PMRS Urgent Appeal to End Gaza Carnage: 47 Gazans Killed, including more than 21 Civilians, in 5 Days of Israeli Bloodshed

Ramallah, 05-11-06: PMRS urgently appeals to its friends and partners around the world to take immediate action to bring an end to 5 days of carnage in the northern Gaza Strip, in which at least 47 Gazans have been killed, more than 21 of whom were mostly civilians, including 7 children, 3 women, and 3 paramedics, since Israel began its bloody re-invasion of Beit Hanoun last Wednesday.  A 12-year-girl was killed by a single shot to the head from an Israeli sniper in Beit Hanoun on Saturday evening.
More than 200 Palestinians have also been injured in the same period, most of them civilians, including approximately 43 women, 30 children, 1 paramedic, and 1 journalist. [1]
Gaza's health infrastructure, already buckling under the pressure of a financial crisis brought about by cuts in international funding to the Palestinian Authority and Israel's withholding of Palestinian tax monies, as well as prolonged border closures and the deliberate bombing of Gaza's only domestic power plant by Israeli warplanes on 28 June 2006, has reached breaking point.  A shortage of essential medications and medical supplies due to a lack of funding and Israeli-imposed border closures preventing the importation of such items, means that health workers in the northern Gaza Strip are unable to cope with the sheer number of dead and injured.  

This situation is being exacerbated by the fact that the Israeli military is forcibly preventing ambulance services from other areas of the Strip to access Beit Hanoun.  On Friday 3 November for example, it took ambulance workers several hours to reach the bodies of two women killed when Israeli troops opened fire on a group of around 150 women who were peacefully marching towards a mosque in Beit Hanoun where their male kin were being held by the Israeli military. [2]  

On the same day, three paramedics were also killed whilst attempting to reach the dead and wounded.  Two medics were killed while attending to the casualties of an Israeli missile strike in the western part of Beit Lahiya, when a second Israeli rocket was launched, killing both men. [3]
Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi MP, who is currently in Gaza, reports that health workers are also have to cope with new kinds of injuries resulting from Israel's use of lethal weapons against civilians, including new dangerous weapons which cause severe tissue damage, burning and tearing the victim's body from the inside and leaving long term deformations.

PMRS urgently appeals to members of the international community to demand an immediate end to Israel's indiscriminate attacks on women, children and other civilians, which represent a form of reprisals and collective punishment in violation of article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
PMRS calls on its friends and partners around the world to pressurize their respective governments to take concrete action to end this carnage, which threatens to plunge the region back into the depths of bloody conflict at the expense of innocent Palestinians.  It also appeals to its partners working in Palestine to support the Palestinian health system in coping with the deteriorating humanitarian crisis.

For more information on the crisis, and on ways to take action, please contact PMRS' External Relations Department:
Tel: 00972-2-2969970/00972-599-940073
E-mail: bahia@pmrs.ps
References
[1] Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights.  5 November 2006.  IOF kill 44 Palestinians, target a medical team, and escalate their extra-judicial assassinations in Gaza. http://www.mezan.org/site_en/press_room/press_detail.php?id=547
[2] PCHR.  4 November 2006.  For the 4th Consecutive Day: IOF Perpetrate State-sponsored Terrorism in Beit Hanoun.  http://www.pchrgaza.org/files/PressR/English/2006/122-2006.htm; Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights: 5 November 2006.
[3] PCHR: 4 November 2006.

For more information, please contact us.
Thank you,
Samuel Martin
Communications Officer
Caritas Jerusalem
P O Box 20894
Jerusalem
Phone: 972 2 628 7574
Fax: 972 2 628 8421

Email: communication@caritasjr.org