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Three extra-judicial executions today, a child and five others killed

December 26, 2002
Israeli forces today committed three extra judicial assassinations, one in Qabatiyyeh near Jenin and in Tulkarem, killing three people Israel claims are 'wanted' for their political activities. A boy was killed in Nablus and another in Ramallah, at least another person has been killed (identity still unknown) and at least another thirty people injured until the time of press.

According to information gathered by LAW, a large number of Israeli forces at around 3am today, Thursday December 25 besieged Qabatiyyeh southeast of Jenin on three sides, protected by around ten tanks and APCS, a number of jeeps and military ambulances.

Once they had surrounded the town and had fanned out into the western part of the town, they surrounded several houses and set up a sniper on at least one of the homes, belonging to Bilal Abu al-Rabb (37). Bilal and his family were forced to leave the house at around 2:25am.

After Israeli forces interrogated Bilal about his home and his neighbours, he and his family were detained until around 6am. Bilal was exposed to severe beatings, and was placed naked into a puddle of cold rain water.

Between 3 and 4am, Israeli forces apparently used loudspeakers to order the family of Yusef Abu al-Rabb (40), to leave their home. Using Abu al-Rabb's wife and hcldren as human shields, besieged the building and asked him to surrender himself. He stood at the door of the building, and informed the soldiers that he would surrender, asking that it should take place with witnesses from the International Red Cross or any other International organization, to ensure his safety and that he would not be killed. An Israeli sniper opened fire on him at around 6am, and was shot around ten times at no more than a distance of 100 meters in several
places in his body, but particularly around his head and chest, and he was killed immediately.

After the Israeli forces ordered the body to be taken away, at around 6:30am, the house was destroyed. Five people used to leave the house, including three children. Yusef Abu al-Rabb's home was rented, after Israeli forces destroyed his own home.

In Tulkarem, Israeli Special Forces at around 11:30 am reached a home in the western part of the city, with the protection of a lage number of Israeli troops. They surrounded the home of Jamal Yehia (32), and knocked on his door and took him from his house. The Special Forces dressed in civilian clothes, opened fire on Jamal Yehia from a distance of no more than one meter. He was shot nine times in his body, particularly around the chest, stomach and neck. He fell into a pool of his own blood in front of his family. The Special Forces forbade anybody from assisting him or calling paramedics. The Israeli troops then came to assist the Special Forces, and moved the family away from the corps, and surrounded him for around 30 minutes while he was hemmoraging blood onto the floor. After he took his last breath, he was taken with the Israeli forces to a military compound west of the city.
Jamal Yehia had four children and was an activist in Fatah.

At around 12 noon, Special Forces using a Palestinian car and armed with rifles and guns besiged the main street of Ramallah, Duwar al-Saa'a. They surrounded a Palestinian and began to shoot at his head using a gun at extremely close range (less than one meter). After that, Israeli troops arrived to assist the Specail Forces with caryiing the body. The man was identified as Bassam al-Ashqar (26) from Ein 'Arik ear Ramallah. He was taken in a military car outside of the city, after arresting another person from the scene. His identity is still unknown.

During this time, Israeli forces opened fire to scare and cause panic among people there, killing Mahdi Abayed (17).

Until the time of writing, Israeli forces have attacked the hospital in Ramallah, and at least one other person has been killed (identity still unknown).

At around 8am this morning, Mohammad Ashour from Nablus was killed in the old city, after being shot twice in the chest and face. While on the way to school, Israeli forces surrounded the old city and opened indiscriminate fire on residents on the pretext of wanted people fleeing inside the old city. More than 30 people were also injured from the bullets and shrapnel, some critically.

Israeli forces hindered paramedics from reaching the scene of the shootings. Palestinian journalists have also been prevented from reaching the Old City. Until he time of writing the Israeli forces are still in the area.

Willful killings prohibited under article 3 and 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention amount to grave breaches, which under the article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and Protocol One to the Fourth Geneva Conventions are defined as war crimes.

LAW emphasizes that extra-judicial executions constitute willful killings, which are a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and as such constitute war crimes subject to universal jurisdiction.

Extra-judicial killings cannot be reconciled with the Fourth Geneva Convention, which seek to protect the lives of protected persons, and violate human rights norms that affirm the right to life and the prohibition on execution of civilians.

LAW strongly condemns Israel's assassination policy. Israel is legally responsible for the acts of its agents, and is under corresponding obligations to ensure that its agents adhere to the Convention and to prosecute those agents who commit grave breaches. All state signatories to the Fourth Geneva Convention have also the right and are under a positive obligation to seek out and prosecute individuals responsible for committing or commissioning grave breaches, wherever the perpetrators are. Article 148 of the Fourth Geneva states that 'no High Contracting Party shall be allowed to absolve itself or any other High Contracting Party of any liability incurred by itself or by any other High Contracting Party...'

Israel's ongoing human rights violations further illustrates the need for the immediate deployment of an international protection presence to prevent violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention and to protect Palestinian protected persons within the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

LAW - The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment is a non-governmental organization dedicated to preserving human rights through legal advocacy. LAW is affiliate to the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), and the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT).

LAW - The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment, PO Box 20873, Jerusalem, tel. +972-2-5833530, fax. +972-2-5833317, law@lawsociety.org, www.lawsociety.org.



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