Press Release A significant escalation of the use of lethal force by the Israeli occupation forces: A member of the Palestinian Civil Defense killed and another one critically wounded; The Israeli occupation forces shell Rafah arbitrarily, killing a child and wounding more than 30
Date: December 20, 2000 Time: 13:00GMT 15:00 Palestine Time This morning, at approximately 9:00 local time, the Israeli occupation forces opened fire on a truck of the Palestinian Civil Defense, killing Refa’t Faisal Abu Marzouq, 25 years old, with a live bullet in the head, and wounding Nedal Hussein Abu O’un, 30 years old, with a live bullet in the head. Abu O’un was evacuated in critical condition to Shifa’ hospital in Gaza City. In a testimony under oath to PCHR, an eyewitness said that a red transportation truck of the Palestinian Civil Defense, signed with its badge, was passing across Salah El-Din Street (the main road between the north and south of the Gaza Strip) on its way from Rafah to Gaza. Eight civil-uniformed members of the Palestinian Civil Defense were in the back of the truck. When the truck arrived at Al-Shuhada junction, to the south of Gaza City, leading to Netzarim settlement, an Israeli convoy, consisted of a military jeep, followed by an armored truck, usually used to transport settlers, and then another military jeep, arrived at the junction coming from the east. When the truck crossed the junction, one of the two military jeeps of the Israeli occupation forces moved forward and stopped in the middle of the junction. Suddenly, an Israeli occupation soldier emerged from a hole at the top of the military jeep, pointing his gun at the truck of the Palestinian Civil Defense. He fired three live bullets from a distance of 30m. Then, he was back to the jeep and the convoy resumed its movement towards Netzarim settlement, to the west of the junction. The truck of the Palestinian Civil Defense continued its way, escaping from fire and stopped about 500m away from the junction. It was discovered then that two of its passengers were injured, one died and the other was evacuated to Shifa’ hospital in Gaza City. Eyewitnesses said that their was no reason for shooting. This incident is another one of a series of continuous incidents of shootings by the Israeli occupation forces at Palestinian civilians and transportation on the roads and junctions under the control of these forces. This morning, at approximately 8:30, the Israeli occupation forces fired artillery and heavy and medium bullets at Palestinian houses in Block “J” in Rafah, adjacent to the borderline. As a result, the child Hani Yousef El-Soufi, 14 years old, was killed with a live bullet in the head, while he was near the house of his family, 150m away from the area where the Israeli occupation forces positioned. Additionally, 30 residents of the area were wounded. Eyewitnesses said that the incidents broke out this morning, at approximately 7:30, when two tanks and a bulldozer of the Israeli occupation forces were passing at the borderline, prepared to sweep Palestinian agricultural land and demolish civilian facilities near the borderline. A fire exchange broke out between the Israeli occupation forces and a number of armed Palestinians. As a result, Awadh Marzouq Zannoun, 35 years old, was wounded with a live bullet in the head and was evacuated to Shifa’ hospital in Gaza City in critical condition; and Rashid Sae’id Barhoum was wounded with a live bullet in the pelvis, and was evacuated to Al-Joneina hospital in Rafah in moderate condition. Eyewitnesses said that the incident developed into arbitrary shelling by the Israeli occupation forces of Palestinian houses in Block “J”, that has continued up to now. As a result of the shelling the child El-Soufi was killed and another 30 Palestinian civilians were moderately or slightly wounded with shrapnel of artillery shells and live bullets. Among the wounded were: 1) the child Yousef Abdel-Hadi Barhoum, 2.5 years old, who was wounded with a dumdum bullet in one foot and alive bullet in the other foot, while he was with his father near their house, which is 250m away from the area where the Israeli occupation forces positioned; 2) Salman Marzouq Zourob, 18 years old, who was seriously wounded with a live bullet in the chest and was evacuated to Al-Joneina hospital in Rafah; 3) Eyad Oudeh Khafaja, 26 years old, who was wounded with a live bullet in the chest and was evacuated to Al-Joneina hospital; 4) A’wwad Joudeh El-Sheikh, 30 years old, who was wounded with shrapnel of an artillery shell in the head and the back and was evacuated to Al-Joneina hospital in Rafah; 5) Rashid Sae’id Barhoum, 26 years old, who was wounded with two live bullets in the pelvis and the leg and was evacuated to Al-Joneina hospital in Rafah; 6) Abdullah Sweireh El-Soufi, 21 years old, who was wounded with a live bullet in the abdomen and was evacuated to Al-Joneina hospital in Rafah; 7) Kana’an Mustafa A’waja, 32 years old, who was wounded with a live bullet in the thigh and was evacuated to Nasser hospital in Khan Yunis; 8) Ghazi Rezeq Abu Teilakh, 33 years old, who was wounded with a live bullet in the neck and was evacuated to Al-Joneina hospital in Rafah; and 9) The three sisters, Lina, 16 years old, Linda, 15 years old, and Salwa Khalil El-Masri, 14 years old, who were wounded with shrapnel of artillery shells while they were on their way from school to their house which is 100m