French Consul and Family Wounded in Israeli Attack on Gaza
On Monday, 14 November 2011, the French Consul in the Gaza Strip, Majdi Jameel Yaseen Shaqqoura, 44, and his two children were wounded in an Israeli attack on the Palestinian Navy site in the southwest of Beit Lahia, located in northern Gaza. They were in their home when they were injured by shrapnel. Additionally, as a result of the same attack the consul’s wife suffered from hemorrhage that led to a miscarriage.
According to investigations conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) Majdi Shaqqoura was in his home, located behind al-Nawras Resort in al-Soudaniya area, southwest of Beit Lahia, at the time of the attack. Shaqqoura was watching TV in the house’s sitting room which is surrounded by large windows, together with his relative and three children: Arwa, 9, Rawan, 13, and Mohammed, 8. At 2:00 in the morning they suddenly heard an explosion that rocked the house. In his testimony to PCHR, Shaqqoura said that windows of the sitting room broke in the blast. He and his relative rushed to protect the children.
Then a second explosion took place which broke all the windows, and resulted in shrapnel injuries to Shaqqoura’s leg and Rawan’s hand and back. Shaqqoura added that, at the same time, his wife Majda Shaqqoura, 42, and her brother were on their way to the home in her car. They were 150 meters away from the bombardment site. As a result, Majda suffered from a hemorrhage injury. Her brother transported her to al-Awda Hospital, where she miscarried, being in the second month of her pregnancy.
At approximately 01:55 on Monday, 14 November 2011, the Israeli warplanes launched four missiles at a Palestinian Navy site located at the beach, in front of al-Nawras Resort, in the al-Soudaniya area. This area is located in the southwest of Beit Lahia, in the northern Gaza Strip. The attack resulted in the killing of first sergeant Mohammed Zaher Zaki al-Kilani, 22, from Beit Lahia, whose body was torn into pieces. The Civil Defense found al-Kilani’s body buried under the rubble after approximately one hour of searching for him. Five other members were wounded, one of whom sustained serious wounds. The attack resulted in the full destruction of the Navy’s site, which is has an approximate surface of 2,000 square meters. The building consists of an operation office, bedroom, place for prayer, administration office, office of the site’s chief, and five additional offices for meetings and detention. Besides, a blue Magnum jeep and a motorbike were destroyed.
Additionally, two other civilians were wounded by glass shrapnel throughout their bodies and were transported to the hospital for treatment.
PCHR reiterates its condemnation of these crimes, and:
1. Stresses that these crimes form part of systematic violations perpetrated in the occupied Palestinian territory, particularly the Gaza Strip, which reflects Israeli forces’ disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians;
2. Warns of further escalation in hostilities, which may result in the targeting of civilians and their property, in light of statements made by Israeli politicians and military leaders; and
3. Calls upon the international community to immediately take an action to stop such crimes and reiterates its call for the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations under Article 1 which stipulates “the High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances,” and their obligations under Article 146 which requires that the Contracting Parties prosecute persons alleged to commit grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention. These grave breaches constitute war crimes under Article 147 of the same Convention and under Protocol I Additional to Geneva Conventions.