12-30-08, 9:54 am
Editor's note: The US corporate media has reported that the vast majority of deaths in Gaza due to Israeli attacks since Christmas are 'mainly militants,' to quote CNN. Humanitarian groups in Gaza, however, report that hundreds of non-combatants, including women and children have been killed and injured. The following is a detailed report by the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights published on Dec. 28th.
251 Palestinians, Mostly Civilians, Including 20 Children and 9 Women, Killed and 584 Others, Including 130 Children and 28 Women, Wounded
Original source: Palestinian Center for Human Rights
For the second consecutive day, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have continued to wage their bloodiest and most brutal war against the Gaza Strip since its occupation in 1967, under an international and Arab conspiracy of silence. In details of PCHR's press release issued yesterday and the attacks that followed, yesterday evening, IOF launched more air strikes against many civilian facilities, including workshops, houses, medical warehouses and even mosques in a grave precedent. IOF war planes have so far continued to fly over the Gaza Strip terrifying the Palestinian civilian population. At night, many Palestinian families received phone calls from the Israeli intelligence, which ordered them to vacate their houses as they would be bombarded. Such phone calls confused Palestinian civilians. PCHR believes that this declared war target Palestinian civilians and their property, and statements of Israeli political and military officials herald a humanitarian catastrophe and a persistent war at all levels. The international community is required more than ever before to immediately act to stop this gravest offensive since the Gaza Strip was first occupied by IOF. According to what PCHR field workers have been able to document so far, the number of civilian victims in the first ten minutes of the offensive against the Gaza Strip is the highest since 1967, and it is higher than the number of victims in the war against Lebanon in 2006.
PCHR reiterates its condemnation in the strongest terms for this bloody war, and calls upon the international community, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, and international organizations to immediately act to stop such grave and unprecedented deterioration in the human rights situation and humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip.
PCHR indicates that its field workers have faced extreme difficulties in documenting crimes due to the dangers of getting close to the areas that were bombarded more than once, and due to the confusion that spread over hospitals because of the high numbers of casualties as these hospitals lack necessary medical equipment. Additionally, many victim have not been identified as they were dismembered, and many of the wounded have not been listed on the records of hospitals.
According to what PCHR field workers have been able to document, the crimes committed by IOF have been as follows:
At approximately 11:25 on Saturday, 27 December 2008, dozens of IOF warplanes launched a wave of air strikes almost the same time throughout the Gaza Strip. This timing indicates that an Israeli decision was taken to cause maximum casualties in the climax of daily activities. It also explains the high number of victims killed or wounded in a few minutes on the bloodiest day during the 41 years of Israeli occupation. The timing of air strikes coincided with the end of the morning period and the beginning of the afternoon period at schools, many of which are located near police stations that were bombarded.
At approximately 11:25 on Saturday, 27 December 2008, IOF warplanes fired several missiles at the Palestinian security compound, which includes buildings of the Palestinian National Security Forces, Internal Security Service and Police, in Abu Baker Street in the center of Rafah, and at a number of training sites of Palestinian resistance groups in Tal al-Sultan neighborhood in the west of the town. The targeted buildings were completely destroyed. The attacks were concentrated on the police station, whose vicinity was witnessing active movement of civilians and school children who were on their way to their schools in the area. As a result, 12 Palestinians were killed, including a child, a preacher, an Imam of a mosque, a physician, a nurse and a lawyer. Bodies of the victims were dismembered. Additionally, a mosque and a number of houses, shops, workshops and vehicles were damaged.
At approximately 03:30 on Sunday, 28 December 2008, IOF warplanes bombarded a smith workshop belonging to Abu Mousa family in al-Junaina neighborhood in the center of Rafah. At approximately 06:50, IOF warplanes bombarded a medical warehouse belonging to the Abu Hashem family in the same area. Fire broke out in the warehouse, where benzene was stored. The fire extended to 5 neighboring houses.
