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Urgent Interventions

Israel/OPT: Shooting of a 17 year-old boy in the Gaza strip by Israeli soldiers

Case ISR 060111.CC


Shooting of a 17 year-old boy in the Gaza strip by Israelisoldiers

The International Secretariat of the WorldOrganisation Against Torture (OMCT) requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).

Briefdescription of the situation

The International Secretariat of OMCT has beeninformed by Defence for Children International -Palestine section (hereafter DCI-Palestine), amember organisation of OMCT SOS-Torture Network, about the shootingof 17 year-old Hatem S.

According to the information received, on 23rd December 2010,Hatem S. and his cousin Moamen (16 years old) took their donkey cart and wentto farmland north of Beit Lahiya. They usually visit these farms two or threetimes a week to buy vegetables and fruits in order to sell them later at themarket in the Jabalia refugee camp where they live with their families. It wasaround 8:00 amwhen they arrived at a farm situated about 800 metres from the border fencewhere they had planned to buy strawberries.

As reported by the same source, Hatem was looking fora place to tie the donkey when he started hearing gunshots coming from theborder. He called out for his cousin who was negotiating the price of thestrawberries with the farmer to come back so they could leave rapidly. Hatemgot onto the cart and was heading towards a strawberry greenhouse when he heardmore gunshots. Reportedly, he had driven 10 metres went he felt somethinghitting him on the back of his head. Feeling dizzy, he laid back on the cart.He then touched his head and, when he saw his hand covered in blood, herealized that he had been shot.

According to the same information, Hatem was thenhelped by his cousin into the farmer's car and was driven to Kamal Odwan Hospital. The doctors said that a shrapnel from abullet was embedded in his skull and that it was safer not to remove it. Hatem wasdischarged from hospital three days after he was shot.

When visited by DCI-Palestine fieldworkers, Hatem wasin a stable situation but had a headache and felt nauseous and dizzy. The shrapnel isstill lodged in his head, which makes Hatem stressed and afraid. The doctorshave told him that if the shrapnel does not come out naturally by 16 January 2011, he will need to have anoperation.

Like hundreds of similar casesof human rights violations by Israeli forces, Hatem has not lodged a complaintbecause practice shows that complaints very hardly lead to the punishment ofthose responsible or to the compensation of the victims.

Background information

After the war with Israel in January 2009, Gaza needs to be rebuilt. However, Israel put a drastic limit on the quantity oftruckloads of construction material that can enter the zone, which provoke astrong shortage of construction material and prevent an effectivereconstruction of the area. This situation resulted in hundreds of men and boysscavenging for building gravel amongst the destroyed buildings close to theborder fence with the idea of generating some income to help support theirfamilies.

In May 2009, the Israeli air force dropped thousandsof pamphlets over different parts of Gaza, indicating that anyone approaching theborder within 300 metres was endangering his or her life. Although Israel stated intention is to prevent attacksfrom Palestinian armed factions, this clearly goes into the framework of thegradually expanded restrictions on access to land in the Gaza side of the border over the past 10 years.As reported by a UN study[1],these restrictions have had a devastating impact on the physical security andlivelihoods of around 180'000 people.

DCI-Palestine documented 23 cases of children shotwhilst collecting building material, grazing goats or buying fruits, between 26March and 23 December 2010, near the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel. Reports also indicates that Israelisoldiers fire warning shots to scare workers away from the border, or targetworkers' legs or kill their donkeys. In 16 out of the 23 cases, the childrenestimate that they were on, or outside the 300 metres exclusion zone.

According to the UN study, between January 2009 andAugust 2010 in the arbitrary live fire zone adjacent to the border with Israel, at least 22 Palestinian civilians in Gaza have been killed, 6 of them were children,and 146 were injured, among which there were at least 27 children.

Actions requested

Please write to the authorities in Israel urging them to:

i. Guaranteethat adequate care and compensation is awarded to Hatem S. for the violation of his human rights;

ii. Carry out a prompt, effective,thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the event, the result of which must be madepublic, in order to bring thoseresponsible before a competent, independent and impartial tribunal and applypenal, civil and/or administrative sanctions as provided by the law;

iii. Put animmediate end to the practice of targeting unarmed individuals, includingchildren in the buffer zone of the border between Israel and Gaza, as the targetingof civilians is absolutely prohibited under international law regardless of thecircumstances;

iv. At all time ensure strict respectfor international human rights and humanitarian law in the exercise of itsjurisdiction, including in connection with military operations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.


Ø Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister,Office of the Prime Minister, 3, Kaplan Street, PO Box 187, Kiryat Ben-Gurion,Jerusalem, Israel, Fax: +972- 2-651 2631, Email:

Ø Mr. Menachem Mazuz, Attorney General,Fax: + 972 2 627 4481; + 972 2 628 5438; +972 2 530 3367

Ø Permanent Missionof Israel to the United Nations Office and Specialized Institutions in Geneva,Avenue de la Paix 1-3, 1202 Geneva, Fax: +41 22 716 05 55, Email:

Please also write to the embassies of Israel in your respective country.


Geneva, 06 January 2011

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting thecode of this appeal in your reply.

[1] Between the fence and a hard place, United Nations, Officefor the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, occupied Palestinian territory,August 2010.

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