February 18, 2006
By: Abdel Rahman Abu Arafeh
Delusive raids have become a new pattern utilized by the army against Palestinian civilians especially after the departure of settlers from Gaza on September 12, 2005. The idea is for F16 jet fighters to break the sound barrier in a deafening way several times at night or during the day. It is a terrifying form that results also in shattering windows and causing cracks to the buildings.
A team of Israeli and Palestinian experts presented a petition to the Israeli High Court calling for the halt of the jet fighter terrorization of the population in Gaza. Such raids cause severe stress and are a form of collective punishment to all the Gazans.
Surprisingly, the Israeli court, in a ruling issued on November 13, 2005, condoned such actions when the prosecution claimed that such operations are necessary to thwart terror attacks and frighten Palestinians that try to launch rocket attacks. What about the hundreds of thousands of children, the aged and the sick that have to suffer from such raids?
The raids are not arbitrary but part of a systematic policy approved by Shaul Mofaz the Defense Minister and Dan Halutz the Chief of Staff. This was clear in the statement of the respondent Yuval Reutman in the Court on November 13. As such, the Minister and his Chief of Staff could be personally held responsible for war crimes since they are in clear violation of articles 146 and 147 of the Geneva Convention. Such actions cause physical and psychological damage, undermine human dignity and are a form of torture and collective punishment.
On the night of November 4, 2005, there were 42 Gazans that were wounded or in a state of shock as a result of shattering windows. Two women in the maternity ward of Al Shifa hospital suffered injuries. Al Hayat reported on December 6 that 27 cases were referred to psychological treatment as a result of shock.
On December 18, 2005, four persons suffering from chronic cases died in a state of shock as a result. The same night 11 others were referred for psychological treatment (Al Hayat, December 19, 2005) and 23 children taken to Al Naser hospital with 43 others in other hospitals across the Strip. Five pregnant women were affected as a result of such raids.
Source: Democratic Formation Report, 2006. ATF