Near midnight last night Israeli soldiers killed four and injured four Palestinians in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun. The town has suffered under Israeli siege for several months. Israeli Occupation Forces inside the town began shelling from one of the tanks. Palestinian sources say that the Israeli military began shooting without reason.
These latest killings come at a time of international pressure for an Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire, and a great deal of attention paid to ‘violence’ in the region. Israeli sources have reported two different accounts of the killings. One is that the Palestinians were members of Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and had guns, and the other that the Palestinians died from a work accident.
The head of Shifa Hospital’s Casualty Department, Moaweh Hasanain, says that Israelis fired tank shells packed with flachettes at the Palestinians. The use of flachettes is prohibited under international law.
In addition to the four Palestinians injured, the four killed by Israeli soldiers are: Mahmoud Za’Anien, 22 years old, Kahlid Ashenbari, 23 years old, Mohamad Hamdan, 23 years old, and Roshdi Za’anien.
In the destroyed southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah, Israeli Occupation Forces killed Suad Abdel Aziz Bahdari late last night. The 27 year-old Palestinian woman was walking near the Morak Settlement when Israeli soldiers shot and killed her. The Israeli military told the Palestinian Authority that they had killed an armed fighter, but upon receiving her corpse and belongings, the PA saw that she was an unarmed young woman whom Israeli soldiers shot and killed without cause.
At this time, during this ‘cease-fire,’ and US backed road map talks, the IOF has continued to kill Palestinians. Even publically, the Israeli military government has the green light from the US to kill Palestinians they deem to be, ‘ticking bombs.’ This term is up for interpretation. The US and Israel disregard the fact that targeted assassinations are illegal under international law. Routinely when the IOF attempts an assassination, they kill many Palestinian who are not the ‘target.’ The Israeli military government simply blames the ‘target’ for the others the IOF kills, putting the onus of him for having walked down a crowded street, driven in traffic, or lived in a house with neighbors. At a time when the US administration is taking more public notice of how many Palestinians the IOF actually kills, the latest will be more difficult for the Israelis to explain away, but ones fears that no one will ask them for an explanation.
Kristen Ess, an independent journalist and activist from New York City, has lived with Palestinian families under seige in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. She reports for Free Speech Radio News, the Pacifica network, and produces a weekly show for CKUT in Montreal. She writes for Left Turn magazine, The Electronic Intifada, and The Palestine Chronicle. Her writing is translated into French, Italian, German and Arabic. She is working on a book about life under occupation in the Gaza Strip.