World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Independent Investigation Into Rafah Killings Call

News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International

AI INDEX: MDE 15/054/2004 21 May 2004

Israel/Occupied Territories: Call for independent investigation into Rafah killings

Amnesty International urges the Israeli authorities to promptly carry out a thorough and independent investigation into the killing of eight Palestinians, four of them children, and the injury of dozens of others by the Israeli army during a demonstration in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah, on 19 May 2004.

Amnesty International delegates were in the vicinity of the demonstration at the time of the incident. They saw Israeli army helicopters hovering over the area where the demonstration was taking place, dropping what appeared to be flares; shortly after they heard several rounds of heavy shelling.

Demonstrators and eyewitnesses claim that the loss of life and injuries were caused by shelling from Israeli army helicopters and tanks stationed nearby. According to Israeli army officials, tanks shelled an empty building in order to deter the demonstrators from proceeding towards Israeli army positions;they also state that Israeli helicopters fired a missile at a nearby open space.

The Israeli shelling hit a built-up area on Sea Street, the main east-west road in Rafah, where the Palestinian demonstrators were walking. An Israeli army aerial photograph published in the Israeli media shows that the building at which the tank shelling was aimed is located in a built-up area on the street where the demonstrators were marching.

Israeli officials have alleged that the demonstrators were led by gunmen. While Amnesty International cannot confirm or deny the presence of armed Palestinians among the demonstrators, the organization's delegates did not see any armed men when they passed the demonstration prior to the attack. In addition, they did not hear any Palestinian fire prior to or following the Israeli army shelling. Furthermore, the footage from television crews who filmed the demonstration prior to, during and after the shelling, reviewed by Amnesty International's delegates, does not show armed individuals in the demonstration.

Based on information available, Amnesty International is concerned that the means and methods used by the Israeli army during a non-violent demonstration in a built-up area, which resulted in the loss of life and injuries to Palestinians, were excessive and violated international law.

In light of a pattern of inadequate investigations or lack of investigations into unlawful killings and excessive use of force by the Israeli security forces resulting in death or injury to Palestinians, it is imperative that a thorough and independent investigation be promptly carried out by the Israeli judicial authorities. The scope, methods and findings of the investigation must be made public and those responsible for human rights violations must be brought to justice.

Stop destruction of homes and land by Israeli army. Take action! Visit

Latest information on the crisis in Israel and the Occupied Territories at

View all documents on Israel and the Occupied Territories at


You may repost this message onto other sources provided the main text is not altered in any way and both the header crediting Amnesty International and this footer remain intact.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news