Press Release 13 March 2012
Israeli Attacks Must Be Stopped Now to Prevent Disastrous Consequences
Scottish Friends of Palestine endorses the following Press Release from the Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights
Israeli Attacks Must Be Stopped Now to Prevent Disastrous Consequences: IOF Escalates Its Aggression and Attacks Children and Houses Al Mezan Calls on International Community to Intervene Promptly
Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have escalated their ongoing attacks on the Gaza Strip, with continuing attacks yesterday and today demonstrating flagrant disregard of the principles of international humanitarian law. On Monday morning the IOF directly attacked a number of students in North Gaza district, killing a 14-year-old and injuring other five students. The IOF has also attacked residential houses, agricultural fields located near homes, schools, and medical facilities. As a result, more people have been injured and killed.
Field work by the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights has documented that further IOF air attacks carried out overnight have raised the number of victims. As a result of these most recent attacks, five persons were killed, including a woman and a child, and 42 persons were injured, including 17 children and nine women. This raises the number of those killed since Friday 9 March 2012 to 23, including three children and one woman, and the number of injured to 77, including 20 children and 11 women. The IOF also continued its attacks on Palestinian fishermen, including confiscation of their nets. Al Mezan has documented the following incidents occurring since 1:00 pm yesterday, presented chronologically.
At approximately 4:10 pm on Sunday 11 March 2012, Khadea Suliman Khalil Abu Tair, 34, sustained shrapnel wounds in the abdomen and legs while she was near her house in the Abu Tair neighborhood east of Abasan village, eastern Khan Younis district. She was injured when an explosion took place about seven meters away from her house. The house sustained partial damages. Israeli aircraft were flying in force in the Gaza sky at the time, though as of publication of this press release Al Mezan has not yet been able to verify the cause of the explosion.
At approximately 5:40 pm on Sunday 11 March 2012, an Israeli aircraft fired a missile at a group of young Palestinian men near the Khuzandar petroleum station in Jabaliya, North Gaza district. No casualties or injuries were reported.
At approximately 6:30 pm on Sunday 11 March 2012, Israeli gunboats opened fired at Palestinian fishing boats opposite the Sheikh ‘Ijleen coast. The firing frightened the fishermen and forced them to sail to land immediately. The IOF confiscated the nets the fishermen were forced to leave in the water.
At approximately 10:55 pm on Sunday 11 March 2012, the IOF fired a missile at a group of young Palestinian men east of Al Wafaa Hospital for Rehabilitation, east of Ash-Sheja’iya neighborhood in Gaza City. No casualties or injuries were reported.
At approximately 1:40 am on Monday 12 March 2012, an Israeli jet fired a missile at an olive field belonging to the Heles family near Tareq Bin Ziyad mosque, east of Ash-Sheja’iya. As a result, Islam ‘Aref Ali Jendiya, 18, and Khloud Farhat Ali Jendiya, 30, suffered head injuries due to the shattering of window panes. They were admitted to Ash-Shifa Hospital for treatment. The attack left a large hole in the field and caused severe damage to the house of Subhi Hussein Heles, 55. The house is home to 12 family members, five of whom are children. Ten adjacent houses were also damaged in the attack.
At approximately 2:00 am on Monday 12 March 2012, an Israeli aircraft fired a missile at an open area north of the Khuzandar petroleum station in Jabaliya, North Gaza district. No casualties or injuries were reported.
At approximately 2:05 am on the same day, an Israeli aircraft fired a missile at a house lived in by Bahjat Mohammed Idrees Hammad, 51, and owned by Jamal Mohammed Mhesein. The house is located near Shuhadaa Jabaliya Primary School, northeast of Zemo crossroads in North Gaza district. As a result, 31 people, including 21 children and six women, were injured. Medical sources described the injuries of two of them as critical. The house was totally destroyed, three adjacent houses were severely damaged, and seven houses were partially damaged in the attack. The school building was partially destroyed as well. According to Al Mezan’s field worker, some 333 windowpanes in the school were damaged. A building for the ambulance and emergency service of the Red Crescent Society was also damaged. Dozens of windowpanes in adjacent houses sustained light damages. It should be noted that in this case the IOF attacked at midnight hours a residential house located in a densely populated area while people were at home sleeping. These circumstances raised the number of injured, and caused terror among women and children.
