Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Gaza: Al Mezan condemns continued Israeli attacks on Gaza

Source: Al Mezan Center for Human Rights

The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) continued its aggression and airstrikes on the Gaza Strip and its almost daily incursions into the northern and eastern areas near the borders. At approximately 9:30am on Tuesday 23 March 2010, ten Israeli tanks and bulldozers moved under sporadic fire about 200 meters inside the industrial area, east of Beit Hanoun, in North Gaza District. Palestinians who were there removing the rubble from destroyed buildings left the area and went to the south ward without finishing their work. Israeli bulldozers excavated deep pits and leveled the destroyed rubble. The IOF were still in the area as this press release was issued. No casualties or injuries were reported.

In a separate incident, an Israeli jet fired a missile on agricultural land belonging to Usama Zimo. The land is located on the Al Nakhil Street in the At-Tuffah neighborhood, east Gaza City. As a result, four cement-roofed rooms and a water well and pump in it were destroyed. Ten adjacent houses were also partially damaged in this attack as well as the UNRWA Ash-Shija'iya Preparatory School. Eight persons were injured due to the glass from the windows that smashed in the surrounding houses. Two were child sisters. Al Mezan identified their names as follows:

Khawla Jehad Al-Kahlout, 28;

Alaa Sa'ed Kareem, 16;

Ruba Sa'eed Kareem, 12;

Yasser Naeem Hijazi, 25;

Akram Al Faiomi, 21;

Nahedh Khalil Abu Amsha, 45;

Mohammed Nahedh Abu Amsha, 19; and

Abed Anis Marzouq, 62.

At app. 8pm on Monday 22 March 2010, three Palestinians sneaked into the separation fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel. The IOF directly opened fire and chased them into the eastern area of the As-Salqa village. According to Al Mezan's information, the IOF then arrested them. As a result of the Israeli heavy fire, Salman Mahmoud Bre'im, 35, was shot by a bullet in the left ear. Bre'im was near his house in the eastern area of the As-Salqa village when he was injured. He was admitted to Al Aqsa Hospital in Deir Al-Balah town then referred to Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. Due to the large unemployment and poverty in the Gaza Strip, dozens of young Palestinian men risk their lives to cross the separation fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel to find jobs. According to Al Mezan's field investigations, during the second Intifada, which started in September 2000, about 64 Palestinians were killed while trying to sneak inside the separation fence to find jobs.

At approximately 11am on Monday 22 March 2010, the IOF positioned near the Erez crossing opened fired sporadically on Palestinian civilians who were about 100 meters away from the separation fence collecting rubble to sell to brick factories, which recycles it into bricks. This is the only source of bricks for construction that is available in the Gaza Strip, which suffers from an acute shortage of construction materials due the Israeli siege. No casualties or injuries were reported in this incident.

On 20 March 2010, the IOF arrested twenty Palestinian workers who were collecting the rubble from destroyed buildings in the North Gaza District, four of whom were children. At approximately 2am on 21 March 2010, the IOF released eighteen of the twenty after interrogating them. The IOF released these detainees near the Sofa and Karm Abu Salim ((Kerem Shalom) crossings, south Gaza Strip; far away from their homes.

Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights reiterates its condemnation of the continued, attacks by the IOF against the Palestinian civilians, particularly farmers and workers who work near the borders. Al Mezan warns of the human rights implications for Palestinian civilians, which emanate from Israel's attempts to enforce the security 'buffer zone' inside the Gaza Strip. These attempts have already caused many deaths to civilians in Gaza. Al Mezan expresses its outrage at the continuous Israeli siege imposed on the Gaza Strip that prevents people from sustaining their daily livelihood.

"These new Israeli attacks continue to fail to distinguish between civilians and combatants; they indicate the real intents. The Israeli announced goodwill gestures are only aimed at evading international community's criticism, but not ameliorating the human rights situation in Gaza," said Issam Younis, Al Mezan's director.

Al Mezan Centre reiterates its calls on the international community to take prompt actions to stop the Israeli violations of human rights against Palestinians and to lift the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip. Al Mezan asserts that the silence of the international community has encouraged the IOF to continue these violations.

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