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Israelis shoot Gaza child

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    Israelis shoot Gaza child By Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank Aljazeera.net 28 November 2004 http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/8FFC2DC7-D7E6-4F7B-A4C3-
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 2, 2004
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      Israelis shoot Gaza child

      By Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank

      Aljazeera.net
      28 November 2004

      http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/8FFC2DC7-D7E6-4F7B-A4C3-
      188C87E990C6.htm

      Israeli forces have shot and seriously wounded a four-year-old
      Palestinian child in Rafah, in southern Gaza, witnesses and medical
      sources said.

      Palestinian medical sources listed Shayma Hasan Abu Shammala in
      critical condition after she was hit by several bullets fired by an
      Israeli soldier manning a military tower near the Egyptian-Gaza
      borders on Sunday.

      Muawiya Hasanayn, head of the emergency department at the
      Palestinian health ministry, said the child was transferred to the
      European Hospital in Gaza due to the gravity of her condition.

      Witnesses said the child was playing in the backyard of her home
      when the soldier opened fire on her.

      Boy killed

      Also on Sunday, a Palestinian boy died of wounds he sustained when
      an Israeli explosive device exploded near his home in Rafah at the
      southern tip of the Gaza Strip, Palestinian sources reported.

      The boy, identified as 16-year-old Mahmud Said Qishta, was said to
      be playing outside his home in Rafah earlier this week when he
      inadvertently stepped on an explosive device left behind by the
      Israeli army.

      Qishta was seriously wounded and transferred to the Nasir hospital
      in Khan Yunus, where he succumbed to his wounds on Sunday morning.

      Palestinians and human-rights groups often complain that Israeli
      forces operating in and around Palestinian population centres
      deliberately plant explosive devices in places where Palestinian
      children usually play.

      Danger zone

      Sunday's incidents took place against a backdrop of sharply critical
      coverage in the Israeli media of the conduct of Israeli occupation
      troops.

      Many Israeli soldiers have begun to admit publicly that they are
      often given explicit orders to shoot Palestinian civilians,
      including children, when seen entering or approaching a certain
      "danger zone".

      Last week, the Israeli human-rights organisation, B'Tselem accused
      the Israeli occupation army of killing Palestinian civilians and
      then covering up the killings or concocting mitigating circumstances
      to justify criminal behaviour towards innocent non-combatants.

      B'Tselem challenged Israeli Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon to tell the
      truth regarding the so-called zones of destruction within the
      confines of which soldiers are allowed to shoot and kill any
      Palestinian, including toddlers and children.

      'Despicable'

      The charges were made in an advertisement after an Israeli TV
      station broadcast a conversation between an Israeli officer and
      other troops in which the officer said, "Anything that is mobile,
      any thing that moves in the zone, even if it is a three-year-old,
      needs to be killed."

      Incidentally, the Palestinian population is not informed of the
      existence of such "death zones".

      It is believed that as many as 1400 Palestinian civilians, including
      some 570 children and minors, have been killed by Israeli soldiers
      during the past year.

      This week Israeli columnist Amos Harel, writing in the daily
      Haaretz, described the army's practice of shooting Palestinian
      children and then covering up the killing as "despicable and
      criminal".

      Another commentator, Doron Rosenblum, writing in the same
      paper, said the Israeli military establishment was more interested
      in confronting the negative publicity stemming from the killings of
      Palestinian civilians than in taking responsibility for the crimes
      themselves.

      =======================
      Palestinian child wounded on way to school

      Xinhua
      30 November 2004

      GAZA-- A Palestinian child was wounded by the Israeli army on his
      way to school in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah, Palestinian
      security and medical sources said Tuesday.

      Medics at Abu Youssef Al Najjar Hospital said Ahmed Abu Amra, 12,
      was moderately wounded in the area of Tal al Sultan when Israeli
      troops stationed around the settlement of Atsmona opened intensive
      fire on the residents' houses.

      According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, the Israeli army
      killed 53 Palestinians and wounded 314 others in the West Bank and
      Gaza Strip between Oct. 28 and Nov.27.

      Among the casualties, there were 11 children killed, and 39 children
      wounded, the ministry said.