At approximately 07:30, IOF warplanes bombarded a police station, which had been already evacuated, in Tal al-Sultan neighborhood in the west of Rafah.
At approximately 08:00, IOF warplanes bombarded a site of the Palestinian National Security Forces in the east of Rafah. Twenty minutes later, IOF warplanes bombarded a naval police station at the coast.
At approximately 10:50, IOF warplanes bombarded the building of Rafah Governorate near Rafah International Crossing Point.
Hospitals in Rafah have admitted 77 Palestinians who were wounded, including 20 children and 3 women. The wounds were described as moderate to serious.
Khan Yunis District
At approximately 11:25 on Saturday, 27 December 2008, IOF warplanes bombarded sites of the riot control police and the Internal Security Service and the building of the agricultural control department in the west of Khan Yunis. They also bombarded training sites of Palestinian resistance groups and a naval police station in the west and south of Khan Yunis. As a result, 16 Palestinians were killed, including 11 civilians, one of them is a child. Eight of the victims were killed in the attack against the agricultural control department. The victims were on duty.
At approximately 17:30 on the same day, Israeli warplanes bombarded a smith workshop belonging to the al-Jabri family in al-Amal neighborhood in the west of Khan Yunis.
At approximately 20:30, IOF warplanes bombarded and destroyed a cafeteria belonging to Mousa family.
At approximately 03:00 on Sunday, 28 December 2008, Israeli warplanes bombarded a smith workshop belonging to the Baraka family in Bani Suhaila village, east of Khan Yunis.
At approximately 08:30, IOF warplanes bombarded a greenhouse in al-Qarara village, east of Khan Yunis. At the same time, IOF warplanes bombarded agricultural areas in Khuza'a village, east of Khan Yunis, wounding a 14-year-old child seriously.
Hospitals in Khan Yunis have admitted at least 100 Palestinians who were wounded, including 12 children and an old man.
The Central Gaza Strip
At approximately 11:25, IOF warplanes bombarded 15 sites throughout the central Gaza Strip: A civil defense station and a police station in al-Zahraa' town; Fayez Jarad site of the Palestinian National Security Forces near al-Mughraqa village; a police station and a site of the Internal Security Service in Abu Meddain area; a civil defense station, 5 police stations and a site of the 'Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades of Hamas in Deir al-Balah; a site of the National Security Forces in al-Maghazi refugee camp; a site of the National Security Forces in al-Boreij refugee camp; and a site of the 'Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades near Gaza Valley.
As a result of these attacks, 84 Palestinians, including 20 civilians, were killed. The victims include two children, one of whom is 3-year-old and was killed while he was at home in al-Zahraa' town and his mother and sister were seriously wounded.
At approximately 02:45 on Sunday, 28 December 2008, Israeli warplanes bombarded a house belonging to the al-Shaf'ei family in al-Boreij refugee camp after ordering the family to vacate it. The house was destroyed and a number of neighboring houses were heavily damaged.
At approximately 09:00, IOF warplanes bombarded a naval police station in al-Nussairat refugee camp.
Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah has admitted 100 Palestinians, mostly civilians, who were wounded in these attacks.
At approximately 11:25 on Saturday, IOF warplanes bombarded Arafat police compound in the center of Gaza City, where the ceremony of graduation of trained officers was being conducted; the headquarters of the past Preventive Security Service and offices of Wa'ed Society for Prisoners in Tal al-Hawa neighborhood in the south of Gaza City; al-Mashtal site in the Beach camp in the west of the city; al-'Abbas police station; a bust garage belonging to Hamas near Gaza Harbor; and the headquarters of the Security and Protection Service and the presidential compound in the west of the city. They also bombarded a police station in al-Daraj neighborhood in the east of Gaza City, a site of the 'Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades of Hamas in al-Shoja'iya neighborhood and another one in al-Zaytoun neighborhood in the east of the city; a house belonging to the Humaid family in al-Tuffah neighborhood in the east of the city. At approximately 15:30, IOF warplanes bombarded the main gate of al-Saraya security compound in the center of Gaza City.
