OPT: IOF offensive on the Gaza Strip makes it like earthquake zone and claims civilian and property

Report
from Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
Published on 22 Jan 2009


Ref: 19/2009

Time:08:15GMT

- Entire Families Pass Away

- Children and Women Constitute More Than 43% of the Total Number of Victims

- Entire Features of Many Areas Disappear

- Infrastructures Services completely Collapse

- Hundreds of Families Become Homeless While Dozens of Others Are Still Displaced

The offensive launched by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on the Gaza Strip, between 27 December and 18 January 2009, has caused total destruction in many parts of the Gaza Strip, making these parts look like earthquake zones. In its offensive on Gaza, IOF employed its full-fledged arsenal and used its air, ground and sea forces. Some areas were almost completely razed, while many houses and civilian establishments became hills of dust. IOF offensive claimed the lives of hundreds of innocent unarmed civilians, including a large number of children and women. The casualties included entire families (for more information, please see press releases[1] that had been published by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) during IOF offensive on the Gaza Strip).

Following the IOF withdrawal from Gazain the early morning of 18 January 2009, PCHR field workers could observe closely the humanitarian crisis that has been caused by IOF offensive. It was obvious that IOF intended to erase any civilization features in the Gaza Strip. They deliberately and systematically destroyed the entire vital facilities to make Gazago decades back. Through the data and statistics that PCHR has been able to collect so far, PCHR will show to all the war crimes that IOF committed against Palestinian civilians and their property. PCHR recruits a qualified team of field workers and lawyers to observe and document the real damages that had been caused by IOF during their offensive on the Gaza Strip.

The most wide-scale destruction by IOF during the reported offensive took place in GazaCityand in northern the GazaStrip. In GazaCity, the most affected areas were Tal al-Hawa neighborhood in the south of GazaCity, al-Zaytoun, al-Tufah and al-Shoja'eya neighborhoods in the east of city. While the most affected areas in the northern GazaStrip were: al-'Atatra area, Jabal al-Rayes area, Jabal al-Kashef area and al-Twam area. The largest number of victims were in these two governorates of the GazaStrip.


The table below provides data on the dead and the wounded

 
 
Gaza Governorates
Total
% of the total of the dead
and the wounded
Northern
GazaStrip
Gaza
City
Central
Gaza Strip
Khan
Yunis
Rafah
Total number of deaths
1285
-
462
533
157
83
50
Deaths amongst civilians and
civilian police force members who
were not engaged in fighting
1062
82.6%
-
  -
  -
Civilian deaths
894
69.6%
401
313
81
61
39
Deaths among children
280
21.8%
125
105
21
16
13
Deaths among women
111
8.6%
54
41
10
5
1
Total of the wounded
4336
--
1914
1000
530
395
497
Wounded children
1133
26%
591
200
140
100
102
Wounded women
735
17%
385
100
90
76
84

Destruction to Civilian Property and facilities

During their offensive on the Gaza Strip, IOF have destroyed the following civilian property and facilities:

- IOF have destroyed at least 2,400 houses, including 490 ones by air strikes.

- IOF have destroyed 28 public civilian facilities, including buildings of a number of ministries, municipalities, governorates, fishing harbors and the building of the Palestinian legislative Council.

- IOF have destroyed 21 private projects, including cafeterias, wedding halls, tourist resorts and hotels.

- IOF have destroyed 30 mosques completely and 15 others partially.

- IOF have destroyed offices of 10 charitable societies.

- IOF have destroyed 121 industrial and commercial workshops and damaged at least 200 others.

- IOF have destroyed 5 factories of concrete and one of juice.

- IOF have destroyed 60 police stations.

- IOF have destroyed buildings of 5 media institutions and 2 health ones.

- IOF have destroyed 29 educational institutions completely or partially.

- IOF have razed thousands of donums[2] of agricultural land.

- IOF have heavily damaged thousands of houses.

The destruction of property is each governorate has been as follows:

Northern Gaza Strip

- IOF have destroyed 650 houses, including 250 ones by air strikes. According to initial estimations, at least another 500 houses have been rendered uninhabitable, and hundreds of others have been heavily damaged. .

