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From the field

Summary Execution: Jabalya Refugee Camp, March 28, 1994

April 1994, A joint report with Palestinian Lawyers for Human Rights, Summary


This report presents an initial investigation undertaken by staff of B'Tselem and Palestinian Lawyers for Human Rights in Jabalia Refugee Camp on March 29, 1994. The report covers an incident in which 6 Palestinians were killed by members of an undercover unit on March 28, 1994. The investigation presents grave findings regarding the conduct of the soldiers in this incident.

Testimonies from 5 eyewitnesses to the events are reproduced. The testimonies taken by B'Tselem and by Palestinian Lawyers for Human Rights reveal the following facts:

  1. The undercover unit engaged in an initiated operation. The undercover forces aimed at the masked men and opened fire with no warning or shots fired into the air. Some of the masked men were armed; but the undercover forces did not fire in self-defense; they shot with the intention of killing.
  2. After the first shots were fired, a masked man who was lightly injured tried to escape and was caught. After he was in the custody of the undercover forces, a pistol was aimed at his head by one of the undercover soldiers and he was shot to death at close range.
  3. The undercover forces shot repeatedly, at short range, at the five remaining Palestinians, apparently to ensure that they were dead.
  4. The bodies were left in place, apparently with no treatment or even medical examination. Attempts by a Palestinian ambulance to enter the area were prevented.
  5. The bodies were buried in the middle of the night. Female family members, including mothers, were not permitted to accompany their dead to the burial.

B'Tselem and Palestinian Lawyers for Human Rights view the conduct of the soldiers in this incident with utmost gravity. Their conduct is grossly illegal by any standard of justice.

We demand the establishment of an independent investigation into this incident in particular, and the open-fire policies of the undercover forces and the IDF in the occupied territories, in general.

We call on the investigation to examine whether the procedure called "Procedure for Ensuring Death," as was carried out in this incident, does in fact exist in the IDF. If such a procedure exists, we call for its unequivocal eradication. B'Tselem and Palestinian Lawyers for Human Rights demand that legal proceedings be brought against whoever is responsible for this shameful incident.

The report also includes testimony of a reserve soldier on the "Procedure for Ensuring Death" in which suspects caught while fleeing are then shot at close range in the head. As with all B'Tselem reports, the response of the IDF Spokesperson is appended to the report.

Names of the Deceased: Ahmad Abu Ibtihan, 23, Jabalia Refugee Camp Jamal 'Abd a-Nabi, 35, Jabalia Refugee Camp Anwar Muhammad 'Abd a-Rahman, 25, Jabalia Refugee Camp Nahed 'Odeh, 24, Jabalia Refugee Camp Majdi 'Ubeid, 25, Shuja'iyah neighborhood, Gaza City 'Abd al-Hakim a-Shmali, 30, Shuja'iyah neighborhood, Gaza City.