      =====================
      Over 312 Palestinian children imprisoned in Israeli jails: report

      Xinhua
      1 December 2004

      RAMALLAH-- More than 312 Palestinian children are imprisoned in the
      Israeli jails and investigation centers, said Palestinian official
      statistics released on Wednesday.

      A latest report by the youth and children department in the Ministry
      of Prisoners' Affairs said there are 12 girls under 18 years old
      among the children currently held in the Israeli prisons.

      The report denounced the Israeli acts of ignoring the children's
      rights stipulated by the international law.

      In addition, the report accused the Israeli government of abusing
      the imprisoned Palestinian children including beating and
      deprivation of food and sleep.

      The Israeli prison authorities used physical pressure on the
      children in an attempt to squeeze intelligence information out of
      them, added the report.

      ======================
      Rules of Engagement and Lack of Accountability Result in Culture of
      Impunity for Palestinian Civilian Deaths

      B'Tselem - Nov 24, 2004

      http://www.btselem.org/English/Press_Releases/2004/041124.asp

      The circumstances surrounding the killing of Iman al-Hams are grave.
      However, the large number of Palestinian civilians killed indicate
      that her death is not unusual. What is unusual about this case,
      however, is the fact that the IDF initiated a Military Police
      investigation that led to an indictment. There is no such
      accountability for the vast majority of Palestinian civilian deaths.



      Iman al-Hams, a twelve year-old girl, was shot and killed on 5
      October 2004 while walking to school in the Rafah refugee camp. The
      company commander who shot her claimed that he acted in accordance
      with regulations, and the IDF Chief of Staff accepted the commander's
      version of events. Only after soldiers from the company told the
      press that the commander had "verified" her death (pumping her body
      with bullets from close range) did the Military Police initiate an
      investigation. The company commander has now been charged with
      illegal use of his weapon and obstruction of justice.



      According to B'Tselem's data, since the beginning of the intifada,
      IDF soldiers have killed at least 1,656 Palestinians who took no
      part in the fighting. Of those killed, 529 were children. Many of
      these deaths result from changes in the Rules of Engagement, which
      now allow soldiers to open fire on Palestinians in a variety of non-
      combat situations, even when the soldiers are not in danger. The
      most blatant example is the order to open fire whenever Palestinians
      enter so-called "danger zones," including the perimeter fence around
      the Gaza Strip, and areas around military bases and settlements.



      An equally troubling phenomenon, however, is the climate of impunity
      in which these deaths take place. Over the past four years, the IDF
      conducted only 89 military police investigations into deaths and
      injuries of Palestinians. Of these investigations, only 22 resulted
      in indictments. To date, one soldier has been convicted of causing
      the death of a Palestinian. Thus in the vast majority of cases, no
      one is ever held accountable.



      The combination of rules of engagement that encourage a trigger-happy
      attitude among soldiers together with the climate of impunity results
      in a clear and very troubling message about the value the IDF places
      on Palestinian life.



      B'Tselem calls on the Israeli government to cancel the orders
      allowing indiscriminate gunfire and to open a Military Police
      investigation into every death of a Palestinian who did not
      participate in hostilities. B'Tselem and the Association for Civil
      Rights in Israel petitioned the Israeli High Court in September 2003
      with a similar demand. The High Court has yet to rule on this
      petition.

      ======================
      Palestinians Dehumanized At Israeli Checkpoints : Report


      A Palestinian woman tries to squeeze through the turnstile at the
      Hawara checkpoint with her son. (courtesy Washington Post)


      CAIRO, November 29 (IslamOnline.net) – The West Bank checkpoint of
      Hawara stands as a telling example of the beyond-description
      dehumanization of thousands of Palestinians at Israeli roadblocks
      across the occupied Palestinian territories, a leading US newspaper
      reported on Monday, November 29.

      Beatings, shootings, harassment, humiliation in front of children
      and wives and life-threatening delays are but a few examples of the
      appalling conditions at the sandbagged Israeli checkpoints, The
      Washington Post said.

      "I wouldn't let you in even if you brought God here with you," one
      soldier shouted at 29-year-old Mohammad Yousef.

      The soldier had dragged the Palestinian out of an ambulance and
      refused to even examine his medical papers.

      The Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group said at least 83
      Palestinians seeking medical care have died during delays at
      checkpoints.

