Ref: 78/2011

 

The Palestinian
Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is gravely concerned over the death of a police
officer and injuries to others who are responsible for law enforcement, by
gunmen last Sunday while they were executing a court ruling by evacuating a plot
belonging to the government. This incident is part of the state of security
chaos and misuse of weapons. PCHR calls upon the Attorney General to open a serious
investigation into this crime and to bring the perpetrators to justice.

 

According to
investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 23:30 on Sunday, 31 July
2011, medical staff at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza
City announced the death of Majed
Hamdan Karam, 23, a police officer from al-Tufah neighborhood in Gaza City.
Karam died of wounds he sustained that afternoon in an armed clash in Juhor
al-Dik village. He was on duty with Palestinian police and they were accompanied
by officials from the Ministry of Awqaf (religious affairs) and a bulldozer in
order to enforce the court ruling.  The
force headed to a plot owned by the Ministry of Awqaf.  The plot was used by the Abu Thaher family who
built three houses on the plot. Three families lived in the houses. As the
force started bulldozing the three houses, members of the Abu Thaher family and
members of the Abu Hein family intervened to stop the demolition.  The police arrested four persons, and
partially destroyed the houses which are now uninhabitable. While the police
were leaving the village, gunmen who are relatives of two of the detainees
approached them. The gunmen are believed to be members of a Palestinian armed
group.  An armed clash took place between
the police and the gunmen.  Two of the
gunmen and three policemen, including Karam, were wounded as a result. The
wounded were transferred to the al-Shifa
Hospital
for medical
treatment.  The wounds of Karam were gravely
serious and he was pronounced dead on the same day.

 

It should be
noted that the late Mohammed Salem Abu Thaher had leased the plot of land from
the Ministry of Awqaf for more than 45 years. After his death, his sons
continued to lease it. According to statements made to a PCHR fieldworker by
lawyer Faraj al-Shurafa, in 1999, the Ministry of Awqaf filed a claim requesting
the evacuation of the land. On 31 March 2009, the court issued a final ruling ordering
the evacuation of the land.  However, the
Ministry of Awqaf continued to lease parts of the said land to heirs of
Mohammed Salem Abu Thaher.

 

In view of the
above:

1. PCHR is gravely
concerned over the death of a police officer and the injuries to two others
while on duty by an armed group. PCHR calls upon the Attorney General to open a
serious investigation into this crime which is part of the state of security
chaos, and to bring the perpetrators to justice.

2. PCHR calls upon
the government in Gaza
to open serious investigations into continued leasing of land to members of the
Abu Thaher family, especially in view of the final ruling to evacuate the land,
and to pay fair compensation to the Aby Thaher family.