- IOF have destroyed 4 public facilities.

- IOF have destroyed 2 private facilities.

- IOF have destroyed 85 industrial and commercial workshops.

- IOF have destroyed offices of 2 charitable societies.

- IOF have destroyed 6 security buildings.

- IOF have destroyed 7 educational institutions completely or partially.

- IOF have destroyed 10 mosques and damaged 6 others.

- IOF have razed at least 1,000 donums of agricultural.

- IOF have destroyed 150 cars and 200 agricultural tools.

Gaza City

- IOF have destroyed 1,100 houses, including 80 ones by air strikes. According to initial estimations, hundreds of others houses have been partially destroyed and hundreds of others were heavily damaged.

- IOF have destroyed 5 public facilities, including buildings of ministries and the Palestinian Legislative Council.

- IOF have destroyed 8 hotels completely or partially.

- IOF have destroyed 8 private enterprises, including cafeterias and wedding halls.

- IOF have destroyed 5 media institutions, 7 educational ones, 2 health ones and 3 charitable ones.

- IOF have destroyed 18 industrial and commercial workshops.

- IOF have destroyed 10 security buildings.

- IOF have 10 mosques completely or partially.

- IOF have razed hundreds of donums of agricultural land (under documentation).

Central Gaza Strip

- IOF have destroyed 220 houses, including 52 ones by air strikes.

- IOF have destroyed 2 public facilities (building of municipalities.

- IOF have 6 mosques completely or partially.

- IOF have destroyed 2 workshops.

- IOF have destroyed 19 security buildings.

- IOF have razed at least 200 donums of agricultural land.

- IOF have damaged dozens of houses.

Khan Yunis

- IOF have destroyed at least 230 houses, including 28 by air strikes.

- IOF have destroyed 4 public facilities.

- IOF have destroyed offices of 4 charitable societies

- IOF have destroyed 10 industrial and commercial workshops.

- IOF have destroyed 15 security buildings.

- IOF have destroyed 2 mosques and damaged 5 others

- IOF have razed at least 150 donums of agricultural land.

- IOF have damaged 8 educational institutions.

Rafah

1. IOF have destroyed 160 houses, including 80 ones by air strikes. At least 300 houses have been also damaged.

2. IOF have destroyed 12 public facilities.

3. IOF have destroyed 2 private enterprises.

4. IOF have destroyed 2 mosques and heavily damaged another 4 ones.

5. IOF have destroyed 6 industrial and commercial workshops and damaged 15 stores.

6. IOF have heavily damaged 7 educational institutions.

7. IOF have destroyed offices of a charitable society.

8. IOF have destroyed 10 security buildings.

9. IOF have razed at least 300 donums of agricultural land.

While strongly condemns war crimes committed by IOF during their offensive on the GazaStrip, PCHR:

Calls for establishing inquiry commissions to investigate crimes committed by IOF against Palestinian civilians, including IOF's use of internationally prohibited weapons.

Calls for prosecuting all political and military officials who are found responsible for committing war crimes against Palestinian civilians.

Calls for stopping all collective punishment measures imposed on the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip, especially lifting the total siege and ensuring free and safe movement of persons and goods.

Reiterates that crimes committed by IOF are clear evidence not only for the excessive and disproportionate use of force, but also for acts of retaliation against Palestinian civilians.

Holds Israelresponsible for the lives of Palestinian civilians in all circumstances in accordance with international law and humanitarian law.

Calls upon the international community to immediately intervene to stop such crimes, and calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention, Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, to fulfill their obligation under article 1 of the Convention to ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances, as well as their obligation under article 146 to search for and prosecute those who are responsible for perpetrating grave breaches of the Convention, as such breaches constitute war crimes according to article 147 of the Convention and the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and Relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I).

Public Document

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Notes:

[1] http://www.pchrgaza.org/files/PressR/English/2008/gaza.html

[2] 1 donum is equal to 1,000 square meters.