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Gaza Diaries7: Playing on the Beach for the Last Time: Attack on the Bakr Children Encapsulates the Manner in which Israel Conducts Military Operations

17-07-2014 00:00

Date: 17 July 2014 'We were so bored from the war and wanted to go to the beach to play; we thought it would be fun.
Ismail dared us to pretend to shoot him.
And then he ran and hid in a shack.
The first explosion occurred.
We went towards Ismail and found his body on the ground.
He was bleeding everywhere and he was burned.
I cried loudly and we ran.
I ran fastest and looked back.
My friends were running.
But a second explosion occurred.
I looked back again and saw Zakariya, 'Ahed, Mohammed and Ramiz all lying on the ground and screaming.
Muntaser, Mohammed Khamis and two guys I know from the Abu Watfa beach resort ran towards them to help.
But then there was a third explosion and every one of them was then on the ground.
I started crying for them.
' 11-year-old Nasser Fadel Bakr is a survivor of one of the most notorious attacks on civilians by the Israeli army.
In an interview with Al Mezan, Nasser, who lives with his family near Gaza’s beach and is the son and brother of fishermen, described his experience that day.
[Beleaguered Bakr family mourning their kids: Discretion Hosam Salem] Al Mezan's investigation indicates that at approximately 3:30pm yesterday, Wednesday, 16 July 2014, the Israeli navy fired three missiles at a group of boys who were playing on the beach at the Gaza City harbor.
Four of the children were killed: Ahed Attaf Bakr, 10; Zakariya Ahed Sobhi Bakr, 10; Mohammed Izzat Bakr, 11; and Ismail Mohammed Sobhi Bakr, 10.
The injured are Muntaser Bakr, 11, and Hamada Bakr, 10.
Eyewitnesses stated that the children were playing in the area at a time when no armed activities were taking place.
The children were visible from a distance.
The attack is an example of the methods used by Israel’s occupation forces (IOF) in operations on the Gaza Strip.
With over 70 percent of victims in Operation Protective Edge civilian, the IOF, equipped with the most sophisticated surveillance technology in the world, is not observing the principle of distinction.
International law dictates that distinction be established between civilian and military targets and that only the latter can be targeted.
Targeting civilians is a war crime.
Further, all possible precautions must be taken to ensure that civilians are not harmed.
Where army personnel violate the principles of distinction and precaution, or ignore the absolute prohibition on targeting civilians, Israel has the obligation to investigate and prosecute.
A consistent trend persists in Al Mezan’s documentation: Israeli forces directing attacks onto civilian targets.
Yet no individual has been held criminally responsible in Israel for the attacks on Palestinian civilians.
Israel is failing to investigate and prosecute its perpetrators of war crimes.
An example of one of Israel’s harshest punishments is of a six-month suspended sentence given to a soldier who killed two Palestinian women during the 2008/09 Operation Cast Lead.
As long as this shield of impunity continues to be Israeli state policy, Palestinian civilians like the Bakr children will fall.

Tags / #IOF