Letters and Appeals

Joint Urgent Action Appeal:Israel begins destruction of hundreds of homes in Rafah: 2,197 people already left homeless in 15 days, at least 15 killed.

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20 May 2004

The Housing and Land Rights Network of Habitat International Coalition(HIC-HLRN) and the World Organisation against Torture(OMCT) request your URGENT intervention in the following situation in Palestine.
Brief Description In his statement on 17 May 2004, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan relayed reports from UN agencies that 2,197 people have been rendered homeless because of demolitions of 191 homes during the first 15 days of May, with Rafah being the most affected area.
Yet, despite the wide criticism of demolitions policy even inside Israel, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, a member of HIC-HLRN which has been systematically documented all house demolitions in the Gaza Strip and monitoring the current situation, has informed HIC-HLRN that the Israeli government has expressed its intention to destroy hundreds more houses in Rafah.
Israel's Defence Minister, Shaul Mofaz has publicly announced that 'Operation Rainbow,' Israel's military action in Rafah, will continue as long as necessary.
According to Al Haq, a member of OMCT and HIC-HLRN networks, it is estimated that the Israeli military have totally or partially demolished 100 Palestinian homes in the Gaza strip from 10 to 14 May 2004, leaving 1,160 Palestinians homeless.
It is also reported that at least 30 Palestinians died in Israeli attacks over this period.
According to the information received from Al Haq, 15 Palestinians were killed in the morning of 18 May 2004, when Israeli forces launched a new attack as part of the ongoing military operation.
According to the Palestinian Human Rights Monitor Group, only during the last week, the Israeli Forces have killed 56 Palestinians, among them 14 children under the age 18.
HIC-HLRN and OMCT are convinced that these actions constitute a form of collective punishment strictly prohibited under international law.