away from the borderline. This morning, at approximately 5:30 local time, the Israeli occupation forces shot at a number of Palestinian laborers working in Erez industrial zone, under the control of these forces. As a result, Aeafat Samir El-Bes, 18 years old, from Jabalya, was wounded with a live bullet in the right leg; Mohammed Hussein A’djour, 24 years old, from Gaza City, was wounded in the left thigh; and Mohammed Salha, 19 years old, from Gaza City, was wounded with a live bullet in the lefty thigh. Additionally, Abdel-Rahman El-Masri, 20 years old, from Beit Hanoun, suffered from bruises in the shoulder after he fell on the ground when he was attacked by the Israeli occupation forces. Eyewitnesses said that clashes erupted between Palestinian laborers and the Israeli occupation forces because of the continued provocation and strict checking of these laborers by these forces. At the checking room, the Israeli occupation forces humiliate Palestinian laborers and use a group of trained dogs to check them. Similar clashes erupted in the mentioned area yesterday during which two Palestinian laborers were wounded by live bullets shot by the Israeli occupation forces. More Sweeping of Agricultural Land Last night, at approximately 23:00 local time, the Israeli occupation forces started to sweep areas of agricultural land to the north of the road branching from Salah El-Din Street (the main road between the north and south of the Gaza Strip) leading to Gush Qatif settlement block in the west. The swept areas are 700m to the west of Salah El-Din Street and part of Al-Qarara in the middle area. PCHR’s field officer in the middle area reported that the Israeli occupation forces swept and demolished: 1) The house of Mutteir Abed Rabbo Abu Houli, a 200-square-meter, asbestos-roofed house, in which 11 people live. It was demolished after its residents were expelled without being able to evacuate it from furniture and property. In addition, a well near the house owned by the mentioned citizen was destroyed. 2) A 30-donum area of agricultural land planted with vegetables, owned by Abdel-Qader Abu Houli and brothers. Shelling of Residential Neighborhoods in Khan Yunis Last night, at approximately 11:00 local time, Israeli occupation forces fired artillery shells and heavy and medium bullets at Palestinian houses in Al-Nemsawi (Austrian) neighborhood, in the southwest of Khan Yunis. PCHR’s field officer in Khan Yunis reported that the shelling sporadically lasted for about 90 minutes, and came from military posts of the Israeli occupation forces in the vicinity of Neve Dekalim settlement. Ten artillery shells fell onto two newly built housing buildings, consisted of 20 apartments, owned by Al-Farra Company. The targeted buildings are 250 away from the military posts of the Israeli occupation forces. Façades of the buildings were severely damaged and windows broke.
Arresting Palestinian Civilians in Rafah
Yesterday afternoon, at approximately 14:30 local time, the Israeli occupation forces burst into Palestinian houses in Al-Shouka area in Rafah, near Gaza International Airport, and part of what is known as “Yellow Areas,” under the control of the Israeli occupation forces. These forces arrested four Palestinian civilians, residents of the area, three of whom were released yesterday evening, and the fourth remained in detention. PCHR’s field officer in Rafah reported that the Palestinian civilians who were arrested were:
1) Zaki Salim Jarad, 20 years old, remained in detention; 2) A’tteya Hammad Jarad, 22 years old, released yesterday evening; 3) Sa’di A’ayesh Jarad, 17 years old, released yesterday evening; and 4) Samir Salim Jarad, 22 years old, released yesterday evening. *** PCHR reiterates its call for the international community to immediately intervene to stop the killings and criminal acts perpetrated by the Israeli occupation forces against Palestinian civilians. PCHR calls in particular for:
- Establishing without delay an independent commission of inquiry, in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 1322 (2000), to carry out a thorough and comprehensive investigation into the abuses and killings perpetrated by the Israeli occupation forces against Palestinian civilians.
- Convening a conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 to ensure Israel’s compliance with its obligations under the Convention.
- Immediately providing international protection for Palestinian civilians in the occupied Palestinian territories in the face of the killings and criminal acts perpetrated by the Israeli occupation forces and groups of Jewish settlers who move under the protection of these forces.
- Use by the EU of effective political and economic measures with reference to Article 2 of the Euro-Israel Association Agreement, which calls for the respect of human rights.
- Providing humanitarian and medical assistance for the Palestinian people whose living conditions are increasingly deteriorating because of the continued total siege imposed by the Israeli occupation forces on the entire occupied Palestinian territories.
- Use by the international community and relevant bodies, including ICRC, of necessary measures to ensure the access of medical supplies and equipment and other humanitarian assistance to Palestinian civilians. The Israeli occupation forces have continued to deny entry of this material through Rafah Border Crossing (into the Gaza Strip).