The Israeli occupation forces continue their crimes against Palestinian civilians:
A Palestinian civilian is assassinated in Nablus and another one is killed in Rafah;
Palestinian houses near Beit Lahia come under heavy fire
Date: November 23, 2000
In the past 24 hours, the Israeli occupation forces seriously escalated their military actions against Palestinian civilians. In the aftermath of yesterday’s crime committed by the Israeli occupation forces in which four Palestinian civilians were killed, tension escalated throughout the occupied Palestinian territories and armed confrontations occurred between the Israeli occupation forces and armed Palestinians. In light of the car bomb in Hadera inside Israel yesterday afternoon, PCHR fears that the Israeli occupation forces may resort to a new escalatory action against Palestinian civilians. At about 17:00 local time, the Israeli occupation forces informed all District Coordination Offices in the Gaza Strip that they should evacuate, apparently in preparation for new shelling with combat helicopters. In fact, earlier, the Israeli occupation forces shelled a post of the Palestinian border guards in the northeastern area of the Gaza Strip. According to PCHR’s information, four Palestinian houses near Beit Lahia were subjected to intensive shooting. PCHR is increasingly worried for the lives and safety of Palestinian civilians and calls on the international community to immediately intervene in order to put an end to the crimes committed by the Israeli occupation forces.
Yesterday, at about 19:30, the Israeli occupation forces positioned at a military post on the borderline in Rafah intensively shot heavy and medium bullets at Palestinian civilians. As a result, Najib Mohammed Qeshta, 50 years old was killed with a heavy bullet in the head. Eyewitnesses said that they heard sounds of shooting and shelling, whose source was a military post of the Israeli occupation forces at Salah El-Din Gate on the Palestinian-Egyptian border. In the meantime, a number of Palestinian civilians, relatives of the martyr and residents of the area, were passing 150 meters to the northeast of the mentioned military post. In his testimony to PCHR, an eyewitness stated that as soon as he and a number of his relatives arrived at the entrance to the house of another relative, “We saw a man lying face down on the ground. When we raised him, he fell on his back. I saw a hole in his head about 2 centimeters in diameter, and in the other side of the head, there was a hole about 7 centimeters in diameter. A pool of blood was around him. We realized upon identifying him that he was our relative. One of my relatives, who was with me, immediately fainted. We evacuated the motionless body to the hospital in Al-Joneina neighborhood.” According to PCHR’s investigation, Qeshta did not participate in any activities against the Israeli occupation forces and never bore a gun. All information proves that what happened was a willful killing, added to the crimes committed by the Israeli occupation forces.
In Nablus, the Israeli occupation forces assassinated Ibrahim Abdel-Karim Bani Oudeh, 34 years old, from the village of Tammoun in Jenin. PCHR learned that, this afternoon, at about 13:00, while Bani Oudeh was driving his car, a Subaru, near Al-Salam mosque opposite to Eibal Mountain in Nablus, a combat helicopter of the Israeli occupation forces shot at him and fired a shell on his car. He was critically injured in the head and then died. The upper part of his car was destroyed. Bani Oudeh had been a political prisoner in the jails of the Palestinian National Authority for three years. He was released only yesterday.
In Rafah, today, clashes broke out between Palestinian civilians and the Israeli occupation forces. A number of Palestinian civilians demonstrated since the morning more than 100 meters away from a military post of the Israeli occupation forces at Salah El-Din Gate on the Palestinian-Egyptian border. The Israeli occupation forces shot at these civilians, wounding 11, six of whom were injured seriously. The seriously wounded were:
- the child Karam Fathi El-Kurd, 13 years old, critically wounded with a live bullet in the head, and evacuated to Shifa’ hospital;
- Mousa Ibrahim Abu Ghoneim, 18 years old, wounded with a live bullet in the chest;
- Mousa Sheikh El-Eid, 27 years old, wounded with a live bullet in the abdomen;
- Khaled Suleiman Abu Snaimeh, 17 years old, wounded with a live bullet in the back;
- an unidentified child, 15 years old, wounded with a live bullet in the lower jaw; and
- Arafat Ahmed El-Athamneh, 26 years old, wounded with a live bullet in the back.
In Khan Yunis, the Israeli occupation forces shot at Palestinian civilians near Al-Tuffah roadblock between the city and Al-Mawasi (agricultural) area. As a result, 17 Palestinian civilians were wounded with live bullets and another one with a rubber-coated metal bullet. Among the wounded were:
- Khaled Ibrahim Mosabbeh, 17 years old, from the village of Abasan, seriously wounded with a live bullet in the head;
- Ashraf Hassan El-Danaf, 15 years old, from Khan Yunis, seriously wounded with a live bullet in the abdomen; and
- Mohammed Zaki Abu Toeima, 26 year old, from Khan Yunis, wounded with a live bullet in the pelvis.
In the area near Al-Shuhada’ (Netzarim) junction leading to Netzarim settlement, the Israeli occupation forces shot at Palestinian demonstrators, wounding two with live bullets, and a third one with a rubber-coated metal bullet.
Shelling of Palestinian Houses on the Borderline in Rafah
Yesterday, at about 19:00 local time, the Israeli occupation forces shelled seven houses from these forces’ military post at Salah El-Din Gate on the Palestinian-Egyptian border in Rafah. Six shells fell onto Palestinian houses 600 meters to the west of the mentioned military post. PCHR’s field officer in Rafah reported that the losses were as follows:
- The house of Mohammed Abdel-Karim Dhiab Abdel-Aal, an asbestos-roofed, 300-square-meter house, was hit with two shells. One shell penetrated a water reservoir on the roof and partially destroyed the roof. The child Tasnim Mahmoud Abdel-Aal, 3 years old, was injured with splinters of a shell in the thigh. She was evacuated to Al-Joneina hospital. The second shell hit the eastern wall of the house, making a hole 15 centimeters in diameter. Thirty terrified people living in the house endured the shelling.
- The house of Mohammed Abdel-Rahman Mansour, an asbestos-roofed, 300-square-meter house, was hit with two shells. The two shells hit the external fence, making a hole 20 centimeters in diameter. The roof of the house was also partially destroyed. Twelve people live in this house, including the child Jebril Mohammed Abdel-Rahman Mansour, 8 years old, who was injured with splinters of shells.
- The house of Zakaria Nemer Ghoneim is an asbestos-roofed house with canopy. The total area of the house is 1,200 square meters. One shell hit the canopy and another shell destroyed an olive tree. None of the 12 residents of the house was injured.
- PCHR’s field officer reported that five shells hit four houses owned by the family of Qeshta, 150 meters away from the military post of the Israeli occupation forces. PCHR’s field officer was not able to reach the area in order to check the losses.
This morning, at about 5:00 local time, the Israeli occupation forces fired two shells and live ammunition at the house of Farouq Mohammed Oleyan Boreika, in the southwest of Rafah (the area of Tal Zourob). The two shells penetrated a room, in which 15 members of the family sleep. They miraculously escaped injury. The owner’s mother, 80 years old, was slightly wounded in the hand, but no other injuries were reported. The house and its furniture were severely damaged.
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 other 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).