71 assassinations committed by Israeli occupying forces since the beginning of the Intifada until 30 April 2002
111 Palestinians, including 34 bystanders, 11 of whom were children, killed and 112 wounded
This is the third in a series of reports published by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) on assassinations committed by Israeli occupation forces during the al-Aqsa Intifada. This report documents assassinations from 29 September 2001 to 30 April 2002. PCHR has published two previous reports on assassinations committed by Israeli occupation forces. PCHR’s first report on assassination operations, covering 29 September 2000-28 April 2001, documented 15 assassination operations that killed a total of 13 targeted Palestinians and 6 bystanders. The second report on assassinations, covering 29 April-28 September 2001, documented 26 assassinations that killed a total of 22 targeted Palestinians and 12 bystanders, including children.
The period under study witnessed a serious escalation in assassinations committed by Israeli occupation forces against Palestinian activists. Israeli occupation forces committed 30 assassinations, killing 58 Palestinians, including 42 targeted Palestinians and 16 bystanders, 8 of whom were children. In addition, 58 Palestinians, including 6 targeted Palestinians and 52 bystanders were injured. So, the total number of assassinations carried out by Israeli occupation forces from 29 September 2000 to 30 April 2002, is 71 operations, killing 77 targeted Palestinians and 34 bystanders, including 11 children. In addition, 17 targeted Palestinians and 95 bystanders were wounded.
Over the past few months, there has been a quantitative escalation in assassination attempts by Israeli occupation forces against Palestinians. Israeli occupation forces did not give any consideration to the lives of civilians, especially children, while carrying out assassination attempts. In this context, Israeli occupation forces killed 8 Palestinian children in three assassination attempts that targeted Palestinian activists. On 10 December 2001, two Israeli Apache gunships fired two missiles at a group of civilian cars stopped at a traffic light in Hebron, apparently targeting an activist of the Islamic Jihad wanted by Israeli occupation forces. Two children were killed and 14 people were wounded. On 19 February 2002, an Israeli combat helicopter fired a rocket at a media office of Hamas in Jabalya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip. Two Palestinians were killed and ten were wounded, including a 9-year-old child who succumbed to her wound on 2 March. On 4 March 2002, an Israeli tank fired at a civilian car in Ramallah governorate in an apparent attempt to assassinate a Hamas activist. He was not in the car at the time; instead, his wife was transporting three of their children family from the school. They and another two children were also killed.
According to PCHR’s documentation, 30% of those killed and 85% of those injured in assassination attempts by Israeli occupation forces were bystanders and victims of the “margin of mistakes” (not targeted according to Israeli claims). These facts refute Israeli claims that assassinations are carried out accurately through technologically advanced weapons, with the possibility of harming a limited number of Palestinian civilians. These high numbers of casualties among “innocent civilians,” strongly indicates that Israeli occupation forces carry out assassinations with little or no regard for lives of bystanders.
The Israeli government openly claims responsibility for liquidations and unapologetically claims that such acts are part of a policy of “self-defense” to prevent “terrorist” attacks against Israeli targets. On 19 February 2002, the Israeli government declared after a cabinet meeting that it would continue the policy of “killing that have specific goals,” a euphemism for assassinations and extra-judicial killings. Yet circumstances of assassinations committed by Israeli occupation forces refute Israeli claims that they are part of a policy of “self-defense.” For example, on 6 March 2002, an undercover Israeli unit fired at two Palestinian civilians who were walking on agricultural road near Burin village between Ramallah and Nablus. One of them, Jamal Raja Zeid al-Kasawani, 24, from Ramallah, was killed by several live bullets, and the civilian who accompanied him and two other civilians were also wounded. In the evening, an Israeli military spokesman stated that he was killed by mistake and that the target was another person. On 7 March 2002, Israeli occupation forces raided Sirris village, east of Jenin. They attacked a house apparently to assassinate Mohammed Saleh Suleiman Yassin, 28, an activist of the Islamic Jihad from ‘Aanin village near Jenin. They fired at its doors and windows. When Yassin attempted to get out of the house, an Israeli combat helicopter fired at him. He was killed by several live bullets while he was only 1m away from the house. Israeli forces could have arrested him as his did not pose any danger to them.