The Israeli forces killed two Palestinian civilians, one in the West Bank and the other one in the Gaza Strip, during the past two days. Investigations conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) reveal that the Israeli forces used excessive force against the victims and did not attempt to arrest them.
According to PCHR's preliminary investigations, at approximately 16:10 on Friday, 11 January 2013, Israeli soldiers got out of their military vehicles inside the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip, northeast of al-Shuhadaa Islamic graveyard, east of Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip. The soldiers fired bullets and tear gas canisters at a group of Palestinian civilians who were 50 meters away from the border fence, in an attempt to defy the Israeli decision to enforce a "buffer zone" of 300 meters between Israel and the Gaza Strip. As a result, Anwar Mohammed Elian al-Mamlouk (19), from al-Nazar Street in al-Shuja'iya neighborhood in the east of Gaza City, sustained a bullet wound in the abdomen. Omar Isma'il Omar Wadi (20) sustained bullet wounds in both his legs, while he was running towards al-Mamlouk to help him. Both victims were transported from the scene on a tuk-tuk. Upon reaching the main street, a Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) ambulance transported them to Kamal Odwan Hospital. Al-Mamlouk was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) due to his critical condition, but he died immediately. Wadi's wounds were described as moderate.
Late on Saturday afternoon, 12 January 2013, Israeli forces stationed at the separation fence south of Arab al-Ramadeen area in the far south of Hebron killed Odai Kamel Mohammed al-Darawish (21) from Doura, south of Hebron. The victim sustained a bullet wound to the right side of his body while he was trying to infiltrate into Israel in order to work there.
According to PCHR's investigations, at approximately 14:00 on Saturday, 12 January 2013, Darwish, along with a group of workers, went to Arab al-Ramadeen area in an attempt to infiltrate into Israel to work there. Upon reaching the hole in the separation fence through which they were planning to enter Israel, they saw an Israeli military vehicle. Moments later, the vehicle left, and the workers ran through the hole in the fence. In the meantime, a number of Israeli soldiers had stationed undercover in the area; one of them opened fire indiscriminately at the workers and ordered them to stop. The workers ran for approximately 20 meters before Darwish was shot down. He was transported by an Israeli ambulance to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba. In his testimony to a PCHR fieldworker, Darwish's father said that he was able to reach the hospital later the same day, where he was informed that his son died. He also added that he was allowed to see his son's body and that his son had sustained a bullet wound to the right side of his body damaging his pelvis and kidneys. The father also saw bruises on his face.
PCHR expresses deep concern for such crimes which reflect the continued use of excessive force by Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians in disregard of their lives, despite Israeli forces having been redeployed outside the Gaza Strip.
PCHR calls upon the international community to take immediate and effective actions to put an end to such crimes and reiterates its call for the parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention 1949 to fulfill their obligations under Common Article 1, i.e. to respect and to ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances, and their obligation under Article 146 to prosecute persons who allegedly committed grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention. These grave breaches constitute war crimes under Article 147 of the same Convention and Article 85 of Protocol I Additional to the Geneva Conventions.