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FreeGaza Movement

Human rights group that sailed 5 times into port of Gaza.

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"We write to you as Palestinians from Gaza to express our dismay at the proposal of the Spanish parliament to restrict the universal jurisdiction of Spain, particularly with regard to breaches of international humanitarian law. The proposal called for the existing legislation to be modified so that cases may only be pursued if they involve Spanish victims or if the accused is present on Spanish soil.

At approximately midnight on 22 July 2002, an Israeli Air Force fighter jet dropped a 2,000 lb bomb on the densely populated Daraj neighborhood of Gaza city. The main target of the attack was the family home of Salah Shehada, Commander of the military wing of Hamas.  The bomb killed Shehada, his guard and an additional fourteen civilians, including his wife, his daughter, eight children (including a 2-month old baby), two elderly men, and two women.  In addition, approximately 150 civilians were injured, eight houses were completely destroyed, nine were partially destroyed and another 21 sustained considerable, leaving many families homeless.

Israeli Occupation Force officials have acknowledged that they decided to drop the bomb on Shehadeh's house knowing his wife was with him, intentionally killing her as well. The decision to attack apparently also took into consideration the possibility that, along with Shehadeh, approximately 10 civilians would also be killed. The practice of wanton willful killing of civilians exemplified in this extra-judicial assassination is not an isolated incident. It is one instance in an ongoing, comprehensive policy targeting us the civilian Palestinians of the Gaza strip and systematically denying us our rights to movement, work, medical care, study, livelihood and increasingly life itself.

In spite of  Israel's alleged unilateral withdrawal from the Strip, it still maintains a permanent military presence in Gaza's territorial waters and controls the movement of people and goods onto the strip by land, air or water in addition to movement within the strip through targeting anyone entering the "no go" zone designated by the Israeli military. Israel also continues to control Gaza's population registry. Yet, Israel claims that it is no longer the occupying power in the Gaza strip and uses this excuse in addition to the results of 2006 democratic election to intensify it's policy of siege and lethal attacks on us, Gaza's civilians.

On the 29th of February 2008 Matan Vilnai, Deputy Defense Minister of the State of Israel, threatened us with a bigger Shoah (holocaust) and lived up to his word. During the following Israeli military assault on the Gaza Strip conducted  in February 2008 dubbed as "Operation Hot Winter" The Israeli Occupation Forces killed 107 Palestinians including 64 children.  The European Union, including Spain, not only refrained from taking action against the State of Israel for its policy of systematic mass murder, but announced its intent to upgrade its relations with the State of Israel. This announcement was the green light Israel needed to continue and escalate its policies, resulting in January 2009 assault on besieged Gaza.

The 1.5 million Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip, 80 per cent of whom are refugees expelled from their homes by Zionist forces in 1948, were subjected to 22 days of relentless Israeli state terror, whereby Israeli warplanes, in a repeat of what happened at Al-Darraj on 22.July.2002, systematically targeted civilian areas, reducing whole neighborhoods and vital civilian infrastructure to rubble, including several run by the UN, where civilians were taking shelter. International human rights organizations are now calling for a war crimes investigation into Israel's military assault on Gaza in which the Israeli Occupation Forces killed 1,440 Palestinians of whom 431 were children, and injured 5380.

One ray of hope for us in this time was the decision of Judge Fernando Andreu of the Spanish Audencia Nacional (National Court) to continue the investigation into the events surrounding the al-Daraj bombing of July 2002. We consider this decision a manifestation of Europe's promise and commitment to the principle of "never again" to stand by in silence while ethnic cleansing is taking place. We have hope that it will serve as a deterrent to other would be war criminals.

If the Spanish parliament's resolution calling on the government to limit Spain's universal jurisdiction mechanisms is accepted, it will lead to continued impunity for war criminals and complicity with future war crimes including the ongoing collective punishment and genocide directed against us, the civilian population of the Gaza strip. "

Signed by:

  • The One Democratic State Group - Gaza
  • University Teachers' Association in Palestine - Gaza
  • Palestinian Student's Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel
  • Arab Cultural Forum - Gaza
  • Al-Quds Bank for Culture and Information Society
  • Society Friends for Rehabilitation of Visually Impaired

For more information:

DR. Haidar Eid

00 972 599 441 766