Israeli Forces commit another extra-judicial assassination

In the morning of Saturday 5 May 2001, Israeli military forces assassinated 38-year-old Ahmad Ismail from Irtas in Bethlehem, shooting him with at least 15 bullets of various sizes. According to information gathered by LAW, at around 8:10am on Saturday 5 May, Israeli soldiers stationed at an outpost on Abu Zeid hill, south-east of Irtas village, rained M16 and machinegun fire at Ahmad Ismail, who was leaving his house in the company of his 6-year-old niece Alaí, 250m from the outpost. Ahmed was hit by 15 bullets, killing him instantly, while Alaí suffered shrapnel wounds in her legs. Ahmad Ismail was an Islamic Jihad activist and representative in the Islamic National Coordination Commission in Bethlehem. According to LAWís documentation, the number of extra-judicial executions from the beginning of the Intifada has now risen to 13, including 12 civilians and one military. This figure does not include the Palestinian passers-by or others who have been killed during these assassinations. In addition to Ahmad Ismail, the following Palestinian political activists have fallen victim to Israelís liquidation policy since the Intifada broke out at the end of September 2000: Hussein ëAbayat was killed on 9 November 2000 in Beit Sahour near Bethlehem when Israeli Air Force helicopters fired anti-tank missiles on his car. Two women standing nearby, Aziza Mahmoud Danoun Jubran (58) and Rahma Rasheed Shaeen Hindi (54), were also killed, and at least 3 others were badly injured: Nasmi and Jamila Shíibat and Khaled Salahat. Jamal Abed Al Razeq, a 30-year-old Fatah activist, was killed at the Morag Junction in the Gaza Strip on 22 November 2000. Three other Palestinians were also killed in the incident: Awni Ismail (37), Sami Abu Laban (35) and Naíel Alidawi (25), all from Rafah. Ibrahim Bani Audi was killed in Nablus on 23 November 2000 after a bomb was planted in his car by the Israeli security services with the collaboration of a relative of Ibrahim. Anwar Mahmoud Humran was killed by Israeli army snipers on 11 December 2000 when leaving Al Quds Open University in the Al Dahye quarter of Nablus. Yousif Abu Swaye was killed on 12 December 2000 by Israeli army snipers while standing just outside his fatherís home in Al Khader village near Bethlehem. Abas Al Awiwi was killed by Israeli army snipers in Hebron on 13 December 2000 when standing in front of the shoe factory when he use to work. Hani Abu Bakra, a 31-year-old Hamas activist, was killed at the Gush Katif junction in the Gaza Strip on 14 December 2000. He was driving a minibus with passengers on board when stopped by Israeli soldiers who asked for his ID and then shot him in the head and the chest from close range. A 40-year-old passenger, Issa Kanan, was injured during the incident and died later from his wounds. Dr. Thabet Thabet was killed by gunfire in Tulkarem on 31 December 2000, when reversing his car outside his home. Masoíoud Ayyad, a 50-year-old Force 17 senior officer, was killed at around 9.45 am on 13 February 2001 in his car near Jabalya refugee camp, northern Gaza Strip. Ayyadís car was hit by three LAU missiles fired from Israeli helicopter gunships, killing him instantly and wounding six bystanders in the attack. According to press reports, former Israeli premier Ehud Barak claimed that Ayyad was a Hezbollah cell leader and commended the assassination, stating that it sent ìa clear message that anyone who intends to harm Israelis will not escape and the long arm of the Israeli Defence Forces will find him and settle the score.î Furthermore, an Israeli army official was quoted as saying, ìCutting off the head of a snake is certainly not going to stop attacks or solve the Palestinian terror problem. Like the twisting tail of a lizard separated from its body, there will likely be a few more mortar attacks, but this killing was the right reaction to the unprecedented Hezbollah actions.î Following the assassination, the European Union condemned what it described as ìa policy of liquidation, or executions without trial,î and demanded Israel cease such activities in accordance with international law. In a letter of protest dated 21 January 2001, the EU had warned the Israeli Foreign Ministry that such actions posed an obstacle to the peace process. Muhammad Al Madani was killed by Israeli gunfire on 19 February 2001, shortly after leaving a mosque in Balata Refugee Camp near Nablus. Muhammad Abdil Aal, from Al Salam quarter in Rafah, was killed by three missiles fired from an Israeli helicopter at his car on 2 April 2001. 24-year-old Iyyad Hardan from Arabah in Jenin was killed when a public telephone was ëbooby-trappedí with explosives on 5 April 2001. Israelís assassination policy, as well as its continuous use of lethal force against unarmed demonstrators, constitute willful killing; a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which stipulates in Article 32: ìThe High Contracting Parties specifically agree that each of them is prohibited from taking any measure of such a character as to cause the physical suffering or extermination of protected persons in their hands. This prohibition applies not only to murder, torture, corporal punishment, mutilation and medical or scientific experiments not necessitated by the medical treatment of a protected person but also to any other measures of brutality whether applied by civilian or by military agents.î Moreover, it gravely breaches Article 75 of the Protocols Additional to the Fourth Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 (Protocol 1), especially Paragraph 2, which states, ìThe following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever, whether committed by civilian or by military agents: a. Violence to the life, health, or physical or mental well-being of persons, in particular: i. Murder; ii. Torture of all kinds, whether physical or mental; iii. Corporal punishment; and iv. Mutilationî Paragraph 3 of Article 85 of the same Protocol stipulates, ìIn addition to the grave breaches defined in Article 11, the following acts shall be regarded as grave breaches of this Protocol, when committed wilfully, in violation of the relevant provisions of this Protocol, and causing death or serious injury to body or health: a. Making the civilian population or individual civilians the object of attack.î LAW Society demands the following: 1. The Israeli government to immediately stop its crimes and collective punishment against Palestinians. 2. An international investigation committee to be set up, working according to UN Resolution 1322. 3. The Security Council to set up an international tribunal and bring the Israeli war criminals to justice, such as the case with the war criminals of ex-Yugoslavia. 4. Placing Palestinians under international protection. 5. The international community to put an end to these crimes and to the Israeli occupation.

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LAW - The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment is a non-governmental organisation dedicated to preserving human rights through legal advocacy. LAW is affiliate to the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), FÈdÈration Internationale des Ligues de Droits de l'Homme (FIDH), World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and Member of the Euro- Mediterranean Human Rights Network.