Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
Date: 06 November 2006
Time: 11:30 GMT
In a new Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) crime reflecting disregard for the lives of innocent civilians, a Palestinian child was killed and 6 others were injured, one seriously, in an Israeli air strike on the town of Jabalia in the north of the Gaza Strip. A teacher was seriously injured in the same strike. The victims were on their way to school when IOF fired a surface-to-surface towards the Jabalia Youth Club during the morning traffic of school children. The IOF rocket was fired after Palestinians fired rockets at Israel from the area in the pre-dawn hours. This crime is a continuation of the IOF aggression on the Gaza Strip, especially the northern part. Over the 6 days of this recent aggression, 45 Palestinians have been killed, including 27 unarmed civilians. Ten of these victims are children, and two are women. In addition, 184 Palestinians have been injured, including 50 children and 46 women.
PCHR's preliminary investigation into this incident indicates that at approximately 6:45 on Monday, 6 November 2006, IOF fired a surface-to-surface towards the Jabalia Youth Club near the intersection separating Jabalia and Beit Lahia. The rocket fell 15 meters away from a minibus at the intersection transporting children to the Andera Ghandi Kindergarten in Beit Lahia. The teacher Najwa Awad E'khlayyef (20) was sitting near the open rear door of the minibus waiting for children to board. She was seriously injured, and later transported to the ICU unit in Shifa Hospital for treatment. In addition, students from Ahmad Shoqeiri School were on their way to school in Beit Lahia. One of these students was instantly killed: Ramzi Merfiq El-Shrafi (16). Six other students were injured, one of them seriously. The kindergarten children also suffered shock from the explosion.
PCHR is extremely concerned over the serious IOF escalation, and:
Condemns this crime, which is a continuum of IOF war crimes in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) that reflect Israeli disregard for the lives of innocent civilians. These crimes are considered a form of reprisal and collective punishment that violate article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention;
Points to the fact that IOF does not use proportionality and necessity in the use of force against Palestinian resistance activists in civilian neighborhoods, which causes casualties among the civilian population and destruction of their property.
Calls upon the international community to immediately intervene to stop these crimes. The Centre reiterates the call to the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations and ensure that it is respected under all circumstances. The Centre reminds the High Contracting Parties of their obligation under article 146 of the convention to prosecute criminals suspected of perpetrating serious violations of the convention. It is noted that serious violations are considered war crimes in article 147 of the convention and the optional protocol additional to the convention.