Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
Press Releases, 22 December 2013
On Friday, 20 December 2013, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian and wounded his brother while working near the borderline with Israel, north of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip. According to PCHR’s investigations, Israeli forces used excessive force and directly opened fire at them although it was clear that the two civilians were collecting steels and plastics from the landfill near the border fence. In another incident on the same day, Israeli forces wounded 3 other civilians, including a child, when they fired at civilians who threw stones at the military site on the borderline, east of Jabalia. Thus, during this year, the number of civilians killed by Israeli forces near the fence along the eastern and northern borders of the Gaza Strip has amounted to 4 while 49 others have been wounded, including 11 children.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, Israeli forces killed ‘Odah Jihad Hamad (27) and wounded his Brother, Raddad (22), while being near the border fence. According to the testimony given by Raddad Hamad to PCHR, at approximately 12:00 on Friday, 20 December 2013, Raddad went with his brother ‘Odah to the landfill near the border area, east of Beit Hanoun, in order to collect plastics and steels for livelihood. At approximately 15:30, when the area was very calm, Israeli forces stationed at the borderline opened fire at them without any prior warning. As a result, ‘Odah was wounded by a bullet to the head and fell onto the ground while Raddad was hiding in a low area. Raddad tried to reach his brother to rescue him, but Israeli forces opened fire at him to wound him by a bullet to the right hand. He immediately fled and managed to call the Palestine Red Crescent Society to send him an ambulance. The ambulance was delayed by Israeli forces till at approximately 16:15 when it obtained coordination through the International Committee of the Red Cross. The ambulance staff searched for ‘Odah to find him wounded and then transferred him to the BeitHanounGovernmentalHospital. He was entered into the Intensive Care Unit, but a few minutes later, he was pronounced dead.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR into the second incident, on Friday afternoon, following the Friday prayer, a group of civilians went to al-Shuhadaa’ cemetery, east of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, and approached around 50-70 meters to the border fence with Israel. They threw stones at the Israeli forces stationed at the borderline. Israeli forces in response opened fire at the stone throwers wounding 2 of them, including a child, and a coal-supplier standing in front of his shop around 70 meters away from the borderline. The persons who were wounded were identified as:
1- Diaa’ Ahmed As’ad al-Natour (17) from Jabalia refugee camp, sustained a bullet wound to the left leg;
2- ‘Ali Hasan ‘Abdel Rahman Khalil (20) from Jabalia refugee camp, sustained a bullet wound to the left thigh; and
3- Mohammed Hamoudah Ayyoub (23) from Jabalia refugee camp, a coal-supplier, sustained a bullet wound to the right leg.
PCHR is deeply concerned over these crimes, which further prove the use of excessive force by Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians in disregard for the civilians’ lives. Therefore, PCHR calls upon the international community to take immediate and effective actions and reiterates its call for the High Contracting Parties to the 1949Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations under Article 1; i.e., to respect and to ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances, and their obligation under Article 146 to prosecute persons alleged to commit grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention. These grave breaches constitute war crimes under Article 147 of the same Convention and Protocol (I) Additional to the Geneva Conventions.