Meanwhile in Gaza..

Facts about the consequences of the Israel’s military attacks against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip

A month ago, Israel launched “Operation Summer Rains” against the Gaza Strip. Between 25 June and 26 July 2006, the Israeli occupying forces killed 157 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including 33 children and 8 women, and wounded at least 700 Palestinian civilians, including 158 children and 21 women (source: Palestinian Center for Human Rights). Most of the victims were killed during Israeli shelling and gunfire directed against Palestinian cities, refugee camps and villages in the Gaza Strip. One of the Democracy and Workers’ Rights Center’s field coordinators and labor activist lost his brother and another lost his sister and her two children.

Moreover, in violation of article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prescribes that “it is prohibited for the occupying power to destroy private property of individuals, groups, state, public authority, or social and cooperative organizations except if military operations deem it an unavoidable necessity”, the Israeli occupying forces have bombed ministries and educational institutions, road and bridges, the Gaza power station which supplies 45% of the electricity needs of the population, workplaces, private homes and bulldozed hundreds of dunums of agricultural lands. For example, in Al-Maghazi, they destroyed a garment factory owned by Ahmed Hasan Abdel Jawwad, from which 70 families drew their income (Al-Mizan human rights organization – 23/07/2006). Since July 23, the Israeli occupying forces have started implementing a new policy: they are dropping leaflets in which they threaten to escalate their attacks and phoning individual families ordering them to evacuate their homes immediately because they intend to destroy them. According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, one of the families which were targeted is the “family of Salah Saleh El-Sha’er (48) from Qiezan El- Najjar area in Khan Younis. The house consisted of 3 stories and housed 40 people, including 28 children. It was bombed by a fighter jet, and was totally destroyed. Nearby houses suffered damages. In addition, several neighbors were injured”.

Other collective punishment measures against the Gaza Strip population include the closure of all border crossings between the Gaza Strip and the external world, forbidding all movement of people andgoods. Electricity cuts are paralyzing factories and enterprises inmany areas. Poverty, which had already reached 87% in the Gaza Strip in the 2nd quarter of 2006 (PCBS) as a result of the financial boycott ofthe Palestinian Authority, has further increased.