Al Mezan has identified the injured as follows:
-Mahmoud Hussein Abu Al ‘Aesh, 45;
-Mustafa Hussein Abu Al ‘Aesh, 43;
-Belal Noufal Abu Al ‘Aesh, 22;
-Mu’az Noufal Abu Al ‘Aesh, 20, who sustained critical injuries;
-Nagham Mustafa Abu Al ‘Aesh, 7;
-Malak Mustafa Abu Al ‘Aesh, 10;
-Mohammed Mustafa Abu Al ‘Aesh, 20;
-Suhaib Noufal Abu Al ‘Aesh, 16;
-Jumana Mahmoud Abu Al ‘Aesh, 15;
-Samera Tawfeq Abu Al ‘Aesh, 48;
-Wasfiya Hussein Abu Al ‘Aesh, 48;
-Islam Mansi Abu Al ‘Aesh, 19;
-Ilham Bahjat Hammad, 19;
-Fayza Abdel Khaleq Hammad, 49;
-Ayah Bahjat Hammad, 17;
-Eman Bahjat Hammad, 8;
-Saed Bahjat Hammad, 24;
-Mohammed Bahjat Hammad, one and a half;
-Jamal Tawfeq Hammad, 25;
-Maslama Samer Sukkar, 4;
-Mohammed Samer Sukkar, 6;
-Alaa Samer Sukkar, 7;
-Mu’men Samer Sukkar, 4;
-Ayah Samer Sukkar, 2;
-Ola Talal Sukkar, 29;
-Samer Riyadh Sukkar, 34;
-Fawzi Fayiz Kutkut, 26;
-Mahmoud Omar Al ‘Amassi, 20;
-Mohammed Saleh Khader, 23;
-Fayiz Al Abed Mattar, 55; and
-Eman Fayiz Mattar, 19.
At approximately 2:30 am on the same say, an Israeli aircraft fired a missile at an open area east of Abasan in eastern Khan Younis district. No casualties or injuries were reported, but people in the area were terrified.
At approximately 5:45 am on the same day, an Israeli aircraft fired a missile targeting a pedestrian near a house in Abasan village, close to Abu Baker As-Seddeq mosque. The attack killed Hamada Suliman Ahmed Abu Mettleq, 20, who was hit with throughout his body. Muhand Iyad Abu Hamd, two and a half years old, sustained a light injury to the head due to the shattering of windowpanes. He was admitted to Nasser Hospital for medical treatment. Two adjacent houses sustained light damages.
At approximately 6:10 am on the same day, an Israeli aircraft fired a missile at the Jabal Sara area at the end of Al Mansoura street, in Ash-Sheja’iya neighborhood in Gaza City. No casualties or injuries were reported.
At approximately 6:45 am on the same day, an Israeli aircraft fired a missile at an open area east of the juice factory in eastern Ash-Sheja’iya. No casualties or injuries were reported.
At approximately 7:00 am on Monday 12 March 2012, an Israeli aircraft fired a missile at a motorcycle travelling on a side street near Ar-Redwan mosque in Al Qarrara village, in eastern Khan Younis district. As a result, Ra’fat Jawad Adeeb Abu Eid, 25, was killed after sustaining shrapnel wounds and burns. Two other persons sustained shrapnel wounds. They were admitted to Nasser Hospital, where their injuries were described as moderate.
At approximately 9:25 am on the same day, an Israeli aircraft fired a missile into a group of six secondary school students. The attack occurred near the Khuzandar petroleum station in Jabaliya, North Gaza district. As a result, Nayif Qarmout, 14, was killed. He was a student at the Saad Ibn Abi Waqqas School in the area. Another five students were injured, four of them under the age of 18:
-Tamer Azzam, 16;
-Mu’ayyad al-Qanou’, 18;
-Hani al-Qanou’, 16;
-Salih Qarmout, 14; and
-Sa’eed al-Attar, 14.
The first three youths listed above are students at the Usama Ibn Zaid School.
The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights calls on the international community to promptly intervene and to exert political and diplomatic pressure on Israel to prevent further escalation. Israel’s escalation and threats raise fears that the IOF may carry out a more widespread military operation in the Gaza Strip, which would likely cause major levels of death and injury among civilians and damage to civilian property, of the sort that Gaza witnessed during Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009. Israel’s continued failure to abide by the rules of international law—which bans during situations of occupation and armed conflict attacks on civilians and civilian objects, extrajudicial killings, and other attacks that fail to observe the basic principles of international humanitarian law (IHL)—amplifies our fear of seeing war crimes committed once again in Gaza.
Al Mezan asserts that the current failure to implement international mechanisms of protection, as well as the continued politicization of human rights issues in the context of the Palestinian cause and the Israel-Arab conflict, have entrenched a culture of impunity vis-à-vis violations of IHL and human rights law. As a result, the IOF has been encouraged to continue violating IHL in ways that frequently amount to war crimes and are tantamount to crimes against humanity, as the IOF soldiers and commanders who commit and/or order violations of the laws of war have never been brought to justice.
Al Mezan emphasizes the urgency of the current situation in Gaza. Efforts that could be undertaken to prevent Israel from further escalation would be less costly at various levels, but particularly in terms of human life and well-being, than standing aside and simply providing humanitarian aid. Efforts taken now can prevent bloodshed and stop a humanitarian crisis from developing in the first place.
Al Mezan recalls that the Gaza Strip has lived under a tight siege for over four years now, during which time basic services and the general human rights climate, particularly in the area of health, have deteriorated. The health sector suffers from chronic shortages in medical supplies and equipment. It is not in a position to handle a new crisis. Moreover, tens of thousands of people continue to suffer from forced displacement due to IOF destruction of homes and the siege, which has prevented rebuilding of destroyed houses. Any new Israeli aggression will exacerbate the already deteriorated humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.
Al Mezan therefore reiterates its calls on the international community, including the UN Security Council, other UN bodies, and the European Union, to exert pressure on Israel to end its aggression against the Gaza Strip and to ensure full respect for international law.
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