George Rishmawi/IMEMC – 2004-05-27 08:24:05
(May 26, 2004) — The Amnesty Annual report for the year 2003 to be published Wednesday shows that there are 100 children among the 600 Palestinians Israel killed in the year 2003 by the Israeli army. “600 Palestinians, most of them were unarmed including 100 children were killed by Israeli military fire. Around 90 were killed in targeted assassinations, executed without trial, 50 of them were bystanders including 9 children.” The report said.
Most of these children were unlawfully killed by irresponsible shooting at residential areas and/or by the assassinations Israel carried out in residential areas and the unjustified excessive use of power.
In addition, the report shows that 200 Israelis were killed, 130 of them are civilians including 21 children by the Palestinian suicide attacks.
The report strongly criticizes the Israeli security forces for its policy against the Palestinians in the occupied territories and named some violations that the international organization referred to as war crimes, including the extrajudicial killing, preventing medical teams to provide aid for the wounded, the wide-scale destruction of property, using torture against prisoners, and using civilians as human shields.
Amnesty also mentions the mass arrests Israel is conducting against Palestinians pointing that thousands of Palestinians were arrested and were not charged, can calling for their immediate release.
The report mentions that there were 1,500 administrative detainees with not charges pressed against them, constituting a clear violation of international law especially that those went on military trial that do not match the international standards of courts.
Deaths of British, US Activists Cited
Amnesty report mentions assaults by the Israeli army against International Peace activists. It specifically mentions the death of Americans Rachel Corrie and Brian Avery and British Tom Hurndall both activists of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) who were killed in Rafah in 2003.
Ms. Corrie 23, was ran over by a bulldozer on March 16, 2003 as she was trying to stop a caterpillar bulldozer of demolishing a Palestinian house that belongs to a pharmacist, whereas Mr. Hurndall 22, was shot in the head by a sniper as he was trying to rescue two Palestinian children caught by Israel fire also in Rafah on April 10. Hurndall was clinically dead since, for almost 9 months until he passed away on January 14, 2004 in London hospital.
On the other hand, Brian Avery 24 was shot in the face in Jenin, by an Israeli tank-mounted machine gun on April 5. Mr. Avery was in a bad condition for at least one month and underwent several plastic surgeries to recover sever wounds in his face. The report also criticize the killing of the British Journalist James Miller in Rafah in May 2003.
Amnesty International has published a report on May 18, condemning the wide-scale demolition of homes in Rafah and calling for an immediate halt to these acts.
“Israel’s unjustified destruction of thousands of Palestinian and Arab Israeli homes as well as vast areas of agricultural land has reached an unprecedented level and must stop immediately” the report said.
More than 3,000 Homes Destroyed in a Single Year
Over the last three and a half years, Israeli armed forces have demolished more than 3,000 homes, leaving tens of thousands of men, women and children homeless or without a livelihood.
“The grounds invoked by Israel to justify the destruction are overly broad and based on discriminatory policies and practices” Said Amnesty in a special report about the home demolition in the Palestinian territories.
The report also criticizes the Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and the top Palestinian Officials for not taking those responsible for the suicide attacks for trial, despite their public condemnation of these attacks.
“There were no investigations, we know of no measures the PA took to stop the Palestinian armed groups of carrying out attacks” the report said.
Amnesty called Israel to hold “thorough, independent and impartial investigation” into the deaths of two teenage siblings in the latest military operation in Rafah.
Amnesty presented detailes which its agents investigated on the killing of the two siblings, explaining that the two were sniped through a whole the army pierced into the wall of the house nearby to their home.
Children among the Victims
Sixteen-year-old Asma Al-Mogheir and her 13-year-old brother Ahmad were shot dead within minutes of each other on the roof-terrace of their home in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah on the morning of 18 May 2004. Each was killed by a single bullet in the head, Asma while taking clothes off the drying line and her brother Ahmad while feeding the pigeons.
Amnesty said that all available information indicate that the bullets which killed the two children were fired from the top floor of a nearby house, the highest building in the area, which had been taken over by Israeli soldiers shortly before the two children where shot.
Amnesty International spoke with several foreign journalists who visited the Al-Mogheirs’ house and the nearby house which was being used by Israeli soldiers at the time and reviewed photos taken by them. In the nearby house the journalists found an empty Israeli army ammunition box, spent bullet cases and leftovers from Israeli army food rations next to the holes which Israeli soldiers had pierced in the walls of the house to use as sniper positions.
The pictures taken by the journalists show that there was a clear view of the Al-Mogheirs’ roof-terrace, where the two children were killed. The rpeort dismissed the Israeli army officials allegations that the children may have been killed by an explosive device set by Palestinians.
“The photos taken by the journalists show bullet holes on the clothes hanging on the drying line, on the satellite dish and on the wall; they did not show any damage which could have been caused by an explosion or by shrapnel from an explosion” the report said.