Sunday, 20 March 2011 12:30
On Saturday evening, 19 March 2011, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) used excessive and lethal force which resulted in the death of two Palestinian children who were nearly 300 meters from the border east of Juhr Addik village in the central Gaza Strip. It should be noted that on Thursday morning, 17 March 2011, IOF warplanes dropped leaflets on border areas in the different parts of the Gaza Strip warning Palestinians to avoid coming within 300 meters of the border fence with Israel.
According to an investigation conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) and statements made by eyewitnesses, at approximately 21:30 on 19 March 2011, IOF stationed along the border line east of Juhr Addik village in central the Gaza Strip fired several artillery shells at two Palestinian children who were nearly 300 meters from the border. As a result the two children were immediately killed. IOF continued firing until late in the evening. Today morning, 20 March 2011, IOF moved approximately 400 meters into the area and conducted surveillance in the area. After coordination was made with IOF through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), at approximately 11:30 this morning, an ambulance from the Palestinian Red Crescent Society managed to access the two bodies which were approximately 300 meters from the border. The two bodies were then transferred to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza city. The two children were identified as:
1. Imad Mohammed Issa Faraj Allah, 16, from Nuseirat refugee camp; and
2. Qasem Salah Abu Uteiwi, 16, from Nuseirat refugee camp.
PCHR condemns this crime and is gravely concerned. PCHR also:
1. Asserts that these crimes are part of a series of war crimes committed by IOF in the oPt, which reflect total disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians.
2. Warns of the escalation of war crimes against Palestinian civilians in view of the statements and threats expressed by Israeli political and military officials who have vowed more casualties in the Gaza Strip.
3. Calls upon the international community to take immediate action in order to put an end to such crimes. PCHR further renews its demand for the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligation under Article 1 which stipulates "the High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances," as well as their obligations under Article 146 which requires that the Contracting Parties prosecute persons alleged to commit grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention. These grave breaches constitute war crimes under Article 147 of the same Convention and under Protocol I Additional to Geneva Conventions.