At approximately 10:30pm on Wednesday 27 February, an Israeli air strike hit the Ministry of Interior building in Gaza City. The attack also destroyed the head office of Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) in Gaza, and killed Mohammad Nasser Al-Borey, a 6-month-old baby who was in his family home inside a United Nations school compound. The offices the Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights had vacated last month fearing such an attack have also been damaged. Over 30 civilians were injured in this specific attack.
The PMRS head office was housing the main PMRS clinic in the Gaza Strip, including its main pharmacy, a mobile clinic, a loan centre for persons with disabilities and all administrative offices. The mobile clinic, all the medicine supplies and most of the equipment have been destroyed. The building itself is badly damaged and cannot be used again without extensive repairs.
This bombardment is part of ongoing attacks on the Gaza Strip: over the last 24 hours, there have been over 15 people killed (including at least three children) over 30 people injured (including several children) in over 25 Israeli air strikes and artillery strikes. One of the artillery strikes hit a crowd of children playing football near a wedding hall in the Jabalia refugee camp, killing two children and injuring five.
Israel’s aerial bombing in the centre of a densely-populated city is an illegal means of warfare; it is clear that these attacks will directly cause civilian casualties and damage to civilian property and infrastructure. The targeting of schools, clinics and ministries is a war crime.
These attacks come amidst the ongoing collective punishment of the occupied civilian population of Gaza; this includes the restricting fuel, electricity, food, medical, and humanitarian supplies – resulting in humanitarian crisis. Since the start of 2008, 132 Gazans have been killed in Israeli attacks; it is estimated that over 44 civilians have died as a result of being denied access to medical care.
The international community has an obligation to ensure that international humanitarian law is upheld by all parties. International donors must take a stand against all ongoing violations, and particularly address the destruction of Palestinian civil society projects and infrastructure that they support.
ACSUR Las Segovias (Spain)
Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights (Palestine)
Alternative Information Centre (Israel/Palestine)
Campaign for the Children of Palestine – CCP (Japan)
CISS – Cooperazione Internazionale Sud Sud (Italy)
Centro Regionale d’Intervento per la Cooperazione – C.R.I.C. (Italy)
Diakonia Regional Middle East Office (Sweden)
European Jews for a Just Peace Germany
Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement (Israel)
GVC – Gruppo di Volontariato Civile (Italy)
Japan International Volunteer Center (JVC)
Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation (Sweden)
MAP-UK (United Kingdom)
medico international e.V. (Germany)
medico international Schweiz (Switzerland)
Norwegian People’s Aid – Palestine
Norwegian Refugee Council
Olive Oil Campaign / Kampagne Olivenöl (Switzerland)
Palestinian Medical Relief Society – PMRS (Palestine)
The Palestine Solidarity Association of Sweden
Physicians for Human Rights – Israel
Terre des Hommes Italy
Women Against Violence (Israel)