01st May, – 28th September,2003
During the current Palestinian Intifada, Israeli occupying forces have adopted a policy of extra- judicial assassinations 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 assassinations; and in so doing, commit further grave breaches of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, 1949 (Fourth Geneva Convention), against Palestinian civilians.
Since the beginning of the current Intifada, PCHR has made efforts to accurately document assassination attempts carried out by Israeli occupying forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs), highlight these actions, draw attention to their dangerous effects and urge the international community to intervene and pressure Israeli occupying forces to stop such actions. For the purpose of documentation, PCHR depends on an updated accurate database that detail all assassination attempts carried out by Israeli occupying forces during the current Intifada.
Israeli occupying forces have carried out assassination attempts against activists of various Palestinian organizations, whom they accuse of carrying out or planning attacks against Israeli forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and/ or inside Israel. Israeli forces 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.
As part of its activities, PCHR has published a series of reports that document assassinations committed by Israeli occupying forces against Palestinians during the al- Aqsa Intifada. The reports highlight the methods employed by Israeli occupying forces in carrying out assassination attempts, and provide statistics on the amount and type of Palestinians killed or wounded in such attempts. They are also annexed with tables of assassination attempts. PCHR has published 5 reports on assassinations committed by Israeli occupying forces between 29 September 2000 and 30 April 2003.
This is the sixth in a series of reports published by PCHR on assassinations committed by Israeli occupying forces during the al- Aqsa Intifada. This report documents assassinations in the period 1 May – 28 September 2003. The period under study witnesses an unprecedented escalation in the assassination attempts carried out by Israeli occupying forces in the OPTs. Israeli occupying forces targeted most leaders of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) in the Gaza Strip. Most targeted leaders survived these attempts, but Isma’il Abu Shanab, a senior leader of Hamas, was killed in one of these attempts. The Israeli government officially declared that it would target political and military leaders of Hamas and that none of them would enjoy impunity. In this context, the Israeli media reported that the Israeli government made playing cards, which have photos of 34 Palestinian figures who would be targeted by Israeli occupying forces, in a fashion similar to playing cards made by the US occupying forces in Iraq, which have photos of 55 wanted former Iraqi leaders. The playing cards made by the Israeli government include photos of some leaders of Hamas in the OPTs and abroad, including: Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the founder of the movement; Dr. ‘Abdul ‘Aziz al-Rantisi; Dr. Mahmoud al-Zahhar; Isma’il Abu Shanab, whose photo has a sign that refers to his death; Khaled Masha’al, head of the political bureau of Hamas; and Mohammed Daif and ‘Adnan al-Ghoul, who are senior leaders of ‘Ezziddin al-Qassam Brigade, the military wing of Hamas, in the Gaza Strip. The playing cards include also a photo of Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, Secretary General of Hizbullah in Lebanon, the only non-Palestinian figure included in the playing cards.