From 27 February – 3 March 2008, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) continued its military operations and escalated its aggression the Gaza Strip; including civilians and civilian property.
IOF attacks caused the deaths of 236 Palestinians since the beginning of 2008, including 37 children and 16 women.
During 'Operation Warm Winter', which occurred between 27 February and 3 March 2008, 107 Palestinians were killed including 27 children and six women.
Over 200 people were also injured; more than one fourth of whom were children.
Tens of homes and other structures were destroyed.
The operation comes amid an ongoing blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip by the IOF.
This blockade, which is not confined only to restricting freedom of movement of individuals and goods; rather it extends to reach humanitarian cases and aid, including fuel and electricity.
Amid the rising number of people killed and injured by this aggression, there are limitations placed on the movement of medical crews and ambulances.
This field report covers a period of five days: 27 February to 2 March 2008.
It aims to disseminate information about the conducts of IOF during its military operation 'Warm Winter' in the Gaza Strip, in which the IOF committed new crimes, and to report to all local and international parties interested in advocating for respect of human rights and compliance with international law.
Before delving into the details of the events, it is important to point out some basic rules of International Humanitarian Law (IHL), which governs the IOF's conduct when dealing with the population of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).
The IOF has the obligation as the occupying force to protect the rights of the citizens in the OPT.
The rules of International Humanitarian Law (IHL), which are considered part of customary international law, aim, inter alia, to provide protection for victims of armed conflict, especially for the civilians.
The Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Times of War (1949) and its additional protocol I are the main international treaties tackling the protection of civilians.
While military occupation is tolerated by international law, it is not approved and must be brought to a speedy end.
International law also places strict restraints on the behavior of the occupying forces.
Under the provisions of IHL, the IOF does not have a carte blanche to use force, procedures, or policies against the civilian population of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) at its will.
The interests of the civilian population as well as their property, along with the legal status of the territories, must always be considered and protected.