Earlier this week, three children were killed by an Israeli drone as they walked in the access restricted area in the east of the Gaza Strip. The paramedics that were called to the area of the incident were prevented by Israeli forces from getting close to the children to provide medical care for approximately two hours. Al Mezan Center for Human Rights condemns the attack on Palestinian territory and the Israeli forces’ conduct to limit medical attention to the children.
At 6:30pm on Sunday, 28 October 2018, an Israeli drone launched a missile at three children as they approached the fence in the southeast of Deir Al Balah. The documentation by Al Mezan shows that paramedics from the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) received information about potential casualties in the area and arrived at the location of the incident at around 7:05pm. The paramedics stopped on Jakar Street, opposite Kissufim Gate. A few moments after pulling up, the Israeli forces opened fire at the area, preventing the paramedics from evacuating the children.
One hour later, the Palestinian Liaison instructed PRCS to withdraw as Israeli authorities were denying requests for coordination to enter the area of the incident. The PRCS paramedics withdrew to their station in Khan Younis. At 8:30pm, the Palestinian Liaison notified PRCS that permission had been granted by Israeli authorities to access the area of the incident and three ambulances were dispatched. At 9:40pm, the paramedics found the bodies of three children, lying tens of meters from the fence, with shrapnel injuries throughout their bodies. The bodies were found next to what a paramedic described as a four-inch hole. The three bodies were taken to Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir Al-Balah where they were identified as: Khaled Abu Said, 14, Abdulhameed Abu Thaher, 13, and Mohammed Al-Satari, 15. The three children were residents of Wadi Al-Salqa in the southeast of Deir Al Balah.
Al Mezan strongly condemns the Israeli military’s targeting of protected civilians, especially children, and is alarmed by the pattern of hindered access for medical teams. The children were prevented from receiving medical care for approximately two hours, during which time lifesaving treatment could have been provided.
The lengthy involvement of human rights organizations with the Israeli justice system to pursue accountability for such attacks concludes that the system is unwilling or able to launch effective and genuine investigations into similar incidents or to hold perpetrators to account.
Al Mezan urges the international community to take prompt and effective steps to pressure Israel to end its violations of international law, and to provide protection for the population in Gaza. Al Mezan stresses that impunity serves as encouragement for the commission of further international law violations, and calls for accountability and justice mechanisms to be activated given the state of impunity in Israel.