is al-Manasra’s son sustained shrapnel wounds in his right hand as a result. Immediately after this initial attack, the house was struck by three further shells, immediately killing Mahmoud Mansour al-Manasra. The al-Manasra house is approximately 1,200 meters from the border with Israel. Israeli forces then continued to intermittently fire shells at the area and Subhi Abdul Rahman Abu Shanab, 60, sustained shrapnel wounds in the right foot as a result. Training sites used by Palestinian armed groups in the east of Gaza city were also targeted but no casualties were reported. In the northern Gaza Strip, at approximately 16:00 on Thursday, 07 April, Israeli forces fired six artillery shells. Four of these shells landed near the Martyrs Cemetery in the east of Jabalia. Rafat Taiseer Juneid, 21, from al-Salam neighborhood in Jabalia, sustained bruises in the left hand as a result. He was transferred to Kamal Odwan Hospital in Beit LAhia and his wounds were described to be light. Israeli forces continued to shell open areas in northern the Gaza Strip but no casualties were reported. At approximately 16:45 on Thursday, 07 April, an Israeli warplane fired a missile at the Martyr Abdul Aziz al-Rantisi Site near al-Twam crossroads in the west of Jabalia. Mohammed Khalil Ibrahim al-Madhoon, 35, from al-Saftawi neighborhood, sustained shrapnel wounds in the face and the front; he was in his cousin’s house, approximately 1,500 metres from the aforementioned site. At approximately 18:15, an Israeli drone targeted, Mohannad Ahmed Yusef al-Jerjawi, 18, a farmer from the al-Sedrah area of the al-Daraj neighhourhood in Gaza City. He was attacked as he was leaving his father’s farm, which is located 500 meters to the east of the desalination plant in the vicinity of al-Waha resort, northeast Beit Lahia. This attack resulted in the amputation of al-Jerjawi’s left leg. He also sustained shrapnel injury to other parts of his body; he was transported to Martyr Kamal Odwan hospital. Israel continued its retaliatory attacks on Friday, 08 April 2011. In Rafah, at approximately 08:00, Israeli forces launched two artillery shells targeting the vicinity of Gaza International Airport, due to which, 4 civilians, including a child, were wounded. Medical sources in Martyr Mohammed Yusef al-Najjar hospital described the wounds of two of them as severe. At approximately 14:00, an Israeli drone lunched two missiles on a tunnel near Yebna refugee camp, along the Palestinian-Egyptian border, near southern Rafah City. The targeted tunnel was set on fire, however, no injuries were reported. In Khan Yunis, at approximately 09:00, an Israeli drone attacked a group of « al-Qassam Brigades » members who were at the entrance of Khuza’a village, in the east of Khan Yunis. As a result, two of them were killed. The dead are: 1. Abdullah Mahmoud Mohammed al-Farrah, 20, from Khuza’a village, eastern Khan Yunis; and 2. Mo’taz Jamal Mohammed Abu Jame’, 22, from Bani Suhaila, eastern Khan Yunis. At approximately 12:20, a shell fell on a house belonging to Ibrahim Hamdan Ibrahim Qdeih, which is located in ‘Abasan village, eastern Khan Yunis. Qdeih’s wife and daughter were killed, and two other daughters were wounded by shrapnel in different parts of their bodies, one of them severely. The two killed are:
- Najah Harb Salem Qdeih, 41; and
- Nedal Ibrahim Hamdan Qdeih, 19.
At approximately 12:30, Israeli forces shelled a farm in al-Manarah neighborhood in the southeast of Khan Yunis, due to which, Talal Rabee’ Isa Abu Taha, 56, from Khan Yunis, was killed as he was wounded by shrapnel in different parts of his body. Moreover, his nephew, Hamadah Salamah Isa Abu Taha, 25, was wounded by shrapnel in his legs while he and his uncle were in the farm. In Gaza, at approximately 00:00, Israeli forces targeted the house of Rami Jawad Helles, 35, which is 1200 meters away from the Isreal-Gaza border at al-Shaja’iyah neighborhood. The two-storey house was damaged, but no injuries were reported. Additionally, at approximately 19:10, an arterially shell fell on al-Beltaji Street, opposite to Hettin School in the east of al-Shaja’iyah neighborhood, 200 meters from the border. As a result, two children were killed and 10 more civilians were wounded, including 6 children and a paramedic, Rami Dababesh, who works at Shifa hospital. One of the killed children is identified asMahmoud Wa’el al-Jaro, 10, while the identity of the other is currently uncertain. In the northern governorate, at 16:00, an Israeli plane lunched a missile on a group of al-Qassam Brigade members near al-Karamah buildings, western Jabalia. A member of the group, Ra’ed Mahmoud Mohammed Shhadah, 27, from al-Shati’ refugee camp, western Gaza City was killed. Another member, Ahmed Mohammed Ali Ghurab, 30, later died of his wounds. PCHR condemns Israel’s retaliatory and indiscriminate targeting of civilian targets in the Gaza Strip:
- Stresses that these crimes form part of systematic violations perpetrated in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), particularly the Gaza Strip, which reflect Israeli forces disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians;
- Warns of further escalation in hostilities, which may result in the targeting of civilians and their property, in light of statements made by Israeli politicians and military leaders;
- Calls upon the international community to take immediate action in order to put an end to these ongoing violations of international law.
- PCHR further renews its demand for the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligation under Article 1 which stipulates « the High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances, » PCHR also note High Contracting Parties’ legally binding obligations under Article 146 which requires that Contracting Parties prosecute persons alleged to have committed grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention before their national courts.