Saturday, January 3, 2009
Let's not be silenced, Palestine needs our voices and prayers
Hundreds dead, thousands injured and displaced
Report, Al Mezan, 2 January 2009 4:40pm Gaza Time (+2 GMT):
The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) has continued its military operation -- code-named "Cast Lead" -- against the Gaza Strip for the seventh consecutive day. Air raids and attacks from ground forces and naval vessels have continued to target civilian objects. There has been an increase in the air raids targeting houses of resistance members. The number of people who have been killed in IOF's attacks has reached 353, including 59 children and 14 women. This figure reflects only the cases which Al Mezan Center has been able to verify, and is expected to rise as many casualties were buried by their families without being registered at hospitals and others remain under the rubble of destroyed buildings. Many attacks targeted open fields, though not far from urban areas. IOF also targeted another rescue team in Deir al-Balah.
At approximately 2:40pm yesterday, Thursday 1 January 2008, Israeli aircrafts fired heavy missiles at the house of Nizar Rayyan, a leader in the Hamas movement, in the Jabaliya refugee camp, causing massive destruction in the camp and killing 16 of its residents, 11 of whom were children.
At approximately 11:35pm on the same day, Israeli aircraft raided the al-Khulafa Mosque, which is located near Rayyan's house, destroying the mosque completely and damaging tens of houses in the area, some for the second time on the same day.
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights expresses its outrage over the continued inaction of the international community in the face of IOF's continued violations of the international humanitarian law (IHL) and human rights in the Gaza Strip. The failure to take any action continues despite the enormous amount of information about the consequences of Israel's conduct towards human life and well being in the Strip, which have been heavily reported by the media and human rights organizations in the Strip. Reports also indicate that the health system is close to collapse as hospitals and clinics suffer a very high case load while there are shortages in medical supplies and personnel. The high numbers of casualties resulting from Israeli attacks has added enormous pressure on the health system.
Al Mezan Center asserts that according to its continuous monitoring of the situation in Gaza, Israel has been perpetrating grave breaches of IHL, amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity, by deliberately targeting civilian premises in highly dense areas without observing the principles of proportionality, distinction and military necessity. In doing so, Israel is showing despicable disregard to civilian life.