On Friday afternoon, 4 September 2009, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) killed a 14-year-old child, Ghazi al-Za’anin, in Beit Hanoun town in the northern Gaza Strip. IOF troops shot the child from close range, while he was walking with his family. This child was the second to be killed by IOF in less than a week.
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) investigations, and eye-witness testimony, indicates that, at approximately 13:40 on Friday, 4 September 2009, Maher Ghazi al-Za’anin drove his four children, including Ghazi, 14, to their farm, 500 meters away from the border with Israel, in the northeast of Beit Hanoun town. Before arriving at the farm, al-Za’anin and his children stepped down from the car and approached their land on foot. On their way to the farm, they were surprised by an Israeli military jeep that stopped opposite to them. Al-Za’anin and his children were frightened, and ran away. IOF soldiers who were inside the jeep immediately opened fire. Ghazi was wounded by a bullet to the head and fell to the ground. The father carried the child to their car, whereupon IOF soldiers fired at the car, hitting it with two bullets. The father drove to Beit Hanoun Hospital and the child was transferred to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City as he was in a critical condition. Ghazi was admitted to the intensive care unit, where he was pronounced dead on the following morning, Saturday, 5 September 2009.
PCHR has recently documented many cases in which IOF positioned along the border opened fired at agricultural areas and houses. It is believed that these attacks are intended to deny Palestinian farmers access to their agricultural land, some of which lie within the so-called ‘buffer zone’.
PCHR strongly condemns the murder of a child by IOF, and:
1. Reiterates condemnation of this latest crime, which is part of a series of crimes committed by IOF in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).
2. Calls upon the international community to promptly and urgently take action in order to stop such crimes, and renews its call for the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations and provide protection to Palestinian civilians in the OPT.