29 September, 2003 – 30 April, 2004
During the current Palestinian Intifada, Israeli occupation forces (IOF) have adopted a policy of extra-judicial killings against Palestinians allegedly involved in resistance activities against Israeli targets. International complicity concerning this issue has only served to encourage Israeli authorities to escalate their policy of extra-judicial killings; and in so doing, commit further grave breaches of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 1949 (Fourth Geneva Convention) against Palestinian civilians.
IOF have carried out assassination attempts against activists of various Palestinian organizations, whom they accuse of carrying out or planning attacks against IOF in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and/ or inside Israel. IOF have begun to target the political leaders of Palestinian organizations. All assassination attempts against Palestinians have been carried out in a summary fashion; with neither evidence being offered to link the targeted individual to attacks committed by Palestinian resistance fighters, nor efforts made to provide judicial review of the means and methods employed and the process by which individuals are chosen to be targeted for assassination.
Since the beginning of the current Intifada, PCHR has made efforts to accurately document extra-judicial killings committed by IOF in the OPT, highlight these actions, draw attention to their dangerous effects and urge the international community to intervene and pressure IOF to stop such actions. For the purpose of documentation, PCHR depends on an updated accurate database that details all assassination attempts carried out by IOF during the current Intifada.
As part of its activities, PCHR has published a series of reports that document extra-judicial killings committed by IOF against Palestinians in the OPT during the al- Aqsa Intifada. This report provides statistics on the amount and type of Palestinians killed or wounded, explains the illegality of such attacks, highlights the Israeli government’s adoption of the policy of extra-judicial killing and details the methods employed by IOF in carrying out assassination attempts. It is also annexed with a table of assassination attempts during the period under study.
This report is the seventh in a series of reports published by PCHR on assassinations committed by IOF between 29 September 2000 and 30 April 2004. The period under study witnessed an escalation in the assassination attempts carried out by IOF in the OPT. During the period under study, IOF assassinated Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the founder and spiritual leader of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas). They also later assassinated Dr. ‘Abdul ‘Aziz al-Rantissi, a senior leader of the movement. These attacks came after the Israeli government had declared that it would target political and military leaders of Hamas and that none of them would be immune. IOF targeted most leaders of the Hamas in the past year. Most targeted leaders, including Sheikh Yassin and Dr. al-Rantissi, survived these attempts, but Isma’il Abu Shanab, a senior leader of the movement, was killed in one of these attempts on 21 August 2003.