At approximately 01:00 on Sunday, 28 December 2008, IOF warplanes bombarded al-Burno Mosque near Shifa Hospital and two smith workshops belonging to the Khawaja and Abu Jahal families in the center of Gaza City.
At approximately 02:00, IOF warplanes bombarded the building of al-Aqsa Satellite Television in al-Nasser Street in the north of Gaza City.
At approximately 05:00, IOF warplanes bombarded a 3-storey house belonging to the Selmi family in al-Zaytoun neighborhood.
At approximately 08:00, IOF warplanes bombarded al-Shoja'iya police station in the east of Gaza City.
At approximately 09:15, IOF warplanes bombarded a store of weapons in Tal al-Hawa neighborhood, a divan of the al-'Ashi family in al-Remal neighborhood and a site of the National Security Forces in al-Nasser neighborhood.
At approximately 10:10, IOF warplanes bombarded a space area in Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in the north of Gaza City. Ten minutes later, they bombarded a police vehicle in al-Zaytoun neighborhood.
At approximately 11:00, IOF warplanes bombarded a part of al-Saraya security compound, which includes Gaza Central Prison, in the center of Gaza City.
As a result of these air strikes, 117 Palestinians, including 15 children and 7 women, were killed. The victims include 7 students of UNRWA Vocational Training Center and 3 members of the al-Rayes family. They also include a man and his son from Hwaij family, who were killed while inside their house when IOF warplanes bombarded a house belonging to the Humaid family. According to investigations conducted by PCHR, many victims, including chief of police Major General Tawfiq Jaber, were killed in Araft police compound where the ceremony of the graduation of police officers was being held.
Hospitals in Gaza City have admitted 200 Palestinians who were wounded, including 18 children and 12 women. The wounds were described as moderate to serious. At least 35 of the wounded have been receiving medical treatment at intensive care units.
The Northern Gaza Strip
At approximately 11:25 on Saturday, 27 December 2008, IOF warplanes bombarded a number of sites of Palestinian security services and training sites. As a result, 21 Palestinians, including 2 women and 3 staff members of the Palestinian Telecommunication Company, were killed.
The sites that were bombarded are:
· 'Abdul 'Aziz al-Rantissi site in the west of Jabalya, in which 9 security men were killed and dozens of others were wounded.
· The naval police station in the west of Beit Lahia, in which 3 security men were killed and dozens of others were wounded.
· The building of Palestinian National Security Forces in the east of Jablaya, in addition to a site of the 'Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades and a room of the Palestinian Telecommunication Company, where a passing woman, 3 staff members of the company and 3 members of the 'Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades were killed.
· A site of Palestinian National Security Forces in the west of Beit Hanoun.
· A space area in al-Amal neighborhood in Beit Hanoun, where two civilians, including a woman, were killed.
PCHR strongly condemns such series of war crimes being committed by IOF in the Gaza Strip, and:
1) Reiterates its call for the international community, especially the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, and international organizations to immediately intervene to stop such unprecedented deterioration in the human rights situation and humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip.
2) Reminds that police stations, police officers and law enforcement officials are classified under the international law as civilians, and targeting them as such while they were not engaged in military action constitutes a violation of the international law.
3) Points out that the majority of the buildings and sites that were attacked are located in civilian-populated areas, so scores of houses were heavily damaged. Such attacks are an indication of Israeli disregard for the lives and safety of Palestinian civilians, which can be seen in the high number of civilian victims.
4) Calls upon States and international organizations to provide urgent humanitarian and medical assistance to the Gaza Strip, which has been under a tightened siege impacting all aspects of lives, especially health conditions, as hospitals in the Gaza Strip are unable to treat such high number of casualties.