      Add to that many heartbreaking scenes of tearful young brides in
      their white gowns being turned away and students forced to miss
      final exams simply because the checkpoints were closed under the
      hoary-old excuse of preventing Palestinian bombings.

      As many as 5,000 Palestinians a day request permission to cross.
      They stand in line in searing heat or icy rains, depending on the
      season, until they reach an open-air shed with a corrugated tin
      roof.

      Often packed together by the hundreds, the Palestinians must then
      wait their turn to pass, one by one, through narrow metal turnstiles
      that the Israeli soldiers open and close electronically.

      All males under the age of 30 are usually turned away, as are all
      students, males and females.

      Common Practice


      In this video image, a Palestinian plays his violin in order to pass
      through an Israeli army roadblock



      Soldiers who had served at the Hawara checkpoint over the past year
      gave testimony describing what they said were common, accepted
      practices among colleagues.

      A female soldier, for instance, assigned to a Gaza Strip checkpoint
      has forced a Palestinian woman at gunpoint to drink a bottle of
      cleaning fluid.

      This month, her colleagues at the Beit Iba checkpoint in the West
      Bank, ordered a Palestinian to open his violin case and play for
      them as hundreds of other Palestinians waited behind him for their
      turn to pass.

      The episode was caught on camera by Horit Herman-Peled, a volunteer
      for the Israeli rights group Machsom Watch, which monitors soldiers'
      conduct at the roadblocks.

      Moreover, a 23-year-old sergeant handcuffed a Palestinian father
      with disposable plastic cuffs and ordered him to sit on the ground.

      He bashed the Palestinian man in the face with his fist and brushed
      him away like a fly with the man's toddler son clung to his father's
      shirttail.

      The Palestinian ended up in a hut covered by a blanket, with his
      muffled cries clearly heard.

      When a soldier from the Education Corps asked the sergeant why he
      had attacked a defenseless, handcuffed Palestinian, he
      answered: "Because he was beaten, then everybody learns and no one
      fools around with us."

      The sergeant, who received later a six-month jail term, also
      admitted beating at least eight other Palestinians at the checkpoint
      and smashing the windshields of 10 Palestinian taxicabs.

      In as many as five incidents, he "kicked them forcefully in their
      buttocks and pushed them backwards or assaulted them with punches
      and kicks," his indictment sheet said.

      Other times he took recalcitrant men into "the women's checking tent
      that was empty and . . . beat them either by punching them or
      kicking them in their stomach."

      Dreadful


      As many as 5,000 Palestinians a day request permission to cross



      Former checkpoint guards endeavor to erase this dark past from their
      memory and believe the Israeli army and society should accept some
      of the blame.

      "The mission is dreadful. . . . It tears you apart," Staff Sgt. Ran
      Ridnick told the Post.

      "Most soldiers prefer to be under fire than at those roadblocks,"
      added Ridnick, who spent six months this year at the Hawara
      checkpoint.

      Michael Aman, another staff sergeant who served in the same
      battalion, said: "Everyone, no matter how moral, if he feels a
      commitment to the mission, will or could fall into violence. We're
      all told we shouldn't behave badly to civilians -- never hit them,
      never yell. But after eight hours in the sun, you're not so strong."

      Sgt. Nadav Efrati, who recently finished his military service after
      spending months at the Hawara checkpoint, said the main words they
      taught them in Arabic were: " Stop. If not, I will shoot you."

      "When we do all these things, we are not doing it only to the
      Palestinians, but to ourselves, too," added another soldier who
      identified himself as Aman.

      "The most important discussion should be in our own society. If you
      blame the soldiers, you miss the point. . . . These duties corrupt."

      Four senior officers of an elite Israeli air force had recently hit
      out at the military's "immoral" policies in the occupied
      territories.

      Erlik Alhanan, an Israeli reservist, said last March that 80 percent
      of reservists have lost confidence in the declared moral principles
      of the Israeli army due to the practices in Lebanon and the
      crackdown on the Palestinians.

      Twenty-seven reserve and active duty airmen signed a letter last
      September addressed to Israeli Premier Ariel Sharon, refusing to
      carry out "immoral and illegal" raids on Palestinian civilians in
      the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

      Also last November, four former heads of the Israeli Shin Beth
      interior security services warned of the "disastrous" consequences
      of Israel's continued occupation of the Palestinian territories.

      *********************************************************************

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