Israelis shoot Gaza child
- Israelis shoot Gaza child
By Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank
28 November 2004
Israeli forces have shot and seriously wounded a four-year-old
Palestinian child in Rafah, in southern Gaza, witnesses and medical
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.
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
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.
Sunday's incidents took place against a backdrop of sharply critical
coverage in the Israeli media of the conduct of Israeli occupation
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
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.
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
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
Palestinian child wounded on way to school
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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."
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
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
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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