When we think of crimes
against humanity, we must be aware that governments and governmental
groups can be more dangerous than individuals in this regard.
Governments have the most power to inflict harm and are most likely to
be recidivist. This kind of terrorism is the most dangerous brand.
Extra-judicial killing or physical liquidation is the most prevalent
practice of the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) against the
Palestinians. It reveals the immoral nature of the Israeli government.
Extra-judicial execution is a policy which is not new or exclusively
used since 2000. It is an old, bloody policy that had been implemented
by the Israeli army against Palestinian civilians for decades. The list
of the victims of this practice is too long to mention here.
executions “targeted killing” (as Israeli politicians like to define the
practice), is clear evidence of state terrorism. It is execution without
trial. It is a policy of killing outside the boundaries of any legal
framework. The practice gained unprecedented momentum during the last
Intifada, beginning in 2000 and experienced an ongoing escalation until
it peaked in 2007. Moreover, these crimes closely follow geopolitical
developments. The Israeli government has built its policy of
extra-judicial executions on a specific understanding of the political
situation. Indeed, they have clear political objectives by conducting
these cruel crimes of extra-judicial killing—objectives based on having
no Palestinian partner for peace. It means they have hidden objectives
not as they claim combating Palestinian terror. They are trying to
exploit the general international atmosphere of combating terrorism and
depict the Palestinian activists as terrorists. These crimes are
questioning the morality and judicial system of the State of Israel. The
killing of civilians, and those who are involved with the Palestinian
resistance, without trial is amoral and an affront to any just legal
system. Sadly, these crimes have been openly endorsed by many Israeli
leaders. On June 4, 2001, Israeli daily newspaper, Yediot Ahronot,
published a statement from the IOF's spokesman: “We set up a list of
Palestinian names of individuals whom the Israeli government has
approved for physical liquidation, among the names are included members
of Hamas, Fatah, Popular Front and Islamic Jihad activists.” This
statement reflects the bloody nature and the discriminatory mentality of
Israeli officers and leadership.
Between the eruption of
the second Palestinian Intifada on 28 September, 2000 and June 2006, the
IOF attempted 252 extra-judicial killing operations. According to the
Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), the IOF killed 603
Palestinians during these crimes. Statistically, the victims of this
policy constitute 20% of the entire Intifada's Palestinian fatalities.
They are classified as follows:
Extra-judicial killings produced 603 victims total.
319 of the victims were intentionally targeted by the IOF.
212 were civilians and passersby unintentionally killed in the process.
They constitute 35% of all victims.
68 children were among the victims. Presumably, they were also
unintentionally killed during the execution of these crimes, whether
they were playing in the streets, passing by, or with their families in
targeted houses or vehicles.
However, These cases
were escalated to bring the overall number of people killed by such
actions to 664 since December 2000, to June 2007, 434 of these people
were specifically targeted by (IOF), the other 230 having been killed in
the process of the attacks.
It worthy to recount
some recent Israeli attempts of extra-judicial killing crimes against
Palestinian inhabitants in the OPT to demonstrate the IOF’s disregard
for Palestinian civilian lives:
At approximately 21.25
on Sunday, 20 May 2007, an IOF warplane lunched guided missiles at a
residential compound belonging to al-Haya family in al–Shojaeya
neighborhood in the east of Gaza City. The targeted missiles hit the al-Haya
tribe’s hall, killing seven members of a single family. Two children
were among those murderd. The hall is adjacent to Dr. Khalil Isma’il
al-Haya, a member of PLC and important Hamas figure. At the time of the
attack, Dr. al-Haya was not at home. He was in a meeting with Fatah
leaders trying to reach an agreement to end the Palestinian crisis.
insistence to continue this policy of killing and to continue
intimidating Palestinian civilians in this way is a grave violation to
the international human rights law. The international community
regularly expresses deep concerns over this policy. Prof. John Dugard,
the United Nations special Rapporteur of Human Rights sharply criticizes
the Israeli government for its actions in the POT. He regards the
Israeli practices against the Palestinian as grave violations to article
27 and 38 of the Fourth Geneva Convention relevant to the protection of
civilians at a time of war. According to the Human Rights Bill, and
international humanitarian law, the Palestinians are entitled to
significant rights aimed at protecting them from the unnecessary
bloodshed committed daily by IOF. Among the rights applicable to the
Palestinians, are those listed in The Universal Declaration of Human
Rights, and therefore they include the right to life, security and
Article 3 of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “[e]very one has the
right to life, liberty and security of person”. Article 6 (1) of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966 states that
“[e]very human being has the inherent right to life”.
The Fourth Geneva
Convention of 1949 and the Convention relative to the Protection of
Civilian Persons in Time of War is particularly relevant to
extra-judicial killing. Article 3 of the Fourth Geneva Convention
prohibits any kind of assaults on life or physical security. Article 32
specifically prohibits murder, torture and corporal punishment.
PCHR is deeply concerned
over the Israeli government’s crimes of extra-judicial killing in the
Condemns these crimes of extra-judicial killing by the IOF in the OPT,
which disregards for the lives of Palestinian civilians, and considers
them grave violations of article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Condemns the IOF’s disregard for civilians’ lives and careless lack of
attention to the principles of necessity and proportionality in using
excessive force against Palestinian activists, many of whom are often
present in densely populated areas.
Call upon the international community to immediately intervene to stop
these crimes which contradict international human rights law and
international humanitarian law.
the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill
their obligations under article 1 of the Convention to ensure respect
for the Convention in all circumstances, and their obligation under
article 146 to search for and prosecute those responsible for committing
grave breaches of the Convention. PCHR also calls on the High
Contracting Parties to uphold their responsibilities as signatories to
the protocol Additional to the Convention, such as breaches which
constitute war crimes according to article 147 of the convention.
Fact Sheet No. 1:
Extra-Judicial Executions Committed
by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) against Palestinian Civilians
September 29, 2000 — December 31, 2006
Fact Sheet, No. 2:
Extra-Judicial Executions in the OPT
Committed by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Between January 2007and
Fact Sheet No. 3:
Extra-Judicial Executions in the OPT
committed by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF), Between April 2007— June
Extra –Judicial Executions in OPT by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF),
between July to September 2007
Extra-Judicial executions of Palestinians by the Israeli
Occupation Forces (IOF) from September- December 2007.
Extra-Judicial Executions of Palestinians by
the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) January– March 2008.
publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union.
The contents of this publication is the sole responsibility of the
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights and can in no way be taken to
reflect the views of the European Union."