According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR)'s Weekly Report, during the week of 28 Feb.- 05 Mar. 2008, 114 Palestinians were killed, and 28 were injured by the Israeli military. Of those killed, 77 were killed by Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip. 27 were children, including two babies, 6 were women, and one was a paramedic. 69 of the victims were killed by Israeli forces in Jabalya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip during a massive air and ground assault. 236 Palestinians, including 154 civilians (this figure includes 56 children and 11 women) were wounded by Israeli forces. Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip:
Over the last week, at least 80 missiles were fired in 52 air strikes against targets in the Gaza Strip, killing 77 Palestinians. An additional 43 Palestinians were killed by Israeli ground invasions into Gaza over the last week.
The ground operation was preceded by intense air strikes against targets in the northern Gaza Strip. Israeli forces employed their full-fledged arsenal and used excessive force without any consideration of the lives of Palestinian civilians. Israeli aircraft pursued activists of the Palestinian resistance using missiles in the middle of densely populated areas. Israeli aircraft launched 24 air strikes against the northern Gaza Strip, during which they fired 36 missiles. As a result, 44 Palestinians, including 14 children and a woman, were killed. Israeli forces obstructed the work of medical crews and even fired at them, killing a paramedic and wounding another one seriously. A number of ambulances were also damaged by Israeli gunfire. A number of the wounded bled to death. During the military operation in the northern Gaza Strip, 175 Palestinians, including 44 children and 5 women, were wounded.
The following facts highlight a number of the crimes committed by Israeli forces during the military operation in the northern Gaza Strip:
· 4 Palestinian children, including 3 from one same family, were killed by an Israeli air strike when they were playing football near their home. Their bodies were completely dismembered. They were identified as Mohammed Na’im Hammouda, 9; 'Ali Munir Dardouna, 8; Dardouna Deeb Dardouna, 12; and 'Omar Hussein Dardouna, 14. Another 2 children were seriously wounded. Investigations by PCHR fieldworkers confirmed there were no Palestinian resistance fighters in the targeted area, which was calm when the children were attacked. On the same day, a 5th child was killed by Israeli forces while shepherding animals in Beit Lahia.
· 7 children were killed by an Israeli air strike because they happened to be standing on the street near a car that was targeted for extrajudicial assassination
· 2 civilians, including a child, were killed when a missile fired by Israeli forces hit their home.
· A 2-year-old child was killed when a missile fired by Israeli forces hit her family’s home.
· 3 children were killed by an Israeli artillery shell fired by an invading tank.
· 2 children were killed when Israeli forces opened fire at their house during the ground invasion.
· A child and his father were killed by Israeli forces when they were on their way to work.
· A child was killed and his father was seriously wounded when Israeli forces fired at their house.
· A woman was killed when Israeli forces fired at her house.
· A child was wounded by Israeli forces and she bled to death as medical crews were denied access to her house.
· A boy was wounded by Israeli forces and he bled to death as medical crews were denied access to his house.
These are just a few examples of the Israeli attacks on the population of the Gaza Strip this week.
In other areas of the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces launched 28 air strikes, during which they fired 44 missiles, against various targets. As a result, 33 Palestinian, including 3 women and a child, were killed, and 57 others, including 12 children and 6 women, were wounded. In one of these attacks, Israeli forces bombarded a house in Gaza City, killing 6 civilians from one same family, including 3 women, and wounding 8 others, including 4 children.
12 civilian facilities, including the office of the dismissed Palestinian Prime Minister, the headquarters of the General Federation of Palestinian Trade Unions and the office of Members of the Palestinian Legislative Council representing Hamas, were destroyed. 7 houses were destroyed and a mosque was heavily damaged. Israeli forces destroyed 3 houses completely and 70 others partially and razed at least 90 donums of agricultural land in Jabalya town in the Gaza Strip.
Israeli attacks in the West Bank:
In the West Bank, 3 Palestinians, including a child, were killed by Israeli forces and a 4th one was killed by an Israeli settler. 29 Palestinians, including 11 children, were wounded by Israeli forces in the West Bank.
Israeli forces conducted 45 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During those incursions, Israeli forces abducted 65 Palestinian civilians and transformed 2 houses into military sites.
3 Palestinian civilians were abducted by Israeli forces at various checkpoints in the West Bank.
On 28 February 2008, Israeli forces killed 2 members of the Palestinian resistance and wounded 2 others during an incursion into Balata refugee camp, east of Nablus. On 2 March 2008, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian child and wounded another 2 civilians in Beit ‘Aawa village, southwest of Hebron, when they fired at hundreds of Palestinian civilians who were demonstrating in protest to attacks by Israeli forces against the Gaza Strip. On 3 March 2008, an Israeli settler shot dead a Palestinian civilian in al-Mazra’a village, northwest of Ramallah. Dozens of school students who were demonstrating in protest to attacks by Israeli forces against the Gaza Strip headed towards an Israeli settlement near the village. Additionally, 25 Palestinian civilians were wounded when Israeli forces used force to disperse peaceful demonstration organized in protest to attacks by Israeli forces against the Gaza Strip.
Israeli settlement activities:
Israeli Forces have continued settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.
One Palestinian was killed by an Israeli settler this week. At approximately 08:30, dozens of Palestinian school students demonstrated in al-Mazra'a village, northwest of Ramallah, in protest to attacks by Israeli forces against the Gaza Strip. The demonstrators moved towards "Tilmon B" settlement to the southwest of the village. Immediately, an Israeli settler who gathered with other settlers near the settlement fired at the demonstrators. As a result, Mohammed Saleh Mohammed Shraitah, 18, was seriously wounded by a gunshot to the head. He died on the way to the hospital. The Israeli radio claimed that the settler stated in interrogation by the Israeli police that "dozens of demonstrators attacked him with stones when he was walking near the settlement, so he fired in the air, but they did not stop attacking him, and consequently, he fired at them." Eyewitnesses to the event counter the settler's account, saying that he fired at the crowd entirely unprovoked. Israeli forces usually take no action towards attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians.
Israeli Annexation Wall:
Israeli forces have continued to construct the Annexation Wall inside West Bank territory. During the reporting period, Israeli forces used force against a peaceful demonstration organized by Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders in protest to the construction of the Wall in Bil’in village, west of Ramallah.
Following the Friday Prayer on 29 February, dozens of Palestinian students organized a peaceful demonstration in Bil’in village, west of Ramallah, to protest the attacks by Israeli forces against the Gaza Strip. The students moved towards the Annexation Wall that stands on the lands of the village. Immediately, Israeli forces fired at them. We’am Mohammed Bernat, 18, was wounded by 3 gunshots to the legs. Israeli forces held him bleeding for more than an hour and would not allow an ambulance to take him to the hospital.
Recommendations to the International Community:
The PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their legal and moral obligations under Article 1 of the Convention to ensure Israel's respect for the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. PCHR believes that the conspiracy of silence practiced by the international community has encouraged Israel to act as if it is above the law and encourages Israel continue to violate international human rights and humanitarian law.
The PCHR reiterates that any political settlement not based on international human rights law and humanitarian law cannot lead to a peaceful and just solution of the Palestinian question. Rather, such an arrangement can only lead to further suffering and instability in the region. Any peace agreement or process must be based on respect for international law, including international human rights and humanitarian law.
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